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Freeplane 1.2

Functions index

DETAILS: Click the link to open a mind map with the main functions of Freeplane. Hover the text to reveal hidden links to the descriptions of the functions you see in thisQuick reference and inHelp > Documentation.


  • To return from the index map to this map: selectNavigate >Go to previous map(icon in tool bar)


1 Introduction


Freeplane is meant to facilitate thinking, sharing information and getting things done at work, in school and at home. The software supports creating, sharing and usingmind maps, which are a kind of information maps. The Wiki Tutorial Freeplane contains concrete examples of application areas.

The goal of this Tutorial is to describe the most used functions of Freeplane in a simple and systematic way. For more and more detailed information, see the documentation atHelp > Documentation.

Reading guide

It is a general practice that people don't like reading manuals. Therefore you only need to read the introduction of this Tutorial to be ready to start mind mapping using the Freeplan main menu bar. The main editing functions are to be found inmenu Edit. And some very special functions are to be found inmenu Tools.

The chapters after the Introduction are worth reading for the following reason. In Freeplane the same result can be achieved in a number of ways. Using the Freeplane menu generally is not the fastest and most effcient way. The different chapters cover all of the functionality and show what is the most efficient way of doing using socalled context menus. You do not need to read the chapters in order, but can pick the things you are needing at the moment. To help you pick the sections are color coded, with the following meaning:

  • Beginner (lighter-blue/green): You learn basic elements which could be used for simple but productive tasks like taking notes and brainstorming.
  • Advanced (yellow): You learn additional elements which could be used for better  organizing information and better communicating meaning.
  • Professional (orange/brown): You learn about setting preferences and using production and technical tools.


Checkhere if there exists a language pack add-on for your language.

CheckHelp > Documentation Maps Online if video guides are available.

Main menu's


Menu bar

Tool bar

Filter bar


Icon bar

Properties Panel

context menu

DETAILS: Right-click in free place of background

Background Context Menu

Properties panel

Help > Key reference

DETAILS: Shot cuts orhot keysfor most functions.

Hot keys table


A mind map is a plane consisting of so callednodes which can display information. In a sense, a node is comparable to aparagraph of a book which can display text, images and other types of information. The difference being that nodes can be moved around and be hidden more easily. This makes maps more versatile in situations where information is being developed or information must be displayed selectively, depending on the users need.

The text you are reading right now is in a node. The text above, "Nodes" is a node. Also the text to the left, "Introduction" is a node. The big oval to the left is a special node calledroot.

Family relations

All nodes are connected through lines callededges. The line you see at the left is an

edge. Aseries of connected nodes are similar to branches of atree. All trees begin in

the root node. Together these branches form a family descendancy. Nodes closer to

the root are called (grand)parents of nodes further away called (grand)children.

Nodes which ar at the same level, but not mutually connected, are called siblings.

As a rule a node's position is rescricted by its position in the family tree. The exception

to this rule is the so-called free node  which can be positioned independently of all other


(relative) parent


Folding nodes

Genrally, you canfold andunfold a node by clicking the node when the circle with plus or minus sign is showing. This circle appears when the cursor is above the node core.  Folding will hide possible children. If a node is folded, it shows a smallcircle at itschild side. Unfolding will reveal hidden children.

If you have me unfolded, to my right you see 4 icons wich also are displayed in the toolbar at the top of the screen. These are icon-buttons with which you can fold/unfold the descendants of a selected node. Right-clicking the folding circle will reveal a context menu with the same icon-buttons for fast access.

Now click on nodeIntroduction  to hide its children  and notice the circle!  And thereafter, click again to continue reading the following node.


  • Clicking the circle with +/- folds/unfolds immediately; clicking elsewhere in the node core folds with a short delay.
  • It is possible to keep a node from folding by setting Edit > Node Group > Always unfolded node (set/unset). This can be useful in cloud groups.
  • If a node being folded has a connector to one of its hidden children. a line (and possibly a label) is visible which can be right-clicked to open the context menu and jump to the connected node..

Unfold one level

DETAILS: Progressively unfolds the descendants of the selected node. Clicking once unfolds the children, clicking again unfolds the grandchildren, etc.

Fold one level

DETAILS: Progressively folds the descendants of the selected node, starting at the deepest level in the hierarchy. If four levels exist, clicking once folds the great grandchildren, clicking again folds the grandchildren, clicking again folds the children, etc.

Unfold all

DETAILS: Unfolds (makes visible) all nodes that are descendants of the selected node, including all children, grandchildren, etc.

Hot key

  • pressSpace; or
  • single click on the node; or
  • click icon-button inToolbar

Fold all

DETAILS: Folds (hides) all nodes that are descendants of the selected node, including all children, grandchildren, etc.

Hot key

  • pressSpace; or
  • single click on the node; or
  • click icon-button in Toolbar

Edit > Node group > Always unfolded

Open map on Internet

To open a mind map on Internet, this map must first be copied to your local computer. MenuFile > Open map from URLdoes just this.

2 Core map

Node core

The information of a node is displayed in two major area's. One area is callednode core because it is situated in the inner area of the node and can have a bubble around it. The text you are reading now is in a node core. The colored area just above the one you are reading now is in the core of another node.

The text in the core can be short like a title, or multi line and can contain different basic display components like images and icons. It can also contain hyperlinks, formulas and components for time mangement and password protection.

Besides in the node core, text can be entered innode details, innotes  and inattributes. These fields are described later.

Core textin-line

When Freeplane first opens you will be greeted by a blank map. It contains one, elliptical form, the root node. The root node contains a text such as "New map". This text is highligted, meaning you can replace it by typing your own text. Simply type your title and pressEnter. TheInsert  key will add a child node - again just type and pressEnter. A secondEnter  will add a sibling. That's really all there is to it. If you want to edit an existing node, left-click the node text while keepingControl pressed (META omn MAC OS). It is that simple. You can now easily create a simple map.


  • To add a new line, pressShift + Enter.
  • If you right-click when editing text, a so calledcontext menu for editing text opens, giving quick access to formatting functions like copy and paste.
  • If you first select a text and then right-click, aFormat menu is displayed to make text bold etc. This formatting only applies to the selected  text.
  • Editing can be only started using home, end, F2, double click or by starting to type a text

New map

DETAILS: Look up in the toolbar at the top of the screen.

Open saved map..

DETAILS: Look up in the toolbar

Print map

DETAILS: Opens the dialog box associated with the printer on which the map will print.


DETAILS: Cuts the node currently selected and all of its children.


DETAILS: Copies the node selected and all of its children.


DETAILS: Pasts copied text. If the selected node is in edit mode, the text will be added to the contents of the node. If the selected node is not in edit mode, the text will be added as a child node.

New child node

DETAILS: Creates a new node as a child of  the currently-selected node.

Same effect:

  • press keyIns

New child node

<Shift>+<Enter> New line

<Enter> Finish edit, select node

2*<Enter> New sibling node

Right-click: contextmenu

Core textin dialog

A second way to edit a node is in a separate dialog. Right-click on the node. This opens the context menu of the node. (This context menu is different from the context menu for editing text !) In this context menu choose Edit core in dialog. You can now type the text and use the shown options to format the text. When you close the dialog by pressing OK, the text will appear in the node. This dialog has more extensive options for formatting text than available wen performing in-line editing.


