Learn Freeplane

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ಕನ್ನಡದಲ್ಲಿ ನೋಡಿ हिंदी में देखें


Basic information

ICT Competency Freeplane is a free and open source software application that helps you create and edit concept maps, as a generic resource creation. For the purposes of this section, we can treat 'concept mapping' as nearly synonymous with 'mind mapping'.
Educational application and relevance Making concept maps can support thinking, brainstorming, sharing information and documenting meetings and group processes.

Educators consider that Concept mapping is a good approach for build skills in students for ideating and organizing ideas; they also find it a great asset for teaching. It is a great tool to students to help them organize their thought processes when writing. Teachers and students can use this application to collaboratively or individually create concept maps on an idea or explore a problem.

Version Version - 1.3.15
Configuration This tool has no specific configuration requirements. It is available as a part of Ubuntu custom distribution.
Other similar applications Freemind
The application on mobiles and tablets There is no concept map creation tool in mobiles, but you can view concept maps In Android Mobiles using Freeplane reader or Simple Mind app.

Freeplane is part of the Ubuntu GNU/Linux operating system. It is also available for download on Windows and Mac operating systems as well.

Development and community help Freeplane website

Overview of Features

Freeplane allows you to create concept maps, as a textual resource that can be organized graphically, in the form of a map or tree of ideas; it provides a pictorial overview of the concepts, related concepts / sub-concepts for a topic. A concept map helps you to create a textual OER with possibilities for linking to additional resources (on your computer as well as on the web), adding annotations as well as images. Freeplane allows you to organize and order ideas into a hierarchy connected by lines (edges). Nodes can also be linked with free lines (connectors) and labels. The concept map can be exported as an image as well as a text document.


  1. The application is part of the Ubuntu custom distribution.
  2. In case you do not find it on your computer, you can install by typing Freeplane on top search bar in Software Centre.
  3. If you would like to install through the terminal follow these steps below:
    1. Open terminal by clicking Applications->System Tools->Terminal or through Keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Alt+T
    2. In the terminal window, type below command and press enter to start the installation by providing your machine password:
    3. sudo apt-get install freeplane

Working with the application

To download mindmap file click here

Creating a map

To learn working with Freeplane, we will start creating a concept map for Digital Story Telling; you will see above that Freeplane has opened a window with a box with text "New mindmap". This node, also called the "root node" will contain the core idea/ theme to be discussed in the concept map. You can click on File option to save this map; when the map is saved it will get saved with the name in the root node.

Inserting nodes

Concept maps can be stored on your folders; they are saved with an extension ".mm". We have created a concept map called Learning Digital Story Telling.mm. After the root node is created, additional ideas are added by adding more nodes, called child nodes. The concept map gets built by adding further child nodes, for topics and sub-topics. You can keep adding child nodes to any node. Use the ‘insert’ key to create a ‘child node’ this is a sub-concept of your current concept. Use the ‘enter’ key to create a ‘sibling’ this is a parallel concept to your current concept. Thus you can create a concept map with knowing just two functions – add child node (insert) and add sibling node (enter). In this manner, a concept map can be used to classify and categorise information.

Our map has nodes for the ‘why’, ‘what’ and ‘how’ of DST, with sub-nodes.

  1. The first image shows the creation of a concept map with the first child node.
  2. The second image shows the completed concept map with child nodes and sibling nodes.

Linking nodes

  1. When you discuss concepts, you can notice that sometimes concepts are connected, and you want to link them to study in detail. For doing this you can add a graphical link (an arrow) to connect two nodes. To do this select two nodes, then go to Menu Bar and choose EDIT > CONNECT option. then you can see graphical link which is connected to two nodes. You can click on the arrow and move it around.

