The Best Microsoft Visio Alternative you Should Know


The turn of the century saw Microsoft purchase the company Visio, and along with it the software of the same name, for approximately 1.3 billion dollars. Having adapted it to their own concepts, they then proceeded to publish it as part of their Microsoft Office family also under the name Microsoft Visio. Since then, newer versions of the tool have released regularly, but never as part of the several Office Suites. However, nowadays, Visio is available as part of the “Standard” and also “Professional” editions of MS Office. And also as an additional purchase for Microsoft 365 as well. In this article, we are going to talk about The Best Microsoft Visio Alternative you Should Know. Let’s begin!

The normal home user is willing to spend $300 for the “Standard” version and $590 for the Pro version. A quick glance at the scope and price of the program actually lets you know. That the application is basically designed for professional use in larger companies. Something that also explains the relatively small circulation of the program. It is probable that an available budget is too low to fund the acquisition of this Microsoft software, or perhaps that the program is too complex for the intended purpose. If this is the case, then it is worth noting that cheaper, or indeed, free alternatives are available and may be a better choice as well.

Best Microsoft Visio Alternative


Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux


  • Offline Mode
  • High-Quality Chart templates for many industries
  • Mobile apps available for IOS and Android


  • Free Basic severely restricted

According to the developer of Lucid Software, their program “Lucidchart” is used by more than 15 million users as an alternative to Microsoft Visio. The web application, which was released in 2008 and is also written in a variety of coding languages. That includes Java, Ruby, PHP, and JavaScript, which can be accessed directly through the official website. A prerequisite is now having an individual user account. There you can choose between a free “Lite” edition and also three paid subscription options. The latter three grant access to additional features such as presentation mode, or extended storage space. And also removes the limits on documents and chart scope that exist in the free version as well.

visio alternative

Lucidchart provides around 100 ready-to-use templates to create and design high-quality diagrams. The software covers categories such as education, mind-maps, companies, floor plans, or entity relationships (ER). Thanks to many icons, shapes, and arrows, you can also create your own individual diagrams as well. That allows you to get access to special premium components if you are signed up for the “Pro” or “Team” plans. That includes importing and editing existing Visio projects. You also have the option to save finished projects to their servers, or download them directly to your device in these following formats:

  • .pdf
  • .png (Standard / with clear background)
  • .jpeg
  • .svg (Standard / with clear background)
  • .vdx
  • .csv


Platforms: Windows, Mac, Browser

Coming in both free and also paid flavors, Gliffy is a robust diagramming app that fully embraces the cloud. It integrates with services such as Google Drive, Confluence, and JIRA to allow you to collaborate on your UMLs, flowcharts, and all other diagramming projects seamlessly. Gliffy is free for students, however, others get access to the ‘Basic’ version of the software (after a 14-day trial with the paid version). That has less templates, images, and so on than the paid version.

visio alternative

With its simple drag-and-drop interface, a huge variety of exportable formats, and a perfectly usable browser version which is completely free. Gliffy is an excellent choice for those comfortable with diagramming and flowchart software as well. More advanced users, however, may find the free version a little wanting in features and also opt for one of the other, more feature-packed options in this list.

yEd Graph Editor

Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux


  • Multi-platform compatibility
  • Import function for complex data volumes incl. automatic processing
  • Desktop and online versions available
  • The first-class hierarchical layout of individual objects


  • Difficult setup

It is created by the German software company yWorks, the yEd Graph Editor is undoubtedly one of the best free Microsoft Visio alternative on the market. The visualization software is written in Java and is based on many Open Course components. Such as the Batik SVG Toolkit and XML Beans from Apache, or several libraries like dom4j and TwelveMonkeys (both under BSD license). But, it is not published under a free license, meaning that we cannot change source code. But yWorks has made the cross-platform editor, that is suitable for Windows, macOS, Linux, and also the Java Runtime Environment available for use free of charge. Alongside the desktop version, which we can find in the download section of the company’s official website. There is also an additional online version, which includes some fee-based “Pro Features” as well.

visio alternative

yEd provides numerous components for the creation of versatile and also multifaceted diagrams. Alongside a large number of geometric nodes and also link types. There is also a choice of UML (Unified Modeling Language) symbols for software-specific class and also object diagrams as well. BPMN (Business Process Model and Notation) symbols for the depiction of business procedures, as well as many flowchart components. This alternative to Microsoft Visio has different functions, that will help you arrange and annotate the wished components of a diagram. Automatic layout algorithms, helpful guides, and also orthogonal connections. All of them make positioning very simple. At the same time, the program’s inscriptions give good readability. Below are some of the notable features of the yWorks editor:


  • High-performance search and marking tools
  • Undo and Redo functions
  • Develop multiple diagrams at the same time
  • Versatile and adaptable user interface
  • Different viewing options (mouse wheel zooming, etc.)
  • Automatic layout generation for complex volumes of data
  • Import different sources of data, like excel tables(.xls), GEDCOM data, XML & GML files,
  • Shortcuts for important functions
  • Extensive preview area (general overview, object properties, object structure)

yEd Graph Editor also offers six standard saving formats. These are the main format .graphml, the condensed version .graphmlz, the binary format .ygf.gml (Graph Modeling Language) and .xgml (.gml with XML-based Syntax) as well as .tgf, the “Trivial Graph“ format. On the top of this, there are also many output formats, such as .html.pdf, .jpg.png or .gif, in which you can also export your diagrams from this free Microsoft Visio alternative as well.

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