- Understanding nodes
- Node elements
- Types of nodes
- Node position
- Node view options
- Other resources
Nodes are the fundamental element of mind maps. Although nodes appear simple at first, they have many optional elements that can increase their functionality.
What appears to be the whole node at first is actually just the node core. If you create a new node and begin typing, the text is entered in the node core by default. Beginning users generally limit their use of nodes to the node core.
Additional information can be stored in nodes outside the core as node details, node notes, and node attributes.
The node core is the only part of the node that is always visible whenever the node itself is visible. The node core can itself contain several types of information: text (including numbers), icons, images, and links.
The text in the node core can be interpreted or parsed by Freeplane in different ways, which can be set in the Format Panel drop-down menu
To understand the implications of this setting, see (to be added).
Attributes can be defined for each node. They are displayed in a 2-column table
The actions related to Attributes can be listed in
Help->Command Search (Ctrl+F1) – search for
Once you have at least one attribute, you can right-click on the table to perform actions (New, Delete, Move up, Move down).
Alternatively, you can manage attributes in
View->Controls->Tool panel – tab
Unlike edges, connectors must be added manually, one by one.
To add a connector, select two nodes,
right-click for a context menu and select
Another way is to
Ctrl+Shift + drag one node onto another.
On some systems it's also possible to
right-click + drag one node onto another.
Connectors' properties can be edited.
right-click a connector (it's best to select one of the connected nodes first), the Connector dialog appears.
Here you can set formatting properties individually or select a Style (or both), set labels' text and remove the connector.
See also Connector styles below.
By default, a connector's shape is
The other options are
Linear path③ and
The last one does exactly that: simulates an edge between the nodes.
Freeplane achieves this by applying the formatting properties of the edge defined for the target node, ignoring the Connector-dialog properties.
The shape of
Linear path③ can be changed using curve-shaping of either end – just click on the line near a node (it's best to select the node first).
You will see handles appear.
By dragging your mouse up to ~50% of the distance between the nodes, the near handle is adjusted.
Going beyond ~50% or clicking near the middle adjusts both handles at once.
You'll often need to repeat your click-drag-release several times before you get the expected result, i.e. without affecting the far end.
Connector lines can be hidden:
Preferences…->Defaults->Connectors->Show connector lines
Alternatively, they can be displayed as the lowest level:
Preferences…->Defaults->Connectors->Paint connectors behind nodes
Like for clones, the right-click node menu item
Goto list the other ends of Connectors.
Both ends of a connector can be attached to the same node, looping back to itself.
To create such a connector,
right-click a single node and select
Connect (Ctrl+L) or use any of the other methods described above.
Line as the type, the connector appears one-ended.
Line is often used to draw an arrow going out of a node into empty space (as seen in Freeplane
Connectors use styles. The concept is the same as for nodes (see Styles), i.e. a bundle of connector formatting properties is saved as a connector style. Technically, a connector style is part of a node style. When a node style has a connector defined, like Default has, the style becomes also a connector style.
When a connector is added, a style is applied to it, which determines how the connector looks like.
By default, it's the Default style.
There's an option to apply a style based on the style defined on the source or the target node.
The option can be enabled in
Preferences (Ctrl+COMMA) -> Defaults -> Connectors -> Assigns node dependant styles to new connectors.
The logic is the following:
if the source node has a style applied which has a connector defined, the style is applied to the connector;
otherwise, the target node is checked for the same.
The style of a connector can be switched in the Connector dialog.
To open it,
right-click on a connector.
It's best to select a connected node first, to indicate which connector the dialog should open for.
In addition to standard nodes, there are some special types of nodes:
- the root node
- free nodes
Every mind map begins with a central node called the root node. Node levels are defined based on their distance from the root node.
Free nodes are nodes that appear separate from the map hierarchy.
They are "free" because they can be freely positioned around the map.
They are not automatically positioned like other nodes and they generally do not affect other nodes when they are changed or moved.
Any node can be freed by enabling
Edit->Free positioned node (set/reset).
A special type of free node is a Floating node.
It can be added by
Ctrl+double-click on the map background, or by
Insert->New node->New floating node.
Note: although Floating nodes are positioned independently, technically, they are first-level nodes that are invisibly connected to the root node.
You can add children, parents, or siblings to free floating nodes, but you may get unexpected behaviors.
Technically, a Floating node is simply a node with three features:
- they are given the style
Floating node, which connects to other nodes with invisible edges
- they have the toggle at menu item
Edit->Position node independentlyset to "on"
- their oval positioning handle is filled and blue rather than unfilled and red
Other nodes can also be given the style
Floating node and can be set to be positioned independently:
Edit->Free positioned node (set/reset).
Summary nodes have brackets that suggest that their content summarizes a group of sibling nodes. Technically, summary nodes are specially marked sibling nodes of the summarized nodes. Summary nodes can include other summary nodes within their brackets, creating the impression of a "reverse" map with branches joining rather than splitting.
Summary node brackets can be customized the usual way, by changing the edge formatting properties: width, line type, color. The only exception is its shape (aka edge style) that isn't customizable.