6 Best Online Visio Alternatives for Making Diagrams (Free & Paid)

Brian Nuckols

Written by:
Brian Nuckols

An illustration showcasing different diagramming tool interfaces.

Are you looking for a Visio alternative? 

Here’s a list of 6 Visio alternatives (both paid and free) to help you create professional-looking diagrams in minutes:

  1. Visme
  2. Draw.io
  3. Lucidchart
  4. SmartDraw
  5. OmniGraffle
  6. Google Drawings

We’ve got a lot to cover, so let’s get started.

 

6 Best Online Visio Alternatives for Making Professional Diagrams

Tool #1: Visme

Tool #2: Draw.io

Tool #3: Lucidchart

Tool #4: SmartDraw

Tool #5: OmniGraffle

Tool #6: Google Drawings

 

Tool #1: Visme

The Visme logo.

The first tool we will explore together is Visme. Visme is a  design tool with some key features that make it distinctive compared with the other tools on this list. 

In particular, Visme designed the drag and drop editor with intuitive features that allow anyone to create professional-level visual assets. 

Using Visme, you can create professional and attractive diagrams. It is an effective alternative to Visio, especially for users looking for an appropriate tool for their design needs. 

Check out a guided tour of Visme in this tutorial video. 

What is Visme?

A screenshot of Visme's design and diagramming interface.

Create your own easy-to-follow flowcharts.

  • Choose from dozens of professionally designed templates
  • Add and alter icons, colors, fonts, images and more
  • Select your preferred line and shape styles for your flowchart

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One of the core differentiating factors driving the success users have with Visme is usability. There are no tech or design skills required to create great diagrams at a rapid pace. 

Additionally, Visme has the capabilities to create many different visual assets. Some of these assets include images, infographics, eBooks and videos. 

Visme uses pre-designed diagram templates with easy drag-and-drop functionality to help make the diagram creation process easy. This more straightforward creation process enables you to create engaging diagrams that enhance your processes and operations. 

Who is it for?

The primary use case is for businesses that want to create engaging diagrams that help users, students or employees understand a system. 

Operations and business professionals use Visme to create diagrams, infographics, demos and business presentations

Also, teachers commonly use Visme to visualize and understand complex ideas in the classroom. 

Additionally, nonprofit executives will often use Visme to help donors and staff understand their processes through interactive diagrams.

Finally, freelancers and hobbyists use Visme to diagram their projects and document their results. 

Pricing

A screenshot of Visme's pricing page.

Visme offers three types of accounts, starting with a free basic account. Visme built the free account to help you make an impact with the diagrams you create. Additionally, the basic account gives all users an opportunity to trial the software before buying. 

Visme has a robust free plan with no restrictions on length. Over 80% of functionality is available to free users. However, there are premium features that are only available with a paid account. 

The standard account unlocks core features for individual users at a $15 a month price point. 

Lastly, if you need core features for multiple users, the enterprise account starting at $29 a month is the best option. 

 

Tool #2: Draw.io

The Draw.io logo.

The next tool that to explore is Draw.io. It is an excellent solution for users looking for an open-source and free Visio alternative for diagram creation. 

Draw.io has a minimalist interface that is similar to the style Google deploys across their web apps suite. 

What is Draw.io?

A screenshot of the Draw.io diagramming interface.

Draw.io is a reliable tool for designing diagrams. It utilizes an open-source stack that IT professionals utilize to explain complex diagrams.

The draw.io platform is a 100% free-to-use for their online diagram app and editor. With the draw.io software package, you can create diagram designs, customized flow charts, network diagrams and Unified Modeling Language system layouts.

Additionally, Draw.io has reliable collaboration capabilities and an interface that many IT professionals understand. 

Draw.io is a good vector graphics editor for any user who wants to produce diagrams for free. 

Who is it for?

Draw.io is designed for developers, IT, network admins, designers and process analysts. 

Anyone can also use Draw.io if they need to create a diagram easily without a high price point. In particular, Draw.io is useful for those who need to collaborate on charts in real-time. 

Pricing

One of the top benefits of Draw.io is the price. The diagramming software on the web app is always free.

 

Tool #3: Lucidchart

The Lucidchart logo.

