Microsoft Visio is used by most of the major corporations and the fortune 500 companies as a diagramming tool. With its collection of 70 built-in templates and 4000 unique shapes, it is the go-to tool for anyone who wants to display information which can be easily visualized. With Visio, you can create business diagrams, process diagrams, flowcharts, floor plans, and more. However, the biggest benefit of using Visio is its seamless connection with various data sources such as Excel, SQL Servers, and SharePoint. It pulls the data on a live-basis keeping your diagrams up to date, giving you a one-stop solution for all your data visualization needs.
Why the need for Microsoft Visio Alternatives?
In short, Microsoft Visio is great, but it’s also really costly, with Visio subscription plans starting at $5/month, Visio Standard at $299 and Visio Premium at a hefty $999. If you aren’t planning to use all its features, there’s no point in paying such a hefty price for a piece of software, especially when there are so many open-source, cheaper yet similarly capable alternatives out there. Also, Visio’s interface looks dated, and it has become a bloated software over the years. So, if these drawbacks concern you and you are someone who is looking for a Visio alternative, here are 10 best Visio alternative diagramming software:
10 Best Microsoft Visio Alternatives
Why you should opt for LucidChart?
If you are just starting out and don’t have a team, then LucidChart is best for you, as it’s free for personal use. You need to pay only if you are buying this for a team. Secondly, it offers a seamless transition experience from Visio, as it can easily import Visio files. This means if you are collaborating with an external team who uses Visio, you will have no problem. Also, since it is a web-based app, it is cross-platform. They even offer a free iPad app. Lastly, the software is fully featured and you will never feel waiting for features if you are switching from Visio. The best part is that it packs all the power yet makes it really easy to use.
Easy to Learn, Visio compatible (can import.vdx, .vsd, or .vsdx files), fully integrated with other productivity tools (such as G suite, Confluence etc), multiple sharing options (PDF, Image, embed into webpage), and multiple diagrams creation including flowcharts, wireframe diagrams, UML diagrams, smartphone mockups and more.
Supported Platforms: Windows, macOS, and Linux (since its a web app it works on any modern web-browser including Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari), iPad.
Pricing: Free (Single user with feature restriction), starting at $20/month (3 members) for teams (no restriction).
2. yED Graph Editor
If you are looking for a completely free diagramming software which runs on all the major platforms including Windows, macOS, and Linux/Unix, take a look at yED Graph Editor. The best part about this software is that despite being cross-platform, it’s not a web app which means you get a native app irrespective of the platform you are using. That is something everyone will appreciate. I don’t think web-apps are still at that level that they can replace native apps, and hence, yED scores a big point here. When it comes to features, the software is no slouch. You can either manually create diagrams or use its automatic tool which automatically creates diagrams from imported data.
Why you should opt for yED Graph Editor?
The first reason to opt for yED is that it is completely free and has native apps for all the major platforms. Secondly, although its feature set is not as rich as either Visio or LucidChart, it is good enough for 90% of the users. Only the exceptionally power users will find missing features here. The automatic layout algorithms are really good at creating diagrams from imported data.
Cross-Platform native apps, automatic layout algorithms, feature rich, high-quality diagrams, and multiple diagram creation including Flowcharts, UML diagrams, Family trees and Semantic networks.
Supported Platforms: Windows, macOS, and Linux/Unix (native applications).
If you work in a field where you constantly need to showcase complex information in easy to understand visual diagrams or graphs, Ardoq is the one for you. Let me make this clear first, it’s not a cheap software, in fact, it’s the costliest software on this list by far, but it is worth every penny for its target customers. Specially designed for architects, developers, process owners, project managers, and business owners, it has an assembly of tools which can take complex data sets and convert them into easy to understand diagrams. It can import data on a live basis making sure that all your diagrams are up to date at any point in time.
Why you should opt for Ardoq?
As I mentioned earlier, Ardoq is best for people who work with large sets of complex datasets. If you are one of those people, this is a no-brainer for you. Also, you will love its live-data import feature. Once you create a diagram, you don’t have to update it ever again, as it will automatically pull data from source files. You can also automate repetitive tasks by creating custom shortcuts. Everything about Ardoq is aimed at helping you create diagrams in the easiest and the fastest way possible.
