If you ask your friend who frequently creating diagram what is the tool she/he use, chances are she/he will answer Microsoft Visio. This software has been a favorite tool to create diagram for years. Professionals, students. They will immediately think of this software every time they need to create a diagram. For a small business with a tight budget, Visio is probably not a good choice.
Standard version of Visio is priced $299, while the pro version of Visio is priced $589. On the other hand, there are a lot of alternatives you can use for free. Dia for instance. This is a free solution of diagramming software presented by the open source community. Don’t like open source software? There are web-based alternatives you can use as well.
If you are on the pursuit of Visio alternative, this article will show you the list. I am going to divide the list into two sections, desktop-based software and web-based software.
Desktop-based Visio alternatives
As I mentioned earlier above, Dia is a Visio alternative presented by the open source community. More precisely, this software was created by Alexander Larsson. Currently, the development of Dia is handled by Dia developers. Dia itself is a cross-platform app. In addition to Linux, this software is also available for Windows and macOS. You can use this software to create any kind of diagram. From flowchart, UML to network diagram. Dia is also capable of opening and editing Visio files. However, you need an additional plugin to do this. Diagram files you created with Dia can be exported directly to portable formats like PNG or PDF.
yEd is another free Visio alternative that is available for Windows, macOS and Linux. Even so, this is not an open source software. In Linux, the executable file of yEd is available with the extension of .sh. Whatever the kind of diagram you are going to create. Whether flowchart diagrams of app, mind maps, family trees to UML class diagrams, you can get them done with yEd. Your diagram files can also be exported directly into formats like PNG, PDF, SVG to SWF without needing to install additional plugin.
MyDraw is also a free Visio alternative you can use to create diagrams. It’s just, you will probably need to upgrade this software if you need to use more features offered by it since MyDraw is a freemium software. If you have been a user of Visio for years and want switch away from it, MyDraw is one of the best alternatives. Particularly if you are a big fan of Microsoft-styled interface. One of the reasons why MyDraw could the best Visio alternative is because it is compatible with Visio. This software is capable of opening and editing Visio files.
Other appeal thing about MyDraw is it has many ready-to-use templates for flowcharts, organizational charts, flyers, certificates and business cards, and other kind of diagrams. MyDraw is available for Windows and macOS. Nevron Software is the company behind this software.
4. ConceptDraw Pro
Just like MyDraw, ConceptDraw Pro can also be the best Visio alternative. ConceptDraw Pro is a paid diagramming software, but it comes with a lower price than Microsoft’s diagramming software. This software is also projected to be a Visio alternative and compatible with it. You can either import or export Visio files using this software. To streamline the diagram making process, ConceptDraw Pro also bundled with hundreds of ready-to-use templates. One of the stand out features offered by ConceptDraw Pro is Live Objects technology which allows you to connect a certain live object to a data source with a single click. The types of live objects include transforming, switching, and data driven objects. ConceptDraw PRO contains a rich library of these three types of live objects. Using these live objects, you can easily present the data visually. ConceptDraw Pro is only available for Windows and macOS.
Mac users who is looking for a cheaper Visio alternative can give their wink to OmniGraffle. Compared to Visio, the pricing options offered by this software is much lower. Standard version OmniGraffle is priced $99, while Pro version is priced $199. Importing and exporting Visio files is also possible with OmniGraffle. No matter what you are going to do with a diagramming software, whether to create a flowcharts, family threes, or even mockups. OmniGraffle can be your good gear.
What is the difference between standard and pro version?
By outline, standard version comes with more basic features. You won’t be able to use more advanced features like Shared Layers and Subgraphs. Visio compatibility is also only available for pro version.
Web-based Visio alternatives
The most stand out advantage of using web-based tool is that you don’t have to be hassle installing new software on your machine. One of online drawing maker tools you can use is Creately. Companies like Amazon, PayPal to National Geographic also use this tool every time they need to create diagrams. Other advantage of online drawing maker is that you can work collaboratively with your team on a certain diagram. Creately can be used for free, but with limited features.
Creately is a flash-based tool so be sure you have the latest version of flash installed on your computer in order to make it run smoothly. Creately is a great tool to create any type of diagram from flowchart, infographic, UML, concept diagram. Anything. There are tens or thousands of ready-to-use templates you can make use of to streamline your job. Creately is capable of handling several formats including SVG, VDF, VSX to CDML. In addition to web, which is available as a freemium tool, Creatly also offers desktop version which cost $75. Much cheaper than Visio. Desktop version is available for Windows, macOS and Linux.