The next tool we will explore is Lucidchart. When looking for a tool that focuses on design and collaboration, take a look at Lucidchart. 

What is Lucidchart?

A screenshot of the Lucidchart diagramming interface.

Lucidchart is a diagram tool that has a focus on collaboration. Lucidchart comes packed with many shapes in their specialized libraries. You can browse Lucidchart’s flowcharts, wireframes, design diagrams and UI flows. 

Additionally, Lucidchart is an excellent tool for teams that need to collaborate. 

Asynchronous collaboration is available from across mobile and desktop in the web browser. 

Lucidchart empowers you to diagram systems and processes when it comes to services and people operations. You can diagram, collaborate and improve a data visualization in one platform. 

Another benefit Lucidchart offers its users is the ability to solve complex problems using flowcharts and diagrams. These diagrams can help you increase clarity and alignment across your teams. 

Increased alignment helps to get distributed teams on the same page to increase productivity. 

Who is it for?

Lucidchat is built for teams working together on diagram style projects. 

In particular, there are a few specific types of use cases that Lucidchart highlights. 

First, project management professionals use Lucidchart for their process and to delineate responsibilities. Lucidchart also helps project managers track projects from start to finish. 

Also, operations professionals use Lucidchart to improve processes. When teams need to operate their automation to scale a business, Lucidchart is an excellent tool to identify bottlenecks. 

Additionally, Lucidchart is an excellent tool for business analysts. Especially analysts using Linux. Using Lucidchart, analysts can map out process flows to communicate important insights and findings. 

Lastly, any team that does not want to work on boring diagrams and needs a unique way to collaborate on diagrams will enjoy demoing Lucidchart. 

Pricing

A screenshot of the Lucidchart pricing page.

Lucidchart offers a free version with fewer features for users that want to explore the software. Users may want to try this free version if they’re going to investigate the tool before committing.  

Paid subscriptions are separated into individual and team plans. Individual plans begin at $7.95 per month. Team plans at $9 a month per user with a minimum of three users. 

 

Tool #4: SmartDraw

The SmartDraw logo.

The next tool to explore together is SmartDraw. SmartDraw is known for integrating well with Microsoft apps including PowerPoint. The integration with Microsoft may be of interest to those looking for a Visio alternative. 

SmartDraw is a flowchart app that focuses on ease of use for beginners who are not experts at creating diagrams. 

What is SmartDraw?

A screenshot of the SmartDraw diagramming interface.

SmartDraw is a diagramming software with an exciting suite of automated features. 

These automated features are one of the key differentiating features that SmartDraw users love. 

Additionally, many users use SmartDraw as a tool to map out complex systems. The wire-framing capabilities also make SmartDraw a popular tool for laying out user flows for apps and websites. 

Another feature that makes SmartDraw attractive to users is its robust template library. 

This library gives users access to visual assets that some competitors lack. 

SmartDraw is also a useful tool for users who require integration with particular tools or frameworks. If you need access to Microsoft 365, Atlassian, Jira or Confluence, SmartDraw can help. Plus, you can export and import SmartDraw diagrams to and from Vision. 

SmartDraw designed their first tool in 1994. This experience helps them create new and exciting features while maintaining the high quality of their existing software. 

Who is it for?

SmartDraw is beneficial for larger corporate companies who need enterprise solutions. 

In particular, SmartDraw can help firms that have extensive IT and Operations teams. 

Executives who want to lower costs, free up IT resources and increase productivity across the organization are also good fits for SmartDraw.

Also, founders and owners that have intricate design and documents can use SmartDraw to improve their efficiency. 

If you are a team that needs Microsoft 365 integrations to create processes and other diagrams, then SmartDraw is an excellent tool to explore. 

Finally, if you are creating engineering layouts, floor plans, UML diagrams, an organizational chart or Gantt charts, the wide variety of templates on SmartDraw are worth investigating before your next project. 

When you are ready to download your diagram you can download it via HTML, JPEG or PNG.

Pricing

A screenshot of the SmartDraw pricing page.

Unlike some of the available alternatives, there is no free plan on SmartDraw. The paid offerings begin with a single-use plan at $9.95 per month. 

