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Creately Review: Fast & Easy Diagramming

Creately is a simple but effective diagram app. The lack of Visio export support is disappointing but the option of having a desktop app or using it in the Cloud is a big plus.
Easy and fast to create diagrams
Imports Visio files
Desktop and Cloud version
No Visio export support
Free version makes diagrams public
Basic compared to Visio

Creately is a fast and easy to use diagramming software that works both online and on Mac desktops and in this Creately review we take a closer look at it.

If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to whip-up flowcharts, org charts, floor plans and pretty much any kind of diagram, Creately is an attractive no-fuss business diagramming tool.

It can also be used to import Visio files and suffices as a replacement for diagramming with Visio on a Mac.

creately diagramming tool

Features & Functionality

Creately has a thousands of templates (some of which are made by the Creately community) and they cover all the essential business diagram needs including SWOT analysis, Venn diagrams and wireframe templates.

Creately allows you to easily drag and drop elements into a diagram and a nice touch is that Creately will suggest connectors and shapes based on what it thinks you are trying to draw.

creately interface

There are other nice touches when you’re making Gantt Charts on your Mac for example. As you drag and extend a Gantt chart, Creately automatically adds the dates and extends the timeline accordingly.

creately review gantt charts

It’s easy to collaborate with others in Creately – simply send them a link and invite them in. They’ll obviously need to have a Creately account to edit diagrams but they don’t if you just want to send a view only diagram.

Collaboration works in real-time and changes can be seen both in the Cloud and on Desktop.

There’s a full revision history too so that if someone makes a mistake, you can revert back to a previous version of a diagram at any time.

Creately has a nice way of allowing you to add and view comments in the right hand margin and makes it easy to create discussion threads.

creately comments

One of the slightly different things about Creately compared to similar products is that it has a Mac desktop application.

This allows you to create diagrams offline on your Mac and as soon as you connect to the internet, it will sync changes with the online version.

There’s also a Creately mobile app which enables you to edit, comment on and share diagrams on the move.

Creately also has plugins for Confluence, Jira, GSuite which allow you to add diagrams to your tasks and workflows and a Google Chrome extension.

Visio Compatibility

Since there is no version of Microsoft Visio for Mac, some people turn to Creately as an alternative Visio solution on Mac.

Creately can import Visio files and stencils but it cannot export to Visio. This will definitely be a problem if you intend to collaborate with Windows based Visio users in which case you need Visio VSDX file export support.

creately visio import

If this applies to you, then we strongly recommend trying SmartDraw instead which is the only application on Mac which supports Visio 2016 VSDX exporting.

However, Creately can export to editable SVG format. This isn’t perfect because certain layers, objects and formatting will be lost when you open it in Visio but it’s better than nothing.

SVG can also be opened in other graphic design applications on Mac such as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Inkscape and more. It can also export to PDF format and allows you to add links to other diagrams.

Creately can’t compare to Visio in terms of complexity and fine control but if you just need the basic diagramming capabilities of it, it’s absolutely fine.

Creately Pricing

Creately can be used free for up to 5 diagrams. However, it’s important to be aware that diagrams created in the free plan are made public so it’s definitely not suitable for confidential diagrams. There’s also no Visio import support or

Creately has two different pricing plans depending on whether you buy the desktop version or sign-up for an online plan.

The desktop version costs a one time fee of $75 or $40 if you’re buying large volumes of licenses. For the first year, you get free access to Creately Online.

Otherwise you can sign-up for a Creately Online plan which starts at $5 per month for individual use going up to $750 per month for teams of 500 users or more.

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