XMind is approved for academic use.

What is XMind?

XMind is a brainstorming and visualizing tool that can be used to generate visual diagrams and mind maps.

What is the purpose of XMind?

Mind mapping software helps students describe the relationships between things.

Why use XMind?

The primary value of XMind is in helping students outline or visualize the relationships between concepts and processes. It is best used early on in a process, often formatively, to see that students understand before they generate a major product that requires substantial work. As assessments, mind maps are efficient for the instructor to mark, if the goal is to grade the student’s ability to organize or understand concepts and processes.

Learning Technology Ecosystem (LTE) Principles

XMind most directly addresses these LTE goals:

Designed for reflection and growth Learning is refined and extended through prompted and supported opportunities to focus on understanding and next steps.  

Designed for students who are remixing or creating - Learning is most effective when systems are designed to help learners find, create, and/or repurpose significant content for the value of themselves and others. 


Best Practices



The version of XMind that is the USask Software center can be used to:

Although many mind mapping tools do have these functions and they are helpful, you cannot use the version of XMind (free, not pro) that can be download from the software center to: 

 Create visual links between ideas, change colors or shapes, and describing relationships.

 Have groups of students brainstorm together.

 Embed images and links.

 Embed audio or equations.

 Export as PDF.

 Connect with Microsoft Office.

 Generate a variety visual maps that require special icons to denote specific processes, like flow charts.

 Creating an account is required to share to social media.

  Use on mobile device.


Read about which features are available in trial mode and which ones require sign in and payment. If you use it often in a day, you will be prompted to pay and your map will be watermarked. 

Support for XMind

Technical Support

(Why isn't this working?)

  Vendor Supported

  • Technical self-support is available through the XMind support center.  Look for XMind 2020 information, not XMind B. 

Training Support

 (How do I learn to use this tool?) 

Vendor Supported


  • Basic “how to” information is found on the XMind site
  • The version in the software center is version 2020, and is not the pro version, so read carefully about versions when looking for help.

Teaching Support

 (How do I teach with this tool?)

Gwenna Moss Centre for Teaching and Learning Supported

Tool Evaluation

Technologies are evaluated based on their alignment with the Learning Technologies Ecosystem Principles.  Click to see explanations of each principle and a justification of the rating. You can also view a complete blank rubric to see more details or read about the assessment process.

*Ratings for XMind are based on the basic version currently supported.

Learning must be found easily at any time, and all learners and teachers have equitable access, regardless of culture, language, ability etc. 
More Information

Rating: Serious concerns

  • Accessibility standards:
    • Accessibility is limited by modern standards.

  • Cost of use for USask students:
    • Some aspects of the tool can be used in this free version. Accounts and payment are required for full use without watermarks. 

  • Platform/device:
    • Version is mobile friendly.

  • Offline Access:
    • XMind 2020 requires download and can be used offline. 

Learning is a process of meaning-making, constructed through learning with others, and as a part of an intentional, deliberate system within a course and across experiences.
More Information

Rating: Serious concerns

  • Collaboration:
    • Collaboration is not possible in the trial version except by sharing a file with someone else who has XMind who can open and then edit, or by sharing a PDF.

  • Sharing:
    • The trial version allows sharing as a proprietary file type or PDFs. Social media sharing, embedding in word, and other sharing functions are blocked without an account and payment.

Learning is refined and extended through prompted and supported opportunities to focus on understanding and next steps.
More Information

Rating: Moderate concerns

  • Reflection and revision:
    • Mind mapping and diagramming are reflective, but the tool does not support versioning or annotating. Commenting is a function and works well.  

Learning is most effective when systems are designed to help learners find, create, and/or repurpose significant content for the value of themselves and others.
More Information

Rating: Serious concerns

  • Creating:
    • XMind is designed for generating a wide variety of visualization but some themes and types of diagrams are less available in the trial version.

  • File format:
    • Generally, free XMind is designed to make exporting file formats challenging. 

Learners create and control spaces for learning, understanding and retaining ownership, and purposefully choosing how and when they share.
More Information

Rating: Serious concerns

  • Archiving, saving, and exporting data:
    • There are limitations to archiving, saving, or importing/exporting content or activity data. Not all content can be easily archived or exported.

  • Data privacy and ownership:
    • Users maintain ownership and copyright of their intellectual property/data until they try to export to social media, which requires upload to the XMind service library. Full use allows private and public sharing, but requires a log in.

  • Sign Up/Sign In:
    • XMind does not require the creation of an external account, additional login or integration is required if downloaded,as the trial version is the only version available from the USask software center.

  • Customization:
    • XMind is very limited in the free version, and customization is limited to functions like basic colors, shapes and fonts. 

Learners need to work in a system that is fluid and requires a minimum number of steps in systems that are intuitive and integrated.
More Information

Rating: Serious concerns

  • Interface:
    • The interface is older and functions accordingly but options are easily visible in the desktop version.

  • Functionality:
    • Core features of the main tool are missing in the available version and the app is not available.

Learners exist in accessible networks, and connect to the experiences, concepts, people, and ideas that they need.
More Information

Rating: Serious concerns

  • Scale:
    • XMind can only be used by one individual at a time based on the version available from the software center.

  • Flexibility of Media:
    • Limited file types are available in the free version. Users must pay more to access additional features.  

Learning and feedback are iterative, and assessment comes from multiple sources, including self, peers, teachers, and outside experts.
More Information

Rating: Moderate concerns

  • Feedback:
    • Mind maps are effective ways to give early feedback about students’ understanding of concepts and processes. Commenting features make this easy.