The team plan is $5.95 per user and includes SmartDraw’s enterprise features. 

 

Tool #5: OmniGraffle

The OmniGraffle logo.

Our next Visio alternative to investigate is OmniGraffle. OmniGraffle stands out as the right choice for MacOs and IOS power users who prefer desktop apps to cloud-based solutions. 

Additionally, OmniGraffle has a beautiful design that helps make granular flowchart and diagram changes happen quickly. 

What is OmniGraffle?

A screenshot of the OmniGraffle diagramming interface.

OmniGraffle is an app designed by the Omni Group. The Omni group owns a series of apps and software made especially for Macs, iPads, iPhones and other Apple products, 

One of the critical features of OmniGraffle is that it works across any Apple device you want to use. This cross-device use is excellent for users who like to work across mobile, tablet and desktop. 

OmniGraffle is an excellent Visio alternative because of the fantastic prototyping and diagramming capabilities that it offers its users. 

Additionally, OmniGraffle has a vector design tool that helps you create many types of assets using its library of shapes. This vector design tool gives OmniGraffle excellent versatility to create diagrams. 

Overall, OmniGraffle helps users explain complicated ideas. Plus, if you need to create rapid prototypes, you can use OmniGraffle to create wireframes. Lastly, using OmniGraffle, you can create professional-grade vector graphics for your next project. 

Who is it for?

OmniGraffle designed a tool for a broad range of business professionals who need to create organized diagrams to communicate their work. 

Unlike some of the other Microsoft Visio alternatives like Dia, OmniGraffle does not prioritize templates. For this reason, OmniGraffle is better suited for users with design skills. Omnigraffle users need to know what their diagrams will look like before beginning the design process. 

OmniGraffle is not a great fit for users with less design experience.

Also, OmniGraffle is only available for Mac users. Because of this, it is also not an excellent option for those using PC or Windows. 

Pricing

A screenshot of the OmniGraffle pricing page.

OmniGraffle has two options you can pick from when it comes to pricing. You can choose either the monthly subscription or a one-time payment that grants you access for life.

The monthly subscription is $12.49 and the lifetime access is $249.99.

 

Tool #6: Google Drawings

The Google Drawings logo.

Google Drawings is part of the Google suite along with Google Sheets, Google Docs and Google Slides. It has an excellent reputation with users as a dependable diagram software for educators and business professionals. 

What is Google Drawings?

A screenshot of the Google Drawings diagramming interface.

Google Drawings is cloud-based diagramming software inside the web-based Google Drive suite offered by Google.

Diagram creation starts with a blank canvas that is customizable and dynamic based on your needs. 

The Google Drawings tool is accessible through any internet connection or via a Chrome app. The device works best on the desktop and is accessible offline after download. 

A significant benefit to creating your next diagram with Google Drawings is the collaboration capabilities of the tool. Google makes it simple for multiple users to open and edit any drawing simultaneously. 

You can also add several visual elements to your canvas, including text, arrows and many types of shapes. 

When you are done with your diagram, Google suites has easy sharing settings that allow you to control your creation’s permissions. It can stay private until it is complete. You can also share it with select individuals and share it publicly on the web when appropriate.   

Since Google Drawings is part of the Google suite family, it easily integrates with other Google products. For example, sharing with Gmail users is easy, and you can upload your final creation for storage on Google Drive. You can also connect Google Sheets to Google drawings to create diagrams with your data. 

If you need to move data from Microsoft Excel, LibreOffice or DropBox, it is best to import the data to Google Sheets before pushing the data to Drawings. 

Who is it for?

Google Drawings is the right choice for users that use Google apps for their workflow. Additionally, Drawings works well for users who need to visualize data from sources like Google BigQuery and Google Sheets. 

The collaboration features are also valuable for remote teams who need to create diagrams that require teamwork and multiple perspectives. Teams can develop charts like mind maps and flowcharts using Google Drawings as a collaborative tool for building all types of diagrams. 

Google Drawings works best on desktops and is available on Mac OS, Linux and PC. While the desktop versions work better, Android and IOS apps are also available. 

Pricing

Google Drawings is an entirely free alternative. The only thing you need is a Google account to get started creating diagrams. 