Review and analyse data, automatic diagram creation, live data update, grouping, conditional formatting, Global Search with revision history, automate repetitive tasks, handle complex datasets, powerful built-in data editing tools, customisable Metamodels, and more.
Supported Platforms: Windows and macOS
Price: 30-day free trial, $999/month (10 members), contact for quotes for bigger teams.
OmniGraffle is by far the best looking diagramming tool out there. The only sad part is that it is only available for the macOS system, hence, Windows users cannot make use of this awesome software. When you open OmniGraffle, you will fall in love with its user interface. The team at OmniGraffle has nailed the user experience. When you get past the beauty of its interface, you will find that it is also one of the easiest diagram software to learn. When it comes to features, OmniGraffle goes head-to-head with the best software on this list. If you own a Mac, OmniGraffle can be the best diagram software for you.
Why you should opt for OmniGraffle?
Supported Platforms: macOS and iOS
Price: $99.99 (Standard) and $199.99 (for Pro)
Just like LucidChart Giffy is a web-based online diagram creation tool which can be used to create flowcharts, network diagrams, UML diagrams, org charts, mind maps, wireframes, and more. Since it is the web-based program it works on both Mac and PC. It’s also a really good collaborative tool if you are working remotely. It’s also pretty cheap when compared to Visio or any other subscription based paid software on this list. Despite the price difference Gliffy brings tons of feature on the table and is used by many corporates including IBM, Twitter, and Pandora. Needless to say, Gliffy is a pretty capable tool.
Why you should opt for Gliffy?
Gliffy is a pretty simple and yet powerful editor. If you are just starting out and need a simple tool which doesn’t overload you with features as soon as you open the app, this is for you. It gives you plenty of icons to choose from to create flowcharts, organization charts, UML diagrams, network diagrams and more. It also has many custom templates to help you along the way. It also integrates seamlessly with other productivity tools such as Google Drive, JIRA, Confluence, and more.
Cross-platform web app, collaborative work environment, integration with other productivity tools like Google Drive, JIRA, and Confluence, simple and intuitive interface, and more.
Supported Platforms: Windows and macOS
Price: $7.97/month (Individual Plan) or $4.99/month/user (Team Plan)
If you are looking for a web-based diagramming software which is completely free to use, you will love Draw.io. It is an open-source software and is a truly cross-platform app. You can either use it as a simple web app or you can download native apps for macOS, Windows, Linux, Android, and even Chrome OS. The software is very capable for personal use and even supports real-time collaboration between multiple users. It might not offer as many as features as the likes of Visio but it will be enough to satisfy the needs of the most of the users.
Why you should opt for Draw.io?
The biggest reason you should opt for Draw.io is that it is a true cross-platform app with support for real-time collaboration between multiple users. This makes this app awesome for users working remotely. Secondly, the feature set is also good enough to cover most of the use cases. It’s also a no-nonsense software. As soon as you load its web-app, it will just ask you to select the location where you want to save your file, and then you can start working. There are no hoops to jump through to get to the drawing interface. The software also has multiple export options, It can export in HTML, JPEG, PDF, PNG, SVG, and XML. The best part is that it also supports imports from Visio, LucidChart, and Gliffy.
Cross-platform web and native apps for Linux, Windows, macOS, and Chrome OS, real-time multi-user collaboration, import support for Visio, LucidChard, and Gliffy, multiple export options, no-nonsense work interface, feature rich, cloud integration (Google Drive, DropBox), and others.
Supported Platforms: Windows, macOS, Linux, and Chrome OS
7. Concept Draw Pro 11
Concept Draw is a fully loaded professional diagramming tool which is really good. It is available for both Mac and Windows and offers a sleek native app for both the platforms. The software can be used to create flowcharts, organisational charts, FML Diagrams, floor-plans, and more. Also, it is one of the few one-time payment software on this list and doesn’t require you to keep track of a subscription.
Why should you opt for Concept Draw Pro 11?
Concept Draw Pro 11 is one of the most capable diagramming app available in the market today. Its native app with beautiful and functional user interface, gives it an edge over its competitors. There is also no dearth of features here. The software even supports export and import of files in Visio format. It also has a great selection of templates which means most of the times you won’t have to create diagrams from scratch, which will save you a lot of time and effort. It also has a great selection of powerful and comprehensive drawing tools. It also has robust presentation feature built right in the software, so you are always ready for any meeting.
