The best flowchart software for Mac allows you to create flowcharts easily in minutes and here we’ve reviewed the best flowchart software for Mac OS X. All of the flowchart tools featured here are suitable for Mac users and are ideal for a wide range of flow-charting tasks including drawing organizational structures, brainstorming, workflows, documenting or optimizing business processes, training employees and illustrating many other processes and structures. The good news is that most of the best apps such as SmartDraw are very easy to learn, inexpensive and allow you to create professional looking flowcharts quickly. Here we take a closer look at the best paid and free flowchart software for Mac.
- 1 Best Flowchart Software For Mac
- 2 Flowchart For Mac Software Comparison Table
- 3 Other Flowchart Software For Mac
- 4 Conclusion
- 5 Further Reading
Best Flowchart Software For Mac
Before going any further, here’s a few important things to consider when choosing flowchart software for Mac as there are some specific aspects to flowchart software compared to other types of diagram software.
- Flowcharting isn’t like creating wireframes or prototypes. It’s a much simpler process of generally linking shapes and processes, therefore you want something with a simple interface. A lot of flowchart for Mac software is designed for more than just creating flowcharts and can get unnecessarily complicated. Look for something that makes flowchart tools easy to access.
- Likewise, you don’t need lots of objects and shapes to create an effective flowchart. Some flowchart software on Mac offer thousands of objects, shapes and template and while these can be useful, the likelihood is that you won’t need most of them. Think about what you’re going to be creating flowcharts for before deciding on which one to go for.
- One of the most time consuming aspects to creating flowcharts is connecting objects and shapes. Any software that helps automatically align and speed-up this process is extremely useful. One reason we like SmartDraw for example, is because it does exactly this and saves a surprising amount of time messing around trying to make sure your flowcharts are aligned and look professional.
- Some of the best flowchart software for Mac is online. This means that in most cases, you need an internet connection in order to use. Some like Lucidchart have a Chrome plugin that allow you to work offline but if needing a constant internet connection is going to be a problem for you, you’re better to go for a dedicated desktop Mac flowchart software such as OmniGraffle. The advantage of desktop flowchart software for Mac is also that they usually don’t require a monthly subscription. The disadvantage however is that you have to pay for upgrades which can be annually depending on the developer.
With these things in mind, here’s our selection of the best flowchart for Mac software. We’ve given special attention to the top 4 as they are by far the most complete flowchart solutions available for Mac users but if they’re too advanced or expensive for your needs, we then go on to cover simpler and cheaper flowchart software for Mac. You’ll also find a complete flowchart for Mac comparison table after our review of the top 4.
SmartDraw is one of the leading flowchart software for PC users but now thanks to SmartDraw Cloud, Mac users can also use it on OS X. SmartDraw has been in the diagramming software business for over 20 years and makes it very easy to create professional looking flowcharts with minimum fuss. In fact, SmartDraw is superb at making diagramming and technical drawing of all kinds easy enough for anyone and has made it a very popular alternative to Visio for Mac. SmartDraw has easily the biggest selection of flowchart templates of any diagramming software with templates including Business Process Mapping, EPC Diagrams, Influence Diagrams, Swim Lane Diagrams, Workflow Diagrams and many more.
SmartDraw is easily the slickest online flowchart software out there with a highly polished interface and it uses higher quality vector graphics whereas most online flowchart apps use bitmap graphics. The really time saving thing about SmartDraw is the way it automatically or “smart” formats diagrams for you. Whenever you add or subtract parts of your flowchart, SmartDraw automatically adjusts and re-balances all links and boxes so that it always looks clean and organized. There’s no need to spend time manually going through the diagram and re-balancing it.
This includes highly technical diagrams such as electrical circuits which SmartDraw conveniently connects and rejoins circuits when you drag and drop components in and out of the diagram.
Another clever aspect to SmartDraw on Mac is the nomination and confirmation flowchart template. SmartDraw will automatically suggest and insert nomination processes for each stage which you can keep or delete as appropriate. For instance, in this flowchart for the U.S. Supreme Court Nomination and Confirmation Process, SmartDraw automatically provides the steps which are most commonly used in such processes which you can then remove, edit or leave in the flowchart as needed.