 

Looking for a Visio Alternative?

If you've read this far, you’re still looking for an alternative to Microsoft Visio. Whether it is cost, preference or functionality, you are still undecided about the diagram tool that best suits your needs. 

The good news is, you have plenty of options. In this article, we explored six different diagram software tools. Additionally, there are also others worth investigating, like Creately, Gliffy, VDX, VSDX,  Edrawmax and Dia

Visio alternatives like Gliffy and Creately have varying degrees of capabilities, strengths and weaknesses. However, if you are looking for a tool that will help you reach your UML diagramming goals, the best option is Visme.

With Visme, you can create a diagram or flowchart to overcome your visual communication challenges

Plus, you can exceed expectations by improving your design through Visme’s intuitive drag and drop features. You can even add the diagram to a presentation or digital report if you need to achieve buy-in or build alignment in your org. 

Visme is the only diagramming tool that unlocks professional level animation tools that non-designers can implement in minutes. If it makes sense for your goals, you can add engaging animations and interactive features to your diagram. 

If you need help learning how to use Visme, check out the Visme tutorials

 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

If you still have questions about Microsoft Visio and some of the best available alternatives, I’ve gathered the most frequently asked questions. 

Q1. What is Microsoft Visio used for?

Vision is a tool used for creating diagrams online. With Visio, you can create organization charts, wireframes floor plans and flowcharts. 

Educators and business professionals use Microsoft Visio to visualize data and communicate how complex systems work and visualizing a business process. 

Q2. Is Visme the best Visio alternative?

Both Visme and Visio have strengths and great features to support the goals of the users. The answer is highly context-dependent on multiple factors. 

For example, Visio integrates seamlessly with the Windows suite meaning Visio is the right choice for anyone who works heavily with Microsoft products. 

However, if you are looking to impact your design choices, then Visme may be a better choice for you. Visme comes pre-loaded with templates that you can utilize for your diagram. 

When it comes to real-time collaboration, Visme has the advantage. Because Visio is only available for the Windows operating system, Mac OS users will face challenges in collaboration.

Overall, it will depend on if your team uses Microsoft apps or not. If you don’t, Visme may be a better option. Plus, you’ll unlock the other visual assets and animation effects that come with Visme. 

Q3. Is Visio free for students?

Visio is not included in Microsoft's student and educators plan. If you are a student, you can access Microsoft Office, which comes with Microsoft Word, Excel, Microsoft Office and Teams. However, you will still have to pay extra for access to Visio. 

Q4. Can you use Visio offline?

Yes! Visio is a fully downloadable desktop app. You can download it at times when you do not have access to an internet connection. As long as you are on a PC that runs Windows, you can work on your diagrams offline. 

Q5. What is a diagram?

A diagram is a flowchart that you can edit for many purposes. Flowchart diagrams consist of various shapes that are connected by lines. 

These connectors visualize complex systems, organizational processes and standardized workflows. 

Q6. Is Visio a good diagramming tool?

Absolutely! Many users give Visio glowing reviews. If you need to create diagrams, Visio is a good option. 

However, for some users, the tool cannot deliver the value they need. This is why it is essential to read reviews like this article that review the entire diagramming tools ecosystem. 

One significant weakness is when it comes to reporting. You will need a separate tool to translate your insights from the diagram into a presentation. 

Q7. How’s Visme different from Visio?

The most extensive differentiation between Visme and Vision is that Visme has more features and capabilities. This expanded set of features is what sets Visme apart from many of the tools on this list. 

Of course, Visme empowers you to design diagrams, flowcharts, org charts and network diagrams. However, it also gives you the ability to create infographics, reports, social media graphics and proposals. 

Ultimately, the expanded design option helps you translate your diagram into larger visual communication projects. These graphic communication projects can create impactful conversations within your organization. 

The ability to create an impactful conversation is why Visme is worth considering as one of the best alternatives to Visio. If you’re ready to take your design to the next level, get started with Visme today.

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    About the Author

    Brian Nuckols is a writer working in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He enjoys communicating visionary ideas in clear, action oriented language. When he’s not working on content for a transformative company you can find him analyzing dreams, creating music, and writing poetry.

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