  • You can also open the edit window in the main menu bar. ChooseEditand then Node core  and you will see Edit node core in dialog.  In the following we write this procedure asEdit > Node core > Edit node core in dialog.

Has menu's of its own

<Enter>: New line

Right-click: contextmenu

Saving & closing

Save the map you just made by pressing the floppy-disk icon in the menu bar (work menu) above, or choose menuFile > Save map. Thereafter you can open another map with the map-icon orFile > Open saved map.

Save map

DETAILS: Look in the toolbar for the icon button to save the current map.

Save map as...

DETAILS: Look up in the toolbar

Close current map

DETAILS: Closes the map that has focus. If multiple maps are open, focus refers to the tab that you are currently editing.

Free nodes

Post-it nodes: free positionable, free floating

If you keepControl pressed and click at any free place of a mindmap, a so-called free positional, free floating node opens. This node behaves like a paper post-it: you can move it anywhere, independent of the nodes which are part of the root-hierarchy. The format of this node is determined by the system styleFloating node. This standard style can be edited, giving all floating nodes this edited style. A post-it node can be  conected to a hierarchical node by dragging and dropping it on the node of your choice: it will become a child node of this node. For examples of different types of free floating nodes, see the wikiTutorial Freeplane

The floating nodes with hidden edges are intended for adding meta information to maps like legends, titles, summaries, authors etc. If such informations relates to a whole map, these nodes should have a root node as their parent so that they are always visible and their position does not depend on anything else. Sometimes such information is relevant only for a part of a map. In this case a floating node with hidden edge can be attached to a non root node. For understanding of the context, its parent edge is usually displayed as a dashed line if a node is selected unless its color was set to the map background color.

The free nodes do not require that you hide their edges. The second use case for them is a better use of map space. The automatic layout algorithm does not allow any map branches to overlap. If you want to create more compact maps you can convert some nodes to free nodes. This way they can be placed flexible. And their logical position relative to other sibling nodes now depends on their coordinates. You can see it too if you change to outline view which always reflect logical node positions.

Making and moving a free floating node

A free node is a node which is freely positionable, independently of the position of the other nodes of the mind map. A free node can be recognized by this behaviour and because the oval handle for moving the node is blue and filled in stead of red and open.  

A new, free node can be generated by keepingControl pressed and clicking a free place of the mind map. The newly generated free node will have the system  styleFree floating node, wih proertiesrectangular cloud andhidden edge. These properties can be changed in the usual way to e.g. no-cloud and visible edge. It is invisibly connected to the root.

An existing node can be turned into a free node by selecting it and choosing  Edit->Free positioned node (set/reset). In this case the properties of the node (edge, cloud, folding)  stay as they are. You can set the properties for cloud and hidden edge in the usual way . The freed node initially appears near the node it is invisibly connected to and can be moved from there to any desired position by dragging its (blue) oval handle. Moving a free floating node onto another parent / sibling by usual drag and drop cancels its free positioned status.


  • A free node made by clicking a free space of the mind map will be connected to the root node, also if the connecting edge is invisible. This explains why a child node of this free node, if moved onto the upper half of its parent free node, shifts towards the root node.

Free floating node

DETAILS: Hover with the cursor over the left side of me and see my blue, filled oval. Drag me around with this blue handle.


An icon is a small picture. Freeplane has a library with icons. There are several menu's to select and an icon:

  • The bar of icons which is showing at the side of the screen. If it is not showing, selectView > Toolbars > Icons toolbar.
  • A table of icons which is displayed when you selectEdit > Icons > Icon from table.
  • The structured menu of icons showing when you selectEdit > Icons  > Icons by category.

To add an icon to a node, select the node, then select the icon. To delete an icon, select the icon-remove first/last icon. These icons have a red cross


  • You can add more icons to the same node core.
  • Icons cannot be added to node details or note fields.
  • It is possible to define and add your own icons to the tool bar.


Image (node core)

Each node core can contain one image which has a fixed "real size".  (If you need a different size, use a drawing program to resize the original image.) To add an image, select the node and choose menuEdit > Node core > Image by choiceorlink. This same menu can be used to convert the textual hyperlink address of an image to the image itself.

See also

  • Node extensions for adding a scalable image.

Link to image (red arrow)

An image in a node takes visual space which is scarce.  A hyperlink does not have this disadvantage, while you can still view the image if you press the hyperlink. To add a hyperlink to an image, copy the image source and paste it into the node (this is unlike drag and drop !). If you paste at the upper part of the node, a hyperlink to the image will be added in the node itself. If you paste at the child side of the node a child node will be created with the hyperlink. This hyperlink appears as a red arrow. After pasting, also the textual path to the image will appear. You can safely erase it or replace it with your own text.


  • It is possible to drop an image in stead of a hyperlink-to-an-image by keepingCtrl pressed while dropping. In this case the image is not in the core, but in node details (resizable image).

See also

  • Inline-hyperlinks (underlined hyperlinks). With these it is possible to have multiple links in the text.

In-line image

Professional users can add images within text with so-called HTML-code. There is also a script for this. SeeHelp > Documentation.


When you need to show the progress of some sort, you can add a small or big progress indicator. The amount of progress can be changed. Note that the procedure to do so differs for small and large indicators.

Small progress (icon)

To add a small progress indicator, select Edit > Core  > Progress >Up. To increase the amount of progress, press  Edit > Core > Progress >Upagain (repeatedly).

Large progress (icon & image)

To ad a large progress indicator, selectEdit > Core >Progress > Extended progress. Then to increase the amount of progress %, double click. To decrease: Ctrl-double click.


  • Two images are displayed. The smaller one is a pictogram which is being displayed in the node core. The larger picture is an image displayed in node details.
  • IMPORTANT. The larger image (svg file) cannot be displayed in a Java Applet !

Joining nodes

The text of different node cores can be combined by selecting the nodes and choosing menuEdit > Node core > Join nodes.Child nodes of the joind nodes become childs of the new joined node.


  • This only works well if the node doesn't contain other node components like node details.
  • Hot key:Ctrl + J

Splitting a node

There are two different actions for splitting nodes. One is called from the main menu, the other from the editor.

  • A selected, multiline node core can be distributed over several nodes with each node containing one line by selecting the node and choosing menuEdit > Node core > Split node.
  • When editing a node, the text can be split at the cursor and distributed over two nodes. In the dialog editor, press theSplit button. Or in the in-line editor press  Alt + S.


  • Other components like node details are not splitted.
  • See Help > Documentation for the details.


A core text can, like a spreadsheet cell, contain a formula which starts with "=".  If this is the case,  the formula is calculated and only the result is displayed.


  • Scrips can be used to do calculations over branches, hence emulating spreadsheet like behaviour. Click the red arrow to go to the wiki page where this is explained.
  • As a standard setting a node core containing a formula is surrouded by a kind of bubble. You can remove this in View > Node core > Don't mark formula's with a border.
  • The automatic calculation can be prevented by opening the properties panel and setting field Format  toText.

