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Best Alternatives to Visio for Mac of 2024 (inc. M1, M2 & M3 Macs)

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Visio is one of the most popular diagramming software on the market for visualizing ideas, processes and hierarchies by creating flowcharts, org charts, network diagrams and more.

However, if you’ve just switched to using Macs, the bad news is there’s no version of Microsoft Visio for Mac. 

In fact, Visio has never existed for macOS.

The good news is we’ve tested and reviewed some excellent alternatives to Visio that can not only import and export Visio files, but in many cases are easier and cheaper to use.

In our testing, we found by far the best alternative to Visio for Mac is SmartDraw for its seamless support of Visio files, huge range of templates and ease of use on both Intel and Apple Silicon Macs.

Can You Run Visio on a Mac?

You can run Visio on a Mac by using the Parallels virtual machine. This also works on Apple Silicon Macs with the M1, M2 and M3 chips.

However, it’s quite an expensive solution.

Firstly you’ll need an annual subscription to Parallels for $99.99. You’ll also need a Visio Plan 2 subscription for $15.00 a month or make a one-off purchase of $579.99 for the Windows desktop app.

Although there are some free virtual machines, they are extremely unstable on Apple Silicon Macs and do not run Visio well in our experience.

Our advice is to use one of these alternatives which work out not only cheaper, but don’t require multiple subscriptions or installing any other software.

What We Looked For In These Visio Alternatives

We kept the criteria very sweet and simple whe shortlisting these apps:

  • Import and ideally export support for Visio files in VSD or VSDX format.
  • The can be used on a Mac in a desktop app or at least in the Cloud.
  • They allow you to do many of the same things you can do in Microsoft Visio
  • They offer good value for money compared to MS Visio.

You can find a feature and pricing comparison of these Visio replacements in the comparison table at the end.

1. SmartDraw

smartdraw flowchart

In our extensive tests, we found that SmartDraw is the best replacement for Microsoft Visio on a Mac.

The best thing we found about SmartDraw is that it does everything that Visio can but makes it far simpler and faster.

Here are some of the things we liked about SmartDraw:

  • It’s the only alternative to Visio on Mac that can both accurately import AND export to the latest Visio VSDX format.
smartdraw import visio file mac
Visio import tool in SmartDraw.
  • The key word here is accurate. We used other Visio alternatives that can import and export Visio files or stencils but they had lots of formatting issues. SmartDraw both imports and exports Visio files of any size and complexity and does it well.
visio flowchart imported into smartdraw
Visio flowchart imported into SmartDraw.
  • SmartDraw has more than 4,500 diagram templates compared to little more than 100 in Visio.
  • The data integrations in SmartDraw are excellent with the ability to automatically draw flowcharts and org charts based on importing data dynamically in spreadsheets including Excel, AWS and Azure configurations.
  • 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.
  • It’s much better value than Visio. Microsoft Visio costs $15.00 per month for Visio Plan 2 for access to all features compared to $8.25 per month for SmartDraw. SmartDraw Enterprise Plans are also around 10 times cheaper than Microsoft Visio.
  • SmartDraw has recently added Whiteboards so that you can create actions based on blueprints, flowcharts and other diagrams.

There are some limitations to SmartDraw that we found:

  • There’s no desktop or mobile app

You can start using SmartDraw for FREE now to judge it for yourself.

You can also check our in-depth comparison of SmartDraw vs Visio for more.

For a more detailed look, you can check out our in-depth SmartDraw review.

Price: $8.25 per month for teams of 5+ / $9.95 per month individuals / Enterprise plans $4,995 for 500 users

Platforms: Cloud

2. OmniGraffle Pro

omnigraffle

If online apps are not your thing, OmniGraffle Pro is the closest thing to a native Mac desktop alternative to MS Visio.

OmniGraffle Pro is designed specifically for Mac although it’s a more artistic design tool than Visio and it’s not as easy to use as SmartDraw.

However, once mastered OmniGraffle Pro produces attractive, professional diagrams, user interfaces and wireframes that look better than anything possible in Visio.

