Visual Thinking Tools and Tips

In this collection, you will find everything you need to create a mind map, a interactive timeline, a concept map, an infographic, a word cloud, an interactive map, an interactive poster, a chart, diagram and much more.

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Jodie Taylor Jodie Taylor
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Delightful Mind Mapping for your Mac, iPad and iPhone. MindNode helps you visualize your ideas. Start with a central thought and then brainstorm, organize and share your mind maps.


Build charts online with the easy to use ChartBlock chart designer interface. Upload your data then set to work designing your chart.


Highcharts - Interactive JavaScript charts for your web pages.


Junkyard helps you visually organize ideas and create attractive mind map illustrations. Create text boxes with your notes and ideas. Arrange and rearrange them. Draw connections between them. Change fonts, colors, add arrows, place graphics on the canvas. Separate topics into their own tabs.


Raw is an open web app to create custom vector-based visualizations on top of the amazing D3.js library through a simple interface.

Raw is an open and customizable project (LGPL license), and you can freely download it and modify it. If you want to contribute to its evolution, fork the project on GitHub! Even though Raw is a web app, the data you upload will be processed only by the web browser. No server-side operations or storages are performed, no one will see, touch or copy your data! Primarily conceived as a tool for designers and vis geeks, Raw allows to export visualizations in vector (SVG) or raster (PNG) format and embed them in your web page.


Thinglink is a tool for image interaction that allow content sharing via online images. The purpose of ThingLink, is to allow photos and other images to be made into web links. Use it to design interactive posters and visual content.


Create, share and collaboratively work on mind maps with MindMeister, the leading online mind mapping software.


A useful MindMapping tool for iOS, Mac OS X and Windows.


Use mind maps to develop critical thinking skills by explore information and decide what's important and how it connects with what you already know. Create beautiful mind map online and share them with others or work collaboratively and mind map your next project.

Create, publish and share data visualizations, infographics and online charts.


XMind is the most professional and popular mind mapping tool. Millions of people use XMind to clarify thinking, manage complex information, run brainstorming and get work organized.

Design Method Toolkit

The Digital Society School Design Method Toolkit enables you to get started and enrich your design process. A collection of design and research methods: categorised to help you select, time based to help you plan. Plan and execute your design research, ideation, experimentation and creation within short iterations.

Autodesk SketchBook

Autodesk SketchBook is the drawing app made for those who include sketching as part of their daily routine, from creative professionals to aspiring artists. With SketchBook, drawing and painting on your iPad or iPhone feels like a natural creative experience. SketchBook's powerful brush engine has over 170 customizable brushes, which perform exactly as you expect. Ink feels fluid and smooth, synthetic brushes blend colors in a natural way, and texture brushes mimic natural media.


Search, compare and make free time lines on The time lines can be filled with audio and video fragments such as MP3 and YouTube.

Paper 53

When inspiration happens, put it on Paper. Use this app for visual notes, photos, and sketches. Draw on photos or quickly spotlight details. Sketch diagrams with unbeatable speed and ease.


Whether you’re plotting your next thriller or writing your dissertation, designing a course, managing a legal practice, coordinating a campaign or planning a season of orchestral concerts, Tinderbox 7 will be your personal information assistant.

Ludic Chart Timeline Maker

Our free online timeline maker allows you to easily create and customize a timeline with our drag and drop interface.


iThoughts is a mind mapping app for iOS, Mac and Windows


A mattermap is a visual representation of a news story, debate or event. Our software assists users in collecting and organizing information, quotes and sources around a central question. The result is a clear infographic: a mattermap. Mattermaps allow for various points of view on a topic to be displayed, and give insight into where the creator got his information. The reader is provided with a single glance overview of the ongoing debate.


Boords is online storyboarding software that lets you create and share storyboards quickly and easily.


WiseMapping is a free, fast and simple online mind mapping editor for individuals and business. Sign up to start organizing and sharing your ideas and thoughts.


Rather than just read about Inkflow, go ahead and try it out: We've decided to make the Basic Edition of Inkflow completely FREE. The Basic Edition comes with the Fountain Pen in black ink and all the features above. Books max out at 20 pages each, but you can create as many as you like. Inkflow is perfect for:

  • Brainstorming
  • Planning and scheduling
  • Graphic design and layout
  • Sketching and doodling
  • Notes, Sketch notes, Mindmaps, etc.
  • And pretty much anything else you would use pen and paper for.
Comic Master

Comic Master allows you to create your own short graphic novel. Create your own graphic novel with this interactive comics tool that uses prompt questions to help you.