Hyperlinking files and weblinks

  1. In the first image, did you notice the red arrow in the root node of our concept map? This main node has a hyper-link which opens the Wikipedia page on digital story telling. You can embed a hyper-link on a node, such that clicking on the node can connect to related resources. In our Learning Digital Story Telling.mm concept map, we have inserted a hyper-link for the main node ‘Learning Digital Story Telling’.
  2. To do this Move your cursor to this node and select Edit → Link → Add or Modify hyperlink (type). You can also use the keyboard short cut CTRL-K. Freeplane will open an input bar as shown in the second image. We will type in our web page address https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_storytelling into this input bar
  3. You can also add a hyperlink to a local file on your computer. If you select When you click on Edit-->Link-->Add Hyperlink (choose) allows you to link to a file on a folder on your computer. The third image shows how to choose a file from your folders to link.

Adding notes and note window

  1. In our Learning Digital Story Telling.mm concept map, you will also see a yellow label beside the arrow and if you place your mouse over the yellow label, you will see a note description.
  2. To add a note, you can click on the node, as shown in the second image, go to View--->Notes--->Display note panel
  3. You can type your note in the note window which opens as shown in the third image. You can change the position and size of this note window.

Moving nodes

To move nodes from one position to other position or to disconnect a node from its current parent and connect it to another parent you can simply click and drag it to its new location. Each node has two positions where you can drop another node. These positions are visible if the cursor is above it.

  • If the cursor is near the top of the target node, the whole upper half lights up. If you drop a node here, the node will become a sibling above the target node.
  • If the cursor is near the child side of the target node, the left or right side of the node lights up. If you drop the node here it will be connected as a child node.

In case of the root it is possible to drop a node to the left or the right side. This is also true in case of a node with a hidden edge.

Adding different icons to the node

By simply clicking on the left side different icons, you can add those icons into your nodes. You can add different and multiple icons for each indvidual nodes.

Saving and exporting

  1. By default your concept map is saved by Freeplane as a '.mm' format file as shown in the first image. While saving the file, Freeplane will display the file browser, to allow you to select the folder in which you can save your file. By default, the file is saved in your home folder.
  2. However, the concept map can be saved in many other formats. You can export the map to a text document file (in .odt or .doc formats). You can also export the map as an image (in .png or .jpeg formats) or as a web page (in .html format), as shown in the second image.

Typing Telugu in Freeplane

Freeplane will not allow you to type Telugu directly, you will need to change font family in Freeplane by the following:

  1. Go to Tools -> Preferences -> Appearance ->
  2. In the font family option select Telugu fonts and click on Okay.
  3. Freeplane may ask you to restart, after which you can type in Telugu.

Note:If you are using older version of Freeplane, this approach will not work. You need to type Telugu in Libreoffice writer and copy paste it into Freeplane, and change the font to Telugu for each node.

Saving the file

Like in most applications, a file can be saved using the FILE – SAVE command, or by the shortcut key CTRL-S. Always give a meaningful file name, reading which you should get an idea of the file contents. Freeplane saves files with a .mm extension. You can also export a concept map to image (png or jpeg) and text (odt and html) formats.

Advanced features

  1. You can insert images directly in your nodes. You can create visual representation using 'Cloud' etc. You can enter detailed notes for any node. When you export it to a ODT, you can see this as a document, with the 'note' information being the text in the note, and all the nodes will become headings. This way you can even write a document using Freeplane
  2. You can import your entire folder structure as a mind map.
  3. Our aim here is to get you started with concept map OER creation using Freeplane. For advanced functions, you should refer to the User Manual for the application. The Freeplane tutorial is available within Freeplane itself, which you can access any time by pressing the F1 function key. The tutorial itself is a concept map, and you should browse this concept map, not only to get help that you may require, but also as a lesson on how a concept map can communicate so much information in such a simple manner!!

Ideas for resource creation

Freeplane a good tool to start your resource creation work. You should develop a concept map for the topic you want to develop a resource on. The ideas you have about the topic, the sequencing of ideas and sub concepts, the specific points for each idea / sub-concept can be developed on the map. Links between nodes, with web pages, notes explaining concepts can all be inserted in the concept map. The power of the digital concept map is that you can keep revising the nodes, adding and deleting, moving and copying nodes as you want. This makes the process quite dynamic.

Once you have completed your concept map you can share it with your colleagues for feedback with which you can refine the concept map still further.


Wikipedia Freeplane website