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Free concept maps

Get your valuable concepts and knowledge in a creative concept map and help bring clarity and structure to any subject matter. Use Canva’s free concept map maker to build a conceptual diagram with online whiteboard templates and tools.
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Create a concept map online

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 online whiteboard templates, tools, and design elements.

Infinite space made for unlimited ideas

Professionally designed templates to fast-track your workflow

Share and ideate with anyone, anytime, on any device

Run a workshop with whiteboard elements, sticker notes, and a timer

Embed your concept map in Docs, presentations, and more easily

Easy online whiteboard tools and data visualization


How to make a concept map

How to make a concept map
Create a concept map (opens in a new tab or window)

Open Canva on your desktop or mobile and search for "Concept Map" to start a new whiteboard design.

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.

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.

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.

Finish your new concept map design and share it with your class or team. Run a workshop by brainstorming ideas using virtual sticky notes and tracking your sessions with our built-in timer. You can readily turn your concept map into a presentation by switching to Presenter View. Or download and embed on Canva Docs and your other designs.
Create a concept map (opens in a new tab or window)

What is a concept map?

A concept map(opens in a new tab or window) 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.

Why use concept maps?

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Simplifying the intricacies and relationships between concepts and linking ideas can be quite tricky. Understand and present complex information by creating brilliant concept maps with ease. Whether you’re a student absorbing new learning material for an exam or a marketing newbie getting acquainted with new business vocabulary, concept mapping helps you process new knowledge better.

Using Canva’s concept map maker, you can structure and connect ideas and bring those abstract concepts to life, so it’s easier for you and your colleagues to pick up and study the most important points and generate new insights through brainstorming(opens in a new tab or window). Have a better appreciation of a particular topic and assess your level of understanding. Not only does it help you grasp information, but it also supercharges your creativity by putting helpful visual cues you can associate with a fact or idea.

Make a creative concept map in minutes

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When you create concept maps, you don’t only keep the most important facts and research in mind or evaluate the extent of your knowledge on a topic. You also boost your creativity skills as you organize and structure with images, fonts, colors, and backgrounds. Canva’s concept map maker lets students and professionals customize a template so easily that it turns conceptual mapping into a fun learning activity. Choose from several examples and create visually-appealing concept maps with our online whiteboard tools and elements. Then, share your design via social media or email to brainstorm, embed it on Docs, or include it as part of an academic presentation or a business report.

Catchy visual elements for visual concepts

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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. Why not upload your own, sketch with Draw(opens in a new tab or window), or start with a prompt using our Text to Image(opens in a new tab or window) app?

Control every element of your design

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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.

Conceptualize with your team

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Since concept maps are often used in learning, brainstorming, or problem-solving scenarios, you might want to get help with new ideas or knowledge from your team or fellow students. Canva allows you to share your whiteboard design so anyone you jump in and brainstorm with you, regardless of their physical location. Use virtual sticky notes to add new information or leave comments and stickers to affirm or negate an idea. Our built-in timer lets you stay on track every session. When you’re all done, switch to a Presenter View and share it like a presentation. You can even embed it on your team’s other designs and Canva Docs.

Start inspired with a concept map template

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 with a whiteboard design. Then, customize your template with information on your topic and whiteboard elements 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 used 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 used to test 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.

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Organize facts and knowledge with concept maps