3 Selecting and moving nodes

Scrolling and panning the map

You can drag the whole map by:

  • clicking in the background and drag the map around; or
  • pan the map with Ctrl+Shift+Cursor up/down/left/right


Automatic selection

You can select a node by just hovering the cursor over it. After a short delay the node will show a blue border indicating it is selected. This is calledautomatic selection. You can also click a node to select it. Finally also the Goto actions in menuNavigateand methodFind will select a node.

Keeping the selection

The automatic selection of a node can be unpractical in some conditions. You can keep a node selected while moving the cursor over other nodes: select the node and then keepShift pressed when you move the cursor over other nodes.

Key to the root

With a big map it is easy to get lost. If you pressEscape the selection will jump to the root at once.

Select all nodes

To select all nodes, first select the root (press Escape) and next press CTrl + A.


Moving a node in the hierarchy

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. As you can read below it makes a difference at which position of the target node you drop. You can also move nodes by sorting.

Moving a connected node in space

To displace a node while leaving its connections in tact, find the oval handle which is at the parent side of a node. Move the cursor over the this side of the node until the oval lights up. Then click the oval and drag wherever you want the node to go. All other nodes may move with it. You can restore a moved node to itsoriginal position by double clicking its oval handle.

Dropping positions

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.

Moving a group

It is possible to move a whole group of nodes including the summary node:

  • Select the group : withShift pressed first select the first node and then select the summary node.
  • KeepShift pressed and drag the group to its new location.

Reset node position

After displacing nodes they can be set to their original positions. Select the nodes and chooseEdit > Reset node position.

Sorting nodes

You may want to sort nodes alphabetically. If you select a node, you can sort its children by right-cliking the node and choosing Sort children.More sorting options are available in Edit > Moving and sorting.

4 Relating and grouping nodes


Edges are basic relations which define the node hierarchy. You can change the curving of edges, their color and thickness and you can  hide edges. The place to do so is in theProperties panel described below, or  menuFormat.


It is possible to connect any two nodes with a line called (bilateral)connector:  right-click a node and drag to the node you want to connect.

Thecurving of the connector can be changed by left-clicking and dragging the connector. Drag the dotten handle-lines to change the arrow orientation. Thestyle of the connector can be changed andlabels can be added to the connector: Right-click the connector and select the options in the context menu that opens.


  • Alternatively you can SHIFT + CTRL + left click to define a connector.
  • You can also select two nodes, then right-click the second node and chooseAdd connectorwhile keeping Ctrlpressed. After entering a lable, press Enter.
  • For a connector without begin,  aunilateral  connector, right-click the node and drag onto itself.




Summary node group

A group of siblings can be connected to a so calledsummary node.. This node connects the siblings with an accolade. Select the group of siblings and right-click one of the selected nodes while keepingCtrl  pressed. ChooseNew summary node (selected nodes)in the node contextmenu.


  •  There are also more advanced options. Read more about these in the documentation.




Summary node

Cloud node group

It is possible to visually group a whole branch of nodes with a common background calledcloud. Right-click the parent of the branch and chooseNodes > Add cloud.You can modify the color and style of the cloud in theProperties paneldescribed below. To prevent the nodes in the node group from folding, select Edit > Node group > All unfolded nodes.

cloud a



cloud b



icon-button forAdd default cloud

DETAILS: Find this icon button in the toolbar

5 Hyperlinking

What is a link ?

A dynamic link (hyperlink) is an electronic connection from a source node to a destination object. The destination can be a directory, file, web page, application, e-mail etc. The connection is click-able: double-click to open it. The link appears as an underlined text, or as a red or green arrow. The red arrow connects to an external address or an e-mail address. The green arrow connects to an internal address (other node). The underlined text can represent both. There can be multiple underlined hyperlinks in each node. There can only be one arrow-link or e-mail address pro node. The arrow-icon is shown in the Node core. Besides there can be hyperlinks in socalled attributes. Finally it is possible to link from another application to a particular node in a map. To activate the underlined hyperlink, double-click it.

Linking nodes with anchor

The following procudure makes it easy to make a link between two nodes, especially if two nodes are far apart in the map or are in different maps:

  • right-click one of the nodes to be linked and selectLink > Set link anchor
  • right-click the other node to be linked and select Link > Make link from anchor orLink > Make link to anchor.


  • Set link anchorwill automatically replace the previous anchor.
  • The anchor will be lost after exiting Freeplane.
  • See below for a different procedure if nodes are more close to each other.
  • See attributes how to set  a link in an attribute value. There is an easy way to link to other nodes as well.

External link

A hyperlink to an address outside the map can be created by right-clicking a node and selectingLink. However, the easiest way to add a hyperlink or group of hyperlinks to external objects, is by drag and drop. Dropping a copy of a directory, file, or web address will generate a child node of the selected node containing a hyperlink. The target address of the hyperlink is contained in the title. This text may be removed or changed without changing the dynamics of the hyperlink itself.

Dropping a group of hyperlinks will generate a group of child nodes, each containing one of the hyperlinks.

To edit the target address of the hyperlink, right-click the node containing the link and chooseLinks > Add or modify hyperlink (type)... In the dialog that opens you can edit the address. WithCtrl + V a copied address can be pasted in the entry field.

To link to a node in a different mind map, see Link from outside to a particular node.

To remove a hyperlink (arrow-link) or e-mail address, right-click the node and:

  • selectAdd or modify hyperlink (type)...or press Ctrl + K;and
  • delete the text in the text field ( the address)


  • The appearance of the arrow-hyperlink can be changed in Properties panel, to show the whole node core as underlined text. This is only possible if no other underlined hyperlink(s) is active,
  • If dropping an image file on a node, the image may be shown in stead of the hyperlink. For this keep Ctrl pressed while dropping.

Internal link

A hyperlink from one node to another node (local hyperlink) can be created by selecting two nodes, then right-clicking one of them while keepingCtrl pressed, and finally choosing menuLinks > Local hyperlink.

To remove a hyperlink (arrow-link) or e-mail address, right-click the node and:

  • selectAdd or modify hyperlink (type)...or press Ctrl + K;and
  • delete the text in the text field ( the address)

Email link

The simplest way to create an e-mail link which automatically opens your email program is to copy and paste the email address into a node. This will generate a child node of the selected node with the link. The text of the child node will consist of the e-mail address. You may replace this address by e.g. only the name.

If you want to add the e-mail link to a particular node (and not to its newly generated child), right-click the node and choose Add or modify hyperlink (type)... Then enter in the text field:


To remove a hyperlink (arrow-link) or e-mail address, right-click the node and:

  • selectAdd or modify hyperlink (type)...or press Ctrl + K;and
  • delete the text in the text field ( the address)

Underlinedhyperlinks .

To define an underlined hyperlink (HTML-link), first open the text dialog for  Node core, Node details or Note. Then type and select the piece of text to which the link applies. And finally select  in the Edit menu of the dialog windowAdd hyperlink (choose)... orAdd or modify hyperlink (type). In the latter case you can  type the address of the hyperlink or you can paste a copied address by pressing Ctr + V. Example link:This link brings you to the Freeplane Open Forum.


