Microsoft Visio is an excellent tool for visual communication i.e. for creating flowcharts, playbooks, network diagrams and other forms. It’s an immensely popular product in the corporate world and is provided as part of the Microsoft Office product lineup. This makes it instantly available to all Windows users, assuming they’re willing to spend for a full license. That brings me to my second point, the pricing. Well, Visio is by no means an affordable offering, and understandably so. However, with a price tag of over $500, it’s simply beyond the reach of millions of customers worldwide.
This is why we’ve decided to compile a list of some of the best Microsoft Visio alternatives available in 2020. There are some good offerings that are available for free or for a nominal fee. These alternatives are available for most platforms, while some don’t have a dedicated web client. So be sure to pick the tool that’s best suited for you.
5 Best Microsoft Visio Alternatives in 2020
This tool uses HTML5 to render images and tools, and works entirely on your browser. This means there’s no requirement to download a separate software for your computer in order to use Gliffy. It also comes with Google Drive sync enabled, thus ensuring you never lose any valuable work that you’ve spent hours on. The folks at Gliffy offer a free as well as premium offering, depending on your preferences. However, the free version is very capable on its own and can get the job done for most people.
The paid version of Gliffy is recommended for a large team of people who like to collaborate on a project. This benefit is unavailable on the free version, unfortunately. The paid version, at $7.95 is somewhat expensive compared to some alternatives (like Office 365), which is somewhat disappointing. But compared to what customers would have to spend on Visio, this is definitely a bargain. You can check out Gliffy from their official website.
This is yet another lightweight drawing tool that exists entirely on your web browser, thus giving you the freedom to close and resume work instantly over a web browser. Your work can be synced through cloud services like Google Drive or Dropbox for easy access on the cloud, which puts it on par with Gliffy. When you start creating a new document, draw.io will first ask you to specify where you want the project saved, with the options being Google Drive, Dropbox or Device (your computer storage).
Given that this is a free offering, it doesn’t have the bells and whistles of some of the other services that we’re going to talk about here. However, draw.io comes with an expansive list of templates for business charts as well as projections in the form of graphs including Venn diagrams. For a free offering, draw.io is pretty elaborate, although the user interface is not as good as it could be. If you’re looking for a quick sketch or chart, we highly recommend you to use draw.io.
LucidChart is an excellent alternative to Visio and it even performs pretty similarly for the most part. What’s even better is the fact that you can open standard Visio files on LucidChart, allowing you to resume work on a project you’re currently involved with. The folks at LucidChart previously wouldn’t ask for a sign-up, although new users are now required to create a free account before drawing. While you can still use it without spending a dime, there are some added benefits when you pay for a subscription. However, paid options add up to a lot of money in the long run, which is perhaps the only downside of this service.
In terms of features, LucidChart has all its bases covered, particularly in terms of editing. You can simply choose to drag and drop objects on your diagram and find all the tools readily available on the screen. There are a bunch of templates to choose from as well, so you’re well covered with LucidChart. While the free service offers collaboration among various users, the paid subscription also adds Chart A.I. as well as Visio import/export. If these features are attractive to you, be sure to check out LucidChart.
This is an extremely simple service created for the web, that can help you draw up charts and diagrams in no time. It uses a preset of charts and drawings that are already available to help you illustrate your points well. One caveat with Creately is that the free version doesn’t support a lot of features, pushing users to pay for the subscription. However, the subscription prices range from $5 per month to $49 per year, which is fairly reasonable considering how other offerings are priced.
If you’re not a big fan of the web client, Creately also has a desktop app that can offer you more freedom with your projects. The catch here is that you will be required to pay a one-time fee of $75 for the service, which is not that bad considering how Visio is priced. It’s a viable alternative to Visio though, and the addition of a desktop client in addition to a web-app makes it appealing to a large group of consumers.
As the name suggests, this is a basic chart making service that aims to take all the frustrations away from chart creation. There’s no web-app for Pencil Project, so you will be limited to downloading a desktop client (Mac or Windows). This has its own advantages, though, so the lack of a web-app is not necessarily concerning.
Pencil Project is an open source tool, allowing developers to easily make modifications or improvements to the app overtime. Keeping this in mind, this is one of the cheapest (it’s free) offerings in the market. Although it lacks features like cloud saving, the fact that you can access all your documents and files on the computer is good enough. If you’re looking for a completely free alternative to Visio, it’s hard to do better than Pencil Project.