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Microsoft Visio for Mac has never been released so we’ve taken an expert look at the best alternatives to Visio on a Mac.

If you’re an IT professional, technician, software developer, engineer, business analyst or project manager, the lack of Visio on Mac doesn’t mean you can’t still easily present complex information in visual form.

All of the tools here make it easy to draw diagrams on your Mac and import MS Visio files.

That means there’s no need to say goodbye to your precious Visio diagrams and stencils when drawing complex flowcharts and diagrams such as process flows, work flows and charts.

We found that SmartDraw is the closest thing to Visio on a Mac and the only tool that can EXPORT accurately to the latest Visio VSDX format.

This is essential if you want to edit Visio files on your Mac and interchange Visio files with Windows users.

Even better, all the tools featured here are certainly easier to use than MS Visio and in almost every case, much better value than Visio Professional which currently costs a hefty $530.

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How We Ranked These Visio Alternatives

Here’s what we looked for in choosing which was the best equivalent to Visio for Mac.

  • Price: We only chose diagramming tools that offer excellent value for money with free trials or plans to start out with
  • Reviews: We selected tools that are widely acclaimed by other users and professionals for diagramming
  • Visio Imports: We gave preference to software that allow you to import Visio files in VDX and VSDX format
  • Visio Export: We gave added preference to software that can also export to the Visio VSDX format
  • Templates: We ranked those apps higher that have a wide choice of templates for a range of diagramming needs
  • Sharing: We valued those programs that make it easy to share diagrams via link or export to Microsoft Office, Google Apps etc.
  • Integrations: We valued those apps that allow you to integrate with third party software such as MS Office, Jira, Confluence, Trello etc.

With this in mind, here then are the best Visio alternatives for Mac users in order of ranking.

1. SmartDraw

SmartDraw is easily the most powerful yet easy to use alternative to Microsoft Visio for 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.

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, many of them in Mac only environments.

One of the major reasons for this is that SmartDraw has 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.

 

visio for mac - smartdraw

 

Often when importing Visio files into any third party program, there’s a lot of formatting issues but SmartDraw can import Visio files accurately and with ease.

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.

visio alternatives for mac - smartdraw

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.

These cover almost every conceivable need from flowcharts, org-charts and floorplans to topics as diverse electrical layouts, UML or use case diagrams and crime scene reconstructions.

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.

Overall, SmartDraw is an amazing professional alternative to Visio on Mac.

It produces results as good as Visio but with considerably less effort and time.

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.

Price: $5.95 per month for teams of 5+ / $9.95 per month individuals / Enterprise plans on request

Platforms: Cloud

SmartDraw vs Visio

 SmartDrawVisio
Works on a Mac
Works OnlineOnly some features
Visio Import & Export (VSD/VSDX)
Import Visio Stencils
Import AutoCAD
Symbols34,000+1,800+
Templates4,500+100+
Mobile Support
Firewall Protected
Automatic Flowcharting
Easy Sharing via URLLimited
Real Time Collaboration
G Suite Integration
Confluence Support
Microsoft Office Integration
Trello Integration
OneDrive Integration
Google Drive, Dropbox, Box Support
Build Class Diagrams from DataSome support
Build ERD from data
Build Sitemaps from Data
Open API
Shape Data
Standard Engineering Scales
Annotation LayerLimited

Free Trial

 

2. OmniGraffle Pro

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 at SmartDraw.

However, once mastered OmniGraffle Pro 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 Pro can import Visio files, it does not 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).

visio alternative for mac - omnigraffle

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.

It also has a very good native iPad app OmniGraffle for iOS ($49) that supports the Apple Pencil and syncs with Mac via iCloud (you may also find our look at Visio alternatives for iPad useful too).

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.

You can also check out our full OmniGraffle review for more.

Price: Standard $99.99 / Professional $199.99

Platforms: Mac, iOS

3. ConceptDraw Diagram

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

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.

conceptdraw pro mac import visio

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.

For Project Managers, it can be used alongside ConceptDraw Project which is a powerful project management software made by the same developer.

ConceptDraw Diagram is a viable option if you want something similar to Visio that works on both Mac and PC desktops.

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

Price: $199

Platforms: Mac, Windows, iOS

4. 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.

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 interface

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.

Price: Free for up to 5 diagrams then starts at $5/month or $25/month for teams.

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

5. 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).

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.

lucidchart visio alternative mac

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.

Price: Teams $6.70/m, Individuals $8.95/m

Platforms: Cloud

6. Gliffy

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 interface

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.

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.

Pricing: $7.99/month for individuals. Teams start at $4.99 per user/month.

Platforms: Cloud

7. Cacoo

Cacoo’s philosophy is “Teams who diagram together, thrive together” and it’s certainly true that Cacoo is an excellent alternative to Visio for Mac users 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 makes it easy to share and edit the same diagram at the same time, track changes and discuss diagrams with other colleagues.

visio equivalent mac - cacoo

There aren’t thousands of templates in Cacoo compared to tools like SmartDraw but all the essentials are there including flowcharts, wireframes, mockups, network diagrams, presentations, database diagrams and project timelines.