Here are some of things we liked about OmniGraffle:

  • It’s Mac and iOS only with the desktop apps for both. The integration with macOS and iOS is really tight including a native app for Apple Silicon Macs.
  • It can import and export Visio files reasonably well although it can only export to VDX format which has since been replaced in Visio by VSDX.

omnigraffle visio import

There are some drawbacks to OmniGraffle though:

  • VSDX importing is possible but there’s no accurate VSDX export support.
  • There are no team collaboration features in OmniGraffle which is a common limitation of desktop apps.
  • If you want Visio file support you need to purchase the Pro version for a one off payment of $249.99 which makes it one of the most expensive Visio replacements we tried. You can however choose to subscribe to OmniGraffle Pro instead for $12.49 per month or $124.99 per year.
  • The iOS app is sold separately for iPad and costs $59.99 although if you pay for a subscription its included in the price.

You can try OmniGraffle for free for 14 days to test it for yourself.

You can check out our review of OmniGraffle Pro for more.

Price: Standard $149.99 / Professional $249.99 or $12.49/m

Platforms: Mac desktop, iOS app

3. ConceptDraw Diagram

conceptdraw diagram visio import

ConceptDraw Diagram (formerly ConceptDraw Pro) is a cross-platform desktop alternative to Visio that works on both Mac and Windows PCs.

The VSDX Visio import and export tool can be hit and miss but it’s very good at exporting diagrams to other apps.

ConceptDraw Diagram does a good job of exporting diagrams to Microsoft Office and Evernote among other formats.

Here are some of the things we liked about ConceptDraw Diagram:

  • It has a Mac desktop app so that you can work offline with no need for an internet connection.
  • There are plenty of templates to get you started divided into different areas such as landscaping, engineering, management, science, flowcharts etc.
  • It can import and export Visio files in VSDX format including VSX stencils (but not very well).

visio stencil support on mac conceptdraw diagram

  • There’s a rich collection of high quality vector objects, audiovisual clips, additional templates and tutorials in ConceptDraw Solution Park.
  • You can create presentations and slideshows of your diagrams.
  • It can be used alongside ConceptDraw Project which is a powerful project management software made by the same developer.

There are some things we didn’t like however:

  • Importing and exporting of Visio files is not very accurate with a lot of formatting issues.
  • The interface feels like its been ported across from Windows which makes sense as ConceptDraw was originally Windows only.
  • It costs $199 for the desktop app which is one of the more expensive one off purchase we tried.

You can try ConceptDraw Diagram for free.

You can check out our review of ConceptDraw Diagram For Mac.

Price: $199

Platforms: Mac, Windows, iOS

4. Edraw Max

edraw max mac

Edraw Max is a cheaper desktop alternative to Visio but with a strikingly similar interface.

Edraw Max can both import and export Visio files but the results aren’t great, especially on complex diagrams.

Here are some of the things we liked about Edraw Max:

  • The Edraw Max UI is very closely modeled on Microsoft Visio’s ribbon interface so if you’re familiar with Visio, you’ll find it very easy to navigate.
  • It supports high quality vector graphics allowing you to create eye-catching diagrams.
  • It imports and exports Visio files in VSDX format including Batch importing.

import visio on mac edrawmax

  • Edraw Max uses AI to automatically create flowcharts and diagrams based on your diagram prompts.
  • Edraw Max integrates with Edraw Mind for mind mapping.

The limitations to Edraw Max are:

  • There are only around 280 templates in Edraw Max although that includes basic flowcharts, org charts and brainstorming.
  • The interface feels very Windows inspired and has been closely modeled on Microsoft Office.

You can try Edraw Max for yourself.

You can check out our full Edraw Max review for more.

Price: Lifetime License costs $171.50 with no upgrade costs. Subscription costs $99 per year.

Platforms: Desktop – Mac, Windows

5. Miro

miro

Miro is an incredibly easy to use digital whiteboard which is an excellent alternative to Visio on a Mac for those working in teams.

Miro is used by Blue Chip companies such as Cisco, Hewlett Packard and Dell so it’s more than powerful enough for the needs of enterprises.