Milkr works in line with your brain's natural way. Explore ideas, manage knowledge, share thoughts and connect people just in one place.


StoryMapJS is a free tool to help you tell stories on the web that highlight the locations of a series of events. It is a new tool, yet stable in our development environment, and it has a friendly authoring tool.

There are a couple ways you can make a StoryMap.
Add a slide for each place in your story. Setting the location is as easy as a text search for the name, address, or latitude and longitude. You can change the visual style of your map with a few presets, or you can use Mapbox to create your own style. You can tell stories with large photographs, works of art, historic maps, and other image files. Because it works best with pixel-dense files, we call these gigapixel. Setting one up requires you to host files on a web server.

Comic Life

The app is designed to create graphic novels and comic pages using digital photos. Users can drag and drop photos from their libraries, finders, directly from web pages or other programs. Comic Life has an integrated camera feature that allows the user to snap a picture and add it directly to a comic. These images as well as those from iPhoto and anywhere on the hard drive can be 'filtered' to look comic like.


Toondoo lets you create comic strips and cartoons easily with just a few clicks, drags and drops.

Brainstorm online with Easily create colorful mind maps to print or share with others. Almost no learning curve. Millions of people are using worldwide to generate ideas, map out processes and create presentations.


Popplet is the simplest tool to capture and organize your ideas. With Popplet you can quick jot down your ideas and sort them visually. is a simple web tool that empowers anyone to create and share powerful visuals (infographics, posters)... no design experience needed! We provide the canvas, you provide the creativity.

Adobe Photoshop Sketch

Draw with the power of the Photoshop painting engine and a variety of built-in brushes, pencils, pens and markers. Create realistic watercolor paintings and import all your favorite Photoshop brushes for even more creative possibilities. Easily send your artwork to Adobe Photoshop CC or Adobe Illustrator CC as layered PSD files.


Ideament lets you easily draw a diagram - mind map, concept map, or flow chart - and convert it to a text outline, and vice versa. You can use Ideament for anything, such as brainstorming new ideas, illustrating concepts, making lists and outlines, planning presentations, creating organizational charts, and more.


Get an overview about the different kind of mind map created on Mind42. Mind42 is a free online mind mapping software that allows you to collaborate on and publish your mind maps with others.

The Brain

As you shift focus from topic to topic, TheBrain moves right along with you, showing your information and all the connections you've made. It's a natural extension of your thinking. Now you can see how things are connected and you'll never forget or lose an idea.

Data Visualisation Catalogue

The Data Visualisation Catalogue is a project developed by Severino Ribecca to create a library of different information visualisation types. Originally, this project was a way for me to develop my own knowledge of data visualisation and create a reference tool for me to use in the future for my own work. However, I felt it would also be beneficial to both designers and also anyone in a field that requires the use of data visualisation. Although there have been a few attempts in the past to catalogue some of the established data visualisation methods, there is no website that is really comprehensive, detailed or helps you decide the right method for your needs.


Capture, connect and share ideas easily!
SpiderScribe is an online mind mapping and brainstorming tool. It lets you organize your ideas by connecting notes, files, calendar events, etc. in free-form maps


Venngage is an easy to use Infographic Maker. Visualize your data and information with free templates, charts and text. Enhance your infographic by adding icons and images from our library. Customize your infographic design by changing the fonts and colours with our infographic maker. Apply your own style to make your infographic unique.


Timetoast's free timeline maker lets you create timelines online. Make educational timelines or create a timeline for your company website. How to make a timeline? Well, it's easy as toast!


The Visual Thesaurus is an interactive dictionary and thesaurus which creates word maps that blossom with meanings and branch to related words. Its innovative display encourages exploration and learning. You'll understand language in a powerful new way. Enter words into the search box, "visualize a word," to look them up. Touch a node to see the definition of that word group and click and drag individual nodes to move them around to help clarify connections.


Gloow helps you organize your ideas, plan projects, research and brainstorm more effectively by creating domain-based knowledge maps.