Cacoo is very well integrated with third party applications including support for Visio file importing and editing although you can’t export to Visio.

You can also connect to major apps like Google Drive, Adobe Creative Cloud, Dropbox, Microsoft Teams, Zapier and more.

Price: Starts at $6/user/m

Platforms: Cloud

8. D3M

D3M is a highly automated diagramming solution which is the perfect Visio replacement for network design projects on a Mac.

D3M is great at simplifying the complex process of designing, documenting, delivering and managing networks.

It’s firmly aimed at network project managers, engineers, technicians and sales reps that need to design network topology, rack diagrams and floor plans.

One of the main aims of D3M is to help you land more contracts by mapping out network plans clearly and professionally.

D3M is very easy to collaborate with others on via in-app email invites, PDF sharing and allows you to edit diagrams simultaneously with others.

The really neat thing about D3M is that unlike Visio, it also automatically generates project documents as you build networks to share with your team and customers.

visio alternative - d3m network diagram

As you design a network, D3M auto generates your project inventory, quote and sales proposals. This saves considerable time in the sales and pitching process to potential clients.

There are lots of network specific icons and you can also create your own custom icons and bundles. This includes icons from network industry manufacturers to add an extra layer of professionalism to your diagrams.

There are also custom templates to add your own branding and company details.

D3M is heavily focused on network design and if you need to do other types of diagrams you may find it a bit restrictive. It has however recently added the possibility to draw floorplan diagrams with it too.

Price: Starts at $199/m for up to 5 users. Limited free version.

Platforms: Cloud

9. MyDraw

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 for mac

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.

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 good value for money.

You can check out our full MyDraw review for more.

Price: Starts at $69.99

Platforms: Desktop – Mac, Windows

10. Edraw Max

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 max interface

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.

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 check out our full Edraw Max review for more.

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

Visio For Mac Alternatives: Why SmartDraw Wins

SmartDraw is hard to beat as a powerful but far easier to use alternative to Visio on macOS.

Its been around longer than almost any other Visio equivalent and all that experience, features and user interface know-how has clearly gone into SmartDraw Online Edition 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.

It’s also by far the most flexible diagramming software available with more templates than any other rival to Visio.

Visio For Mac Top Replacements Compared

 SmartDrawOmniGraffle
Pro
ConceptDraw
Diagram
CreatelyLucidchart
Edits Visio Files
Export To Visio 2016/2019 (VSDX)Only 2016
Real Time Collaboration
Automated Diagramming
Confluence Support
Microsoft Office Integration
Templates
Symbols & Objects
Works on Mobile
Pricing$5.95-$9.95/m$199.99$199$5-$25/m$6.70-$8.95/m

Free Trial

Can You Use Visio Online On A 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.

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.

visio online

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.

visio online

Free Alternatives To Visio For Mac

The simple answer is 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 strict limitations on them that make them impractical for professional use 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.

Installing Visio On A Mac

It is possible to run Visio on a Mac although we don’t recommend it as a long term solution for various reasons explained here.

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.

There’s also Google Sketchup but it’s a 3D modelling software mainly designed for doing CAD work on a Mac.

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.

About The Author

MacHow2
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MacHow2 is devoted to helping you get the most of of your Mac. We're passionate about all things Mac whether it's helping users with software recommendations or solving technical problems. If you've got any comments about this article, get involved by leaving a comment below. You can also contact us directly using the contact form at the top of the site. Please note that in the interests of transparency, MacHow2 may sometimes receive compensation from link clicks or vendors.

44 Responses

  1. MacHow2
    bjrj

    Wow! Impressively detailed review! I wish reviewers of other products on the web did 50% of what you’ve done here! Thank you very much!!!

    Reply
  2. MacHow2
    Nevron Software

    You may want to review MyDraw for Mac: https://www.mydraw.com
    MyDraw provides support for Visio® drawing (VSDX) import and export. The application also provides support for Visio®-like “smart” shapes – dynamic diagram shapes based on formulas.

    Reply
  3. MacHow2
    AJ

    I have a license for ConceptDraw Pro, but I could not import VSS stencils (MAC version). They promised this feature and failed to deliver. Now they discontinue the ConceptDraw and have new ConceptDiagram which is the same yet new features, but again they failed with the import of Visio stencils. The stencils are imported but are horrible looking….contacted support and so far I got replies from crickets.

    I will not buy the new version.

    Reply
    • MacHow2
      MacHow2

      Yes we noticed that the support for Visio importing and exporting is still very poor in the new version of ConceptDraw Diagram. You’re much better off using SmartDraw for Visio import and export support as it does a much better job. Let us know if you ever hear back from ConceptDraw support.

      Reply

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