Here’s are some of the things that make Miro a great alternative to Visio:

  • The infinite whiteboard allows you to develop detailed, extensive diagrams compared to Visio.
  • Lots of templates including workflow flowcharts, Stakeholder Analysis, UML Diagram, PERT Diagram, Opportunity Solution Tree, Conversion Funnel Backlog, Supply & Demand, BPMN/UML templates for product lifecycles.
  • Excellent team collaboration tools with integrated video chat, @mentions and presentation mode.
  • It imports Visio files in VSDX format but can’t export them in VSDX.

diagrams_import_visio_diagram.gif

There were some things we didn’t like about Miro however:

  • Free version is very limited with only 3 flowchart boards possible.

You can start using Miro for free for individual use but it is limited to 3 boards while subscriptions start at $8 per month for unlimited boards.

You also check out our full Miro review for more.

Price: Free / Plans starting from $8 per month

Platforms: Cloud, Mac, Windows, Linux, iOS, Android

6. Creately

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.

There are some neat touches in Creately like shared project libraries, a useful Google Image search tool and auto snapping of objects connectors.

What we liked about Creately was:

  • Creately has a desktop app for Macs to draw offline.
  • The interface is elegant and looks great on a Mac. All tools are in the top menu and adding shapes and symbols is fast and easy.
  • You can import Visio files in VSD format but not VSDX yet.

visio file import on mac creately

  • There are thousands of Creately templates and a 1-click create and connect function which automates much of the process.
  • You can create up to 5 diagrams for free in Creately but after that it costs $5 per month.
  • Creately also integrates with Confluence, Jira and the G Suite Marketplace.

What we didn’t like about Creately was:

  • Visio files importing and exporting isn’t great.
  • All free diagrams are made public so make sure you don’t create anything that you don’t want sharing.
  • The free version limits the number of flowcharts you can create and restricts the functionality.

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.

Price: Free for up to 3 diagrams then starts at $5/month.

Platforms: Cloud, Mac, Windows, Linux, iOS, Android.

7. Lucidchart

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).

Here are some of the things we liked about Lucidchart:

  • It can import Microsoft Visio flowcharts in VSDX and VDX format (although there’s no VSDX export support).

visio file support mac lucidchart

  • Integration with Microsoft 365 means you don’t even need to open the app to draw flowcharts – you can draw instantly in Microsoft Office or Microsoft 365 documents.
  • You can draw flowcharts offline in Google Chrome with a plugin.
  • Lucidchart is integrated with Google Drive so that you can draw flowcharts directly in Sheets and Docs.
  • The setup wizard customizes Lucidchart for your industry with specific tools for diagramming.
  • Lucidchart has excellent team collaboration feature with in-app chat, annotations and permission controls.
  • Lucidchart data linking allows live data to be uploaded dynamically from spreadsheets such as Excel saving a lot of time updating flowcharts with real-time data.

There are some drawbacks to Lucidchart that we found though:

  • It can only export to the older Visio VDX format used in Visio 2010 and older. It can’t export to VSDX format used in Visio 2013 and later
  • It also does not support VST/VTX stencil importing.
  • The free version is limited to just 3 flowcharts and 60 shapes.

You can start using Lucidchart for free to test it for yourself.

For a more in-depth look at Lucidchart, check-out our full Lucidchart review.

Price: Teams $9/m, Individuals $7.95/m

Platforms: Cloud

8. Gliffy

Gliffy is an extremely easy to use team focused alternative to Visio 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.

Here are the things we liked about Gliffy:

  • Gliffy is quick and snappy at creating diagrams with smooth, fast drag and dropping of objects.
  • Gliffy is well integrated with Jira and Confluence. You can even draw flowcharts in Jira using the Gliffy Atlassian plugin.
  • It can import Visio files in VSD and VSDX format but it can’t export to Visio.

gliffy import visio files

  • There’s a limited free version for personal use and students.
  • The Team collaboration features are very good including embedding of diagrams and commenting on edits.
  • There’s a Chrome extension for drawing offline.

