They say a picture paints a thousand words and diagrams can help see things that a million Excel sheets, documents or emails can’t.
Flowcharts and diagrams are an amazingly effective way to brainstorm ideas, visualize workflows, customer journeys and map out business processes.
All of the flowchart and diagram apps we tried offer limited free use and some of them even have limited free forever versions.
They also all work on the latest version of macOS Sonoma and Apple Silicon Macs with the M1, M2 or M3 chip.
In our extensive research and testing, we found that SmartDraw was the best flowchart software for Mac thanks to its incredible range of templates, ease of use, Visio file support and overall speed at creating flowcharts.
Do Macs Have A Flowchart Tool?
macOS doesn’t have a specific tool for flowcharting and there is no Apple flowchart software.
However, you can draw basic flowcharts on a Mac for free in Apple Pages.
Apple Pages is a free word processing software that also allows you to draw simple diagrams such as flowcharts. There are no templates though for flowcharting, extremely limited tools and you’ll have to start from scratch.
With this in mind, here then are the best flowchart and diagram apps for Mac of 2023 in order of ranking.
The main reason we ranked SmartDraw as the best flowchart tool for Mac of 2023 is because it makes drawing professional looking flowcharts unbelievably easy and fast on any model of Mac.
It also looks like it was built for macOS and the closest thing we’ve used to a flowchart software made by Apple.
SmartDraw has been in the diagramming software business for over 20 years and makes it very easy to create eye-catching flowcharts in half the time it takes with most apps.
Here are some of things we really liked about SmartDraw:
- SmartDraw easily has the biggest selection of flowchart templates of any diagramming software including Business Process Mapping, Influence Diagrams, Workflow Diagrams, Process Chart Mapping and many more.
- It’s incredibly time saving because SmartDraw automatically “smart” formats diagrams for you. Whenever you add or subtract parts of your flowchart, SmartDraw automatically adjusts and re-balances all swimlanes and boxes so that it always looks clean and organized.
- SmartDraw has more than 34,000 shapes and objects to choose from to create flowcharts.
- SmartDraw is the only flowchart software we’ve used that can accurately import and export Visio flowcharts.
- It allows you to upload data from Excel and CSV files and SmartDraw will automatically create flowcharts from data sources.
There are a few drawbacks to SmartDraw however:
- There’s no Mac desktop app although it works seamlessly on both Intel and Apple Silicon Macs in any browser
- It requires a subscription to use
You can get started now with SmartDraw for free to judge for yourself.
You can also check out our full SmartDraw review for more on everything it can do.
Pricing: Single User $9.95/month or Team $8.25/month
2. Flowchart Designer 3
Flowchart Designer 3 is a simple free Mac desktop flowchart app that produces very basic flowcharts with minimal fuss.
Flowchart Designer 3 is extremely basic and we wouldn’t recommend it for professional use but if you want to create a flowchart, org chart, decision tree or other diagram offline on your Mac desktop, it just about does the job.
Here’s what we liked in Flowchart Designer 3 for Mac:
- It’s free to download from the Mac App Store and can be used offline on a Mac desktop.
- It’s well integrated with macOS and supports Quick Look, Full-Screen Mode, Autosave, and Version Browsing.
- Allows you to change the design of how shapes and connectors look such as the color and styling of them.
- You can share flowcharts made in Flowchart Designer to Mail, Messages, AirDrop, Photos and more
However, there are quite a few drawbacks to Flowchart Designer:
- There are no templates in Flowchart Designer 3 so you have to draw everything from scratch. This makes creating flowcharts very slow compared to most flowcharting apps we tried.
- There are only a few shapes to choose from so unless you upgrade to the premium version for $7.99, you’re very limited in the shapes you can use.
- There’s no Visio import or export support (although it does export to PNG, JPG and TIFF).
- There’s no data integration to automatically create flowcharts.
- It’s very basic in general and the results don’t look particularly professional.
The main attraction of Flowchart Designer 3 is that it’s free to use offline on any Mac running macOS 10.13 or later but it’s really only suitable for basic diagramming for those that have plenty of time on their hands.
You can also download Flowchart Designer and start using it now.
You can check out our full Flowchart Designer for Mac review for more.
Pricing: Free / $7.99 for Premium shapes
3. OmniGraffle Pro
OmniGraffle is a more advanced desktop diagramming software designed specifically for Macs which creates professional looking flowcharts.
For those that want a professional desktop flowchart app for their Mac instead of a web based apps, OmniGraffle is definitely one to check out.
OmniGraffle has been around as an Apple only product for over 20 years and apart from flowcharts, is also popular for drawing everything from wireframes to industrial prototypes.
