macOS, Reviews

Review: MindManager 12 for the Mac, all grown up

MindManager for Mac has always been the lesser of the MindManager family. That’s been changed since Corel took over and the Mac version now is very close to the Windows version, with almost identical features, except the interchangeability with Microsoft Project and the lack of an Enterprise option.

Mindmapping goes back a long way and is based on the assumption that people’s minds are more prone to understanding and remembering something complex when they see shapes. It’s claimed that shapes direct attention and enable understanding in a way words never can. Regardless of whether that is correct, it’s true that the more shapes you have, the more flexible your mind map can be.

Which is why I was happily surprised to see that MindManager has been expanded with 12 new shapes to its object library, together with a lot of symbols, icons and other visuals clues.

MindManager’s power increase allows you to tackle more complex problems, like problems that are typically associated with enterprise marketing or business planning. However, it also makes it more complex to use. That means you can’t use MindManager to its fullest potential without going through its user guide as you used to, and I personally found the user guide a bit too skinny if you don’t have a clue about the included marketing planning diagrams, for example. There is, however, a large set of templates you can explore to figure out what each of them is for.

As soon as you start venturing off in domains that require something like project management, you’ll expect a lot of power beyond what previous versions offered, and MindManager 12 gives you just that. It also lets you group topics or process parts within shapes to distinguish areas of importance or combine customisable shapes and Smart Shapes to build new templates and diagram types.

MindManager’s SmartRules let you automatically trigger changes not only in topic look and feel but actual topic data. It helps to reduce repetitive tasks and to transform maps from simply representing your processes and workflows to driving and accelerating them. For example, you can write rules that change topic icons, tags, properties, progress and priority markers, all based on triggers you define.

You can apply these to individual objects or topics, branches or full diagrams and in this way automate content updates to task lists, project plans, flowcharts and more. It sort of turns MindManager in a process and project manager, more than a simple mind mapping tool.

Previous versions of MindManager came with an icon and shapes library that looked like it was a port of the Windows version. That is no longer the case. The expanded icon library has 500 new icons with the modern flat design we’ve become used to.

MindManager 12 has also been improved in the export department. HTML 5 is supported and the resulting file lets you zoom in on the diagram, open topics and more. The only thing you can’t do is change the data, icons or rules-based elements.

There is one thing that I couldn’t make out what it is for when exporting a diagram, and that is the MindJet Plus option that becomes available when you want to share a map. It seems this is a service that is no longer offered but still available for owners of previous versions. If that’s the case, I believe it should be mentioned in the user guide or removed from the menus altogether as it’s confusing.

Finally, MindManager 12 comes with Touch Bar and Dark Mode support and requires macOS 10.14 Mojave or greater, and you can now import existing XMind and FreeMind maps into MindManager, both features I didn’t/couldn’t try out.


I was surprised to find all these powerful Windows-only features available to us, Mac users, in MindManager 12. The app is not just a mind mapping tool anymore but more like a process, project and task management system that will help collect your thoughts easier and faster than previous versions.

MindManager 12 for the Mac has “professionalised”. It retails for €179 and is available per direct from MindJet’s website.