  • To change the text of the hyperlink, simply retype it. This will not alter the hyperlink address.
  • To change the address of the hyperlink, select the whole underlined text and then choose againAdd hyperlink (choose)... orAdd or modify hyperlink (type).
  • There can be multiple underlined hyperlinks in one Node core, Node details or Note field.
  • If the text is unformatted, or is formatted with the properties panel, the links are blue. If the text is formatted with the menu's of the edit-dialog, it has the color and size set in this dialog.
  • Ta add an internal hyperlink to another node, put #NodeId as address. To get the NodeID, right-click the node and selectCopy NodeId. Then paste the NodeId with Ctrl + V in the link address which opens when you selctAdd or modify hyperlink (type). Don't forget to put # before the nodeId.
  • To link to a node in a different mind map, see Link from outside to a particular node.
  • To link to a node in the same mindmap, the address should contain #NodeID. NodeID is got by rightclicking and selectingCopy node ID. It can be pasted with Ctrl + V in the fiield for the link address.
  • To remove the address and the text of an underlined hyperlink, delete all underlined text of the hyperlink. To delete only the address, leaving the text:
  • put the cursor inside the underlined text (do not select the text)
  • Choose Edit > Add or modify hyperlink (type)..
  • Delete the address in the dialog that opens.

Hyperlink to menu item

You can also connect the menu item to a node, so that clicking the node will activate the menu item. To connect a node directly to a menu item, right-click the node and chooseLink  > Add hyperlink to menu item...

To remove a hyperlink (arrow-link) or e-mail address, right-click the node and:

  • selectAdd or modify hyperlink (type)...or press Ctrl + K;and
  • delete the text in the text field ( the address)


If you want to activate a menu item, you have to to navigate to it and click the menu item. To be able to work faster, you can connect a short cut or F-key to the menu item. For this chooseTools > Assign shortcut. You can also save a named sets with short keys for different situations withTools > Hotkeys > Save presets. To install a previously saved set, just clickTools > Hotkeys and select a set from the list.

Link from outside to a particular node

To jump from another program or source mind map to a particular node in a target mindmap, the address field of the hyperlink should contain the path to the target mind map and the nodeID, seperated by #. If source and target mind map are in the same directory, the address can be defined  as, e.g.  as  This has the advantage that if the containing direcory is moved as a whole, the link keeps correct. In the other case the absolute path should be provided. To get the full pathname of a node, right-click the node and selectCopy node URI.Next you can paste the address with  Cntrl + V in the edit field for the link address. 


  • Jumping to a particular node only works for applications which pass the nodeID information. Of course Freeplane does this. Many other applications like MSWord do not pass the nodeID, hence you can only jump to the root node.( A work around in these cases might be to save the mind map in a folding state which shows the node you want to jum to.)

6 Formatting & styling

6.1 Properties

Properties panel

Freeplane has many possibilities to to set or change properties which apply to a whole node or all nodes. You can think of the basic color of a node, enclosing a node in a bubble, the size of the text, the width of the node core and much more. The most versatile method to edit properties is in theProperties panel. To open or close the Properties panel, right-click in an empty space of the background and selectProperties panel.


  • An alternative way to open or close the panel, chooseView > Properties panel.
  • An alternative way to change properties, use menuFormat.

Editing a property

TheProperties panel shows the properties of the node which has the focus. Only the properties of the selected node can be changed. (Generally you select one node, but with some properties it is possible to select and change more than one node at a time.) While the panel is showing, you can select a different node to give it the focus. To change a property, change the value of the property. This will also set a check indicating the changed value applies. Uncheck if you want to return to the default behaviour. Also uncheck if you want conditional styles affect (set) the property.

As a first example, find the properties group namedNode Shape and click onNode style. A menu drops down with options likeBubble,Fork  andAs parent. Try these options and see what happens. For the node you are reading now optionBubble was chosen. As you may notice, this option only applies to the core.

As a second example, find node groupEdges and check the box forEdge style. Clicking next toEdge style will drop down a menu with possible styles likeLinear,Smoothly curved,Hidden, and others. Try these to know which styles are possible. Or cselect me to see a few examples of changed properties in theProperties panel.





Automatic edge color

By default each new map in Freeplane will generate a different color for each new branch. This supports one of the principles held by the inventor of the mind map, which states that colors help the brain to structure and memorize information more easily. This property is called Automatic edge color. This property can be disabled in the Propertieds panel. To disable automatic edge color, open the Properties panel and find the properties groupNode style, at the top of theProperties  panel. Uncheck  Automatic edge color, like I did for the the mind map of this tutorial.

Automatic node numbering

TheProperties Panelcontains the property automaticnode numberingto give a node a number. You can set node numbering for a group of nodes by first selecting the group (keep Shift or Control pressed when you click nodes) and then checking this option in theProperties Panel.

Other properties

Scan the options of the panel. The properties in the groupNode Style  will be described in a moment. Most other properties are self-explaining. All properties are described in detail in the Freeplane documentation.

Menu Format

The properties in the properties panel are also available throughmenu Format. Menu Format contains some properties which cannot be set in the properties panel as well. Examples aremap background anblinking node (in Core).


DETAILS: This icon-button in the toolbar affects thee whole node text.



  • This icon-button in the toolbar affects the whole node text

Tool bar

Some of the properties in the Properties panel are also available asicons in thetool bar which is below the main menu bar. Examples areitalic andbold.


  • Bold and italic set  in theProperties panel, menuFormator with the toolbar, are applied (forced) to the whole node core.
  • To apply bold and italic to a part of the node core, use the method described above in nodeBeginner map.
  • Using both methods at the same time to the same node may give unexpected effects. For example, it is not possible to remove bold set with the first method by using the second method.

6.2 Styles

Why styles ?

Styles (classes) are a means to quickly  apply or change a group of visual properties or define a template text  for all related nodes at once. Styles can also be used to find, select or filter nodes which are associated with a particular type of content or structure. This Quick reference mind map is also made with styles, see nodeThe making of this mind map.

Find & apply a style

Freeplane comes with a number of system styles which you can extend with your own styles. The list of styles is displayed in the workmenu bar at the top of the screen in the field next to the cloud-icon.  You can apply a style to the selected node by clicking a style in the list. For the node you are reading now, styleTitlesContent was applied.


Styles are also accessable:

  • In thetoolbar
  • In menu Format > Apply style
  • In the Properties panel, in properties groupNode Style, in field Style.N.B. To open the Properties panel, right-click in an empty space in the background and select Properties panel.

Removing an applied style

Normally you select another style, e.g. style Default. When using e.g. Automatic Level Styles, you may have added a style to overrule the automatic style. In that case, useFormat > Apply style > Reset node styleto remove a manually set style.

Edit styles in node dialog

You can define a new style by selecting a node and choosing menuFormat > Manage style > New style from selection.You will be asked for a unique name for the style and the properties of the selected node will be copied to this style. Alternatively you can open a special style dialog with menu Format > Manage styles > Edit style.You can add a style by right-clicking one of the styles en selectingNew style from selection. Once you have defined a style you can modify the style in the special style dialog with the menus available and the properties panel


  • Read the Documentation

Apply multiple styles

Styles can indicate that a node contains specific information. As an example, the parent node "Äpply multiple styles" of the node you are reading  is made up of two styles: Advanced, and Example. Advanced makes the yellow color and Example adds the eye-icon. To implement this example, first define the two styles and then apply them as node conditional styles by opening the Properties paneland clicking belowNode conditional styles for node.Now a dialog opens and in this dialog:

  • clickNew
  • In the rule that opens, click onDefault to open the styles list. SelectAdvanced.
  • ClickNew again. Click default again and selectExample.
  • ClickOK.

