Although Microsoft has never released Visio for Mac, we’ve taken an in-depth look at the best powerful alternatives that are not only better than Visio but are cheaper too.
All of the tools here can import and export MS Visio files although only our number 1 choice SmartDraw can also EXPORT to the latest Visio VSDX format.
That means there’s no need to say goodbye to your precious Visio diagrams and stencils either when drawing complex diagrams such as process flows, work flows and charts.
In fact SmartDraw is even better than Microsoft’s product when it comes to visual communication and collaboration.
If you’re like many professional Visio users, half of the features in Visio you probably don’t even need anyway and SmartDraw has nailed the essentials while getting rid of all the fluff.
All the tools featured here are certainly easier to use than MS Visio and in almost every case, much better value than Visio Professional 2019 which currently costs a hefty $530.
You May Also Like:
Here then are the best Visio alternatives for Mac users in order of ranking.
SmartDraw is easily the most powerful yet easy to use alternative to Microsoft Visio on a Mac.
The best thing about SmartDraw is that it does everything that Visio can but makes it far simpler and faster.
Not only that, but it’s much better value for money than MS Visio, especially for Teams.
SmartDraw has been on the market since 1994 and is used by around half of Fortune 500 companies and more than 250,000 enterprises worldwide.
Some of the customers that have put their faith in SmartDraw include major blue-chip companies such as GM, Pepsi and Tesla.
SmartDraw been designed specifically to rival Visio (rather than just an all-purpose diagram tool like many others) and this is clear in the little touches that make it stand-out from the crowd.
For example, it’s the only alternative to Visio on Mac that can both import and export to the latest Visio VSDX format.
Often when importing Visio files into any third party program, there’s a lot of formatting issues but SmartDraw can import Visio files with ease as you can see below.
But while a lot of diagramming software on Mac can import Visio files, very few tools on Mac can export accurately to the Visio VSDX format.
This is absolutely crucial if you need to work on diagrams with Visio based colleagues or Windows users making SmartDraw easily the best Visio file editor for Mac users.
The same goes for Visio stencils.
If you have hundreds of Visio stencils that you don’t want to say goodbye to, you can just import VSD and VSDX Visio stencils into SmartDraw and keep using them.
The interface of SmartDraw will feel familiar to anyone that’s ever used Visio but its far more user-friendly than MS Visio with a slick design that looks great on macOS.
SmartDraw also blows Visio out of the water for templates and objects.
There are more than 4,500 diagram templates in SmartDraw compared to little more than 100 in Visio.
The time you save by being able to instantly dive in and edit these ready-made templates means it takes significantly less time to create diagrams in SmartDraw compared to Visio.
In terms of the toolset too, SmartDraw has more than 34,000 symbols compared to around 1,800 in Visio 2019.
They also look better because they’re in high quality crisp SVG vector format.
One of the biggest advantages SmartDraw has over Visio is the Smart Formatting and auto-diagramming features.
SmartDraw automatically re-balances diagrams and layouts so when you change connectors and move things around, it adjusts things for you to keep things tidy.
This makes a big difference compared to Visio where you have to do a lot more painstaking and tedious manual adjustment of swimlanes, text wrapping, shapes and other diagram elements.
SmartDraw also recognizes that there’s a lot of Project Managers and Business Analysts out there making the switch from Visio need both a visual communication tool and project management tool on their Mac.
You can instantly turn SmartDraw Mind Maps into Gantt Charts and even send tasks to Trello where they are dynamically updated as task are completed.
This is a really slick touch to SmartDraw and we like the way changes made in one view, are instantly reflected in the other.
We also like the fact that SmartDraw doesn’t try to lock you into its own ecosystem and file format like some diagramming tools do.
If you want to share diagrams, you can easily can export files to Microsoft Office For Mac, PDF, SVG or PNG format or share via file sharing apps such as Dropbox, Google Drive and OneDrive for Business.
This means you can add diagrams very easily into any report in Word, PowerPoint or Excel.