SmartDraw saves all flowcharts on its own servers but you can also choose to save to online storage solutions such as OneDrive, DropBox, Google Drive and G Suite. If you need to import flowcharts created in Microsoft Visio, you can import VSD and VSDX files easily and the latest version of SmartDraw 2017 also exports to Visio.
Although it’s cloud based, there’s no noticeable lag when using SmartDraw – dragging and dropping is as smooth and fast as any desktop app we’ve used. You do of course require an internet connection to use SmartDraw though – you can’t work with it offline.
There are too many aspects to SmartDraw to cover here but to learn more about creating flowcharts and other diagrams on Mac using SmartDraw, check out our full in-depth SmartDraw for Mac review. You can also try a free trial of SmartDraw on Mac and you can also watch a brief overview of how easy it is to create flowcharts in SmartDraw here:
Like SmartDraw, Lucidchart is a web based flowchart software for Mac. Lucidchart can be used to draw all sorts of diagrams on Mac from flowcharts to floor plans, doesn’t require any installation and since it’s cloud based, works on any version of OS X. Lucidchart isn’t as slick as SmartDraw – it doesn’t use vector graphics, the interface isn’t as refined and there are far fewer templates. However it does have a few advantages such as cheaper pricing plans and integration with more third party services. For example, Lucidchart is integrated with Microsoft Office as an add-in, meaning you can use Lucidchart to create flowcharts directly within Microsoft Office apps such as PowerPoint, Word and Excel. There’s also a Google Chrome plugin for Lucidchart which allows you to work offline which you can’t do in SmartDraw. Like SmartDraw, Lucidchart can also import Visio flowcharts but it can also export files to Visio too which SmartDraw can’t as yet.
Before you start, you’ll need to sign-up for a free Lucidchart account. You can actually choose between starting a free account or a free trial of a paid account but whichever one you choose, you won’t need to enter your credit card info. You get full access to the flowchart shape library on any account whether you’re on a paid or free plan.
Creating flowcharts on Lucidchart is very easy although like all flowchart creation, it’s easier if you approach it methodically. To get started drawing flowcharts on your Mac with Lucidchart:
Step 1: Make a list
To help you make your flowchart, start by writing down every step in the process you’re trying to capture. For some steps, you may be unsure of the order in which they should be listed. Ask yourself what decisions need to be made before future steps can happen; this will help you flesh out the process.
Step 2: Begin drawing shapes
Lucidchart offers a variety of flowchart templates, but here we’ll start from scratch. In Lucidchart, the flowchart shape library is automatically turned on. Begin your flowchart by dragging an elongated rectangle shape into the upper part of your canvas. Double click the shape to add text and label it “Begin” or “Start here.”
Step 3: Add more shapes and symbols
One you have your starting shape, you can click on any of its edges to drag out a line, which will then prompt you to choose another shape to connect to. The two most common shapes you will use for your flowchart are:
• Rectangles, which represent processes
• Diamonds, which represent decisions
Depending on the complexity of your flowchart, you may want to add other types of shapes. You can also refer to the flowchart glossary for more flowchart shapes and their meanings. For the last shape in your flowchart, use another elongated circle like the one you began with; this signifies the ending. To make things easier, if you hit the F1 key, you’ll see a list of Mac keyboard shortcuts that will speed up your diagramming.
Step 4: Add color
Once you’ve finished drawing, connecting, and labeling your shapes, you can color code your chart. The paint can on the top panel will help you add color, or you can choose a set theme from the Graphics option on the right-hand panel. Having color will help your chart stand out and give it a professional touch.
Step 5: Review
Once you’re done with your flowchart, it’s always a good idea to have a colleague or friend review it for you. The most important thing they should look out for is that each step in your process is clear. You can do this easily by clicking “Share” inside Lucidchart. The good thing is, your collaborator doesn’t need a Lucidchart account to take a look. They don’t even need to be on a Mac, since Lucidchart works on all operating systems.
After you’ve had your flowchart vetted, you can save it as a PDF, print it out, or show it off in Lucidchart’s presentation mode.
