Microsoft Visio is a vector diagramming application that is available in both standard and premium form. Microsoft Visio can be useful for a whole range of tasks that require diagrammatic representation, and is ideal for creating a flow chart, creating network plans, website building, and the architectural tools are ideal for room and even floor plans.
This program also offers a user friendly interface and easy-to-use templates to get you started, and as it is part of the Microsoft Office family it holds the same reputation and standard associated with the brand. Chances are that if you use vector diagramming as part of your line of work, your company has installed Microsoft Visio on your work computer.
So what’s the problem?
Unfortunately, Microsoft Visio is not cheap. Purchasing the standard Microsoft Visio package is likely to put you out at least $299, and the premium option, which boasts a wider selection of features and specialties, can cost up to $1000. Whilst it is understandably a favorite with big companies, if you are running a small business, working from home or you need a diagram program for personal use, it might not be worth the price tag. It is also not the ideal program for beginners and whilst it’s extensive range of features may be ideal for a professional, if you only want to use it for a few specific tasks it’s just not worth the price.
Do you want powerful and inventive diagramming software at a reasonable price? Are you a small business or an individual user? Thankfully, Microsoft Visio is not the only software on the market. See below for our top ten list of the best alternatives to MS Visio available today, many of which are free and easy to use.
If you want a similar interface to MSVisio at no extra cost, Calligra Flow may be the one for you. You can use this application to make flowcharts, networking diagrams and organisation charts; it is easy to integrate with other Calligra applications, such as their words, sheets and stage applications, and best of all it is absolutely free to use!
Why is Calligra Flow right for you? If you want a similar layout to MS Visio whilst avoiding the cost, this could be the program for you. If you use other Calligra programs such as their word and spreadsheet processors, it is easy to integrate your work and create impressive presentations.
Calligra Flow can be used on: Linux, BSD based systems and of course Windows and Mac.
This is a powerful and world-class diagramming platform that lets the user create anything from a mind map to complex engineering schematics. With it’s top notch drawing and diagramming tools, you can create, design and export with ease. Ideal for established companies and businesses, ConceptDraw Pro offers a site license that means there is no limit on the number of users or computers that can use ConceptDraw, as all employees can be registered under one license (find out more here). ConceptDraw is also compatible with MS documents, so it is easy to make the switch and collaborate with Visio users.
Why is ConceptDraw Pro right for you? If you are looking to integrate a number of different users/computers under one system, if you are looking for a cheaper alternative for your business and/or looking to switch from MS Visio, or if you are simply looking for a powerful and professional diagramming tool that is not MS Visio, then ConceptDraw may be for you.
ConceptDraw Pro can be used on: Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X.
Price: 199 USD or 135 GBP Free 21-day trial
OpenOffice is an easy to use and absolutely free of charge open source application that is full of attractive features. The draw feature is an easy to use graphic and diagram creator tool; you can edit or change the style and format with ease, the 3D controller allows the user to create 3D objects such as spheres and cubes, the smart connectors tool will make creating flowcharts a piece of cake, and with the free Flash feature you can easily create Flash versions of your work.
Why is OpenOffice right for you? If you are looking for a powerful and free alternative to MS Visio that will still allow you to use the majority of features and options, this may be perfect for you.
You can use OpenOffice on: Linux, Mac and Microsoft Windows.
Yet another free online tool, Google Drawings has the brand and the expertise behind it to make sure it is a program you can trust. With real time drawing and collaboration options available, this is an easy to use platform that offers a wide range of features from flowcharts, mind maps, concept maps, an easy drag-and-drop interface and many other options.
Why is Google Drawings right for you? If you have access to a Google Drive platform, this is a fantastic real-time drawing tool that offers an easy and quick drag-and-drop interface. It is quick, easy to use and best of all it is entirely free of charge!
Google Drawings can be used on: Most up to date web browsers are compatible with Google drawing such as Google Chrome, Firefox and Safari and Internet Explorer 8+
Although slightly more expensive, Omnigraffle is still an attractive alternative to MSVisio. Omnigraffle is proud of its precise and beautiful graphics, and with a wide range of options available, it is perfect for artists and business professionals alike. With features like family tree building, Xcode import and Website wireframes, there really is something for everyone. This program is also easily customizable and you are free to create your own themes and templates, so you can truly make it your own.
Why is OmniGraffle right for you? If you use a Mac and want an application that can create beautiful and visually impressive designs no matter what you are using it for, OmniGraffle may be for you.
