Upgrade Your Diagramming: Alternatives to Microsoft Visio Pro 2016

Explore cutting-edge alternatives to Microsoft Visio Pro 2016 that offer advanced diagramming features and a seamless user experience. Elevate your visualization game with these top-tier tools.


Microsoft Visio is a popular diagramming and vector graphics software program that allows users to visualize flowcharts, organization charts, building plans, and more.

While Visio Pro continues to be a leading choice for professional diagramming, some users may be looking for alternatives that are less expensive, simpler to use, or include new innovative features. In this article, we’ll compare Microsoft Visio Pro 2016 and Microsoft Visio 2021 Pro, and explore top Visio alternatives for simplified diagram creation.

In this article
  1. Overview of Microsoft Office Visio Pro
  2. Microsoft Visio Pro 2016 VS Microsoft Visio 2021 Pro: Key Differences
  3. Best Visio Alternatives For Simplified Diagramming
  4. Steps to Create a Simple Flowchart Using EdrawMax
  5. Conclusion

Part 1. Overview of Microsoft Office Visio Pro

Microsoft Visio Professional is designed for advanced diagramming needs in business settings.

Visio integrates well with other Microsoft products like Excel, SharePoint, and Project. This makes it a versatile diagramming software for business use.

Part 2. Microsoft Visio Pro 2016 VS Microsoft Visio 2021 Pro: Key Differences

There are a few key differences between Visio Pro 2016 and the latest 2021 version:

  • Updated interface - Visio 2021 has a refreshed, modern interface optimized for touch and pen input. The ribbon is decluttered with frequently used tools at the forefront.
  • New templates - Over 25 new templates have been added covering business, engineering, software, and general diagrams. Templates use a consistent, professional design aesthetic.
  • Enhanced data graphic tools - New chart types, data bars, heat maps, and icons help turn data into impactful data-driven diagrams.
  • Improved accessibility - Visio 2021 meets modern web accessibility standards with alt-text, color contrast, keyboard shortcuts, and screen reader capabilities.
  • Cloud app integration - Tighter integration with Microsoft 365 and other cloud apps helps connect diagrams across platforms.

For most use cases, Microsoft Visio Pro 2016 has the essential tools needed—but Microsoft Visio 2021 Pro provides a refreshed interface and better integrates with new Microsoft cloud apps and services.

Part 3. Best Visio Alternatives For Simplified Diagramming

While Visio provides comprehensive tools for technical diagramming, users looking for a simpler, cheaper alternative have several options to consider:

#1 Wondershare EdrawMax

wondershare edrawmax

EdrawMax is a cross-platform diagram app that works on Windows, Mac, Linux, and browsers. It offers many of Visio's key features at a lower price point.

Key features include:

  • Intuitive drag-and-drop interface with thousands of vector symbols and templates.
  • Ability to import Visio files and share diagrams in Visio file formats.
  • Tools for flowcharts, organizational charts, mind maps, network diagrams, floor plans, and more.
  • REAL-TIME collaboration for working together on diagrams.
  • Powerful customization with editing of symbols, templates, styles, and color themes.

#2 Google Drawings

Google Drawings visio alternative

Google Drawings is a free web-based diagramming tool part of Google Workspace. Best for simple diagrams and collaboration.

Key features:

  • Drag-and-drop shapes, lines, and text over a canvas.
  • Collaborative editing in real-time for working together.
  • Easy sharing via links and exporting as image files or PDFs.
  • Free web and Android app versions.
  • Limited shape libraries and styling compared to Visio.

#3 Creately

creately visio alternative

Creately is an online diagram app with a large library of professionally-designed templates.

Key features:

  • Ready-made templates spanning flowcharts, org charts, UML, network diagrams, and more.
  • Stylish designs and color palettes for polished, visually appealing diagrams.
  • Real-time collaboration built in.
  • Custom diagrams can be built from scratch by combining shapes and lines.
  • Integrates with apps like Google Drive, Dropbox, Confluence, and Jira.
  • Ideal for teams that want well-designed diagrams quickly.

#4 Draw.io

draw io visio alternative

Draw.io from AppSheet is a lightweight free diagramming web app with an intuitive interface.

Key features:

  • Drag-and-drop shapes and connectors with auto-alignment and layout.
  • The minimalistic design allows the creation of diagrams quickly.
  • 100's of templates for common use cases.
  • Direct integration with Google Drive and Dropbox.
  • Ability to import and export Visio files.

#5 Lucidchart

lucid chart

Lucidchart is one of the most full-featured Visio alternatives.

Key features:

  • Robust shape libraries, styling tools, and template variety.
  • Create detailed technical diagrams with advanced shapes and customization.
  • Real-time collaboration capabilities.
  • Work on diagrams offline with desktop app support.
  • Higher pricing but offers one of the most Visio-like experiences.

Part 4. Steps to Create a Simple Flowchart Using EdrawMax

EdrawMax is one of the easiest-to-use Visio alternatives and offers many of the same core diagramming capabilities.

Below are the key steps to create a simple flowchart in EdrawMax:

Step 1: Install and open EdrawMax on your Windows, Mac, or Linux desktop. Click on the Flowchart category and select a template that matches your needs, such as Basic Flowchart. This will open a canvas with the template shapes added.

edrawmax templates

Step 2: Drag and drop flowchart shapes from the left Libraries pane onto the canvas. Add shapes for Start/End points, processes, decisions, etc.

process flow diagram

Step 3: Double-click shapes and connectors to add text labels describing the processes and flows.

add connectors

Step 4: Make cosmetic changes like applying colors or moving and aligning objects for a clean presentation.

customize colors

Step 5: When done, export the flowchart via File > Export As > Image File or PDF to share with others.

export and save

EdrawMax makes it easy to create a variety of diagrams for business uses at an affordable price point compared to Visio. The drag-and-drop editor requires a minimal learning curve for most users.


While Microsoft Visio continues to lead as powerful diagramming software for complex technical visualizations, many users will find its pricing and learning curve prohibitive. The Visio alternatives covered in this article offer lighter weight, cheaper, yet still robust options for flow charts, org diagrams, UML designs, and more.

With this overview of Visio alternatives, you can evaluate the options and select the best fit for your specific diagramming and collaboration needs.

edrawmax logoEdrawMax Desktop
Simple alternative to Visio
210+ types of diagrams
10K+ free templates & 26k+ symbols
10+ AI diagram generators
10+ export formats
edrawmax logoEdrawMax Online
Edit diagrams anywhere, anytime
Personal cloud & Dropbox integration
Enterprise-level data security
Team management and collaboration

Edraw Team
Edraw Team Apr 15, 24
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