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Best Visio Alternatives of 2024 (Free & Paid)

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Microsoft Visio is still the most widely used diagramming software out there especially for flowcharts, process flows, network diagrams, floor plan mapping and more.

However, MS Visio is a premium product that’s not included in a basic Microsoft 365 subscription.

It also requires an additional subscription to Visio Plan 1 ($5.00 per month) or Visio Plan 2 ($15 per month) if you want the full Windows desktop app.

We therefore decided to look at the best alternatives to Microsoft Visio that work on multiple platforms both paid and free options.

You’ll find many of the paid apps here offer a limited free version for personal use although if you’re looking for something 100% free for unlimited use, you may find our look at the best free Visio alternatives useful too.

Alternatively, if you’re looking for a replacement for Visio that works best on a Mac, you may also find our look at the best Visio alternatives for Mac useful as it includes more apps that have desktop apps for macOS.

How We Selected These Visio Replacements

In choosing which are the best alternatives to Visio we looked for the following features:

  • The app should allow you to at least try it for free to assess what its like or offer a limited free forever version for personal use.
  • The software must be able to import and ideally export in Visio VSDX format
  • There should be lots of diagram templates to choose from to speed things up
  • It should be easy to use with a drag and drop interface that can be learned quickly
  • It should be able to import data from sources such as Excel and business intelligence tools
  • Real time collaboration should be possible
  • Ideally it should offer a desktop app but if not, be able to be used on any platform in the Cloud
  • We also looked for apps that support whiteboards to turn diagrams into actions

1. SmartDraw

smartdraw flowchart

If you’re looking for an all round cross platform replacement for Visio with outstanding Visio file support, SmartDraw is the best replacement for Microsoft Visio we’ve tried.

SmartDraw can do everything that Visio can do but is far simpler and faster.

  • It’s the only alternative to Visio that can ACCURATELY import AND export to the latest Visio VSDX format.
smartdraw import visio file mac
Visio import tool in SmartDraw.

SmartDraw can import and export Visio files or stencils of all complexities and does it extremely well in most cases.

visio flowchart imported into smartdraw
Visio flowchart in VSDX format imported into SmartDraw.

Other things that really stand out with SmartDraw are:

  • More than 4,500 diagram templates (compared to only a few hundred in Visio).
  • Tight data integrations with the ability to automatically draw diagrams from spreadsheets and data sources including Excel, AWS and Azure configurations.
  • Microsoft Office export support and PDF, SVG or PNG formats. You can also share via file sharing apps such as Dropbox, Google Drive and OneDrive.
  • Most recently SmartDraw has introduced whiteboards so that you can create actions based on blueprints, flowcharts and other diagrams.
  • It’s better value than Visio costing almost half as much as the $15.00 per month that Microsoft requires for Visio Plan 2.

The main limitation we found to SmartDraw is that although there’s a Windows desktop app, there’s no Mac or mobile app as yet.

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

You can also check our in-depth look at SmartDraw vs Visio for more.

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

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

Platforms: Cloud

2. Miro

miro

If you want an alternative to Visio that also features far better white-boarding tools, then look no further than Miro.

Miro is a powerful infinite, digital whiteboard that allows you to develop ideas, brainstorm and discover connections more easily than with Visio.

Some of the highlights of Miro are:

  • Miro allows you to develop detailed and extensive flowcharts, mind maps and process quicker than Visio.
  • There’s a huge range of templates including Stakeholder Analysis, UML Diagram, PERT Diagram, Opportunity Solution Tree, Conversion Funnel Backlog and more.
  • Integrated video chat, @mentions and presentation mode.
  • You can import Visio files in VSDX format.

diagrams_import_visio_diagram.gif

There are some limitations to Miro:

  • The free version is very limited with only 3 flowchart boards possible.
  • You can’t export to VSDX format.

You can start using Miro for free for individual use for up to 3 boards.

You also check out our full Miro review for more.

Price: Free / Plans starting from $8 per month for unlimited boards

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

3. Draw.io

draw.io flowchart

Draw.io is a 100% free replacement for Visio that offers unlimited free personal use.

Draw.io (also known as “Diagrams.net”) imports and exports Visio files and although the accuracy isn’t great, you can’t complain much considering its totally free.