Here are some of things we really like about OmniGraffle:
- It’s Mac and iOS only so the integration with macOS and iOS is really tight including a native app for Apple Silicon Macs.
- OmniGraffle is one of the only desktop flowchart makers for Mac that does a decent job of importing and exporting flowcharts in Visio format accurately.
- You can use the Graffletopia community site to download tens of thousands of stencils and templates for OmniGraffle (although this does cost extra to use).
- The interface of OmniGraffle is tasteful and looks great in all versions of macOS including Sonoma and Ventura.
There are some drawbacks to OmniGraffle though:
- OmniGraffle can import Visio files in VSDX format but it can only export to VDX format which is used in Visio 2010 or older. Exporting to VSDX results in a lot of bad formatting issues.
- There are no team collaboration features in OmniGraffle so it’s not really suitable for large teams to work on.
- The upfront cost is quite high at $149.99 for the Standard version and if you need Visio file support, you need the Pro version which is $249.99. You can however choose to subscribe to OmniGraffle instead for $12.49 per month or $124.99 per year.
- The iOS app is sold separately for iPad and costs $59.99 although if you pay for a subscription, its included in the price.
You can also try OmniGraffle for free to test it for yourself.
You can check out our review of OmniGraffle Pro for more.
Pricing: $149.99 (Standard) / $249.99 (Pro) or $12.49/m – Free Trial
Miro promises to help you say goodbye to bottle necks by helping you map out process flows with its slick and easy to use flowchart maker.
If you’re looking for a digital whiteboard to draw flowcharts, then Miro is definitely one of the best whiteboard software we’ve used.
Miro is used by some of the biggest enterprises out there including Cisco, Hewlett Packard and Dell which gives you an idea of how powerful and trusted it is.
Here’s what we liked about drawing flowcharts in Miro:
- It has an infinite whiteboard so that you can develop detailed, extensive flowcharts.
- Miro has lots of templates for all types of flowcharts including process flowcharts for complex workflows, workflow flowcharts for helping to understand processes better, swimlane flowcharts for sub-process breakdowns and data flowcharts for information flows.
- Includes specific templates for Stakeholder Analysis, UML Diagram, PERT Diagram, Opportunity Solution Tree, Conversion Funnel Backlog, Supply & Demand, BPMN/UML templates for product lifecycles.
- You can use the community generated Miroverse to download more templates which is where Miro users share and upload their flowcharts for other users to enjoy.
- Excellent team collaboration tools including integrated video chat, @mentions and presentation mode for showing-off your flowcharts in meetings.
- Miro has a free version although it is limited to 3 boards.
There were some things we didn’t like about Miro however:
- It’s very much a corporate solution not really aimed at individuals wanting to create flowcharts.
- Free version is very limited with only 3 flowchart boards possible.
- There’s no support for importing or exporting flowcharts made in Microsoft Visio.
You can also check out our full Miro review for more.
Pricing: Free / Plans starting from $8 per month
Lucidchart is a professional cloud based diagramming software that makes it easy to create flowcharts on any Mac.
Lucidchart is used by 96% of Fortune 500 companies so it’s designed mainly for enterprises that need to create flowcharts for business process flow, decision making and product development.
Lucidchart is very well integrated with Microsoft 365 as it has a useful plugin which enables you to create flowcharts directly within Microsoft Office apps such as PowerPoint, Word and Excel.
Here are some of the things we liked about Lucidchart:
- Integration with Microsoft 365 means you don’t even need to open the app to draw flowcharts.
- Although its web based, you can draw flowcharts offline in Google Chrome thanks to a plugin.
- Lucidchart also integrates with Google Drive allowing you to draw flowcharts directly in Sheets and Docs.
- It can import Microsoft Visio flowcharts in VSDX and VDX format
- The setup wizard customizes Lucidchart for your industry so that the tools you need for drawing industry specific flowcharts are all there from the start.
- Lucidchart’s team collaboration features are some of the best we’ve seen in any diagramming app with in-app chat, annotations and permission controls.
- Lucidchart also has some robust data linking to allow live data to be uploaded dynamically from spreadsheets such as Excel which saves a lot of time updating flowcharts with real-time data.
There are some drawbacks to Lucidchart that we found though:
- Lucidchart can only export to the older Visio VDX format used in Visio 2010 and older. It can’t export to VSDX format used in Visio 2013 and above.
- It also does not support VST/VTX stencil imports.
- The free version is limited to just 3 flowcharts and 60 shapes (although it does support basic data linking)
You can start using Lucidchart for free to test it for yourself.
You can check out our full review of Lucidchart for more.