OmniGraffle can be used on: Mac and iOS
Price: Like MS Visio, Omnigraffle has two available packages depending on your programming needs. With the standard package priced at just $99.99 and $199.99 for the premium version, this is a vastly cheaper alternative that still offers a professional and polished result.
This is another free programming website that should grab your attention. What sets draw.io apart from the other programs is that there is no limit on the amount of diagrams you can create. As long as you have the space, you can use this cloud-based tool to make unlimited diagrams. No need to spend time registering and checking your email for confirmations either; you can just go straight to the website, choose to save to your hard drive or cloud account, and begin creating diagrams. This website is also completely private, which means as well as creating as many diagrams as you like, you will have complete control over all of them.
Why is draw.io right for you? If you are looking to create unlimited diagrams quickly, easily and for free, then draw.io is right for you.
draw.io can be used on: Most online browsers like Google Chrome, Safari and Firefox. Internet Explorer must be 8+.
With over 50 types of diagrams to try out, Creately is an inexpensive offline tool that allows the user to create flowcharts, Infographics and browse the thousands of examples and libraries available. It is easily integrated with Google Drive, you can import and export your Visio work, so it is easy to make the switch, you can easily share read-only links with clients and collaborators, and with it’s offline and online options you can access your work from anywhere. With its user-friendly interface and easy importing and exporting options, Creately is one of the most popular alternatives for MS Visio and is respected by leading industries worldwide.
Why is Creately right for you? Creately’s WYSIWIG interface makes diagramming easier than ever before. It allows real-time collaboration, it has hundreds of templates to choose from, and its many impressive features make it a great alternative to MsVisio that is trusted by the big cats in the industry.
Creately can be used on: Linux, Mac and Microsoft Windows
Price: You can create 5 diagrams for free, opt to pay $5 a month for unlimited diagrams and 5 collaborators, or pay more for unlimited collaborators.
The best thing about yEd is that although it is absolutely free, it doesn’t skimp on quality. Although not quite as powerful as a paid service, yEd can still be used to quickly create high-quality and diverse diagrams. It offers ready-to-use diagrams to get you started, and is ideal for flow charts, UML class diagrams and even family trees.
With easy to use features, automatic layouts and compatibility with most operating systems and browsers, yEd is the perfect software for beginners and those who want professional looking diagrams at no extra cost. It is easy to import MS Visio documents. And yEd integrates all the best features that will allow you to create top quality charts, diagrams and networks at will.
Why is yEd right for you? Although it is lacking some of the features and power of the more expensive programs, yEd allows you to create impressive and professional diagrams for absolutely no cost.
Yed can be used on: JVM supported platforms, Mac, Linux and Windows.
Boasting over 6,000,000 users, Lucidchart is ideal for beginners and professionals alike. Lucidchart is an HTML based program that offers unique compatibility with other programs and apps, including Google apps. Another of it’s winning features is the opportunity for users to create a mock up website and then navigate it just as you would use a fully functioning website; a great way to make sure there’s no problems before publishing or making further changes. With its easy drag-and-drop options, ability to import MS Visio documents and Encryption features, this is a great piece of software that you can feel confident using.
Why is Lucidchart right for you? If you are new to diagramming, or you just want a cheaper and easy to use interface, this may be the right tool for you. You can use Lucidchart to edit Visio diagrams in your own browser, so it is perfect if you are switching over or collaborating with others.
Lucidchart can be used on: Most modern Internet browsers like Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer 8+ and Firefox.
Price: You can create 60 objects (25 MB) for free, pay a monthly subscription of $4.40 a month for 100 MB, pay $8.33 a month for 1 GB usage or pay £21 dollars a month for 5 GB.
Last but not least we have Gliffy. This is an HTML based online tool that offers a free trial and pay monthly options depending on your diagrammatic needs. The online features include a drag-and-drop interface that is ideal for beginners, you can create and edit diagrams in real time, and best of all it integrates effortlessly with your Google drive meaning you can access your diagrams from any laptop, tablet or even mobile phone.
Why is Gliffy right for you: You can import, view and edit your Visio documents with Gliffy, you have a great range of themes and templates to make your work even easier and look even more professional, and as you can easily integrate your documents with Google Drive you can access your documents from anywhere.
Gliffy can be used on: It is compatible with most up to date browsers, Internet Explorer must be 8+.
Price: You can create up to 5 diagrams (2MB), pay £3.99 for 200 diagrams (200MB) or £7.99 a month for unlimited diagrams.
So that’s it for our list of alternatives to Microsoft Visio, hopefully you now have all the information you need to make an informed decision. Please feel free to share, which you think, is the best and why by using the comments below.