Gliffy is a powerful online diagram creation tool with flow chart marker, network diagrams, uml diagrams, org charts, mind maps, wireframes. Start a free trial today!


Easily draw diagrams online using Creately’s online diagramming tool. Diagram software packed with templates and features.


The future of professional design is here: Concepts intelligently combines paper + pencil with powerful vector manipulation. Make quick sketches, beautiful illustrations, and precise drawings with ease and style.

Tiki Toki

Tiki-Toki is web-based software for creating beautiful interactive timelines that you can share on the internet.


Create designs for Web or print: blog graphics, presentations, Facebook covers, flyers, posters, invitations and so much more. Canva is an online graphic design platform that offers free access to a wide assortment of design tools and options.


Piktochart is a web-based infographic application which allows users without intensive experience as graphic designers to easily create professional-grade infographics using themed templates. Additionally, the program provides tools to add interactive maps, charts, videos and hyperlinks.


Founded in 2011, WikiBrains is a promising start-up company utilizing smart data structure to provide a growing database of semantically linked information and knowledge. Their mission is to transform the way students collect, organize and explore what they are curious about. You may call it 'Engineered serendipity': Quality Content With Quality Context.


MapHub allows you to create, share and collaborate interactive maps online.


The clear way to share complex information. Coggle is a collaborative mind-mapping tool that helps you make sense of complex things. Create unlimited mind maps and easily share them with friends and colleagues.


Toolsuite for visualizing and exploring passages of text. WordSift helps anyone easily sift through texts -- just cut and paste any text into WordSift and you can engage in a verbal quick-capture! The program helps to quickly identify important words that appear in the text.


Timeglider is a data-driven interactive timeline application. You can "grab" the timeline and drag it left and right, and zoom in and out — much as you would with a mapping app — to view centuries at a time or just hours. You can create create event spans so that you can see durations and how they overlap. Being web-based, Timeglider lets you collaborate and share easily. You can create timelines about the last year of your family, the last century of world events, or about pre-historical (bce/bc) times. You can zoom in to see ten minutes, or zoom out to see billions of years.


Easily Create online presentations, animations, animated HTML5 banners, infographics and other rich visual content free in your browser.


Brainstorm, organize your ideas, boost your productivity, create and present your mind maps with iMindQ Online, innovative online mind mapping software.


From your hobby to your career, your class notes to your final exam, your mood board to your runway show, padlets help you organize your life.

Noun Project

Creating, Sharing and Celebrating the World’s Visual Language.

Open Knowledge Maps

Open knowledge maps is a visual interface to the world's scientific knowledge. Start your literature search here: get an overview of a research topic, find relevant papers, and identify important concepts.


Kumu makes it easy to organize complex data into relationship maps that are beautiful to look at and a pleasure to use.


Welcome to Gephi! Gephi is an open-source software for visualizing and analysing large networks graphs. Gephi uses a 3D render engine to display graphs in real-time and speed up the exploration. You can use it to explore, analyse, spatialise, filter, cluterize, manipulate and export all types of graphs.


Freemix is great for fast intuitive creation. Access a nearly infinite pool of images and collage them with a rich array of easy to use tools.

Open Knowledge Maps

Start your literature search here: get an overview of a research topic, find relevant papers, and identify important concepts.



Vis a data visualization platform designed to assist investigative journalists, activists and others in mapping complex business or crime networks.

Timeline JS

TimelineJS is an open-source tool that enables anyone to build visually rich, interactive timelines. Beginners can create a timeline using nothing more than a Google spreadsheet, like the one we used for the Timeline above. Experts can use their JSON skills to create custom installations, while keeping TimelineJS's core functionality.

Mind maps for creative thinking in research

Don't knock them though until you have tried them! Mind maps can really help creative thinking, and creative thinking can be crucially important in research. online thesaurus

Graph Words is a free online thesaurus to help you explore English dictionary. Find meanings of words and their associations in easy way using this online thesaurus tool. It's a tool that produces word maps that blossom with related words, branching out to synonyms and definitions.

Slide Bazarr

Free Mind Map Templates for PowerPoint and Keynote.

Concept Mapping to Write a Literature Review

This article will explain how to use concept mapping to write a in-depth, thought-provoking literature review or essay.