Or if you just want to send someone a diagram online, you can send a URL of the diagram in Microsoft Outlook with customized permissions which allows anyone to view or edit it.
SmartDraw has plugins for both that allow you to create diagrams within Jira and Confluence without even opening SmartDraw.
This is another big plus over Visio which offers no official way of even viewing Visio diagrams in Confluence, never mind actually create diagrams in it.
Although there are other rivals to Visio that offer Confluence integration, SmartDraw has the best by some distance.
In summary, SmartDraw is an amazing professional alternative to Visio on Mac.
It produces results as good as Visio but with considerably less effort and time.
From Site Engineers wanting to draw floor plans to HR Managers looking to create well designed organizational charts, SmartDraw is incredibly effective.
You can get started now with SmartDraw for free to judge for yourself.
For a more detailed look, you can check out our in-depth SmartDraw review.
You can also see how SmartDraw vs Visio compare side-by-side below.
SmartDraw vs Visio
|Works on a Mac|
|Works Online||Only some features|
|Visio Import & Export (VSD/VSDX)|
|Import Visio Stencils|
|Easy Sharing via URL||Limited|
|Automatic Org Chart Formatting|
|Automatic Project Charts|
|Automatic Mind Maps|
|Automatic Decision Trees|
|Automatic Cause and Effect Diagrams|
|Real Time Collaboration|
|G Suite Integration|
|Microsoft Office Integration|
|Google Drive, Dropbox, Box Support|
|Build Class Diagrams from Data||Some support|
|Build ERD from data|
|Build Sitemaps from Data|
|Standard Engineering Scales|
- The only Visio alternative on Mac that accurately exports to the latest VSDX Visio file format
- Thousands more objects and templates than Visio
- Automated diagramming makes it incredibly fast and easy to use
- Integrated Project Management features
- Cheaper than Microsoft Visio Pro
- Imports all Visio file formats
- Jira/Confluence/Trello/Office integration
- No mobile app yet
Price: $5.95 per month for teams of 5+ / $9.95 per month individuals / Enterprise plans on request
If online apps are not your thing, OmniGraffle is the closest thing to a native Mac desktop alternative to MS Visio.
OmniGraffle is designed specifically for Mac although it’s a more artistic design tool than Visio and it’s not as easy to use at SmartDraw.
However, once mastered OmniGraffle produces attractive, professional diagrams, user interfaces and wireframes that look better than anything possible in Visio.
It’s important to note from the start that although OmniGraffle can import Visio files, it can’t export files to the latest Visio VSDX format like SmartDraw can.
If you’re going to working alongside with PC based Visio colleagues, that will rule it out straight from the off.
OmniGraffle Pro can import all Visio formats (VSDX, VSD, VDX) fand Visio stencil files (VST, VTX, VSX and VSS).
Note that Visio import support is not available in the Standard Version of OmniGraffle ($99).
Although there’s aren’t so many stencils and templates included in OmniGraffle, it has a dedicated following of users that have created repositories of free OmniGraffle Stencils.
Diagrams created in OmniGraffle look better than those in Visio because it uses high quality vector graphics. There are more tools for illustrating diagrams in OmniGraffle meaning you can create some really eye-catching flowcharts.
OmniGraffle is also the only diagramming software on Mac that allows you to use the Touch Bar on new MacBook Pros.
This helps streamline your workflow and improve productivity without having to use the TouchPad or mouse all the time.
Finally, for Project Managers, OmniGraffle is fully integrated with project management tool OmniPlan from the same developer.
OmniPlan is also a powerful project management tool which makes a great replacement for Microsoft Project on Mac.
Overall, we really like OmniGraffle because it’s designed specifically for Mac with the needs of Mac users in mind.
It’s not as fast and easy to use as SmartDraw and it’s more expensive but if you want something desktop based rather than Cloud based, OmniGraffle is one of the best alternatives to Visio out there.
You can try OmniGraffle free for 7 days by downloading it from the Mac App Store.
