9 Free Alternatives to Microsoft Visio

Best Free Alternatives To Microsoft Visio Featured

While Microsoft Visio is a powerful piece of diagramming software, its price point is well beyond what the average home user is willing to spend at $280 for the Standard version and $530 for the Pro version. Even the online version starts at $5/month. But why pay at all when there are free and viable alternatives to Microsoft Visio available to you?

1. LucidChart

Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux

If you are looking for web-based alternatives to Microsoft Visio, LucidChart is the perfect choice. It provides a drag-and-drop web interface to draw any kind of diagram. LucidChart gives you an option to build your diagrams in collaboration with your team. Multiple people will be able to work with the same diagram, making it the perfect choice for small teams.

Best Free Alternatives To Microsoft Visio Lucid

One of the great features of LucidChart is that it can export or import Microsoft Visio vdx files very easily. One thing that is missing is the built-in categorization of different shapes for different areas, like networking, engineering, etc. Simply sign up for the free version to get started. Premium plans start at $7.95 and include access to additional features and templates.

2. ASCIIFlow

Platforms: Browser

If you’re looking for simple and easy, ASCIIFlow is a good option. There’s no login, complicated setup, or endless menu options to learn. It’s extremely basic, but it works.

Best Free Alternatives To Microsoft Visio Ascii

You can forget about having a vast range of shapes at your disposal or using this to map out a complex engineering project, but for quickly conveying ideas in diagram form, this is about as efficient as you can get. The ASCII format is clear, and you can use familiar Windows shortcuts (Ctrl + C, Ctrl + Z and so on) to quickly chop and change your diagrams.

free-visio-alternative-asciiflow

While a sync to Google Drive option is available in the Legacy Infinity version, it doesn’t appear to work anymore. However, the option to copy your drawing to your clipboard to paste into Notepad or another text editor works well.

3. yEd Graph Editor

Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux

Quite possibly the most user-friendly diagramming software out there, yED has you covered for everything from flowcharts, to family trees, to more technical diagrams like network infrastructures and process models.

free-visio-alternatives-yed

You can set your chart to automatically lay itself out to suit whatever kind of data you’re entering. It has a decent repository of images for various types of charts and also gives you the option to import images from elsewhere. When you’re done, you can save your chart as a JPEG, XML or HTML, among other formats, making it easy to upload to websites or send to clients.

4. Graphviz

Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux

For something a little alternative, you can try Graphviz, the near 30-year-old tool in which you create graphs, hierarchies, and so on using a command line utility and the robust DOT language. It takes some getting used to, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll see that it could save you time in the long run.

free-visio-alternatives-graphviz

It has a good amount of formats you can export your graph to and a number of layouts, such as hierarchical, radial, multiscale, and more. It’s particularly useful if you aren’t too fussy about pretty colors but are more concerned about entering huge amounts of data that can get instantly organized and generated.

5. Google Drawings

Platforms: Browser

Usually, you hear about Docs and Sheets, but Google Drawings is a hidden treasure. Drawings works as a great free alternative to Visio, much like Docs serves as an alternative to Word. An array of shapes, lines, and callouts work well for diagramming and creating mind maps and flowcharts.

Best Free Alternatives To Microsoft Visio Google Draw

The clean layout helps you get started quickly. Save your projects to Google Drive or save them anywhere else as a PDF, JPG, PNG, or SVG file. While not the most advanced tool, you’ll find it’s a worthy alternative for the average user.

6. LibreOffice Draw

Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux

LibreOffice Draw is the closest and biggest open-source competitor of Microsoft Visio. Draw is an all-purpose drawing, diagramming and charting tool. The feature that I love in Draw is the grouping feature.

LibreOffice Draw

You can easily group different objects together and then do different actions on the group like moving the group, connecting with other groups, etc. In addition to other formats (XML format is the default), you can also export your diagrams as SWF Flash files. As an extra treat, here’s a package of shapes for Draw that are similar to those you find in Visio, making this one of the more popular alternatives to Microsoft Visio.

7. Dia

Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux

Dia

Dia is an open-source program very similar to Microsoft Visio, with largely the same feature set. You can create UML diagrams, flowcharts, network processes and architectures, entity relationship diagrams, etc., easily with Dia. The default file format for any file created with Dia is .dia, but there are plenty of file formats you can export your diagram to, including Microsoft Visio’s .vdx format.

8. Draw.io

Platforms: Browser

Draw.io has a very responsive and accessible interface, with the tools in the column on the left and the drawing in the column on the right. You don’t need to sign up for an account to use Draw.io, and from the moment you’re on the site, you’re given the option to save your work to cloud services like Google Drive and OneDrive or your hard drive.

free-visio-alternatives-draw-io

If you connect Draw.io to your Google account, it has functional real-time collaboration, letting you work on projects simultaneously with others. It’s not a complex tool, so while it’s accessible, it doesn’t offer the depth of features of some other diagramming software. It’s one of the simpler alternatives to Microsoft Visio yet ideal for more basic projects.

9. Pencil Project

Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux

free-visio-alternatives-pencil-project

Pencil Project is an open-source alternative to Microsoft Visio which is actively maintained by the development community. Their goal for Pencil Project is to make diagramming as easy as possible and usable for everyone from a newbie to an expert. It’s regularly updated with new stencils, templates and other features, lets you export your work to multiple formats, and has integration with OpenClipart.org, letting you instantly search the Web for images to make your projects pop.

Looking for other advanced software? See our list of the best Adobe Indesign alternatives. Or how about a list of the best alternatives to Google Maps?

Related:

Crystal Crowder Crystal Crowder

Crystal Crowder has spent over 15 years working in the tech industry, first as an IT technician and then as a writer. She works to help teach others how to get the most from their devices, systems, and apps. She stays on top of the latest trends and is always finding solutions to common tech problems.

Leave a Comment

Yeah! You've decided to leave a comment. That's fantastic! Check out our comment policy here. Let's have a personal and meaningful conversation.