After this you will see that your node has both styles applied.


Read more about styles in the Freeplane documentation !

Conditional styles

In the node above multiple styles are applied unconditionally. Styles can also be applied conditionally,  if a certain condition is true which is specified in a filter rule. In the following example a conditional style is used to signal if a node is modified after a particular revision date.

Example: Revisions

First a styleRevisionwas defined with a special revision R-icon (see the styles list). Then in the Properties panel  I clicked below Conditional map stylesto open its dialog. I pressedNew to add a filter. I clicked the new rule and defined a filter (Modified after, date). I selected this filter rule and pressedOK.  

If you are in the conditional styles dialog, you see the rule I defined to be unchecked. I did so because normally you do not want to see the R-icons. Check one of the rules and you will see some revision R-icons appear. To see all revions you have to unfold the nodes.


Read more about conditional node styles and conditional map styles in the Freeplane documentation.

Hierarchical level styles

One possible application of conditional node styles is to give each node level a different appearance automatically. Say you need five node levels. Then you define 5 styles, one for each level. Next you define 5 conditional style rules. To make it easy Freeplane has predefined this case for you. InProperties panel you can check Apply level stylesin the properties group Node Style. If checked each node level will get a different appearance automatically. The style for the root node is called style Title. The styles for the other levels are called Header 1, Header 2, Header 3 and Header 4.

If you do not like the styles used for the levels, you can modify them as follows:

  • Select menuStyles > Edit style
  • Select the node level you want (Root, Level 1, Level 2, Level 3 Level 4 Level 5 Level 6)
  • Change its format

If you want more than 5 different level styles, simply add them in Styles > Edit style behind Apply level styles.

If you want to apply less than 5 level styles, remove styles in Styles > Edit style behind Apply level styles.


You may find more information in the Freeplane documentation.

Map style

When making a new map, Freeplane takes so-called map style information from a map called In this way all kind of standard settings are the same every time you start a new map. To start a map with your own preferred settings, you could modify This map lives inTools > Open user directory > templates.A preferred alternative way is to open your new map explicitly from a different mind map. For this, useFiles > Open map from style.

6.3 Templates

A node style may contain template like information in the form of predefined text in Details field and in the fields for attributes,  Yyou can copy this so called style related information by hand, select:  Edit  > Node extensions > Copy extensions from style node.

The steps to define a template:

  • define a new style, e.g. MyTemplate
  • open the editor for styles in menuFormat > Manage styles > Edit styles
  • edit details of MyTemplate: (Edit > Extensions > ..details)
  • add attributes to MyTemplate (Edit > Extensions > ... attribute)
  • close the styles dialog (save the edited style)
  • open a new node
  • apply the new style MyTemplate ( Edit  > Node extensions > Copy extensions from style node)

The new node should have the text and attributes entered in MyStyle.

My Example

DETAILS: Template information

  • Name:
  • Address:

6.4 Other

Pasting unformatted text from your browser

Normally if you paste text from your browser, the formatting will be pasted too. If you install a small program you can paste text without formatting, see .

Fixed node width

If you want to line up nodes, or simply want a different or fixed width:

  • Format > Set node width limits; or see
  • Properties panel


The node you are reading now has minimum = maximum = 300 pixels

Copying format (node core)

The node core has a global  formatting function which applies to the whole node core. This global core format can be copietd withEdit Node core > Copy formatand pasted in another node core withEdit > Node core > Paste.

Paste options

If you select menuEdit > Paste different paste options will be shown, like pasting text without format (plain text).


  • If you copy text from the internet, the regular paste will also paste  the formatting (color, size etc.). The plain text option let you copy plain text only.
  • If you use this option frequently, consider to define a hot key for it, seeTools > Add hot key.

7 Publishing & sharing


Print your map with the methods for this in menu File.

In case of larger files it may be practical not to print in the standard map layout but in an Outline layout. UseView >Outline view to set Freeplane in outline mode.


When giving a presentation a map may be greyed except for the nodes having the focus. For this selectView > Presentation mode.The nodes can be visisted one by one by pressingCtrl +Shift + Space orShift + clicking folding circle.


You can share mind maps with other users of Freeplane by interchanging the file. Note that images are not part of a mindmap and therefore must be interchanged seperately. Make sure that at the new location the images are at the same relative location (subdirectory) they were when you developed your mind map. The best way to do this is to develop your and the images in one (sub)directory. You can then zip this whole directory and unpack it at the other computer.

Publish on the internet (Java Applet)

AJava Applet is a small program which allows you to display a mind map without Freeplane being installed on your computer.

To publish your mind map on Internet using a Java Applet, export your mindmap withFile > Export and choose for the file formatJava Applet. After the export you will have a fileyourmap.html and a directoryyourmap.Html_files.  If you use images in your map, make sure when developing these images are in the same directory where resides. After the export, copy the images to yourmap.html_files. You can now move both yourmap.html and directory yourmap.Html_files to the internet server and start the mindmap by calling yourmap.html. Your mind map will open in a browser for reading, but cannot be modified. You can use the same method to share your map with other user's  who don't have Freeplane installed. Move the file and the directory to their computer in stead of to the Internet server.


  • .svg images cannot be published in a Java applet.
  • See the Freeplane documentation for more options. Seethis page to publish a map on the Freeplane wiki.
  • See this example how multiple maps can be published in one Java applet.
  • It is possible to set inTools > Preferences that the folding state must be saved, such that the map opens each time with the same folding.
  • Freeplane developers can also publish on Documents published here, can be opened without Java Applet if they are linked through the map opened byHelp > Documentation Maps Online. In that case .svg images can be published.

Publish on the Internet (needs Freeplane)

You can also publish a mind map directly on the Internet or Intranet. In that case Freeplane is needed to view the map. Use File > Open map from open the map and enter the full URL-address of the map.


  • In MS Windows, right click the link of the mind map and choose copy hyperlink. Next paste this address in the URL above
  • is a directory containing mind maps which can be opened without Java Applet, if the linkHelp > Documentation Maps Onlineis followed. In that case svg images are displayed too.

Interchange with a text editor

The Freeplane documentation desbribes ways how to interchange with texteditors, keeping some of the formatting code.

Applications index

DETAILS: Click the link to open a mind map with the main applications of Freeplane. An Internet connection is needed to follow the links in the index. 


  • To return from the index map to this map: selectNavigate >Go to previous map(icon in tool bar)

8 Node extensions

Edit text in node details

DETAILS: The node you see now consistst of anode core with the title  "Edit text in node details".The text below the node core is callednode details. This field contains the text you are reading now.  A discriminatig characteristic of this area is that it can be hidden or shown based on a user's need. One way to hide or show this area is to press the small triangle next to the text (try it !).

