Create a mind map

This feature is available in NVivo Pro and Plus editions. Learn more


You can use mind maps to brainstorm your thoughts and explore ideas. Refer to About mind maps for more information.

What do you want to do?


Create a new mind map

  1. On the Explore tab, in the Maps group, click Mind Map.

The New Mind Map dialog box opens.

  1. In the Name box, enter a name for the mind map.

  2. (Optional) In the Description box, enter a description.

  3. Click OK. The main idea is displayed on the canvas.

  4. Type a label for the main idea and then press Enter. You can only have one main idea in each mind map.

  5. Select the main idea then on the Mind Map tab, in the Insert group, do any of the following:

  • To add a subordinate idea, click Child or press Insert.

  • To add an idea at the same level, click Sibling or press Enter.

  • To add an idea that is not connected to any other idea on the map, click Floating idea.
  1. Type a name for the new idea.


  • Select an idea then press F2 to edit its text label.

  • You can undock Detail View to work with the map in a separate window.

  • You can reorganize a hierarchy of ideas using cut and paste.

  • You can copy and paste ideas between mind maps.

  • You can use keyboard shortcuts to work with maps.

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Reorganize a hierarchy of ideas

You can reorganize a hierarchy of ideas. When you move an idea, all of its subordinate ideas move with it.

  1. Make sure you are in edit mode.

  2. Select the idea that you want to move and press CTRL+X. The idea and all of its subordinate ideas will be cut.

  3. Select the idea that will become the new parent and press CTRL+V.

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Create nodes from a mind map

  1. On the Mind Map tab, click Create As Nodes.

  2. Select the location to create nodes from your ideas.

  3. Click OK.

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Format ideas and change the layout

You can format idea shapes but you cannot format the connectors. Use the options on the Mind Map tab of the ribbon to set the shape fill color, border color and border width.

Mind maps have an automatic layout. You can click and drag shapes to position them on the canvas, but the layout will enforce allowable placements of the shapes. Any new ideas you add to the map are automatically arranged according to the applied layout.

Refer to Change the layout of shapes and connectors for more information on presenting your map layout.

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