Top Free Microsoft Visio Alternatives for Diagrams

free microsoft visio alternatives - diagramming tools

Are you looking for the best free Microsoft Visio alternatives? A favourite tool for diagram composers, Visio is used to sketch simple or complex diagrams. The software has an extensive collection of built-in shapes, objects and stencils can meet your design needs. Feeling a little creative? You can even make your unique shapes and import them on Visio. Overall, Visio helps you draw diagrams such as flowcharts and casual diagrams as simple as possible.

However, this software has a downside – its price. Visio costs about $299 for the Standard version while the Professional version goes for $589. This means you need to be a diehard composer before you can invest such a huge sum on Visio. But if you are not one, then you should consider cheaper alternatives.

Let’s show you the best free Microsoft Visio alternatives tools you can use for your drawings.

Free Microsoft Visio Alternatives

Google Drawings

First on our list is Google Drawings. Developed by Google Inc, the app is free and easy to use. Unlike free versions of paid drawing apps, Google Drawings provides its users with a wide range of features to select from.

With Google Drawings, you can work with both process and relationship diagrams. It even comes with colour schemes which you can customize. Furthermore, you can edit parts of the diagrams to meet your specifications. The software also allows collaborations since Google Docs can be shared easily. Certainly, one of the best free Microsoft Visio alternatives.

You can download Google Drawings here

Creately

Another excellent tool for diagramming is Creately. It features a simple interface that offers numerous free templates, shapes and color palettes. It even has fun templates which you can use to create your art projects such as community banners.

Drawing with this software is easy because it has tools such as connectors, text box creation, and external links. You can find these tools on a small toolbar that pops up when you select an object.

If you are part of a team, Creately allows you to collaborate with your colleagues by adding their email IDS. With the free version, you can add up to three team members. For larger numbers, you will need to make a subscription to the paid version.

Although Creately is a paid app like Microsoft Visio, its relatively cheaper, the personal plan begins at $5 per month while team plans cost around  $125. After payment, you can enjoy more features like the files import and SVG export.

You can download Creately here.

Gliffy

Gliffy comes in three different account versions- Basic, Single, and Team account. Before you can access the Single and Team account, you need to subscribe to the service while the Basic version is free.

 However, the Basic version marks your diagram as public which makes it a poor choice, especially for data sensitive diagrams.

Like most tools on our list, Giffy has numerous shapes and elements. With the software, you can design both simple and complex diagrams. It also works with the traditional drag and drop method. Gliffy has a clean interface which allows you to embed URLs and notes quickly. You can also share the URL with your team members.

The Single Plan attracts a monthly fee of $7.99 while the team plan goes for $4.99.  As mentioned earlier, you can use the Basic Plan for free; however, you will not have access to some features.

You can download Gliffy here.

Pencil Project

The beauty of the Pencil Project lies in the fact that its free desktop software. For an open source project, Pencil has a pretty clean interface with all the necessary tools. It allows you to create mockups for almost everything — mobiles, web pages, and even conventional flowcharts and diagrams.

Although the Pencil Project is free desktop software, it has an uncluttered interface with all the ideal features. With this fantastic tool, you can create mockups for webpages and mobiles. It also allows you to create traditional flow charts and diagrams.

It has controls which are easy to use — for instance, double click to rotate and single click to change the size. Unlike similar tools, Pencil Project does not have eye-catching or vibrant icons. This is to expected since the tool is free.

On Pencil Project, you will find templates for wireframes, GUI and flowcharts. However, there is no provision of templates for family trees, infographics, and network programs. The software also offers export options such as SVG, ODT, PDF, PNG and basic web pages. One of the best free Microsoft Visio alternatives tools to consider.

You can download Pencil Project here

Lucidchart

Lucidchart advertises itself one of the best free Microsoft Visio alternatives being used by the teams at Cisco, Harvard University, Accenture, and more. From floor plans to Android mockups, it has a ton of robust pre-made templates.

Popular with teams at many organizations including Cisco, Lucid chart comes as another great alternative to Visio. With this in mind, this tool offers a host of ideal templates for diagrams such as floor plans and Android mockups.

The online tool is easy to use especially for beginners. Furthermore, it enables you to add various smart connectors, shapes, and containers to create beautiful designs. Surprisingly, the shape and containers change depending on the diagram.

Luicidchart also has an extensive list of shapes and layering options to select from. But if you want more, you should consider the paid version which costs $4 (Single), 10$ (Basic) and $20 (Pro) per month. You can also increase the number of documents you would like to use by subscribing to any of the paid versions.

You can download Lucidchart here.

Yed Graph Editor

Yed has does not have a stylish interface; however, it makes up for this downside by featuring tools that help you handle diagramming tasks quickly.

The tool does not have numerous templates since its a desktop software. Despite this fact, it stands as an excellent tool for building all types of charts and diagrams for computer networks. All you need to do is drag and drop the necessary elements.

You can save your designs in PDF, JPEG, PNG, SWF, and HTML formats.

You can download Yed Graph Editor here.

Draw.io

Draw.io is an utter delight of a diagramming tool. From standard charts and flowcharts to entity relationship diagrams and UML diagrams, you can play with a lot of templates in this online tool.

This online tool allows you to work with a vast collection of templates, shapes, and objects for standard charts, flowcharts, and other diagrams.

 Also, the site does not require any registration. This means you can begin work as soon as the website opens. You can even connect to file hosting services such as Google Drive to export your templates in all formats. It also allows you to embed URLs.

Also, the software is easy to use. A formatting menu pops up as soon as you click on an object. one of the best free Microsoft Visio alternatives you should consider.

You can download Draw.io here.

Xmind

Xmind works best with designs that include mapping. Surprisingly, on this platform, you can create designs with the use of keystroke shortcuts. These shortcuts support actions such as skip or add text.

It also features multiple tools and shapes with options for font, colour, structure, and text.

Although Xmind has a great free version, it watermarks designs made on it. However, you can upgrade to the Zen version at a fee of $27.99 for six months.

You can download Xmind here.

Feel free to choose any of these free Microsoft Visio alternatives tools based on your specific budget or needs. Although they do not cost as much Visio, they will do a great job in making your designs look great.

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Posted by Abiodun Adewusi

Abiodun Adewusi is a freelance writer who lives in Nigeria. As a writer, he is passionate about providing content on technology helping people keep up with the latest trends. You can see some of his work on Medium and Ezine.

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