Guide to Spider Diagrams

What is a spider diagram?

A spider diagram organizes and displays data in a logical, visual way. Spider diagram features include the main concept positioned in the middle of the diagram, with lines extending radially to link related ideas and sub-topics. More ideas branch out from there, and you end up with a diagram resembling a spider.

Spider diagrams help you to make connections between ideas, explore possible solutions, and visualize concepts that may otherwise be difficult to understand. They allow you to see the bigger picture of a topic or problem and the more specific details.

Professionals across various industries and functions use a spider diagram for brainstorming, problem-solving, note-taking, and more. They are a valuable visual tool for personal and business projects.

When to use a spider diagram

Spider diagrams are versatile and useful for a variety of tasks and projects. Common spider diagram use cases include:


Spider diagrams are an excellent tool for brainstorming. They provide a structure and framework for your "brain dump," so you can have a free-flowing stream of ideas while maintaining some organization. For example, writers can use spider diagrams as a brainstorming tool for thinking of writing topics, outlining articles or chapters, and exploring credible arguments for an idea.


When you have a problem to solve, make a spider diagram with your main problem or question in the middle. Draw lines that branch off the main idea, and write down possible solutions. Further levels on your diagram can explore more possible solutions and outcomes. For example, business owners and product developers can use spider diagrams when they're researching new ideas, troubleshooting product functionality, and assessing market viability.

Note-taking for meetings

Spider diagrams provide a structure and hierarchy for note-taking for meetings. Organizing your notes in a visual layout makes the information more digestible, memorable, and easier to review and share later. For example, many managers find spider diagrams helpful in organizing their notes when creating presentations. Another spider diagram example includes when an educator uses them to plan lessons and curriculum.


Because spider diagrams are visual by nature, they're a great format for presenting information. Rather than showing your audience a block of text, create a visual, dynamic spider diagram to display your findings. For example, project managers can use spider diagrams to present project plans, proposals, and strategic data.


Benefits of spider diagrams

Spider diagrams encourage creative thinking and provide a way to organize your thoughts. Other benefits of spider diagrams include:

Make connections between ideas

Because all ideas in a spider diagram are connected with lines, spider diagrams force you to make connections between ideas. That is helpful when brainstorming and problem-solving because you can discover new ideas through connections that weren't immediately apparent.

Organize data

Although they are nonlinear, spider diagrams still provide structure and allow you to organize your notes visually. For example, you can group ideas by topic and add color-coding or symbols for further organization. Spider diagrams are flexible and customizable, so you can do whatever works for you.

Creative problem solving

A spider diagram can help you look at a problem from a new perspective, and the format encourages you to explore various solutions. The act of linking sub-topics and new ideas to your main topic naturally inspires fresh ways of thinking and creative solutions.

Closely resembles how the brain processes information

The human brain is a nonlinear system. That means we process information much like a spider diagram, with thoughts branching off in every direction. Because spider diagrams match the way our brains process ideas, they're intuitive to make and feel natural to use as a brainstorming tool.

How to make a spider diagram

Spider diagrams are simple and easy to make. Follow these steps when creating a spider diagram:

  1. Choose a topic. Pick one main topic or broad subject to start your spider diagram, and place this word or phrase in a circle. This will be the "body" of the spider diagram.
  2. Identify related subtopics. Each subtopic belongs in its own circle, with all circles arranged in a radial pattern around the main topic and connected to the main topic with lines.
  3. Get more detailed. Continue adding more ideas to your spider diagram, branching off of subtopics to get even more specific. The farther from your main topic, the more specific your ideas will get.
  4. Review your diagram. Once finished, scan your spider diagram to make sure everything makes sense and fine-tune it if needed.
  5. Share your findings. Spider diagrams are great collaborative tools, so show your diagram to your team. Share what you learned from the exercise or what new ideas you have.

Why use MindManager to make spider diagrams

You can make a spider diagram by hand, in any graphic design program, or use a program specifically designed for spider diagram making. MindManager, an industry-leading spider diagram software, allows you to create complex, detailed spider diagrams with ease.

MindManager's key benefits include:

  • User-friendly, intuitive interface
  • Extensive image library—over 700 topic images, icons, and symbols to add to your spider diagrams
  • Premade spider diagram templates
  • Convenient file storage, retrieval, and sharing
  • Powerful integrations with file storage apps like Box and OneDrive
  • Google Docs integration via Zapier
  • Various tools and features to facilitate brainstorming and strategic planning
  • Google Chrome extension—MindManager Snap—to easily collect and import text, links, and images from the web

MindManager helps you synthesize ideas and information by providing a simple, intuitive framework for organizing your thoughts. With MindManager, you and your team can clarify complexity and collaborate in new and unexpected ways.

Spider diagram templates

MindManager comes pre-installed with many templates. To use a spider diagram template:

  • Open MindManager
  • Click NEW in the navigation menu
  • Select the template you want to use
  • A preview screen will appear - check to see if you'd like to use your selected template
  • Select 'Create Map'
  • Customize the template for your specific project

Spider diagram FAQs

What is the difference between a spider diagram and a radar chart?

A spider diagram is a brainstorming tool, and a radar chart is a way to display quantitative data. Remember that a spider diagram looks like an actual spider, with the main topic as the "body" and subtopics branching out as "legs." Radar charts resemble a spider web.

How do you read a spider diagram?

To read a spider diagram, first find the main topic—it should be located in the center of the diagram. Then, explore the subtopics connected directly to the main topic. It might be easiest to pick one subtopic and explore everything branching from it before moving on to the next subtopic.

Untangle your ideas with MindManager

Spider diagrams help you organize and display ideas in a visual, structured manner. Their nonlinear layout and flow mimic how our brains process ideas, making them a popular brainstorming tool for individuals across various roles and business functions.

Visualize more with MindManager

Let your mind weave a web of ideas—create a spider diagram with MindManager. Explore user-friendly, pre-made template options and a robust library of images and icons to support your visualization. To make your first spider diagram, try MindManager free for 30 days.

Try the full version of MindManager FREE for 30 days