Microsoft Visio Alternatives For Mac & Windows

As you know, Microsoft Visio is the most popular diagramming tool. However. the software is quite expensive. That's where a good Visio alternative comes in.

To find an alternative to Visio, I looked at Visio competitors that are affordable, can sync with a project management software platform, and alternatives with good customer reviews. Here are the best Visio alternatives that are free to use or cheap for Mac and Windows.

LucidChart

LucidChart is a free online Flowchart Maker. It's also one of the best free alternatives to Visio. What I like about LucidChart is that you can have more than one team member work on a project. And, the drag and drop interface makes it easier to navigate and get work done in less time.

Another cool feature is that it can import or export Microsoft Visio.vdx files. But, there are also some things that I do not like.

For example, it does not categorize shapes. So, you have to look and choose different shapes for diagrams carefully. And, you can only open 3 active documents at one time.

I do like that there's no need to install any software as it's a free web program. This means that you can work on your project from mobile (Android & iOS) as well as MacOS or Windows via a web browser.

But, to be honest, some people find that not having a stand alone software for desktop a con. After all, not everyone likes having their work stored on the web.

Draw.io

Another good online diagramming software is Draw.io. It's a Visio like software free online for Android, iOS, MacOs, and Windows. And, it even runs on ChromeOS. There's no need to create an account.

You just go to the website and start working. You can save your designs to Google Drive, Dropbox or locally on your PC. Also, it can import and export Microsoft Visio.vdx files.

However, given that it's free to use, advanced tools like those of Microsoft Visio are not present. And, the interface may take some getting used to. But, what can I say? It's a free Visio alternative.

yED Graph Editor

yED Graph Editor is another completely free diagramming software. It works on Windows, macOS, and Linux/Unix. But, it does not work on ChromeOS.

The good thing about is that though its cross-platform, there's a native app for each platform. I like to manually create diagrams but, for those of us that want a bit of automation, yED can automatically creates diagrams from imported data.

All in all, it's a great Visio replacement. And, while it may not have advanced features like Visio or LucidChart, it gets the job done 90% of the time.

OmniGraffle

For those of you who want Visio for Mac, OmniGraffle is the perfect replacement. It's only available for MacOS. It has a beautiful and easy to use interface. And, it's also one of the easiest diagram software to learn.

  • Beautiful UI/UX design.
  • Support for Visio files import and Export.
  • ayered documents.
  • Shape recognition and blending modes.
  • PNG, PGF, SVG, and Photoshop export.
  • OmniPresence documents sync automation with JavaScript and AppleScript.

Those are just some of the best features. The only con is that it only works on Mac OS X. Other than that, it's one of the best Project Management Software for Mac.

Pencil Project

If you want a free open source Visio alternative, Pencil Project is the software for you. It's cross-platform with native apps for macOS, Windows, and Linux. 

It has pre-installed templates, and stencils, an excellent collection of shape and an easy to use interface.

There's an extensive list of tools to create flowcharts, diagrams and whatever you need. And, being open source, updates are frequent and swift.

However, there is no web-based service available. Hence, Chromebook users cannot use the software.

Ardoq

Are you an architect or project manager? Then, Ardoq is the Microsoft Visio alternative you need. The key features are:

  • Review and analyze data
  • Automatic diagram creation
  • Live data update
  • Grouping
  • Conditional formatting
  • Global Search with revision history
  • Automate repetitive tasks
  • Handle complex datasets
  • Powerful built-in data editing tools
  • Customisable Metamodels

Ardoq offers a free trial and you can request pricing on their website. And, while it may not be the cheapest option, it deserves a spot on the list if only for it's features and compatibility with other programs.

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Final Thoughts

These Microsoft Visio alternatives get the job done. Whether you are a pro or a beginner, there's something for you. There are free alternatives, some are cross-platform, some are web-based, and others might require a small fee. Whatever the case, with these alternatives to Visio, you have options.

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