To create a node like the present one, first create a node as you learned before. Then type the title in the core as you know too. Finally open a dialog window by right-clicking the node and choose Edit details in dialog. Now type the text you want to appear under the title and press OK. Your node will now appear just like the one you are reading,


  • Node details can also be entered with an inline-editor. To open the inline editor, rightclick the node and choose selectEdit node details in-line. To reopen existing node details text for editing in this way, Ctrl + left-click the text. (Double clicking also opens  the editor.) This inline editor behaves the same way as described for the node title text. It has the same context menu.
  • All methods available in context menu's are also accessable through the main menu. For example, the in-line editor is also accessible throughEdit > Node extensions > Edit node details in-line

Show text in tool tip (hover text)

Node content can be hidden permanently, only showing when you are  hovering with the cursor over the node. This has the advantage that the space taken by the node keeps at a minimum.

To prepare a node for hovering, right-click the node and choose  Minimize nodeto hide all information except the first part of the node core text. To restore the non-hidden state, click Minimize node again.


  • Besides hiding node details it will also limit the length of the core text. So if you have a long title, it will be shortened. And it can also hide features like images, attributes and notes which are described below.
  • SeeImage below for the deviant behavour of an image in details.

Hidden details

DETAILS: Hidden details can also be made visible byhovering with the cursor over a node's core. This is specially useful when node details are set to be hidden permanently. In that case there is no triangle to make it display. A small circle at hte parent side of the node indicates if a node contains this type of hidden text, also called a tool tip. The node below is an example. Hover with the cursor over it to display its content. (Try it !)

Image (node extension)

Images are not part of a Freeplane map but can be displayed in a Freeplane map. It makes a difference if the image source is stored on your computer or not. and which method you use to add the image: drag & drop or copy & paste. Note that the image inNode core differs from the image desribed here (node extension).

Internal source

To add an image to a particular node, drag and drop the image on the upper part of the node. If you drop it on the child side of the node, the image is added to an automatically created new child. In both cases the image can be resized by dragging its lower-right corner.

Alternatives for adding an image are:

  • Right-click a node and selectAdd image...; or
  • SelectEdit > Node features > Add image..


  • Even if the image is displayed in a node, it is not part of the mind map. Every time the mind map opens, the image is read from its original location. As a result, if you move or rename the source image, it is no longer visible in the map.
  • The image is hidden when View >Minimize node is set An image which is hidden this way does not show when hovering (in the tool tip)!
  • You cannot move the position of the image within the node. There is more to learn about (other types of)  images and about publishing and sharing mind maps with images in the Freeplane documentation.
  • If you use copy and paste in stead of drag and drop, not the image but a hyperlink to the image is added - to the node core.
  • The image is a node featture and is displayed below the node core. The node core itself can also have an image. This image cannot be resized.
  • Take care that the image is not in a tempory file. For example, I you want to use an image from an e-mail program like Thunderbird, first copy the image to a non-temporary directory.

External source

An image from an external source like Internet can be added by copy and paste. Likewise, an image  made with PrintScreen, can be added by pasting it. In both cases the image is added to a newly created child node of the node selected when you pressed paste. The pasted image can be resized by dragging its lower-right corner.


The pasted image is not part of the mindmap itself.

  • In case of the source is on the Internet, there must be an Internet connection to see the image. To keep the image, first copy it to your computer.
  • If you paste an image copied with print screen, Freeplane asks where you want to save this image first.
  • If you paste or drop an image from a program which keeps the image in a tempory file (e.g. Thunderbird), the image may show at first but disappear laler. First copy the image to a fixed directory.  
  • If you select and paste more than one image at a time, only the hyperlinks are pasted.

In-line image

Professional users can add images within text with so-called HTML-code. There is also a script for this. See the Freeplane documentation.

change image


Attributes (node extension)

Attributes in node extensions

DETAILS: Node details can contain structured information, in which each unit of information has a name and a value. This couple, name=value, is also called an attribute. Attributes are displayed in Details as a table with two columns.

How to add attributes to node details ?

DETAILS: To create the above example, right-click a node and select Edit attribute in-line. Entername  in the left field andJohn. in the right one. To add the second attribute, right-click on the name or the value to open the attribute's context menu and selectNew attribute.

When you followed the example, you will find that the width of the displayed attributes does not fit the length of the text. You can solve this in two ways. First you can right-click the attribute and selectOptimal width. Second you could experiment with moving  the slim bar just above the table.


Alternative ways to add a node and to apply other attribute methods, see:

  • Properties panel > Calendar & Attributes
  • Edit > Node extensions
Value options

DETAILS: Besides entering text as an attribute value, you can add hyperlinks. Right-click on an attribute value to see the options. The differences between types of hyperlinks were described in node Hyperlinking.  ThroughProperties Panel > Calendar and Attributes you can also add formatted dates and numbers. Click on the field just above the attribute to get a drop down menu with formatting options. Read more about formatting in the Freeplane documentation.

Professional editing of attrtibutes

DETAILS: There are several options to change e.g. the names of the attributes and/or values of all nodes.Edit > Node extensions  > Attributes for all available methods and the Freeplane documentation for their description.

Hyperlink (arrow) in attribute

DETAILS: It will be described below that hyperlinks can be added to attribute values through the context menu of the attribute value.

Scientific formula (LaTeX)

If you want to display a scientific formula in a node, this is possible. UseEdit >  Node core > Edit LaTeXto do so.


Read more in the Freeplane documentation.

9 Notes of nodes

Notes are a special kind of node details, the main difference being:

  • By defaultnotes are presented as hover text. In menuView > Note > Display notes in map  it can be set that all (!) notes will be displayed.
  • Note text can be displayed screen wide and in  a window that stays open when moving from node to node. Consult the Freeplane documentation for more information.
  • Notes have a note-icon.


InTools > Preferences the note icon can be set  not to display (for all notes !) for the curent map. Exception: On Intenet (Java applet) the icons keep showing.

10 Date & time actions

Time management

DETAILS: The Time manager allows you to set dates, times (reminders) and tasks (reminder texts) in the core of selected nodes. A clock icon signals that a reminder is set.  This icon appears both in the node and its predecessors, except nodes which are within a Summary node group. A flashing clock icon signals that a reminder time has been reached.

There are two locations where these functions can be set or edited.

  • Tools > Time management ,with submenu's for Managing timeand for managing tasks
  • Properties panel > Calendar and Attributes, NOT for managing task

Manage time...

Opens a dialog to set or change a date (text) or a reminder which has been attached to the selected node. The node and its predecessors show a clock icon. This icon flashes at the reminder time. Also a red exclamation mark flashes in the root node.


  • Properties Panel > Calendar & Attributes for an alternative dialog

Set year, month and day

Insert date in selection

Remind me at this date

Remind later

Remove reminder (time)

Manage tasks

Opens a window which displays the reminders of all nodes. For each reminder are displayed:

  • date
  • Title
  • icons
  • time created
  • time last modified
  • Note

The entries can be searched, and changed with search and replace.

Remove reminder

Remove the reminder of the selected node. For alternatives:

See also

  • Tools > Time manager...
  • Properties Panel > Calendar & Attributes

DETAILS: This node contains a reminder

11 Filtering & finding nodes

Why filtering ?

Filtering is a means to only display nodes which you want to be visible. The same filter rules can be used to search or find information. The same filter rules are also used in conditional styles.