Draw.io is a free solution of web-based diagram maker. At the side panel of this tool you will see a number of tool sets from UML, Flowchart, Arrows, Misc, Entity Relation and so on. Meaning that this tool is capable of creating any kind of diagram. Depends on your need. Best of all, Draw.io is compatible with Visio in case you are a former Visio user who have some files to edit.
Draw.io is not far different to desktop-based diagram software. It supports layers and outline. There are also shortcuts to streamline your working process. Draw.io supports a number of cloud storage service integrations. You can save your works directly whether on Dropbox, Google Drive or OneDrive. App developers can also integrate their GitHub account with Draw.io. Draw.io itself an open source software. The source code is available on GitHub.
Gliffy is a HTML5-based online diagramming tool you can use as a Visio alternative. This is a premium tool. You want’t be able to use this tool for free unless during the 14-day trial period. This tool is also compatible with Visio, able to open VSDX files as well as editing them. Same as Draw.io, you will also see a number of tool sets at the left panel of the Gliffy window. This tool also supports layer. Gliffy tends to ideal to use collectively with your team although you can also use if for personal use. Gliffy allows you to export the diagram you created in three formats, PGN, JPG and SVG. It’s just, this feature is disabled for trial mode. Furthermore, Gliffy also allows you to save your works directly to Google Drive.
Lucidchart is one of the best online alternatives to Visio. It is also a great tool to work on diagrams with your team. What puts Lucidchart ahead of other web-based diagramming tools above is that this tool supports richer integrations. Other advantages of Lucidchart is that it is capable of handling diagram files you create with desktop-based software like Visio and OmniGraffle. You can also import the diagrams you created with Gliffy. Tell me what kind of diagram you are going to create and you can get it done with Lucidchart. The interface of this diagramming tool is not far different to Draw.io and Gliffy with a side panel full of tool sets. Lucidchart also offers ready-to-use templates to streamline your job in creating diagram.
Lucidchart itself is a freemium tool. While you take advantage of this tool as a collaboration tool, you can also use this tool for personal use, for free. Your works can be transferred directly to your Google Drive account.
Sometimes, it’s hard to switch from a certain software to another one with various reasons. One of the common reasons is that we have to adapt with the new interface of the new software we switch to. Former Visio users shouldn’t meet serious problem in using SmartDraw since it comes with a Microsoft-styled interface, which is easy to use and learn. SmartDraw is also a nice choice if you are looking for a diagramming tool that compatible with Visio. You can import your Visio files to this tool in order to edit them. You can also connect your Dropbox, Google Drive or OneDrive account to enable you to store your files on the cloud.
SmartDraw itself is a premium tool which cost $9 per month. There is a 5-day trial period to find out if this tool suit your need and decent enough to replace Visio.
Textografo is a unique diagramming tool. You will see no tool sets like you can see on other diagramming tools above. This tool use a text approach. To display the shapes, you need to type “#” on the left panel. Textografo also doesn’t allow you to manually place the shapes. All shapes you choose will be automatically placed by Textografo. Textografo claims that all shapes get perfectly aligned. It also argues that this method can save you time. For those who are used to using diagramming tools like Visio, which has a number of tool sets and menu, switching to Textografo might can take more time to adapt.
Meanwhile, if you love the offered unique concept then Textografo can be a nice choice. Textogrago is a premium tool. You are given a 7-day trial period to try this tool for free.
Cacoo is a freemium Visio alternative. You can use this diagramming tool whether for personal use or as collaboration tol to work with your team. Free version of Cacoo allows you create maximum 6 diagrams. But, you are allowed to add up to 15 team members. Not too bad for a free version of software. Free version also allows yo export your diagram into PNG.
Cacoo is reliable enough to replace Visio. This online diagramming tool can be used to import diagram files you created with Visio. Cacoo also comes with a number of integrations. Including Adobe Creative Cloud. You read it correctly. You can integrate Cacoo with Adobe Creative Cloud. Which mean, you can import file formats like PSD, AI, INDD, and EPS. This integration is available for all Cacoo plans, including free. Whatever the type of diagram you and your team want to create, Cacoo is capable to get it done.