If you decide not to upgrade to the Pro version, you can still keep OmniGraffle as a free desktop Visio viewer on your Mac.
You can also check out our full OmniGraffle review for more.
- Native desktop Mac app
- Imports Visio files (Pro version only)
- Lots of templates available via third party sources
- Powerful iOS app
- Can’t export to the latest Visio VSDX format
- Expensive upfront cost and upgrades
- iOS app costs extra
Price: Standard $99.99 / Professional $199.99
Platforms: Mac, iOS
Lucidchart is a powerful online diagramming software with strong team collaboration features and excellent integration with Microsoft Office.
While it’s not as slick as similar Cloud based solutions like SmartDraw and doesn’t come close to it in terms of templates, objects or graphics quality, it’s still one of the leading diagramming tools out there.
Lucidchart can import Visio files (although it can’t export to the latest Visio VSDX format).
You can also import Visio stencils in VSS or VSX format (although Visio templates in VST or VTX format are not supported).
One particularly nice touch is that Lucidchart tailors the interface and toolset according to your industry and needs such as engineering, flowcharting, UML diagramming etc.
Lucidchart really excels at multi-user collaboration and allows you to chat with others inside the app, see revision changes, leave comments etc.
There are free Lucidchart plugins for JIRA, Confluence and Jive integration.
Lucidchart is very well-integrated with Microsoft Office so you can draw diagrams directly in Word, PowerPoint and Excel.
There’s also a handy Chrome plugin that allows you to draw diagrams offline.
Overall Lucidchart is an easy to use online diagramming tool ideal for team collaboration and those that need good integration with Microsoft Office.
For a more in-depth look at Lucidchart, check-out our full Lucidchart review.
You can also try a free trial of Lucidchart.
- Imports Visio files
- Works offline in Chrome
- Excellent team collaboration features
- Can’t export to the latest Visio VSDX format
- No VST/VTX stencil import support
- Lower quality bitmap graphics only
Price: Teams $6.70/m, Individuals $8.95/m
ConceptDraw Diagram (formerly ConceptDraw Pro) is a cross-platform desktop alternative to Visio that works on both Mac and Windows PCs.
Firstly, it’s important to be aware that although it’s a decent diagramming tool, the Visio format compatibility in the Mac version is not great.
ConceptDraw Diagram claims to import Visio stencils in VSS format and Visio VSD/VDX (from Visio 2007-2010) but the reality is the formatting is a mess.
The same goes for ConceptDraw Diagram’s claim to export to Microsoft’s newer open XML file format VSDX used in Visio 2013 and 2016.
The VSDX import and export tool does not work well at all and certainly nowhere near as smoothly as with SmartDraw.
However, if Visio compatibility is not important to you, ConceptDraw Diagram does a better job of exporting diagrams to Microsoft Office and Evernote among other formats.
There are plenty of templates to get you going divided into different areas such as landscaping, engineering, management, science, flowcharts etc.
There’s also a rich collection of high quality vector objects, audiovisual clips, additional templates and tutorials in ConceptDraw Solution Park.
ConceptDraw Diagram also allows you to create presentations and slideshows of your diagrams.
ConceptDraw Diagram is a viable option if you want something similar to Visio that works on both Mac and PC desktops.
You can try a free trial by signing up for a ConceptDraw account.
You can also check out our review of ConceptDraw Diagram For Mac.
- Imports Visio files
- Exports to Visio 2016 VSDX format
- Desktop app for both Mac & PC
- Expensive desktop upgrades
- Windows inspired interface
Platforms: Mac, Windows, iOS
Gliffy is an extremely easy to use team focused Cloud diagram software that’s ideal for collaborating on UML, network diagrams and org charts.
Gliffy is actually divided into two tools, Gliffy Diagram and Gliffy Project. The latter is for integrating and sharing your diagrams with Atlassian products such as Jira and Confluence.
