Mind-mapping is quite a divisive topic. You either love it or hate it, depending on how your brain works. After a frosty initial period, we've come to love it. It's a fast way to build up a plan of action and the most visual way to build projects from scratch. And once you're fluent with your program of choice, you can race ahead with links, action points and sharing of maps with other applications.

Better than the rest

On a Mac, there are many apps worth looking at, including MindJet's MindManager and The Brain. They all appear to do similar things but currently we think MINDMAP offers the most feature-rich, business-like and elegant of work areas and maps, thanks to this update. It also has the back-up support of the whole ConceptDraw Project suite to fall back on, with which you can export maps to other bits of the suite and quickly make GANT charts and the like.

In version 5, aside from Leopard compatibility, and a new clip art library, you get a completely reworked interface with improved visualisation tools, such as a quick zoom toggle, multiple pages views and much smoother lines and texts (MINDMAP's maps are ideal for collaborative projects they look so good). And the new Brainstorm feature is just brilliant.

Click open the features, set the stopwatch and then type everything that comes into your head, clicking return between points. Instantly, icons appear on the map for you to customise, drag into place or link attachments or communications to.

However, MINDMAP, like MindManager, does feel expensive. The upgrade path isn't cheap either at £30 for the Personal Edition and £60 for the Pro version (full price: £101). For once, though, the upgrade is worth it; it's better looking and looks are all when it comes to mind-mapping tools.