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Why can't I open this mind map?

If you are having trouble opening one of the mind maps that you have downloaded from the mind map library at Biggerplate, then there are a couple of important things to know:

You need some mind mapping software installed on your computer

The mind maps on Biggerplate are not just picture files (like a JPEG of PNG), they are actually mind mapping software files, and this means you will need mind mapping software (or an app) installed on your computer or device, in order to open and use the mind maps.
Imagine if I send you a Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet as an attachment in an email. Unless you have Microsoft Excel software installed on your computer, you won't be able to open and work with the spreadsheet I sent you. The same principle applies with the mind maps on Biggerplate: if you don't have mind mapping software installed on your computer, you won't be able to open the mind map files. Programs like Adobe, Microsoft Word, Photoshop etc are not designed to handle mind map files, so they will not work either.

Be aware of the different mind map formats

Unfortunately, there is not (yet) a universal mind map file type. What this means is that mind maps created using one piece of mind mapping software, may not be compatible with the mind map software that you have installed, and therefore the mind map you downloaded from Biggerplate may not actually open with the software that you have.

[Related article: Which file types work with my mind mapping software?]

For example: If you download an iMindMap file from Biggerplate, and try to open it using MindManager, it simply won't work. But... if you download a MindManager file and try to open it using iMindMap... it will work! Confusing right?

Unfortunately, this is not something that we (Biggerplate) have any control over, but the situation is improving, and we are also trying to provide better help for people about which file formats are compatible with which mind map software. To help you know which map types works with what software, we've put together a separate blog post (which is updated regularly) to give you some guidance: Which file types work with my mind mapping software?

If you are still having trouble with opening a mind map that you have downloaded, or have questions about this topic, then please contact and we will be happy to help you further.

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Liam is the founder of, and tries (with varying success) to write about key projects and progress at Biggerplate, as well as the wider world of mind mapping and our place within it.
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