Benefits of Draw.io include:

  • There’s a Windows/Mac desktop app and an extension for Google Chrome.
  • Draw.io is completely free to use for individuals with no limitations (at least for now anyway). Unlike a lot of diagramming software, there’s no free use limitations even when it comes to Visio importing or exporting.
  • Draw.io does support exporting to VSDX format although it should be noted that this feature is in beta and doesn’t always work well.
  • You can save files on your desktop or edit and save them to online storage services such as Google Drive, OneDrive and Dropbox.

On the downside:

  • The amount of objects and templates is limited in Draw.io
  • VSDX export not always accurate as its still in beta
  • It’s not free for team use – if you want to colloborate that you must pay for Confluence integration.

You can download Draw.io for Mac free.

You can also check out our full Draw.io review for more.

4. Lucidchart

If you want a Visio replacement with excellent Microsoft Officer integration and lots of team colloboration features, then Lucidchart is an excellent replacement.

Lucidchart can import Visio files although it can’t export to the latest Visio VSDX format unfortunately.

Some of the best points about the app are:

  • Lucidchart can import Microsoft Visio flowcharts in VSDX and VDX format with its in-built Visio import tool.

visio file support mac lucidchart

 

  • It’s integrated with Microsoft 365 so that you can draw instantly in Microsoft Office or Microsoft 365 documents without even opening Lucidchart.
  • You can also draw flowcharts directly in Google Sheets and Google Docs using Lucidchart.
  • There are excellent team collaboration feature with in-app chat, annotations and permission controls.
  • Lucidchart data linking can retrieve data from Excel and data sources like AWS for faster flowcharts, org charts and other diagrams.

On the negative side:

  • Lucidchart can only export to the older Visio VDX format and can’t export to VSDX format used in Visio 2013 and later.
  • There’s no support for VST/VTX stencil importing.
  • The free version is limited to just 3 flowcharts and 60 shapes which is only enough for basic personal use.

You can start using Lucidchart for free.

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

Price: Free basic versions, Teams $9/m, Individuals $7.95/m

Platforms: Cloud

5. Edraw Max

edraw max mac

Edraw Max is a budget alternative to Visio but but with a very familiar Microsoft Office style interface.

The software is available with both a Windows and Mac desktop app so can be used to draw diagrams offline if you don’t want a Cloud product.

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

  • The interface is very similar to Microsoft Visio so its very easy to navigate if you’re used to Visio.
  • Edraw Max supports high quality vector graphics for creating create impressive looking diagrams.
  • It can import and exports Visio files in VSDX format including Batch import support.

import visio on mac edrawmax

  • You can use an experimental AI feature to automatically create flowcharts and diagrams based on your diagram prompts.

There are some limitations to Edraw Max that we found:

  • Importing and exporting to Visio format isn’t very good with lots of formatting issues to fix.
  • There aren’t many templates in Edraw Max and they’re quite basic being based around flowcharts, org charts and brainstorming.
  • There’s no real time collaboration support in the app.

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

6. Creately

Creately is a simple, cost-effective replacement for Visio that also has a desktop app for Windows and Mac.

Creately is easy to use and can create impressive diagrams, Venn diagrams, flowcharts and process flows with minimal effort.

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

Other nice features in Creately are:

  • Creately has a desktop app that you can use to draw offline.
  • The interface is simple to understand compared to Visio.
  • You can import Visio files in VSD format (but not VSDX yet)

visio file import on mac creately

  • There are lots of Creately templates and auto-snapping of shapes and connectors into place.
  • You can integrate Creately with Confluence, Jira and the G Suite Marketplace.

However, be aware of a few downsides:

  • Visio file importing and exporting isn’t very accurate in Creately.
  • Any free diagrams you make are made public so the free version is not suitable for confidential data.

You can create up to 5 diagrams for free in Creately.

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. yEd Graph Editor

visio free mac alternative - yed flowchart

yEd is probably the most powerful free diagramming tool outside of Visio we’ve seen but it is free to use.

The desktop version of yED can be used in Java on Windows and Mac although you can also use the online version yEd Live instead.

Some of the best things about yEd are:

  • yEd uses a clever automatic layout algorithm that means any changes you make to structures or layouts are automatically re-balanced.
  • yEd goes even supports Virtual Reality for the exploration of graph visualizations.
  • yEd is free to use which is amazing considering how powerful it is. However, a commercial version will eventually be released although the developers say it will continue to remain free for private use.

