Microsoft Visio is used by most of the major corporations and fortune 500 companies as a diagramming tool. With a large collection of built-in templates and 4000 unique shapes, it is the go-to tool for anyone who wants to display information that can be easily visualized. With the diagramming software, you can create business diagrams, process diagrams, flowcharts, floor plans, and more with better precision. Beyond these notable pros, there are some cons as well including a less intuitive interface and a touch expensive pricing ($6/month, $18/month). If you are on the lookout for an able substitute, check out these 12 best Visio alternatives.
Best Microsoft Visio Alternatives in 2020
Probably the biggest highlight of Visio is the 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. While choosing Visio replacement software, we have kept in mind these aspects so that you can have a suitable alternative.
- So, Which Diagramming Software Should You Choose?
- yED Graph Editor
- ConceptDraw Diagram 12
- Pencil Project
- Edraw Max
- Frequently Asked Questions
So, Which Diagramming Software Should You Choose?
As to which diagramming software could be better for you, it all boils down to your specific needs. Just in case you are looking for a tool that can comfortably fit into your personal needs with all the basic features, go for free diagramming software or the one that comes with all the bells and whistles without costing an arm and a leg.
What if your need warrants a full-fledged diagramming tool with the high-end features? In that case, select the tool that ticks off the most essential boxes. To make your task of choosing the right software a tad easier, we have mentioned both pros and cons. So, be sure to check both the aspects before picking out a tool. With that said, let’s check out both the free and premium Visio alternatives!
If you search Google for Microsoft Visio, LucidChart will be just next to the Visio results, and rightly so. LucidChart is the biggest competitor to Visio and they don’t shy from making fun of its competition. But, advertisement aside, this is one of the best diagramming software available in the market today.
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 that 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.
- Neat interface
- 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 a webpage)
- Several diagrams creation including flowcharts, wireframe diagrams, UML diagrams, smartphone mockups and more
- Doesn’t work offline
- Requires strong network connection
Supported Platforms: Windows, macOS, and Linux (since its a web app it works on any modern web-browser including Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari), iPad.
Price: Free (Single user with feature restriction), starting at $7.95/month (individual) $6.67/month (team) for teams (no restriction).
2. yED Graph Editor
If you are looking for completely free diagramming software that 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
- High-quality diagrams
- Multiple diagram creation including Flowcharts, UML diagrams, Family trees, and Semantic networks
- Lacks a modern-looking interface
- Doesn’t boast high-end diagramming tools
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 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 analyze data
- Automatic diagram creation
- Live data update, grouping, and conditional formatting
- Global Search with revision history
- Powerful built-in data editing tools
- customizable Metamodels
- Comparatively expensive
- Warrants some learning curve
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?
I can recommend this software to anyone just for its beautiful and easy to learn user interface, but that’s not the only reason going for it. The second reason to go for this software is its developers. They are constantly pushing out new updates which include both performance fixes and the introduction of new features.
Its export feature is also pretty easy to use and quite comprehensive. All these features make it one of the best Visio alternatives for macOS users.
- Beautiful UI/UX design
- Support for Visio files import and Export
- Shape recognition and blending modes
- Artboards & Artboard Layers
- Native Dark Mode Support
- Doesn’t support Windows and Linux
- A touch expensive
Supported Platforms: macOS and iOS
Price: $249.99 (Mac only) or $12.49 USD/mo (iOS and Mac)
Just like LucidChart Giffy is a web-based online diagram creation tool that 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 features on the table and is used by many corporates including IBM, Twitter, and Pandora. Needless to say, Gliffy is a pretty capable tool and one of the very best Visio alternatives that you can choose.
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 that 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. Gliffy 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.
- Simple and intuitive interface
- Cross-platform web app
- A collaborative work environment
- Integration with other productivity tools like Google Drive, JIRA, and Confluence
- Visio import isn’t up to the mark
- The import images feature needs improvement
Supported Platforms: Windows and macOS
Price: $7.99/month (Individual Plan) or $4.99/month/user (Team Plan)
If you are looking for web-based diagramming software that is completely free to use, you will love Draw.io. It is 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 features as the likes of Visio but it will be enough to satisfy the needs of 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 truly 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
- Cloud integration (Google Drive, DropBox)
- The web app doesn’t always work smoothly
- Exporting isn’t fast-paced
Supported Platforms: Windows, macOS, Linux, and Chrome OS
7. ConceptDraw Diagram 13
ConceptDraw Diagram is a fully loaded professional diagramming tool that 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, organizational 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 You Should Opt for Concept Draw Diagram 13?
Concept Draw Diagram 12 is one of the most capable diagramming app available in the market today. Its native app with a beautiful and functional user interface gives it an edge over its competitors. There is also no dearth of features here.
The software even supports the export and import of files in Visio format. It also has a great selection of templates which means most of the time you won’t have to create diagrams from scratch, which will save you a lot of time and effort. CDD 12 also has a great selection of powerful and comprehensive drawing tools.
It also has a robust presentation feature built right in the software, so you are always ready for any meeting. While it’s costly, it is one of the best Microsoft Visio alternatives on the market right now.
