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 reviewed here however 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 org charts.
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 $579.99 for the desktop version.
These replacements for Visio are also all compatible with the latest Apple Silicon M1/M2 Macs and the most recent versions of macOS including Ventura, Monterey, Big Sur and Catalina.
In our extensive search for an alternative solution on Mac, we found that SmartDraw is by far the best alternative to Visio for Mac.
SmartDraw is the only tool we’ve used that can accurately import AND EXPORT to the latest Visio VSDX format without everything look a mess.
This is essential if you need to edit Visio files on your Mac and share Visio files with Windows users.
Most Visio alternatives can import Visio files but very few can export them and even fewer that can do it accurately.
Unlike Microsoft Visio, SmartDraw can also be used on any platform so it’s easy to collaborate with Windows users too.
SmartDraw also works on the latest Apple Silicon M1 Macs and M2 Macs too so can be used on any model of MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, Mac Mini or iMac.
- How We Ranked These Visio Alternatives
- 1. SmartDraw
- SmartDraw vs Visio
- 2. OmniGraffle Pro
- 3. ConceptDraw Diagram
- 4. Creately
- 5. Lucidchart
- 6. Gliffy
- 7. Cacoo
- 8. D3M
- 9. MyDraw
- 10. Edraw Max
- Visio For Mac Top Replacements Compared
- Is There A Mac Version of Visio?
- Can You Use Visio Online On A Mac?
- Installing Visio On A Mac
- Is There A Free Visio Available?
- Is There A Google Version Of Visio?
- Why Is There No Mac Version Of Visio?
- Visio For Mac Alternatives: Conclusion
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, Excel etc.
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With this in mind, 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 for Mac.
The best thing about SmartDraw is that it does everything that Visio can but makes it far simpler and faster.
SmartDraw also works on the latest version of macOS Monterey plus the latest Apple Silicon M1 and M2 Macs.
Since Apple don’t make an equivalent to Visio, we think SmartDraw is the closest thing to an Apple version of Visio as it really embodies the simple, functional aesthetic of a Mac product.
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 big reasons for this is that SmartDraw offers Enterprise Plans costing just $4,995 for 500 users compared to Microsoft Visio which costs 10 times more than SmartDraw at $90,000 for the same number of licenses.
Even for individuals, SmartDraw works out much cheaper than the desktop version of Visio which now costs $579.99 and will need upgrading regularly.
Although Microsoft also offers a subscription version of Visio, it costs $15.00 per month for Visio Plan 2 if you want access to the web version compared to pricing plans starting at $5.95 per month for SmartDraw.
The other major reasons for its incredible popularity among both individual users and companies is that SmartDraw has been designed specifically to rival Visio.
Most all-purpose diagram tools throw in Visio import support as an added extra but SmartDraw has clearly been made with Visio users in mind.
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 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.
SmartDraw also blows Visio out of the water for templates and objects which you can drag and drop into diagrams
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.
SmartDraw can even automatically make an org chart using data stored in Excel without the need for Visio.
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 $4,995 for 500 users
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|
|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|
|Pricing||$5.95/m (for teams)||$15/m for desktop and web verison or $579.99 for Windows desktop version of Visio Pro|
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).
Note however 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.
Pricing for OmniGraffle starts at $149.99 but for Visio import support you need OmniGraffle Pro for $249.99 which you can upgrade to in-app.
There’s also the OmniGraffle Enterprise edition ($249.99) which is exactly the same as OmniGraffle Pro but is for companies that want to pay for the Pro edition up-front for easier deployment across corporate networks.
You can also check out our full OmniGraffle review for more.
Price: Standard $149.99 / Professional $249.99 or $12.49/m
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.
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.
Platforms: Mac, Windows, iOS
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.
Price: Free for up to 5 diagrams then starts at $5/month.
Platforms: Cloud, Mac, Windows, Linux, iOS, Android.
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.
Price: Teams $9/m, Individuals $7.95/m
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.
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: $8/month for individuals. Teams start at $6 per user/month.
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.
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
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.
