There are many drawing tools online for your needs. However, Edraw Max, SmartDraw and Microsoft Visio remain the most popular desktop options. Whether you want to create flowcharts, presentation graphics, circuit diagrams, or advanced infographics, these software tools give you plenty of options to create anything that can be imagined.
Here’s a comparison of the three drawing tools to find out about various features, how easily you can create something you want, and which is the best out of the three.
Installing Microsoft Visio can be a bit time-consuming, and you have to fill out a questionnaire to get started.
Compared to that, installing SmartDraw and Edraw Max is pretty straightforward. SmartDraw is available for Windows and Mac users, while Edraw Max is available for Windows, Mac, Linux and Web. Microsoft Visio is not supported on Mac and Linux, but you can view Visio files easily using these two software tools.
2. Appearance and Ease of Use
Microsoft Visio’s interface is familiar to many because this product has been around for a quarter of a century. It is very common in most industries, and “Visio” has become a generic term for diagram solutions. From the homepage itself, you can create anything you want in the main window, as all the options are neatly organized.
EdrawMax might have an edge over Visio because of the sheer variety of templates accessible from the main window. However, SmartDraw seems to be the most user-friendly interface out of the three: not only is it easier on the eyes with bigger fonts and soothing colors, but there are slightly more templates to choose from.
3. Basic Features
As they are directly available from the home window, Visio supports all basic features of a drawing tool. Whether you want to create flowcharts, block diagrams, Venn diagrams, network architecture, or work with AutoCAD drawings, Visio has them.
Edraw Max offers all the basic feature templates, but even they come in an amazing variety. You see more colors, shapes, and ideas as you scroll through the list of examples.
SmartDraw has all the basic features covered. You can work with Gantt charts, decision trees, floor plans, and an amazing variety of infographics even in a trial plan. Many of these templates are supported in PowerPoint, so if you want to create a presentation, SmartDraw helps you create some amazing graphics in advance. Clearly, out of the three diagram tools, it has the most features covered.
4. Advanced Features
While Visio allows you to create almost anything you can imagine, its lack of attractive templates can be a dampener. Edraw Max lets you create some really cool concepts right out of thin air. For example, there are mind maps which look really attractive.
One of the best features of Edraw Max is its support for infographics of all varieties. There is a huge collection to choose from.
SmartDraw also has an interesting collection of infographics. It also lets you create marketing collaterals, brochures, flyers, and other similar designs. However, the advanced features are slightly less abundant compared to what you get with Edraw Max.
5. What Can You Achieve?
You’ll never run short on ideas with Edraw Max. It even has templates for fashion design, greeting cards, latest smartphone wireframes, industrial automation, and a lot more.
One of the best capabilities of SmartDraw is its readily available integration with GSuite. It has the best online tools out of the three. However, Edraw Max certainly wins because of more innovative templates.
Microsoft Visio has various plans. Its cheapest plan is available for $5/user/month (billed annually) which is cheaper than the other alternatives. Buying an advanced Office 365 subscription does give you Visio as an add-on, but it still comes at a monthly cost. If you want to buy Visio standalone, the software is far more expensive than any other office suite programs at $280.
A lifetime license of Edraw Max is $199, but the monthly options go for $99 billed annually which is more expensive than Visio. SmartDraw is the most expensive with a single user option available for $9.95 per month billed annually.
All the software tools have their merits. Microsoft Visio is your best bet if you want something that covers all your basic diagram needs. It has a reliable legacy and allows you to collaborate with a lot more users. If everyone in your work group is using Visio, you’re perhaps better off with it.
However, based on the sheer breadth of features and templates available, Edraw Max is the best diagram tool out of the three, closely followed by SmartDraw. I had been using Visio for many years but have now started finding the other two tools as slightly better replacements.
Which is your favorite diagram tool? Please share your view in the comments.