There are some limitations to Gliffy though:

  • There’s no support for exporting of Visio flowcharts.
  • Very limited number of templates and symbols.
  • The interface is very basic and doesn’t look very modern on a Mac.
  • There’s no extension for Safari or Firefox for drawing offline.
  • The free version of Gliffy makes your diagrams public so it’s definitely not suitable for confidential data.

You can use Gliffy for free and test it for yourself.

You can also check out our full review of Gliffy for more.

Pricing: $8/month for individuals. Teams start at $6 per user/month.

Platforms: Cloud

9. Cacoo

cacoo flowchart

Cacoo’s philosophy is “Teams who diagram together, thrive together” and it’s certainly true that Cacoo is an excellent alternative to Visio when it comes to collaboration.

Cacoo is excellent for drawing everything from flowcharts to wireframes but it’s the remote team working features that we really like.

Cacoo has some of the best tools we’ve seen to share and edit the same diagram at the same time, track changes and discuss diagrams with other colleagues.

Here are the things we liked about Cacoo:

  • The collaboration tools are comprehensive including in-app video chats and multi-user editing
  • Cacoo imports Visio files in VSD and VSDX format although it can’t export to VSDX format.

cacoo visio import on mac

  • Cacoo integrates with lots of services including Backlog, Google Drive, Google Docs, Atlassian, Adobe Creative Cloud, Dropbox, Microsoft Teams and Zapier.
  • The free plan allows you to collaborate with unlimited users

There are some limitations to Cacoo however:

  • There aren’t many templates but all the essentials are there including flowcharts, wireframes, mockups, network diagrams, presentations, database diagrams and project timelines.
  • The free plan is limited to just 6 sheets
  • Video chatting is a nice feature although most users will use Teams or other web conferencing tools if they need this.

You can try Cacoo for free to see for yourself.

Price: Starts at $6/user/m

Platforms: Cloud

Comparison Table

Product Pricing (USD) Visio File Support
Collaboration Tools Templates and Symbols Integration Options
SmartDraw $8.25+/m Export & Import Yes Extensive MS Office, G Suite
OmniGraffle Pro $12.49/m Import Limited Varied Limited
ConceptDraw Diagram $199 Export & Import Yes Comprehensive MS Office, G Suite
Edraw Max $99/year Import Yes Extensive MS Office
Miro Free /$8/user/m Import Yes Varied Google Drive, Slack
Creately Free /$5/user/m Import & Export Yes Extensive MS Office, Google Drive
Lucidchart Free /$7.99+/m Import Yes Extensive MS Office, G Suite
Gliffy Free /$8/user/m Import Yes Limited Confluence, Jira
Cacoo $6/user/month Import Yes Limited MS Office, Slack, Jira
Microsoft Visio (reference) $15/user/m Import & Export Yes Extensive MS Office, SharePoint

Best Free Alternatives To Visio For Mac

You won’t get anything for free that can compete with a complex 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 limitations on them that make them impractical for professional use such as the number of diagrams and files you can save.

Those free Visio alternatives that support Visio file import and export don’t do it very well and none of them will allow team collaboration without paying.

Why Is There No Mac Version Of Visio?

Microsoft has never officially given a reason for never releasing a Mac version of Visio but the main reason is probably 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 probably not considered economically viable by Microsoft.

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.

Can Visio For Web Be Used on a Mac?

Microsoft does now offer the Cloud based “Visio for the web” (also known as Visio Online) which it claims enables Mac users to use Visio on a Mac.

However, the reality is that Visio for the web is not the full desktop version of Microsoft Visio and certainly not an equivalent of the desktop version of Visio.

Visio for the web does support basic viewing, creating and editing of Visio files in the Cloud on a Mac.

However, it does not have the same drawing tools as the full desktop version of Visio and is not suitable for professional needs.

For example Visio for the web lacks basic aspects 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 your Visio 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.

Visio for the web is also only available with a Visio Plan 1 subscription and not part of Microsoft 365.

The full desktop version of Visio only works on Windows and requires either a Visio Plan 2 subscription or a one-off purchase of $579.99 for the desktop app.

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