Basics of finding and filtering

Before you can find or filter you have to define a rule which determines what you want to find or filter for. You can do this with the Filter toolbar. This toolbar is the horizontal row of icons and entry fields, just above the work area of the map. The find/filter rule consists of:

  • Nodecomponent (Core text, Details, Icon, etc.). It is possible to use almost any type of node component in finding and filtering.
  • Type of rule: componentexists, contains, =, > etc.
  • Value of component
  • If value is text, relevancy ofcaseand Approximate search(fuzzy search)

If you have set/entered these elements, you can click iconQuick filter  to do the filtering.  (See to the left which is icon Quick filter). Or you can click iconFind to just find one instance at a time.

The result of Quick filter may be modified by setting one or more so called filter options, see below. To exit filtering, click iconNo filtering. (When using Find, it is not necessary to stop this action.)

The Freeplane documentation contains a full description and examples.


You can use a filter rule also tofind nodes one by one.

Quick filter

DETAILS: Perform filter action.

Find last modified nodes

DETAILS: To filter for all nodes modified after a certain date, set a filter rule (Date filter, Modified after, date, xxx) andQuick filter for all modified nodes.

See also

  • menu Edit > Find and replace... for an alternative way.

No filtering

DETAILS: Stop filter action

Find next

DETAILS: Find text or other criteria in the selected node and all its descendant nodes. And if not found, search further in other branches. This is called depth first search.


  • The found node is selected.
  • If the found node is folded, it is unfolded.
  • If the found node is outside the screen, the mind map is shifted to bring it in the visible are of the screen.

Filter methods

DETAILS: To the left are shown the icons of the buttons in the Filter toolbar, with their meaning.  

Undo filter

DETAILS: Reverses the effect of the previously-used filtering command.

Redo filter

DETAILS: Re-applies the previously-used filtering command, after Filter > Undo has been used.

Reapply filter

DETAILS: Updates the effect of filtering after changes have been made to the map.

Quick filter

DETAILS: Hides all visible nodes which do not fit the filter rules and options. Icon keeps unset..

See also

  • No Filter to finish filtering.


  • Nodes hidden before the filter was applied, keep hidden.
  • All nodes left visible move towards each other along the their edges.

Find last modified nodes

DETAILS: To filter for all nodes modified after a certain date, set a filter rule (Date filter, Modified after, date, xxx) andQuick filter for all modified nodes.

See also

  • Edit > Find and replace... for an alternative way.

Filter selected nodes

DETAILS: Display only the currently-selected node(s) and, optionally, their ancestors and/or descendants.

See also 

  • Filter > Show Ancestors
  • Filter > Show Descendants

Select all matching

DETAILS: Filter and select all matching descendants (visible and invisible) of the node in focus and show and select also the nodes in between.

No filtering

DETAILS: Removes the effect of any filters which were applied; this is the default. Un-sets icon.

Compose filter

DETAILS: Opens the Filter Composer dialog to create and edit filter rules / manage filters.

The first row contains three entries to define a filter rule, filled with (Node text, Contains, empty filed). and a check box for indicating if the Case of letters is relevant (Match case). The box below these editable fields contains the list of predefined rules. Initially it is empty. Two or more of these rules can be combined to form a more complex rule with AND and OR operators using the buttons to the right. A rule can be named with buttond Set Name.


  • select or enter the conditions of the filter rule, e.g. (Node text, Contains, filter); Match Case unchecked.
  • pressAddto add it to the list of rules.
  • repeat for all rules you need.
  • press OK


  • To combine two or more rules with AND or OR operators, select the rules and press AND resp. OR
  • To connect a rule to a label, select the rule and press Set Name.

See also

  • Styles > Conditional Map styles for example use ofFilter Composer
  • Styles > Conditional Node styles

Filter actions

Applies to filtered nodes (refine)

DETAILS: Toggle Apply to filtered (visible) nodes, i.e. add an additional filter condition, to further narrow the results.

Unfold hidden nodes

DETAILS: Expand all nodes in a map that match the filter. This is not a toggle switch: once the nodes are expanded, they can only be collapsed using other commands (such as Filter > Undo, which may be used immediately after this command).

See also 

  • Navigate > Toggle Folded
  • Navigate > Fold All
  • Navigate > Fold One Level.

Show ancestors

DETAILS: Toggles Display all ancestor nodes of nodes which match the filter when filtering is in effect (Applies to Filtered Nodes is set)


  • Can be set before or afterQuick filter

Show descendants

DETAILS: Togles Display all descendant nodes of nodes which match the filter when filtering is in effect (Applies to Filtered Nodes is set)


  • Can be set before or afterQuick filter has been issued.

Filter conditions / states

Find previous

DETAILS: Find text or other criteria in the selected node. The searching direction is opposite to Find Next.


  • The found node is selected.
  • If the found node is folded, it is unfolded.
  • If the found node is outside the screen, the mind map is shifted to bring it in the visible are of the screen.

Find next

DETAILS: Find text or other criteria in the selected node and all its descendant nodes. And if not found, search further in other branches. This is called depth first search.


  • The found node is selected.
  • If the found node is folded, it is unfolded.
  • If the found node is outside the screen, the mind map is shirgted to bring it in the visible are of the screen.

Finding / searching

Using filter sets

Filters can be defined and kept for reuse on a later moment. Openmenu Filter > Filtercomposerand define the filterrules you need. In doing so, you can also combine simple rules with AND and OR operators into more complex rules. And once you have defined a rule you can give it a label. After you have created all the rules you need, you can save the whole set. The set can than be shared with other people who can load it into the Filter composer.

The rules you defined with Filter composer are available in the filter menu bar. To activate a rule, click next to the field showing"No filtering (remove)" which drops down a list of all available rules. Click the rule you want and it will be executed. When you are finished, select"No filtering (remove)" again or click the icon-buttonNo filter.

Loading and using filter set for this Quick reference

Consider using a powerfull feature of Freeplane, filtering, to present to you only the information of
one of these 3 levels (Beginner, Advanced, Professional) at a time.

The procedure for filtering is described below. If you click on the red arrow in my parent node, the instruction is illustrated in an animation.

Load filter set for this Quick reference

DETAILS: As an example of using filter sets, the Freeplane directory has a subdirectorydoc with a file calledfreeplaneTutorial.mmfilter. ChooseFiter > Filter composer > Load and find and load this file.

After this you can use the filters as described in the following nodes.

Select filter and Quickfilter

DETAILS: To see only the information at the first level of experience (Beginner):

  • Click in field with"No filtering (remove)": a list with filters drops down.
  • Select ane of the shown rules e.g. Beginner
  • ClickQuick filter as shown in the image.

P.S. Make sure Show ancestors is UNselected.

Unfold to make visible

DETAILS: You can now click on each item to unhide its content. Or you can unhide all hidden information at once by doing the following:

  • Move the cursor over the central area (root node) to select it
  • Click on the iconUnfold allto see all selected nodes

View and finish


  • Click in an empty area of the background and drag the map around until hou have read all.
  • Do not forget to press iconNo filtering when you are finished.

You can now follow the same procedure for Beginner, Advanced and Professional.

