Concept maps

Get your valuable information and knowledge in a creative concept map and help bring clarity and structure to any subject matter. Use Canva’s free concept map maker online to build a conceptual diagram for any topic.
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Concept map maker features

Find ways to get important information or knowledge digestible for you, students, or teams. Make a conceptual diagram of a relevant topic or research for any setting, whether understanding your new business product or mapping out an overwhelming lesson in class. Structure your creative concept map from free templates and design elements in Canva’s free online concept map creator.

More than 20 professional types of graphs to choose from

Professionally designed templates to fast-track your workflow

Data visualization made easy – no complicated software to learn

Publish, share or download your high-resolution concept map

Embed your concept map in presentations, reports and more with no fuss

Easy drag-and-drop tools, made with the non-designer in mind


How to make a concept map

  1. Launch Canva - Open Canva and search for "Concept Map" to start a new design project.
  2. Choose a concept map template - Find ready-made layouts to customize from our collection of concept map examples. Explore various themes, styles, and colors when you filter your search. Begin concept mapping as you customize your pick or start with a blank template.
  3. Add your information - Edit existing text boxes with different ideas and insights that will answer your focus question. Categorize and arrange knowledge tidbits and concepts based on hierarchy, then add linking words or phrases to establish their relationships. You can also make each data stylish with customized fonts, sizes, and colors from our library.
  4. Personalize your concept map - Explore millions of design elements you can use to map out your concept visually. Drag and drop shapes, graphics, vectors, and charts from our library to your layout. Upload your own as well. You can also use free and premium stock images and videos. Expand to a whiteboard canvas to put more concepts and ideas in your diagram with your team.
  5. Download and share - Finish your new concept map design and download it in high-resolution file formats such as PNG, JPG, GIF, or PDF. Share it with anyone online via email or social media. Embed it on your Canva Docs, presentations, or reports that you can eventually publish via Canva Print.
Create a concept map

What is a concept map?

A concept map or conceptual diagram is a graphic organizer that visually structures chunks of information to help students and professionals study and analyze the big picture by breaking down and connecting related concepts and ideas with linking phrases. Joseph Novak and a team from Cornell University introduced concept mapping in the 70s, and it has since been a staple in learning and research fields like education and healthcare. Although similar to a mind map in looks, one sets a focus question and then maps out concepts and information from a central idea.

Present complex information in beautiful concept maps

Simplifying the intricacies and relationships between concepts and linking ideas can be quite tricky. While explaining complicated concepts is not easy, creating a brilliant concept map is possible with the right tools. Using Canva’s concept map maker, you can structure and connect ideas and bring those abstract concepts to life, so it’s easier for your audience to pick up and study the most important points. Choose from several pre-designed layouts and templates and customize one in a few clicks to create high-quality and visually-appealing concept maps. Then, share your design via social media or email, embed it on a webpage, or include it as part of an academic presentation or a business report.

Make a creative concept map in minutes

When you create concept maps, you don’t only keep the most important facts or research in mind or evaluate the extent of your knowledge on a topic. You also boost your creativity skills as you organize and structure your concept map. Canva’s concept map maker lets students and professionals customize a template so easily that it turns conceptual mapping into a fun learning activity. Change the images, fonts, backgrounds, and colors to add an extra flair to your diagram. There are preset font combinations and color palettes so you can stay on a theme or your business branding.

Catchy visual elements for visual concepts

The goal of a concept map is to simplify complex concepts by establishing relationships with linking phrases, lines, arrows, and all sorts of shapes like circles and boxes. Infuse visual cues in your diagram by mixing things up with icons, images, or illustrations to represent ideas. The awesome part about designing in Canva’s concept map maker is that you can access an amazing media library with millions of images, illustrations, icons, and vectors you can use. So whether you need graphics to crack a tricky science lesson or hospital icons for your nursing manual, you can easily find and add them to your layout. Or upload your own with a quick drag and drop!

Control every element of your design

Designing in Canva means you won’t ever have to start from a blank page—not with hundreds of templates to use as your springboard. It’s a matter of customizing as much or as little of the elements as you need. Resize a text box, icon, or image by simply dragging its edges. Fonts and colors are also super easy to work with. There are more than a hundred free fonts and palettes you can choose from to convey your style, purpose, personality, or brand identity. When your run out of space, expand your template into a whiteboard canvas and let knowledge flow into your concept map. It’s magic how an infinite space allows you and your team to brainstorm or dissect your concepts more thoroughly.

Collaborate with your team

Since concept maps are often used in learning, brainstorming, or problem-solving scenarios, you might want to get help with new ideas or angles from your team or study group. Canva allows you to share an editable version of your design so anyone you send the link to can view it or create their own edits and comments regardless of their physical location. Since Canva designs are all up on the cloud, they only need to log in to their account from any device’s web browser or our iOS or Android apps to access and edit the design.

Concept map templates

Don’t waste time with complicated concept mapping software. Canva’s concept map templates are your shortcut to good-looking, easy-to-make concept maps. Simply click on a concept map example from our collection below to get started. Then, customize your template with information on your topic and design elements like images and icons as visual cues to your conceptual diagram.
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“When it came to design reports, Canva had a wide variety of simple easy to use templates that allowed me to easily plug in my graphs and information, and helped me to focus on the actual content instead of spending hours and hours on design.”

Assem A


Frequently Asked Questions

When you create concept maps, you aim to visualize and structure information. Instead of reading chunks of text on a topic, you can present or study information by breaking down its main points and connecting concepts and ideas for easy understanding. It’s perfect for learning and brainstorming sessions, note-taking, problem-solving, and decision-making in business. Simply pick a template from our free concept map creator online and customize it with shapes, lines, and graphics from our library.

A nursing concept map is possible with templates and elements in our concept map maker. Identify what focus question you wish to answer about nursing. Is it about workloads and hospital rounds? Maybe you’d like to map out a protocol for inpatient care or study a particular diagnosis and assessment. Narrow down your intent and list resources related to your concept mapping. Then, create one with our concept map maker and find templates and graphics to support your diagram.

Concept mapping can be a powerful study exercise to boost the comprehension, understanding, and creativity of students. As you create a concept map, you aim to simplify information into digestible content, linking ideas with one another. It can be a good test of your grasp or knowledge of a certain topic. Aside from that, visual concept maps also help you see the big picture and discover connections between ideas.

A mind map and a concept map may look similar but often have different content. Concept maps involve tacit information grounded in available facts and research. It might be in the field of education, business, healthcare, and more. Meanwhile, mind maps are generally used for idea generation or building concepts from scratch. Both are helpful graphic organizers that make learning, collaboration, and comprehension fun, creative, and simple. Find free templates from our online concept map maker.

Related Charts and Graphs

Organize facts and knowledge with concept maps