On the minus side:

  • yED is not easy to learn or use. It might be free but you’ll need to spend a lot of time working out how to use it too.
  • It doesn’t support importing or exporting to Visio format – in fact all import and export features are limited.
  • There’s no support for real time team collaboration.
  • The desktop app is based on Java which can be buggy and glitchy.
  • The product is being developed commercially so will eventually require payment.

You can start using yED for free.

Price: Free

Platforms: Desktop, Cloud

8. Gliffy

If you’re looking for a cross platform diagramming alternative to Visio with excellent integration with Confluence, then look no further than Gliffy.

Gliffy is a team focused replacement for Visio that’s ideal for collaborating on UML, network diagrams, org charts and more.

Some of the things we liked about Gliffy are:

  • Its very quick and and snappy 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 without even opening Gliffy.
  • You can import Visio files into Gliffy in VSD and VSDX format

gliffy import visio files

  • You can use a limited free version for personal use and students.
  • The Team collaboration features support embedding of diagrams in Confluence and and commenting on edits.
  • You can use a Chrome extension for drawing offline in Gliffy.

Limitations to Gliffy include:

  • No support for exporting of Visio flowcharts.
  • There’s a limited number of templates and symbols.
  • The free version of Gliffy makes your diagrams public so it’s not suitable for confidential data.

You can use the personal version of Gliffy for free.

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

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

Platforms: Cloud

9. Figma

figma flowchart on mac

Figma is a powerful design orientated substitute for Visio that can be used for everything from flowcharts to UX design.

Here are some of things that stood-out in Figma:

  • Complex collaborative design support allowing multiple team members to work on the same project in real time. This can be anything from a simple flowchart to a complex app prototype.
  • You can create flowcharts that are linked to the creation of interactive prototypes that can be used to animate designs.
  • Figma keeps very detailed version histories so that you can see exactly who made edits and revert to previous versions easily.

There are some drawbacks to it though:

  • If you start loading complex Visio files into Figma, it can be laggy if there are extensive elements in the diagram.
  • There is an offline mode although most of the important features are unavailable until you go online.
  • The Figma free plan is very limited for personal use only.

You can start using Figma for free now.

Price: Plans start at $12/month

Platforms: Cloud

10. Visio Online

visio mac free - visio online

Finally, if you just want something to view and do basic edits to Visio files, you can use Microsoft Visio for the Web on any platform.

Microsoft Visio Online isn’t free, but does allow some basic free use.

Microsoft released Visio Online in 2017 to allow commercial Windows Office 365 subscribers to view and edit Visio files without actually having Visio installed.

Visio Online allows Academic, Government and Enterprise Office 365 subscribers on Windows to view and edit a Visio file in any browser but note that it’s not a fully fledged version of Visio.

You can only open, view, comment and do basic editing of Visio files but for advanced editing, it automatically takes you to the Windows desktop version of Visio (note that this is not available on Mac).

However, if you’ve got a commercial Office 365 subscription, you can use it as a free Visio viewer, and make very basic edits or add comments to Visio diagrams.

You can start using Visio for the web with a Visio Plan 1 subscription.

You can check out our full review of Visio for the web for more.

Price: Requires Microsoft 365 subscription with Visio Plan 1 ($5/m) or Visio Plan 2 ($15/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 (Paid) Extensive MS Office, G Suite
Miro Free /$8/user/m Import Yes (Paid) Extensive Google Drive, Slack
Draw.io Free Import & Export Only in paid team version Limited Google Drive, Dropbox
Lucidchart Free /$7.99+/m Import & Export (VDX only) Yes (Paid) Extensive MS Office, G Suite
Edraw Max $171.50 or $99/year Import & Export No Extensive MS Office, Google Drive
Creately Free /$5/user/m Import Yes (Paid) Extensive MS Office, Google Drive
yED Free No No Limited MS Office, G Suite
Gliffy Free /$8/m Import Yes (Paid) Limited Confluence, Jira
Figma $12/m Import Yes (Paid) Extensive Google Drive, Confluence
Visio for the Web Microsoft 365 + Visio Plan 1 $5/m or Plan 2 $15/m Import Yes (Paid) N/A MS Office
Microsoft Visio (reference) $15/user/m Import & Export No Limited MS Office, SharePoint
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