- Support for Visio Files
- Extensive and powerful diagramming tools
- A plethora of excellent pre-built templates
- Rapid flowchart technology
- Support for floor and building plan creation
- No CAD files Import/export
- Collaboration needs some enhancement
Supported Platforms: macOS and Windows
8. Pencil Project
Pencil Project is a very good open-source diagramming software that 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 You Should 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 favor 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
- Many pre-installed templates, and stencils
- An excellent collection of shapes
- Multiple export options
- Clipart browser tool
- UI is less impressive
- Feels lagging at times
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. Creately also supports real-time collaboration on projects. It has a very extensive library with examples of 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 You Should 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.
The software 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 the above-mentioned features, make it a good Visio alternative.
- Real-time collaboration
- Inline comments
- UML Diagrams,1-Click creations
- Extensive templates
- Plugins for productive tools (G Suite, JIRA, Confluence) DB Diagrams, Gantt Charts
- Import/export functionality needs refinement
- Not all the plugins work as expected
Supported Platforms: Windows, Linux, and macOS
Price: $4.95/month (personal, billed annually), $18/month (team, billed annually)
One of the biggest things that are going in favor 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 You Should Opt for MyDraw?
MyDraw is a cheap yet excellent alternative to Microsoft Visio. It brings the familiar ribbon UI which is used in all Microsoft’s Office 365 apps. MyDraw 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 from.
- Familiar User Interface thanks to ribbon UI
- Hundreds of pre-built templates
- Powerful drawing tools
- Advanced printing and export options
- Automatic diagram layouts
- Rich text support
- Automatic diagram layouts aren’t always in sync
- Real-time collaboration isn’t top-notch
Supported Platforms: Windows and macOS
11. Edraw Max
Claiming to be an all-in-one diagramming tool, Edraw Max promises to be a competent alternative to Visio. What puts this diagramming software at the forefront is a massive library of more than 280 types of diagrams such as fishbone diagrams, flowcharts, UML diagrams, and floor plans. Both in terms of flexibility and efficiency, Edraw Max’s library of diagrams looks a touch better than those of Visio’s offerings.
Moreover, Edraw Max features a modern-looking interface that not only makes navigation straightforward but also runs smoothly across platforms. Thanks to the excellent file compatibility, you can import/export drawings to several file formats including PDF, Microsoft Office, images, and Visio.
Why Should You Choose Edraw Max?
Should you wish to have a large collection of diagram types, Edraw Max could be worth giving serious consideration. Besides, it also boasts an ever-growing library of templates and symbols that play a vital role in letting you create top-notch diagrams.
For all being a feature-rich diagramming tool, it has a clutter-free interface. Notably, cross-platform availability and robust file compatibility make it a full-fledged substitute for Microsoft Visio.
- Supports more than 280 diagram types
- Huge library of templates and symbols
- Excellent file compatibility
- Neat user-interface
- Demands steep learning curve
- Modeling a database is a bit inconvenient
Supported platforms: macOS, Windows, and Linus
Last but not least, D3m is a complete diagramming tool. Whether you are looking for a Microsoft Visio alternative for personal use or team, it can fit into the bill seamlessly.
Probably the biggest highlight of D3m is the collaboration tool. It allows the team to share the design information in one spot for seamless communication. Beyond collaboration, it also enables you to create topology and rack network diagrams that you can automatically sync with your project. In this aspect, it has looked more competent to me than Visio.
As for the interface, D3m has kept the user-interface neat by putting more emphasis on offering a simplified experience. So, you won’t have to go through a lengthy learning curve.
Why Should You Opt for D3m?
There is a lot to like in D3m. However, I would point out three features that make it stand out. First and foremost, it has got one of the best collaboration features which can play a pivotal role in keeping the entire team in sync.
Second, the software makes it incredibly simple to create topology and rack network diagrams that automatically sync with your project. And third, it features a pretty intuitive UI that makes navigation a breeze.
- Seamless collaboration
- Pretty intuitive UI
- A wide range of advanced tools
- Runs smoothly
- Freemium model doesn’t have much to offer
- Expensive pricing
Supported platforms: Web-based
Price: Free, $199/month (1-5 users)
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best software for flow diagrams?
While there are quite a few diagramming tools that are great for flow diagrams, LucidChat is widely considered to be the best for creating top-notch flow diagrams.
What are diagramming tools?
Diagramming software allows users to create detailed diagrams like floor plans and flow charts. Notably, diagramming tools feature templates for building diagrams.
Where can I draw diagrams?
Most moderns diagramming tools offer native apps for cross-platform. So, you can install them not only on your computer but also on mobile devices like the iPhone and Pixel to draw diagrams at your preferred device.
Besides, many of them are also web-based so that you can draw diagrams online without needing to install them on your device.
Which Microsoft software is best for flowcharts?
Everything considered; Microsoft Visio stands out as the best flowchart software for Windows.
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 remain the same for all of them, so doesn’t matter which one you choose, you are getting 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.
Good alternatives are also:
Dia – flowcharts
Edraw, Software Ideas Modeler, Visual Paradigm – various diagrams
StarUML, BOUML – UML