Pricing: Limited free version, Single $7.95/month or Team $9+/month
Best Flowchart Software For Mac Compared
|SmartDraw||Flowchart Designer||OmniGraffle Pro||Miro||Lucidchart|
|Ease of Use|
|Start Diagramming For Free|
|Mac Desktop App|
Best Free Flowchart Apps For Mac
All of the flowchart tools we’ve reviewed so far allow you to start diagramming for free but with restrictive limitations in the free version.
If you’re looking for a completely free flowchart solution however, then the following tools offer either unlimited free usage or are free to use with less restrictions.
Bear in mind the following if you’re considering using one of these tools:
- Free flowchart makers usually 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 flowchart software limit the number of diagrams you can create and the number of objects available unless you upgrade to a paid plan.
- Many free flowchart apps software also make your diagrams public in the free version. You will have to upgrade to a paid version to make them private.
If you’re looking for a flowchart maker that doesn’t cost a cent, has tight Google Drive integration but still packs a punch, Draw.io (also known as Diagrams.net) is the best free flowchart software that you can use on a Mac.
Draw.io is completely free to use for individuals (it only requires payment for team plans) but includes premium features such as Visio VSDX flowchart import and export.
Although it’s Cloud based, you can still work offline on Mac desktops thanks to a Google Chrome extension which syncs diagrams and flowcharts when you go online.
Here’s what we liked about Draw.io
- It’s one of the few flowchart tools that’s completely free to use (apart for Team use).
- Draw.io is integrated with most major online cloud storage solutions such as Dropbox, Google Drive and Dropbox so you can choose where your diagrams are stored.
- If you want more privacy you can choose to save flowcharts on your Mac desktop instead.
- You can work offline thanks to a Chrome extension.
- We liked the ability to import a CSV file or URL and then turn it into a flowchart instantly. This requires adding a bit of code but is incredibly time saving.
- You can import and export Visio files in VSDX format.
Here’s what could be improved in Draw.io:
- Draw.io doesn’t have a huge choice of templates or shapes
- Visio importing and exporting is unreliable and can result in some very messy formatting issues.
You can use Draw.io for free.
Pricing: Teams $10+ per month / Basic free version
If you’re crazy about all things AI, then you’ll love Whimsical. While many flowchart makers seem to have added AI as a bit of a gimmick, Whimsical really impresses with its AI assisted flowchart maker.
We tested Whimsical by asking it “create a flowchart for a new business plan” and within seconds it had created a basic business plan which is pretty impressive.
It wasn’t the most detailed process flow but it was a great starting point to flesh out into a full plan.
Here are some of the things we liked about Whimsical:
- The AI prompts arr genuinely helpful in building flowcharts although arguably, ready-made templates do a similar job anyway.
- Whimsical is easy to setup and use with a clean layout although we found the AI feature is strangely hidden (you have to click on the star symbol on the left hand toolbar).
- Whimsical can also be used for project management and document management similar to Microsoft 365 or Google Workspace.
- It’s very easy to invite users to view or edit flowcharts via email or link.
- You can export Whimsical flowcharts in high resolution for printing so they look really slick and professional.
There are some things we thought could be improved with Whimsical however:
- The pricing structure is expensive as it is based on the number of boards and AI commands you require.
- There aren’t many templates probably because it wants you to use the AI to create flowcharts instead
Price: Free for 300 boards and 100 AI commands. Premium starts at $10/user/month for unlimited boards and 2000 AI commands, $20/user/month for
XMind is primarily a mind mapping software but is also very commonly used for creating simple flowcharts.
XMind an excellent Mac desktop app that works on both Intel and Apple Silicon Macs so you can work offline but it can also be used online in any browser.
XMind includes integrated note taking tools that allow you to quickly note down ideas and inspiration as you create flowcharts.
Here are some of things we liked about XMind:
- The Mac desktop app has special focus features such as a timer and day/night mode to help you focus 100% on creating a flowchart.
- XMind can export flowcharts to Evernote, PDF and Microsoft Office formats. It can also import Microsoft Word files.
- XMind is excellent for creating flowcharts for brainstorming or mind mapping tasks.
- There’s a basic free plan.
For quick and simply flowcharting on Mac desktops, XMind is a straightforward app that’s especially ideal for those that want to use flowcharts for brainstorming.
The drawbacks to XMind we found were:
- It does not support importing or exporting Visio flowcharts
- It’s heavily focused on mind mapping rather than all round flowcharting meaning there’s also a lack of templates.
- To get access to the most essential flowchart tools requires a subscription
You can start using XMind for free now.
