Discovering Visio Similar Software: Free Tools for Visual Planning.

Explore free alternatives to Visio with our comprehensive guide on visio similar software. Visualize your ideas without breaking the bank using these easy-to-use and budget-friendly tools.

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Visual diagrams like flowcharts, network diagrams, floor plans, and more can help illustrate complex processes and concepts. However, the leading diagramming software, Microsoft Visio, doesn’t come cheap. Luckily, several free and open-source alternatives to Visio provide robust diagramming capabilities without the high price tag.

In this article, we’ll look at what makes Visio popular, the best free alternatives, and how to use one of the top picks to create diagrams easily.

In this article
  1. What is MS Visio?
  2. 4 Best Free Software Similar to Visio
  3. Choosing the Best Visio Alternative: EdrawMax
  4. Creating a Flowchart Using EdrawMax
  5. Conclusion

Part 1. What is MS Visio?

Launched in 1992, Visio was acquired by Microsoft in 2000 and has become the go-to software for diagramming in business and engineering environments.

Visio provides templates and drag-and-drop tools to create a wide range of visualizations. It can connect to external data sources, making it easy to illustrate complex processes and systems.

While Visio offers robust capabilities, it doesn’t come cheap. A standalone Visio Pro 2021 license costs $299, while a subscription to Microsoft 365 including Visio starts at $10/month per user. This puts advanced diagramming tools out of reach for individuals, students, and small businesses on a budget.

Fortunately, several free and open-source alternatives provide similar features without the high cost. Let’s look at some of the best options.

Part 2. 4 Best Free Software Similar to Visio

Here are the top free alternatives to Microsoft Visio:

#1 EdrawMax

edrawmax visio similar software

EdrawMax is an advanced, all-in-one diagramming solution for Windows, Mac, Linux, and the web. It provides intuitive tools to create flowcharts, org charts, network diagrams, floor plans, and over 280 more visuals.

With robust features rivaling Visio, EdrawMax is used by over 1 million businesses and educators worldwide. It offers thousands of templates, powerful integration with Office and Google Workspace, and team collaboration capabilities for just $99 per year for full access across devices.

#2 Diagrams.net

draw io

Formerly known as Draw.io, Diagrams.net is a free online diagram editor that works in any modern browser. It offers built-in shape libraries for flowcharts, networks, wireframes, UML diagrams, and more.

While the free online version has limited capabilities, Diagrams.net Desktop provides a full-featured application supporting over 300 diagram types. The desktop app is open-source software licensed under Apache 2.0.

#3 Lucidchart

lucidchart

Lucidchart is an online Visio alternative packed with intuitive diagramming tools and cloud collaboration features. It supports flowcharts, org charts, ERDs, UML diagrams, and more.

While basic Lucidchart accounts are free, paid plans unlock additional stencils, templates, integrations, and team workspace options. Paid plans start at $7.95/month per user for the Pro level license.

#4 Creately

creately

Creately enables companies to visually brainstorm, communicate, and collaborate through their online diagramming and whiteboarding platform. Like Lucidchart, it supports org charts, flowcharts, UML diagrams, floor plans, and more.

Creately offers limited free accounts as well as premium plans with more functionality, integrations, and workspace management capabilities. Paid plans start at $5 per user per month.

Part 3. Choosing the Best Visio Alternative: EdrawMax

With several capable options available, how do you choose the best free alternative to Visio for your needs? For most users, EdrawMax offers the ideal combination of features, convenience, and affordability.

Compared to other Visio alternatives, EdrawMax stands out in a few key ways:

  • All-in-one design - EdrawMax allows you to create over 280 types of diagrams within one easy-to-use application. It goes beyond basic flowcharts and org charts to provide tools for floor plans, medical infographics, fashion designs, and more.
  • Local application - As a downloadable Windows app, EdrawMax lets you work offline and integrate diagrams directly into Office documents. Other Visio alternatives rely solely on cloud access.
  • Perpetual license - With EdrawMax, you pay once for lifetime access to the software on multiple devices rather than a recurring subscription. The $99 personal license includes free updates and unlimited diagram creation.
  • User experience - EdrawMax provides a superior drag-and-drop interface, smart alignment and formatting tools, and 3000+ templates that make it easy for anyone to create professional-quality visuals.

For individual users, students, and small business owners looking for a reliably robust diagramming application at a reasonable price, EdrawMax can’t be beaten. Next, we’ll walk through getting started in EdrawMax by building a flowchart.

Part 4. Creating a Flowchart Using EdrawMax

One of the most popular uses for Visio and alternatives like EdrawMax is creating flowcharts to visualize processes, workflows, organizational hierarchies, and more. Here’s a step-by-step guide to constructing a simple flowchart in EdrawMax:

Step 1: Download and install EdrawMax. Launch the application and select New > Flowcharts > Basic Flowchart.

edrawmax templates

Step 2: Drag and drop shapes onto the canvas. Add shapes like terminators, processes, and decisions. Connect them by clicking and dragging from one to the next.

flowchart in edrawmax

Step 3: To add text, simply double-click on a shape and type. For the start/end terminators, click the text icon beside “Start/End” to edit.

add arrows

Step 4: Style the flowchart by choosing different line styles, fill colors, connectors, and themes from the menus on the right

customize colors

Step 5: When finished, export by going to File > Export. Choose PNG, JPG, PDF, or other vector formats. You can also copy and paste directly into Office apps.

export and save

And that’s it! Within minutes you can create a professionally styled flowchart in EdrawMax. More complex diagrams are just as easy with all the additional stencils and tools in EdrawMax.

Conclusion

Visio may be the big name in diagramming software, but excellent free alternatives like EdrawMax make robust diagram creation capabilities accessible to any budget. Whether you need to map a workflow, visualize a network, or diagram a floor plan, EdrawMax provides all the features you need in an intuitive interface at an affordable price.

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 Jul 04, 24
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