As mentioned earlier, Lucidchart is now available as an add-in for Microsoft Office users which vastly enhances the capabilities of Office to create flowcharts, which let’s face it, aren’t great. Lucidchart has released add-ins (which are the same as plugins) for Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Excel which allow you to edit and create Lucidchart flowcharts or diagrams in Office documents. To download the Lucidchart plugin for Microsoft Office, simply open PowerPoint, Word or Excel and go to Insert > My Add-ins and search for “Lucidchart” and install the add-in. You then either login to Lucidchart or open a new Lucidchart account to create or insert a diagram you made earlier. You can insert pretty much anything including dynamic diagrams, flowcharts, and wireframes. You can also download the Lucidchart add-in from the Microsoft Store.
Lucidchart add a new pop-culture flowchart every week (which you can get delivered to your inbox) that you can use for free to spice-up your presentations.
You can sign-up for Lucidchart for free for 7 days (which can be extended on request) to see what you think for yourself. We recommend reading our full Lucidchart for Mac review as there’s a lot more to it than we’ve covered here. You can also watch a useful quick overview of everything that Lucidchart can do below.
Unlike SmartDraw and Lucidchart, OmniGraffle is a desktop diagramming software for Mac. For those that prefer a native desktop flowchart app for Mac over web based apps, OmniGraffle is definitely the best diagramming software for Mac out there. Like Lucidchart, OmniGraffle is also a powerful alternative to Visio on Mac capable of everything from wireframe to industrial prototypes but if you don’t need all that, it’s also an excellent tool for creating flowcharts.
There are thousands of templates for OmniGraffle although the slight drawback is that most of them are part of GraffleTopia which is a separate paid resource where you can download templates. A GraffleTopia subscription costs $24 per year but for this you get a choice of over 10,000 templates ranging from iPhone stencils to UX Web Tiles and Simple Wireframes. There are however other free OmniGraffle templates and stencils resources such as Stenciltown and Konigi which don’t cost a cent. Most OmniGraffle stencils and templates are uploaded by other users with diverse diagramming and flowchart needs meaning the variation is very impressive.
At $99.99 OmniGraffle isn’t cheap but if you want a native desktop flowchart for Mac app, that can handle everything from wireframes to prototypes, it’s definitely worth it. If you’re in education, you can get OmniGraffle for almost half price at $59.99 and OmniGraffle Pro for $119.99 which is a real bargain because it even supports importing of Visio files. To get this offer, you simply try OmniGraffle free for 14 days from the Mac App Store and then purchase an educational or normal license in-app. Even if you decide not to upgrade, you can still use the OmniGraffle trial as a useful free Visio viewer for Mac as the Visio viewing functionality never expires on the trial. There’s also an iOS app for OmniGraffle which allows you to edit flowcharts on iPad or iPhone although this is sold separately for $49.99.
To get a better idea of how it works, you can watch OmniGraffle in action here:
ConceptDraw Pro is another professional desktop flowchart software for Mac that works natively on both Mac and PC. Although ConceptDraw Pro is aimed more at those with advanced diagramming needs, it’s very complete when it comes to creating flowcharts on OS X. If you work on both Windows and OS X and don’t want an online flowchart tool, ConceptDraw Pro could well be your best bet. ConceptDraw offers a fully functional 21 days free trial and if you decide to purchase it, one license costs $199 which you can use to install on both one PC and one Mac so that you can switch between both whenever you want.
ConceptDraw Pro is very good at guiding you through the flowchart creation process and provides tool tips and explanations of how to construct flowcharts and what individual shapes and symbols should be used for.
When it comes to Business Process flowcharts, ConceptDraw is particularly adept as it features a “RapidDraw Interface” designed specifically for this task which helps you find objects and shapes and link them together to create business process diagrams faster and more professionally:
If you need to import a flowchart from Microsoft Visio, you can import files from all versions of Visio into ConceptDraw Pro including Visio Stencils in VSSX format. You can even export flowcharts to Visio plus other major formats such as vector graphics (SVG, EMF, EPS), bitmap graphics (PNG, JPEG, GIF, BMP, TIFF), web documents (HTML, PDF), PowerPoint presentations (PPT) and Adobe Flash (SWF). You can also export directly to apps such as MS Word, MS Project and Evernote.
