Novamind 4 Pro full review

Mind-mapping is a form of visual outlining that can help you get a better overview of your projects, open your mind when brainstorming, take notes, and organise disparate ideas easily. Unlike text-based outlines, mind maps don’t lock you into a rigid vertical structure: you can move items around, change their spatial relationships, and link them as you want.

A number of Mac programs let you make mind maps, and NovaMind 4.0.11 Pro is one of the most graphically advanced of these mind-mapping tools. You can start with a blank document, or get inspiration from one of a dozen preset templates, which contain formatted items that you can fill in, replace, and add to. You can also use RapidFire mode (renamed BranchStorm in version 4.1.14 of the software), which is great for brainstorming and note-taking.

With this feature, you just type ideas and press the Return key after each one; when you’ve finished, each idea appears on its own branch. You’re then free to move them around, change their connections, and format them in any way you want.

The number of options for embellishing your documents is stunning, and can in fact be confusing. You can set your own styles for text, branches, links, graphics, backgrounds, and much more.

More than a dozen palettes – that can sit in the program’s window or be dragged off to float on your desktop – let you access all of these different formatting options.

One useful feature in NovaMind is its ability to pack multiple mind maps into a single document; just create a new tab and you can start building a new mind map.

While the program is powerful, its graphic options may be overkill for some. Each type of item in a mind map has many options, and the numerous palettes can be confusing. However, when you’ve mastered the complex graphics, you can save your favourite layout as a template so you don’t have to keep tweaking new mind maps.

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