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 $20/m or $35/m per user for teams. Limited free version.
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.
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
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 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: Lifetime License costs $198 with no upgrade costs. Subscription costs $99 per year.
Platforms: Desktop – Mac, Windows
Visio For Mac Top Replacements Compared
|Edits Visio Files|
|Export To Visio 2016/2019 (VSDX)||Only 2016|
|Real Time Collaboration|
|Microsoft Office Integration|
|Symbols & Objects|
|Works on Mobile|
Is There A Mac Version of Visio?
Microsoft has never released Visio for Mac because the market for Mac users is far smaller than on Windows.
Although Microsoft claims you can now use Visio for the web on a Mac, the web version of Microsoft Visio is nowhere near as good as the desktop version.
Visio for the web does not have the same drawing tools as the full desktop version of Visio and should only be used for basic viewing and editing of Visio diagrams.
Can You Use Visio Online On A Mac?
Microsoft Visio is not included in the Standard version of Office 365 but Microsoft Visio Online (also known as Visio for the web) is now available in commercial Microsoft 365 subscriptions to both Mac and PC users.
Previously Microsoft Visio users could save Visio files in the Cloud via Visio Services (which is also referred to as Visio Web Access in SharePoint) but it was discontinued in February 2023 and replaced by Visio Online.
However, as mentioned 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.
You can read more on why Visio for web is not a replacement for Visio here.
For iPhone and iPad users, there is also Microsoft Visio Viewer for iOS.
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 as it doesn’t offer stable performance and requires paying for extra software.
To run Visio on a Mac, you firstly need to install Windows on a Mac.
There are various ways to do this but the best way to install Visio on a Mac is by using the Parallels virtual machine which allows you to run macOS and Windows at the same time.
However, note that Apple Silicon M1 and M2 Macs cannot run the standard version of Windows 11, they can only run the Windows ARM version.
Although Windows ARM can “translate” Microsoft Visio to work in Windows ARM on a Mac running in a virtual machine, the performance is slow and unstable due to the amount of processing needed to run it.
Is There A Free Visio Available?
There is no free Microsoft Visio version available but there are some free alternatives to Visio.
However, all free diagramming software come with some serious catches in the small print which do not make them suitable for professional use.
- Free Visio alternatives only allow very limited free use for individuals. If you need to use them in a team, you will have to pay for a team license.
- All free diagramming tools limit the number of diagrams you can create and the number of objects available unless you upgrade to a paid plan.
- Many free diagramming software also make your diagrams public in the free version. You will have to upgrade to a paid version to make them private.
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 Sketchup which used to be owned by Google 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.
In addition to this Microsoft also wants to keep its business users – which are the majority of Visio users – within the Windows ecosystem.
Visio For Mac Alternatives: Conclusion
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.
Here is the response from support: (keep in mind that I am using this software on a MAC. I feel they have the best user interface but I personally relied heavily on Visio stencils from different vendors and I need to be able to import them in order to do my job and it may not be the case for most of you).
Thank you for your case.
We are totally and completely on your side. In the light of recent events, we are very sorry that you’ve encountered such a bulging case experiencing difficulties with importing files. At the moment your case has been escalated to our developers and Quality team. They are going to work this through for you fixing errors that arose in our software. Of course, as with every software, there are errors, even Microsoft is experiencing difficulties with its latest version of Windows 10, and we, unfortunately, are no exception. But we are working hard on this. Like any self-respecting company, we diligently work on our issues, and we try to improve the performance and quality of our software every day.
In conclusion, we once again bring our apologies for the inconvenience. We will return to you with the solved case and help you with importing of your files without loss of quality.
Thanks for sharing that. It sounds like they do acknowledge the problem and will try to fix it although the comparison with Windows 10 is a bit odd! Do let us know if they get back to you with a solution.
Are there any that have healthcare and blockchain templates?
SmartDraw has plenty of Healthcare templates although there aren’t any with blockchain templates.
I’ve been looking for a Visio replacement for Mac. I just wanted to say this is an excellent article with good explanations. Thanks a lot!