OneNote Needs Mind-Mapping

I recently saw a post about a Microsoft-hosted event called the 2011 U.S. Innovative Education Forum, which reminded me of something I’ve been meaning to post – a request to Microsoft:

Please add mind-mapping functionality to OneNote. 

That’s it. 

It really should be there – here’s why:

  • Kids are using it – It just makes sense to them because it’s the way we all think.  My second grader came home from school and showed me his ‘research paper’ that included what he called a ‘web’. It was a mind-map. Kids are already being trained to use this method for learning, organizing their thoughts and working from them. Fantastic. 
    Now, bear in mind that our kids to to a STEM school, so all public schools might not be using mind-maps yet, but they should. They used a tool called Kidspiration / Inspiration.  They weren’t sure which one. 
    I picked up the Home and Student version of Microsoft Office 2010 which includes OneNote and the kids are all over it – they love it.  Adding the mind-mapping capability just seems to be the next step. 
    Kids today are the future of your software market.  Yea, I know it’s a cliché, but it’s true and there are more of them than there are of us – so it’s a good investment.      
  • College age students would use it too – I can’t imagine how different my note-taking would have been with a mind-mapping tool and the right hardware that’s available now. 
  • Adults are using it – More and more I’m seeing people in meetings using some sort of mind-mapping software to take notes, which I think is fantastic.  I use a tool on my iPad right now called iThoughtsHD which is pretty good and is supposed to sync with client apps, though I don’t have one yet. In the meantime I just use the e-mail method which sends a list view of the content along with an image of the map. 
    For the same reason that it works for kids, it works for adults too – it’s a tool that’s consistent with the way we think. 
  • It makes sense and is an extension of the other note-taking that people want to do.  Let’s get it in the right tool.  If you step back and think about it, the core functionality seems to align with what’s already available in Visio for managing shapes and relationships, but the user scenarios are more aligned with OneNote.  Students and kids aren’t going to buy Visio. 
  • Once it’s built into OneNote, let me have the other Office integration features that we’re used to: create tasks that link to Outlook and SharePoint.
  • Let me add people as nodes – people pulling from my Outlook, the SharePoint Profile Store or Exchange.  
  • While you’re putting that together – make an iPhone and iPad version of it that syncs to the Cloud…  Smile 


Oh, and meanwhile, Kid #1 comes up to me one morning and asks “How can I get access to my OneNote at school?”.  Smart little bugger. Now I need to get them set up on Live

Thanks for listening. 


  1. So, I stumbled across a video on YouTube that was linked to a Microsoft advertisement for the Surface Pro 3 – there appears to be a mindmap on her Surface Pro at the 1:01 minute mark of the video…

    If MS is advertising it, wouldn’t it make sense that there is something out there already? Something that MS supports/licenses/etc.? I am looking, but not finding anything…

    I have migrated away from OneNote. One of the reasons is that it doesn’t provide a capability to mind map. Instead, I have started using tools available on the Mac platform (MindNode being my favorite for mapping), but I’d be drawn right back to OneNote if they incorporated a decent mind mapping capability.

    1. I can’t be sure, but it looks like she has a mind map from some other software pasted into a OneNote page. There still isn’t anything built into OneNote as far as I know. Unfortunately. 🙁 There are some mapping templates available in Visio as well, but I generally use Mindjet MindManager (on my Surface).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.