Microsoft Visio is undoubtedly an innovative diagramming tool with many robust features. It is one of the most popular diagramming tools, backed by a reliable company name. However, it often falls victim to criticism, as some find it not user-friendly enough. Moreover, its price plans could be too high for many. What's more, it is not available on MacOS.
The good news is that you can use other Visio alternatives to suit your diagramming needs. In particular, many would consider open-source replacements, as they are cost-free and could offer excellent service, too. So in this article, we will provide five best open-source Visio alternatives for you to choose from!
In addition to the options, we highly recommend you give EdrawMax a try. It is not open-source but has a free version. In addition to its free version, EdrawMax also offers much affordable premium plans than Visio.
A significant number of EdrawMax users used to diagram on Visio but turn to us for a variety of reasons. With an Intuitive UI similar to MS office, EdrawMax is far easier to use. Besides, it is available on Mac, Windows, Linux, and online. Give it a shot today if you are interested.
Part I. 5 Best Open-Source Visio Alternatives
1. LibreOffice - Draw
LibreOffice is a complete package of different applications, ranging from document editors to diagramming tools. The Draw app in the suite is used to draw different types of flowcharts, org charts, network diagrams, etc. With a library of tools and sketching options, it is a robust open-source alternative to Visio.
Draw also has the simple drag-and-drop framework but makes it one step easier with its single-click access option. It offers advanced manipulation with object rotation, a 3D controller, and its signature “Styles and Formatting” box.
Draw.io is another open-source alternative for Microsoft Visio. Draw.io emphasizes teamwork with its real-time collaboration features. This application stands out in its simplicity and ease of use with a straightforward user interface, allowing easy navigation.
Using Draw.io, you can make UML diagrams, flowcharts, org charts, and whiteboards. This Visio alternative has many trusted and reliable partners, like Walmart, Tesla, AT&T, and Udemy, showing that it is 100% genuine.
The drawing process in Draw.io is simple as it supports layers to handle each component individually. Moreover, it works offline, allowing users to access the app without an internet connection. But, the biggest strength of this app is its security and privacy by restricting its data tracking.
3. Pencil Project
Pencil Project is one of the most user-friendly options to replace Visio. It is a lightweight application with easy installation. Moreover, its open-source GUI makes it accessible to a broader audience. The mobile version of Pencil Project has engaging widgets, such as status bars, icons, and shapes.
This application supports diagram drawing with its built-in shapes and templates. Plus, its colorful yet minimalistic approach makes diagrams more attractive and vibrant. A unique feature of Pencil Project is its inter-page linking, allowing users to link elements in a page.
You can also export your diagrams in different formats using Pencil Project. It allows creating desktop, Android, iOS, and web UI with a collection of shapes and graphical elements.
Dia, or Dia Diagram Editor, is an excellent open-source Visio alternative. It has a neat interface, providing access to all the essential tools and options. The application comes with documentation to train newbies.
However, the biggest strength of Dia is its free-of-cost installation. The app doesn’t ask for in-app purchases or pricing packages. All of its features are available for free, including a collection of shapes.
The shape repository of Dia is also available on its website. There, you will find electrical, HVAC, gradient, optics, racks, electronic, scene mapping, building sites, automata, and other resources. You can install these shapes individually and integrate them into the main Dia software.
The software allows the creation of engineering, database, networking, circuit, computing, lighting, and miscellaneous diagrams.
Graphviz is yet another best Microsoft Visio alternative open source in our list. It is a visualization app used for creating high-end graphical representations, like network diagrams, database connections, machine learning graphs, and infographics.
It takes convenience to the next level by offering different export formats, like PDF and SVG. Graphviz comes with a variety of graphical elements and tools, but you can also create custom layouts and shapes.
Another plus point of using Graphviz is its support for different platforms. It works well on Windows, Mac, and Linux.
Part 2. EdrawMax: Free Easy-to-Use Visio Alternative
Are you unsatisfied with the available alternatives? While the tools in this guide are open-source and free to use, they might have certain limitations, as all free commodities do. Consider giving EdrawMax a try for the following reasons:
With an interface similar to MS Office, you will find it familiar and easy to navigate through the settings and options in the software. The intuitive UI makes it user-friendly to both beginners and pros.
EdrawMax is an one-stop diagramming solution for 280+ types of diagrams. The most frequently created diagram types are:
- mind maps
- org charts
- UML diagrams
- floor plans
- ER diagrams
- Architecture diagrams
- network diagrams
The best part is that all the diagrams are available with a blank layout and templates. The software offers over 10,000 free templates and 26,000 symbols.
This all-in-one diagramming tool is available for all major operating systems and platforms, including Android, iOs, Linux, Web, Mac, and Windows. Additionally, its free version can handle all the basic and intermediate diagramming needs.
EdrawMax’s new AI functions have made it much more convenient and straightforward. Now, you can enter your requirements and generate a diagram accordingly. If you are new, you can start with the EdrawMax gallery. It houses thousands of templates for each diagram requiring only a few modifications. That is why the app has a solid 4.3 G2 rating, while Visio has a 4.2.
While Microsoft Visio is an excellent app, it is not affordable for everyone. Plus, its steep learning curve might not suit inexperienced users. So, you can always rely on an open-source alternative to meet your diagramming needs. While all the applications in this list are capable, they have their strengths and weaknesses.
Some apps might have expensive pricing, while others lack the robust features available in Microsoft Visio. That is why we recommend using Wondershare EdrawMax. This complete package of an application might be your perfect diagramming partner without being heavy on your pocket.