Pricing: Basic free plan and then starts at $59.99/year or $5.99/month
Gliffy is a cheap and cheerful cloud flowchart app that offers a free version.
Gliffy is very team focused and can also be used for flowcharting offline via a Chrome extension.
Here are the things we liked about Gliffy:
- Despite being a web app, Gliffy is quick and snappy at creating flowcharts with smooth, fast drag and dropping of objects.
- Gliffy is well integrated with Atlassian products such as Jira and Confluence. You can even draw flowcharts in Jira using the Gliffy Atlassian plugin.
- There’s a free version for personal use and students.
- The Team collaboration features are strong including embedding of flowcharts and commenting on edits.
There are some things we didn’t like about Gliffy though:
- There’s no exporting of Visio flowcharts.
- There aren’t many templates or symbols in Gliffy.
- The interface is quite basic and could do with an update.
You can try Gliffy to judge it for yourself.
You can read our full review of Gliffy for more information.
Pricing: $7.99/month for individuals or teams up to 9 users. Teams of up to 50 users $6 per user/month. Students free.
Creately is an easy to use cloud diagram software that can import Visio files and make impressive flowcharts in minutes.
If you want the option of both a cloud and desktop app, then Creately is a good choice because it has an app you can download for both Mac and PC.
It’s also one of the best flowchart makers we’ve seen for two-way data synchronization so that you can make flowcharts update dynamically.
What we liked about Creately was:
- The interface is slimline and elegant and really looks at home on Mac. All tools are in the top menu and adding flowchart shapes and symbols is fast and easy.
- There are thousands of Creately templates and to speed-up diagramming, there’s a 1-click create and connect function which automates much of the process.
- You can create up to 5 diagrams for free in Creately but after that it costs $5 per month.
What we didn’t like about Creately was:
- All free diagrams are made public so make sure you don’t create anything that you don’t want sharing.
- The free version limits the number of flowcharts you can create and restricts the functionality.
You can also check-out our Creately app review for more.
You can also try Creately for yourself.
Pricing: Personal $5 per month / Business $89 per month / Basic free version
How We Chose The Best Flowchart Apps For Mac
There are a few important things we considered when choosing which flowchart software is best for using on a Mac.
- Simplicity: 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 software is designed for more than just creating flowcharts (such as project management) and can get unnecessarily complicated. Look for something that’s focused on the art of flowcharts.
- Less Is More: You don’t need hundreds of objects and shapes to create an effective flowchart. A lot of flowcharting tools 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 and whether it has templates for it before deciding whether you need to choose a software just because it has thousands of objects to choose from.
- Automation: One of the most time consuming aspects to creating flowcharts is connecting objects and shapes. Any software that helps automatically align objects and speed-up this process is extremely useful. One reason we really liked 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.
- AI Integration: Some flowchart tools have added AI to their flowchart apps. This is similar to automation and not as useful in creating flowcharts as other areas where AI is useful (although Whimsical’s is better than most) but if you’re a big fan of AI, consider whether the product offers this.
- Online vs Offline: Almost all the best flowchart apps nowadays are Cloud based. This means that in most cases, you need an internet connection in order to use them. The advantage of desktop flowchart software is that they usually don’t require a monthly subscription and you can flowchart offline. The disadvantage however is that you often have to pay more upfront (unless there’s a free version), pay for upgrades and you may have compatibility problems when new versions of macOS are released by Apple.
- Collaboration: If you’re creating a flowchart or org chart alongside other colleagues then you’ll need something that supports multiple users. Pretty much all online flowchart software have team collaboration pricing plans which allow multiple users to edit and comment on diagrams simultaneously. Most desktop flowchart makers do not offer team collaboration features.
- Free Versions: There are some flowchart makers both desktop and online that offer limited free versions. However they are usually limited in the number of features you can use. With cloud based flowchart apps, the catch with many of them is that your diagrams and flowcharts are made public – you have to subscribe or buy the app to make it private. Watch out for this if you’re creating confidential diagrams or flowcharts.
- Visio Import/Export: Many PC users use Visio to create diagrams and flowcharts. If you’re going to be working on flowcharts and diagrams with Visio users, make sure the software you choose can both import and export Visio VDX or VSDX file formats (VSDX is used by Visio 2013 or later). We’ve indicated here which ones can import and export Visio files although if this is a particular concern, you’ll probably find our look at Visio for Mac alternatives more helpful.
- Mac Desktop App: Ideally, we looked for flowchart tools that offer a Mac desktop app. However, we found that many of the best flowchart apps were Cloud based so while this wasn’t a hard or fast rule, we gave added kudos to an app for at least offering a desktop app.