The biggest disadvantage of Gliffy is that although it can import Visio files, it can’t export to Visio which rules it out if you need to work alongside other Visio users.
Gliffy does however have a Chrome extension so although it’s Cloud based, you can create diagrams offline.
It also syncs with online storage solutions such as Google Drive and Dropbox directly from your desktop.
Gliffy’s WYSIWYG interface is based on HTML5 which means it’s fast and responsive.
It uses a drag-and-drop interface which makes it easy to add objects and connectors to your diagrams.
Gliffy is an excellent choice for teams as it has full revision histories for diagrams, private sharing and all users can leave comments on diagrams.
Sharing diagrams in Gliffy is also easy. If you want to share diagrams with a non Gliffy user, it generates a simple URL which can be shared on social media and other channels so anyone can view the diagram.
Gliffy allows you to export diagrams to Google Docs, presentations, web pages and most major image formats including JPG, PNG, PNG with transparent background and SVG.
There’s a good choice of real objects to illustrate diagrams with although there aren’t many templates to choose from.
If you just want a basic but easy online diagramming solution that imports Visio files, allows you to diagram offline and is suitable for teams, Gliffy is definitely worth checking out.
You can try Gliffy for free and test drive it for yourself. Be aware however that the free version of Gliffy makes your diagrams public so it’s definitely not suitable for confidential data such as network diagrams.
You can also check out our full review of Gliffy for more.
- Imports Visio files
- Excellent for team collaboration
- Lots of real objects to choose from
- Fast, responsive interface
- Works offline with Chrome extension
- No Visio export support
- Embedding requires Team subscription or above
- Not many templates
Pricing: $7.99/month for individuals. Teams start at $4.99 per user/month.
Creately is a lightweight, fast and cost-effective alternative to Visio. Creately is a lot simpler than Visio but you can create some pretty impressive diagrams, Venn diagrams, flowcharts and process flows with it.
Creately can import but not export to Visio VSDX format.
There are some neat touches in Creately like shared project libraries, a useful Google Image search tool and auto snapping of objects connectors.
Creately also integrates with Confluence, Jira and the G Suite Marketplace.
Creately has a Mac desktop client which allows you to draw offline and sync any changes when you go online again.
There are thousands of templates to choose from to get things done quickly.
You can create up to 5 diagrams for free in Creately before deciding whether it’s for you.
You can also read our review of Creately if you want to learn more.
- Very easy to use
- Imports Visio files
- Automated snapping of objects and connectors
- Mac desktop app
- No Visio export
- Customer support is only online
Price: Free for up to 5 diagrams then starts at $5/month or $25/month for teams.
Platforms: Cloud, Mac, Windows, Linux, iOS, Android.
If you mainly use Visio for creating flowcharts then Textografo is a data input based alternative with a clean, minimalist interface.
Textografo claims that by automating diagrams, it’s the fastest diagram tool on the market although it takes some getting used to first.
Textografo doesn’t cater for all diagram formats but consists of a Flowchart Maker, Mindmap Maker, Decision Tree Maker, Organizational Chart Maker and a Sitemap Maker.
Textografo takes a data input approach to diagramming by automating diagrams based on the data you feed it.
Textografo is designed particularly with business processes in mind especially those in Process Analysis, Business Operations, Software Development, Sales & Marketing and Customer Service roles.
Instead of drawing flowcharts by dragging and dropping shapes, you have to “program” it in Textografo using hashtags and instructions in the left hand margin and Textografo draws it.
So for example, if you type “#decision” a decision box will appear in the diagram or type “#circle” and a circle appears.
This removes the need to constantly align, resize and connect elements and objects in flowcharts by automating much of the process for you via syntax.
However, as much as you’d sometimes like to, you can’t just drag and drop elements. Everything has to go through the Textografo syntax editor.
You also can’t import or export Visio files into Textografo.
In terms of pricing plans, Textografo Essentials is the basic version of Textografo and costs $4 per month but is limited to 5 private diagrams and 50 shapes per diagram.