12 Protecting map or nodes

Protecting child nodes with a password

It is possible to protect your whole map, or a part of the map, with a password. If you define a password for a node, then all descendants of the node will keep hidden until the right password has been entered. Within the same map you can apply different passwords for different nodes and create layers of protection. To define a password for the children of the selected node, right-click the node and selectPassword protection.  


  • See alsoTools > Password protection.
  • Password protection is implemented with DES type encryption. You can read more about protection (encryption) in the Freeplane documentation.

New protected map

If you define a new map, you can directly protect is with a password. To do this in one action, chooseFile > New protected map.This function can be combined with password proction of nodes, to create security layers.

13 Fine tuning Freeplane

Freeplane has a lot of tuning options. Most used options are available in menuViewand the others are available in Tools > Preferences. Besides you can write your own scripts to automate things. The Freeplane documentation describes them all.

All nodes a bubble, particular edge,..


A new node gets stand styleDefault. This style can be edited:Format > Manage styles > Edit styles.If you set "bubble" here, all new nodes get a bubble. in Tools > Open user directory > Templates serves as a map template for each new mind map. Consider adapting the style "default" of this template map to your personal favourites, e.g.

  • Change arrow-links into hyperlinks: in properties panel of Style "default", set Hyperlink to checked.
  • Set a bigger or smaller font for style Default (and the other styles.
  • Set the default style to have a bubble,
  • etc.

Standard settings in View

In menuView you can set characteristics for node core, like width, selection border, border marking for formulas and the background color of revisions. You can set if and how node details should be displayed, with or without tool tip (hover text) and modification times.  You can set if and which attributes are displayed. Also you can set if and how notes are displayed and with which type of window. Finally it is possible to set some characteristics of icons. Open menuView and select all options one by one to know which options are available. In the preferences much more can be set.


  • Viewing settings contains options for printing (outline view) and presentation (Presentation mode).

Scientific suite (Docear)

Docear is an "academic literature suite". It provides to researchers what an office suite provides to office workers. By that we mean, Docear supports you in doing all the tasks related to literature management:


   1. Finding new literature (searching and exploring)

   2. Organizing literature (reading, annotating, and retrieving)

   3. Creating your own literature (drafting, writing, referencing, and publishing)


Docear is the successor of SciPlore MindMapping and funded by the European Union and German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology.

Click the red arrow

Standard settings in Preferences

Environment preferences

DETAILS: The environment preferences let you set the following:

  • one instance or more instances of Freeplane can be running at the same time;
  • protection (experimental file locking) is allowed [ it is no longer experimental !];
  • options for opening and automatic saving of files;
  • if the folding state must be kept when saving a file, to open it with the same folding;
  • the deault character set;
  • if hyperlinks must take relative or absolute addresses
  • and other

Appearance preferences

DETAILS: The preferences for appearances let you set:

  • the standard properties used
  • height and width of nodes, tool tips etc.
  • icons showing or not showing
Keystrokes preferences

DETAILS: The keystrokes preferences let you set hot keys used for predefined icons.

Behaviour preferences

DETAILS: The preferences for Behaviour let you set a.o.:

  • if automatic selection should be used, delay time
  • the characteristics of hovering (tool tip)
  • if the in-line editor should be displayed for all new nodes
  • if edit needs double click
  • if a key press overwrites text, adds a child, adds sibling or has no effect
  • the position of new branches (first, last)
  • the enabling/disabeling of drag and drop
  • the speed of mouse wheel
  • the size of the grid used to position nodes
  • the kind of data parsing and formatting used
  • if confirmation is used with node deletion
  • if text should be treated as numbers in comparisons
  • spell checker options like case sensitivity

HTML preferences

DETAILS: Browswer settings and settings for HTML export/import.


DETAILS: Settings for using formula's and scripts.

Vertical space between nodes

The vertical spacing between nodes can be set for all nodes of a branch, existing and new ones. Keep Ctrl pressed, select a nodes handle (oval)  and move the cursor up/down to change the vertical space for all nodes.


To reset the original posisitons, select a node and Edit > Set default node positions.

Using and writing scripts

Freeplane has a very powerful scripting possibility based on Groovy. In this way you can provide for specialised functions which might be lacking.

There is a base of predefined scrips which are published on the Freeplane wiki. In this way you need not be a programmer to use scripts. Read more in the Freeplane documentation,  visit the the wiki on add-ons and thewiki add-on scrips .

Indexing .mm in Windows7

If you use Windows 7 you can make it indexing .mm files. Do as follows:

  • Go to Control Panel -> indexing options; or type in Help  ""indexing"
  • Choose "Professional". This gives you a page with two tabs -- "Index Settings" and "File Types"
  • Choose the "File Types" tab
  • Scroll through the list of files there till you come to ".mm"
  • The filter description will say "File Properties Filter"
  • Click the second radio button beneath, which says "Index Properties and File contents. The filter description should now change to "Plain text filter"
  • Choose OK to leave the dialog. The indexing will restart and when it is finished, the index is available.


  • In the standard mode only node properties are indexed, not content. The above procedure also adds the content to the filtering mechanism

Spell check dictionaries

Spell check is pre-installed for English. For other languages, click the hyperlink. Download language_XX.ortho, in which XX is a two lettercode fo the language. Save this file in Tools > Open user directory > recources/ortho

Standard short cuts

Freeplane has standard short cuts for most actions which can help speed up processing of your mind map. These short cuts are visible to the right of the menu items when you open the menu's in the main menu bar. There is also an automatically generated overview in menu Help. It is also possible to define your own short cut sets, for example for F-keys. SeeHelp > Documentation.


Click the red arrow to read more about extensions on the Interenet.

Checkhere if there exists a language pack add-on for your language.


DETAILS: Frequently Asked Questions

14 Best practices

Clickhere to go to the Wiki

The making of this mind map

1 Main title with number

DETAILS: Node with

  • style Begin, Advanced or Professional
  • automatic node number
  • fixed min node width = 180


DETAILS: Short label indicating content

Content associated with title


  • style TitlesContent
  • generally moved below Title with hidden edge

Signals for Example or Revision


  • style Example added as conditional node stye (applies to single node)
  • style Revision added as conditional map style (applies to all nodes)

User defined Styles


DETAILS: Bold text


Node backround color green


DETAILS: Bold text


Node backround color yellow


DETAILS: Bold text


Node backround color orange/brown


DETAILS: No bubble

Hidden edge


DETAILS: eye-icon




DETAILS: Template information

  • Name:
  • Address:

Map with all Freeplane Functions (index)


  • Free node
  • Cloud
  • External link

Map with example applications (index)


  • Free node
  • Cloud
  • External link

Display revisions

Multiple views of one map

Working on large maps may be difficult if you need to work at two different node locations of the map. For this you can open two views of the same map and work in both views if they were the same map. Choose View > New map view for this. Switch between views by selecting the respective tabs. You cannot see both views at once. For this you could open a second version of Freeplane. However, in that case they are treated as different maps.

Restore from local history

To restore from local history select  MenuFile > Restore from local history.

Batch jobs

All functions in Freeplane are open for use as batch job, in a command line interface. With this you can for example:

  •  run a function on start up
  • execute a script an leave