It is used for almost everything from creating flow charts to lane diagrams. There is no doubt about the power of Microsoft Visio, but this capability comes at a significant price. Microsoft Visio costs $589.99 for just one copy. Users often look for free diagramming software or affordable software.
Here are some ten best alternatives to Microsoft Visio.
Dia is considered as the go-to Visio alternative since many years as it is open source software very similar to Microsoft Visio. The user interface of Dia is spotless, straightforward and similar to Microsoft Visio. Dia supports UML diagrams, flowcharts, entity relationship diagrams and layers, making it easier to manage complex charts.
The default file format of Dia is a .dia extension, but you can export your diagram in other formats also including Visio extension .vdx or .vds file. The best feature is that Dia is download software rather than an online tool which makes it more preferable as no internet connection is required.
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What’s more? It is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux operating system and can be scripted using Python programming language.
It is a free online diagramming application for making flowcharts, process diagrams, org charts, UML diagrams, ER diagrams and network diagrams. Draw.io is straightforward and fast. You do not have to install anything on your PC. You only have to select the location for your diagram, and you can start drawing on the website.
Hence, it is a no-login required a diagramming tool. The pictures you draw can be saved to Google Drive, Dropbox, One Drive or locally on your PC. You can also export the diagram as PDF, image, Scalable Vector Graphic or XML.
Pencil project is yet another free and open-source GUI prototyping software with built-in shapes for drawing different types of diagrams. You can export saved graphs into a web page, XML, PDF or Scalable Vector Graphic format. Pencil also consists of buttons, borders, fonts, etc. You can use these to create a user interface by visualizing how your application should look. Pencil is a diagramming tool which is very easy to download and use.
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Catch? The pencil is linked with openclipart.org which allows us to download various clipart quickly. It’s available on Windows, Mac, Linux and also as an extension for Firefox.
Just like Microsoft Office contains Visio, LibreOffice includes a software called Draw. LibreOffice is the biggest competitor of Microsoft Office. LibreOffice got an update in the year 2015 which turned out to be a changing point for it as now it has begun to outshine Microsoft Office.
LibreOffice Draw lets you communicate with graphics and diagrams. LibreOffice Draw provides shapes which can be used to represent diagram entities and lines used to connect them according to the object relationships. It also supports 3D objects.
What’s special? LibreOffice Draw can also act as PDF file editor.
LibreOffice and OpenOffice are two branches of same code, and hence both this software are similar to each other. LibreOffice is developed by The Document Foundation whereas the Apache Foundation develops OpenOffice. Features of OpenOffice Draw are just like LibreOffice Draw, but if compared, LibreOffice is advancing at a better pace by releasing new versions more frequently.
Downside? LibreOffice supports font embedding in documents. By embedding a font in a document, the document looks same on any system even if the font is not installed on that particular system. OpenOffice does not contain this feature.
LucidChart is a web-based diagramming tool which is full of features to make diagramming easy and fun. LucidChart provides drag and drop web interface. Just like draw.io, LucidChart is also no-login software.
You just have to go to the official website, and you can start drawing. LucidChart lets you work in collaboration with your team. The best thing about LucidChart is that it supports Microsoft Visio. You can easily edit a Visio document in LucidChart.
yEd Graph Editor is diagramming program which is very similar to Dia diagram editor. yEd supports a wide variety of graph types. yEd Graph Editor has an automatic layout feature because of which yEd can automatically arrange chart elements. The diagrams made in yEd Graph Editor are clutter-free and more readable.
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Graphviz is an open source tool developed by AT&T Labs Research, seventeen years ago. Like any other diagramming tool, Graphviz also represents structural information as diagrams. Graphviz uses DOT language as graph description language.
It supports Linux, Windows and MacOS operating systems. Graphviz is free software and also provides libraries for applications. There are a lot of issues reported by users regarding this software. But the latest release of Graphviz which was a few days ago in December looks promising.
Diagramly is ready to go web-based diagramming tool. It is accessible from all web browsers which makes it a solid replacement for desktop diagramming software. Diagramly is free and very much similar to Microsoft Visio. Diagramly is also mind mapping software. Just like LucidChart, Diagramly is also a no login based application. The user interface of Diagramly is smooth and responsive.
10. Edraw Max
Edraw Max is a 2D diagramming software. Edraw Max has two editions: free and paid. The difference is the addition of templates and examples for creating diagrams. However, to save Edraw files locally, purchased version is required. Edraw Max is compatible with Microsoft Visio. You can save a file in Visio format through Edrax Max.
Catch? In Edraw Max, you can also generate gantt chart, organizational chart and mind map from data.