You can use Textografo free for 7 days before you have to purchase a plan.
You can also read our full Textografo review for a more detailed look at it.
- Data input based -- no manual drawing
- Quicker than Visio when you get used to it
- Confluence integration
- Takes some getting used to
- Not as flexible as drag and drop diagramming
Price: Textografo Essential $8 per month (limited to 5 diagrams) and Premium $14 per month.
MyDraw (formerly known as Nevron Draw) is a budget desktop alternative to MS Visio.
If the interface of MyDraw looks familiar, that’s because it’s heavily inspired by Microsoft Office’s Ribbon UI used in all MS Office products.
Visio file format support is excellent in MyDraw including support for importing older VDX format and VSSX stencils too.
MyDraw can also import, edit and export Visio VSDX files (although the results aren’t great with any type of Visio file).
MyDraw can also import family tree diagrams in GEDCOM format used in genealogy software on Mac. Other export formats supported include PDF, AutoCAD’s DXF format and as high-resolution images.
MyDraw has a very large number of shapes and objects to choose from and uses a powerful formula based engine similar to Visio.
It also has automatic layout algorithms to speed things up when creating diagrams.
There are plenty of free templates for simple mind maps, network diagrams, floor plans, fish bone diagrams, work flows, UML diagrams and electrical diagrams.
If you like to draw diagrams on your iPad, MyDraw also supports the Apple Pencil and other graphics tablets that work with Macs.
MyDraw isn’t quite on the same level as Visio but if you’re on a really tight budget and want a Mac desktop solution, it’s definitely worth downloading the free trial.
You can also check out our full MyDraw review for more.
- Imports, edits and exports VSDX files
- Imports Visio VSSX stencils
- Microsoft Office style Ribbon interface
- Lots of shapes and templates
- Desktop client for Mac and Windows
- Lacks advanced Visio tools
- Interface feels more Windows inspired
Price: Starts at $69.99
Platforms: Desktop -- Mac, Windows
Edraw Max is a cheaper desktop alternative to Visio but with a strikingly similar interface.
There are a lot of similarities between Edraw and MyDraw, most notably that they’re both desktop apps plus they can both import and export Visio files.
In fact the Edraw Max UI is very closely modeled on Microsoft Visio’s ribbon interface -- so close in fact that it’s actually hard to distinguish the difference at first glance.
Edraw supports high quality vector graphics allowing you to create eye-catching diagrams.
Edraw supports VDX as well as VSDX files although the exported results aren’t always great and may involve some manual adjustment depending on the complexity of the diagram.
Although there are only around 200 templates in Edraw Max, there’s enough there for basic flowcharts, org charts and brainstorming.
You can snap and connect shapes or objects easily and there’s enough to create basic Visio diagrams.
Overall, Edraw Max is an interesting option if you want something that looks like Visio, works on your Mac desktop but is considerably cheaper.
You can test it first with the fully functional free trial of Edraw Max.
You can also check out our full Edraw Max review for more.
- Easy to use
- Visio export support
- Familiar Microsoft Office inspired interface
- Visio exports have formatting problems
- Not suitable for very complex Visio projects
- Windows style interface
Pricing: Perpetual License costs $179 with no upgrade costs for 3 years. Lifetime License costs $245 with no upgrade costs. Subscription costs $99 per year.
Platforms: Desktop -- Mac, Windows
Finally, Ardoq is an Enterprise level, data input driven replacement for Visio which like Textografo, takes information you throw at it and then automatically generates Visio like flowcharts and diagrams.
It’s aimed particularly at Product or Project Managers as it calculates dependencies and can provide estimates of project timelines and completion dates.
Arqoq gives a good overview of complex workflows and systems so that they can get a better overview of knock-on effects and the interconnections between process flows.
It automatically translates complex data that you give it into useful flowcharts and diagrams. This means less time sketching flowcharts and process flows manually.
Diagrams dynamically update and change as you update the data that powers them such as via an Excel sheet or any other tool that has an API.