One slight drawback we found is that the number of objects, symbols and templates is limited in the app itself but you can download more objects and templates from ConceptDraw Solution Park which also includes audiovisual clips and tutorials to enhance your flowcharts.
You can try a 21 day free trial by signing up for a ConceptDraw account but if you decide to upgrade ConceptDraw Pro for Mac costs $199. You can see some examples here of diagrams and charts created with ConceptDraw Pro.
You can also watch how to create a business process flowchart using ConceptDraw Pro for Mac below:
Flowchart For Mac Software Comparison Table
These four are the best flowchart software for Mac available and at this stage, it’s useful to see how they compare side-by-side. After this flowchart for Mac comparison table, you’ll then find other, simpler and cheaper flowchart for Mac software reviews which don’t offer half as many capabilities or features but are still worth considering depending on your needs.
Open & Edit Visio Files (VSD/VSDX/VDX)
Export To Visio (VSD/VDX)
Support For Visio Templates (VSS/VST/VTX)
Integration With Google Apps
Microsoft OneDrive Support
Google Docs/Drive Support
Symbols & Clipart
Work Offline On Mac
Windows Desktop App
Sharing/Real Time Collaboration
5 Team license
10 Team license
3 Team license
10 Team license
Other Flowchart Software For Mac
Mindcab Incubator is much simpler and inexpensive flowchart tool for Mac designed specifically for OS X. Mindcab Incubator allows you to easily organize ideas and draw flowcharts without a complicated interface that overwhelms you. You can even drag in text and images from other applications installed on your Mac and add them to your flowcharts, add annotations and link to external web pages and desktop documents. Mindcab is more a free form flowchart tool than the other applications featured here but is excellent if you need more flexibility than just adding shapes.
Google Docs now offers a free way to draw flowcharts on your Mac. Like most of the Google Docs toolset, its quite simple and basic but very easy to use and works on any platform. There are an increasing number of flowchart stencils and templates to choose from which you can download for free and preview before using.
You can see just how easy it is to create flowcharts on Mac for free using Google Docs here:
Shapes is a remarkably accomplished diagramming tool for just $9.99. Shapes focuses on the bare essentials that’s ideal for good looking flowcharts, wireframes and visualizing model relationships. Shapes is also fully integrated into OS X and supports Quick Look, Full-Screen Mode, Autosave, and Version Browsing.You can download a free trial of Shapes and watch it in action here:
Textografo is an online flowchart software with a slick, clean interface that uses syntax to construct flowcharts on your Mac. Textografo is designed specifically for businesses flowchart creation and has specific templates and tools for Process Analysis, Business Operations, Software Development, Sales & Marketing and Customer Service flowcharts. Textografo has a Flowchart Maker, Mindmap Maker, Decision Tree Maker, Organizational Chart Maker (read more on Org Chart Software for Mac here) and a Sitemap Maker.
Textografo requires you to type processes along the left hand margin and then automatically constructs flowcharts in the main canvas on the right of the screen. It automatically aligns objects and processes via different layout templates that you can select at the top of the screen although you can manually drag and drop objects.
Textografo in an interesting and clean approach to flowchart making. Textografo Essential is $4 per month but limited to 5 diagrams and 40 shapes per diagram. Textografo Premium costs $8 per month with unlimited diagrams and other features such as export to PDF and revision history. You can try a 7 day free trial before having to purchase a plan.
Sensus BPM is a highly specialized business process management flowchart software for business and enterprise environments. Sensus BPM is designed to continually help businesses to improve processes and share them across the entire organization. For most general users, it won’t be suitable but for those in fast moving and changing corporate environments, Sensus BPM is a very powerful business process focused flowchart software for those that need to manage cmplex organizational structures. Note that Sensus BPM is only available as an annual subscription starting at $120 for the most basic version although you can try a free trial first. You can read more about Sensus BPM in our review of Org Chart Software For Mac.
DRAKON is a free online flowchart software that’s unusually based on the DRAKON visual language that was designed for the Russian aerospace industry. DRAKON makes it surprisingly fast and easy ti create flowcharts on OS X or mobile devices. DRAKON has a very simple and easy to use interface and allows you to invite colleagues to collaborate with you on any DRAKON flowcharts.