Native Apps, support for Visio Files, extensive and powerful diagramming tools, a plethora of excellent pre-built templates, presentation ready, rapid flowchart technology, support for floor and building plans creation, Live Objects technology which automatically scrapes and updates the data received from the source file, and more.
Supported Platforms: macOS and Windows
8. Pencil Project
Pencil Project is a very good open-source diagramming software which is totally free to use. One of the good things about this software is that its developer community is very active and hence you get updates on a fairly regular basis. Being an open source project, it is by nature a cross-platform app with native apps for all the three major platforms including Windows, Mac, and Linux. The software was developed with the aim to make diagramming easy and accessible to everyone which it has achieved.
Why should you opt for Pencil Project?
Apart from the fact that the software is cross-platform and totally free to use, there are many things that go in favour of the Pencil Project. Firstly, the software ships with a large selection of templates and stencils. The built-in collection of shapes is also good and includes general-purpose shapes, flowchart elements, desktop/web UI shapes, and Android and iOS GUI shapes. The software also lets you export in many different formats including PDF, PNG, SVG, and more.
Cross-Platform with native apps, pre-installed templates, and stencils, an excellent collection of shapes, multiple export options, clipart browser tool, inter-page linking features, easy to navigate UI/UX and more.
Supported Platforms: macOS, Windows, and Linux
Just like Gliffy, Creately is yet another great web-based diagramming tool. It lets you create more than 50 different types of diagrams. It also supports real-time collaboration on projects. It has a very extensive library with examples for different kinds of diagrams. Creately is also compatible with many other productivity tools including G suite, JIRA, Confluence, and FogBugz. The software is feature rich and can tackle any and all of your needs.
Why should you opt for Creately?
Creately has many things going for it. It is good for teams working remotely as it is cross-platform with support with real-time collaboration. It is feature rich and comes with many pre-built templates to get you started. It also has plugins for various tools such as G Suite, JIRA and more. It is perfectly compatible with Visio files and can import and export files in the same format. It’s easy to understand and use interface when combined with above-mentioned features, make it a good Visio alternative.
Real-time collaboration, inline comments, UML Diagrams,1-Click creations, drag-and-drop, extensive templates, support for Visio flies, plugins for productive tools (G Suite, JIRA, Confluence) DB Diagrams, Gantt Charts, info-graphics, UI Mockups and more
Supported Platforms: Windows, Linux, and macOS
Price: $5/month to $75/month (priced varies depending on number of users)
One of the biggest thing that’s going in favour of MyDraw is that it looks and feels similar to Visio. If you were stuck with Visio because you love Microsoft’s design language which it uses in all its Office 365 apps, you will feel right at home with MyDraw. But, don’t think of MyDraw as a cheap knock-off of Visio because the look and feel are where the similarity ends. MyDraw brings a very clean and easy to navigate interface which is way better than the bloated interface of Visio. It comes with hundreds of free diagram templates to get you started. It also packs a mean punch, and will handle everything that you can throw at it. Its good for small teams and businesses, however, big corporations will probably find it lacking in features.
Why should you opt for MyDraw?
MyDraw is a cheap yet excellent alternative to Microsoft Visio. It brings the familiar ribbon UI which is used in all the Microsoft’s Office 365 apps. It is available for both macOS and Windows. It is also able to import and export files in Visio format (VSDX). It comes with a very powerful drawing tool and hundreds of pre-installed templates and shapes. Basically, if you wanted an easier and cheaper version of Microsoft Visio, MyDraw is the one to choose.
Familiar User Interface thanks to ribbon UI, hundreds of pre-built templates, support for Visio files, powerful drawing tools, advanced printing and export options (images (PNG, JPEG, and BMP), PDF, and SVG), automatic diagram layouts, powerful rich text support, proofreading, barcode drawing, and more.
Supported Platforms: Windows and macOS
Microsoft Visio Alternatives: Get Your Diagramming Tool
So, are you ready to start creating your own diagrams? There are tools for everyone here. Some are free, some are cross-platform, and some are web-based. You can choose whichever one you like. Despite being ten different software, the core features remains the same for all of them, so doesn’t matter which one you choose, you are getting a good diagramming software. The only thing you need to consider while choosing your perfect software from the list is to keep in mind your budget and your requirements. When you choose your diagramming tool from the list, do let us know by dropping its name in the comments section below.