Although Ardoq doesn’t allow much manual adjustment of diagrams, there are templates that you can customize manually and a plugin editor to configure how Ardoq visualizes data.
Ardoq does not come cheap though. Pricing is only on request but even the basic Growth Plan will set you back at least $999 per month.
You can request a free demo of Ardoq to see if it’s right for your organization.
You can also read our review of Ardoq for more.
Pricing: On request
- Automates diagramming based on data -- no manual drawing required
- Dynamically updates based on data in Excel and other APIs to create diagrams
- Excellent for Project Managers
- Not much manual control
- Very expensive monthly subscription
Price: On request
Platforms: Mac and PC
Which Is The Best Visio Alternative For Mac?
SmartDraw is hard to beat as a powerful but far easier to use alternative to Visio.
Its been around longer than almost any other diagramming software and all that experience, features and user interface know-how has clearly gone into SmartDraw Online Edition (formerly SmartDraw Cloud) for Mac users.
Crucially, it’s the best alternative to Visio when it comes to importing and exporting VSDX files and if you’re going to be working with Visio based clients or colleagues, you should definitely look no further.
If you’re still unsure which is the right option for you, check out the comparison table of the best Visio for Mac alternatives below to see them head-to-head.
You can scroll across the table to see the entire top 10 lineup.
Visio For Mac Replacements Compared
|SmartDraw||Lucidchart||OmniGraffle||ConceptDraw Diagram||Gliffy||Creately||Textografo||MyDraw||Edraw Max||Ardoq|
|Edits Visio Files|
|Export To Visio 2016/2019 (VSDX)|
|Real Time Collaboration|
|Microsoft Office Integration|
|1000+ Symbols & Objects|
Is Visio Part Of Office 365 For Mac?
Microsoft Visio is not included in the Standard version of Office 365 but Microsoft Visio Online is now available in commercial Office 365 subscriptions to both Mac and PC users.
Before getting too excited however, Visio Online is definitely not a replacement for Visio on Mac.
Microsoft claim that you can edit Visio files in your browser on a Mac but the reality is that Visio Online only allows basic editing and viewing of Visio files and there are many limitations.
For example Visio Online lacks things such as shape data, you can’t edit hyperlinks in diagrams and there are annoying glitches like session timeouts if you leave the browser tab idle for more than a few minutes.
It also only works if you have saved the files in SharePoint Online or One Drive for Business -- you can’t open Visio files that are saved locally on your Mac’s hard drive or sent to you via email.
Mac users can however leave comments for other users in diagrams and Visio Online is also integrated with Skype for Business for Mac so that stakeholders can discuss diagrams with others.
For iPhone and iPad users, there is also Microsoft Visio Viewer for iOS.
Are There Any Free Alternatives To Visio On A Mac?
The simple answer is you won’t get anything for free that can compete with a complex enterprise product like Microsoft Visio.
However, there are some free alternatives to Visio that allow a certain amount of diagram making for free.
You will find however that there are strict limitations on them such as the number of diagrams, tools and files you can save.
They all use the free versions as gateways to encourage you to upgrade to the paid versions.
Is It Possible To Run Visio On A Mac?
Is There A Google Version Of Visio?
There is no software made by Google that can compare with Microsoft Visio.
The closest thing available is Google Drawings which is free and allows you to draw very basic diagrams in your browser.
We hope this article has helped you find a replacement for Visio on your Mac but if you have any suggestions, comments or experiences with the software featured here, let us know in the comments below.
Why Is There No Mac Version Of Visio?
The main reason is the relatively small market share of Macs compared to PC.
The cost of dedicating a team of developers and engineers to creating and maintaining a macOS version of Visio is not considered economically viable by Microsoft.
Naturally, Microsoft also wants to keep its business users -- which are the majority of Visio users -- within the Windows ecosystem.
Note that contrary to what some believe, there is no version of “Visio für Mac” in Germany or elsewhere.
You May Also Like: