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Microsoft Visio is an amazing tool for structured drawing which enables you to create flowcharts, control diagrams, and layouts but it is an expensive paid tool. In this tutorial, I will show you the top 5 Best Free Visio Alternatives.
What is Visio?
If you are not already familiar with Visio, let me introduce it to you. Visio is structured drawing tool which is mainly used to create flowcharts, layouts, control diagram and many other structured graphical ways of presenting information.
You can create complex and professional-looking flowcharts and easily integrate them into Microsoft Powerpoint and other Office documents. If you want to create a diagram fast and more professionally, Visio is the ultimate choice.
Is Microsoft Visio Free?
It was not Microsoft’s original product but instead it was acquired by Microsoft in 2000, and Microsoft added it to the Office family. As Visio is a part of the Microsft Suite, it’s an expensive program if you don’t already have access to it.
In order to use Visio, you either hav to buy the Microsoft 2019 (or whichever latest version is) or ign up for Microsoft’s Office 365 subscription service. If you want to subscribe the Microsot Visio only, it will cost you $5/month or to the offline version for $15/user/month.
Compatibility of Microsoft Visio
The Microsoft Office is a complete software that lets you enjoy all the features regardless of the platform i.e. it doesn’t matter whether it is Windows or macOS. But unfortunately this is not the case with Visio.
Microsoft Visio is only available for Windows and you can’t use it on macOS. In other words, Mac users are locked out of the platform. No specific reason for it but you can’t make use of Microsoft Visio if you are macOS user.
Even if you are a Windows user, you need to pay for accessing features of this application. This is the reason that I have brought you this tutorial which shows Top 5 Best Free Visio Alternatives.
yEd Graph Editor
In our list of Top 5 Best Free Visio Alternatives, yEd Graph Editor is in the first place. This Visio alternative offers a very solid user interface which is very easy to use. It features a variety of diagram elements that includes shape nodes, edge types, and flowchart symbols.
Not only this you can also import your own content from Visio like shape stencils that help in creating custom element types. It also supports automatic layout, that means if you have a huge amount of data, you can control the branch directions automatically from within your settings panel.
You can export your created layouts in different formats like PDF, JPEG, GIF, or HTML image (with full support for embedded URLS). This application can also save the layouts in Adobe flash player “.SWF” files. You can then view your graphs within the built-in Adobe Flash Player viewer.
You can access these SWF files on your website as well that allow you to zoom, move, and click on your embedded links. It is one of the best Free Visio Alternatives that can help you build diagrams, flowcharts, or even family tries. The best part is that this application is totally free and you can access all features for free.
Google is a partner of everyone when it comes to using premium applications for free. Google Drawings is one example of it. Google Drawing is basically Google’s web-based tool used for creating diagrams that are included in Google Drive’s suite as Docs, Sheets, and Slides.
This tool allows you to create flowcharts, wireframes, concept maps, and any other diagram as per your requirement. Not only it has a web-based version, but you can also make use of its offline which you can download as a Chrome app in the Web Store.
When it comes to features typically used for creating and manipulating layouts, Drawing might not seem as powerful as Visio, but it will do all the necessary jobs that you need. Like templates, shapes, arrows, and scribbles for your flowchart or any other diagram.
Drawing, being Google’s property comes with benefits associated with Google. Like files automatically hosting and saving within Google Drive. It also enables us to easily share work with other Google users. Simply share a link with another Google user through their email. This convenience of Google alike users makes Google Drawings as one of Free Visio Alternatives.
The Pencil project made its way to our list of Best Free Visio Alternatives because it is one of few open-source application that works offline and let you create amazing diagrams and charts. It features an incredibly easy to use interface with the help of which you can create diagrams of your choice.
It provides a diverse collection of shape varieties, lines, and other tools, mapping out your diagrams becomes so easy with the Pencil Project. The Pencil Project lets you map out UI of your products and applications complete with a full library of iOS and Android stencils.
It includes shapes and status bars that allow you to design your interface in an environment that feels non-committal. These features make the Pencil Project a really cool option because it’s innovative. If you are looking for a free, offline Visio Alternative, Pencil Project should always be in your hit list.
Creately is another web-based free Visio alternative that enables you to design a fun-looking, clean flowchart or diagram. This web-based tool is pretty easy to use and offers you very best simple designing tools. With an additional option of “one-click function”, it lets you create your design five times faster as compared to other platforms.
It is one of my favorite as it offers dozens of pre-made shapes, lines, and color palettes available for use. If you don’t have enough time for creating from scratch, you can use the available templates as well. It offers a versatile collection of smart connectors, and collaboration tools.
Unlike other free Visio alternatives, Creately is not totally free. Though it offers a free tier that is very limited when it comes to features. Anyways, Creately is not that much expensive as compared to Visio, $5 per month, or $49 per year which makes it one of the cheaper options among others.
If you don’t want to use the web-based application, it’s desktop application is also available that works offline and you have to pay one time $75. This application is available for Windows, macOS and Linux as well.
Dia is another desktop application in our list of free Visio alternatives because of the features it provides. It was initially released in 1998 but to date it has not received version 1.0 update as the last update was released in September of 2014.
The best thing about Dia is that it is totally free and you can work on it offline as well. It is also incredibly easy to navigate and fairly easy option to create your design. It comes with a full selection of shape packages depending on what you need in an application.
The shape packages include flowcharts, network diagrams, circuit diagrams, and more. The created files are saved in custom XML files but you can also export your designs in SVG, .JPEG, and.VDX formats. These are the file formats that Visio uses to save files.
It is available for all platforms including Windows, macOS, and Linux. It might not be the best alternative for Visio but it is for sure one great free tool that will cater to your needs of designing flowchart and other diagrams.
Conclusively saying, the tools described above have been used and tested by our experts and then ranking is given accordingly. Depending upon your need and level of professionalism, you can choose between all the mentioned tools. Whether you prefer to use a web-based tool or a standalone application that works offline totally depends upon you.
All the tools work great as best free Visio Alternatives and you can easily give them a try and we are pretty sure that you won’t regret it. So give us your feedback about your choice among best free Visio alternatives.