All you need to do is create a DRAKON account to start using it although the free version is limited to 3 diagrams and one user. However the Extended version is just $5 per month and allows 200 diagrams and the Team version costs $12 per month and allows unlimited diagrams and 3 or more users. Students and educators can use all of DRAKON’s features for free.
You can watch DRAKON in action below:
If you’re a Microsoft Office user, it’s useful to know that if you already use Microsoft Office for Mac, you can create very basic flowcharts in Microsoft Word. However the toolset, shapes and functionality is pretty limited and if you intend on making flowcharts regularly, you’re much better using a dedicated flowchart software like one of the ones featured in this article. Lucidchart in particular now features add-in integration with Microsoft Office meaning you can create diagrams and flowcharts in Office documents using the far superior capabilities of Lucidchart.
The process for creating flowcharts is slightly different in Microsoft Office 2011 for Mac to Microsoft Office 2016 for Mac but assuming you’re using Microsoft Office 2016 here’s how to draw a flowchart on Mac:
- Click on Shapes:
- You then get a choice of several shapes. For guidance, Rectangle for processes, Diamond for decisions and an Elongated Oval is a terminator to start and end the process.
- You them simply drag the shape you want using the crosshairs. To connect shapes, you must ensure that the crosshairs are aligned and then on the Shape Format tab, select Align to get a choice of connecting lines.
- Then simply choose the type of connecting line you want to use.
The flowchart features in Office 2016 are very limited but suffice to create basic flowcharts. You can also watch how to create a flowchart in Microsoft Office below.
Pages is Apple’s answer to Microsoft Word and also allows you to create basic flowcharts within it. Pages is designed for word processing but it includes basic shapes, ability to add text and connect it with lines and arrows to allow you to create simple flowcharts on your Mac. If you want a cheap desktop flowchart software for Mac, Pages is an alternative to Microsoft Office and certainly cheaper, albeit far more basic solution, than OmniGraffle.
To create a flowchart using Pages, simply click on the “Shapes” icon in the toolbar and drag it where you want to place it on the page. You can change the style of the shape by clicking the “Style” tab in the Format panel and add effects such as shadows and change the opacity of shapes. The same applies for adding text – just click the “Text” tab in the Format panel and choose the font and color that you’d like to use. You can also insert lines using the “Insert” option in the toolbar including lines with arrowheads. Pages is very basic and simple for creating flowcharts but if you don’t need anything fancy, it’s a good quick solution.
You can watch how to use shapes in Pages below:
In our experience, the best flowchart software for Mac are online apps such as SmartDraw and Lucidchart. They are by far the most complete flowcharting software solutions both in terms of features, ease of use and experience in the industry. However, they do require a monthly or annual subscription but if you’re going to be regularly creating flowcharts, and especially if you’re going to be working alongside colleagues or clients on other platforms such as Windows, they’re definitely worth signing-up for. SmartDraw has been in the game a lot longer than Lucidchart although until the release of SmartDraw Cloud, it was a strictly Windows application. However, Mac users can now enjoy all the features of SmartDraw making it arguably the best flowchart software for Mac. However, Lucidchart also allows you to create flowcharts offline whereas SmartDraw still does not. In terms of pricing, both are pretty similar at just under $10 for a single user license but when it comes to team licenses, SmartDraw is much cheaper starting at $5.95 per user for a 5 team license compared to at least $20 for a Lucidchart team license.
If you want a native flowchart application for Mac, then as we’ve seen, the options are considerably more limited. OmniGraffle is easily the market leader but it’s an expensive and heavy duty solution if all you want to create are flowcharts. However, it’s a one-off payment and there’s no monthly subscription. The same goes for ConceptDraw Pro which may be a better solution if you want a desktop flowchart software on your Mac which also works on PC desktops too. If you just want something really simple and economical meanwhile, Mindcab Incubator and Shapes are easy go use if more limited solutions.
We hope this guide to the best flowchart software on Mac has been helpful but if you still haven’t found what you’re looking for, you might find the our articles on the best alternatives to Visio For Mac and Visio For Mac Free Alternatives useful too.
If you have any questions, comments or experiences with the flowchart software for Mac reviewed here, let us know in the comments below.