Flowcharts are a great way to develop ideas, visualize workflows and map out process flows so we’ve taken a look at the best flowchart software for Mac.
Of course, the most popular flowchart and diagramming tool on Windows is Microsoft Visio but since Visio isn’t available for Mac it’s not an option for users on macOS.
After looking at many different solutions, we found the best flowchart software for Mac is SmartDraw which makes it unbelievably fast and easy to create flowcharts for ideas, mindmaps, process diagrams and workflow management to optimize business processes.
Not only that, the diagram apps reviewed here are all much better value than Visio which currently costs $530 for the professional version.
You’ll find all the diagram designers reviewed here particularly well suited to be used as workflow designers for Mac, brainstorming and mind-mapping with lots of templates to get things going quickly.
Mac Flowchart Software Tips
There are a few important things to consider when choosing which Mac flowchart software is best for you.
There are some specific aspects to flowchart software compared to other types of diagram software to bear in mind when you make your decision.
- 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 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.
- Less Is More: Likewise, you don’t need hundreds of objects and shapes to create an effective flowchart. A lot of flowcharting tools 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 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 like apps such as 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.
- 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. The advantage of desktop flowchart software is that it usually doesn’t require a monthly subscription. The disadvantage however is that you have to pay more upfront, 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 support multiple users. Pretty much all online flowchart software have team collaboration pricing plans which allow multiple users to edit and comment on diagrams simultaneously. Desktop software makes this much harder as you’ll normally need a separate license for each install so consider how many people are going to be using the tool before you decide which is best for your needs.
- Free Diagram and Flowchart Software: There are many cloud based diagramming software for Mac and PC that allow a certain amount of free use and in some cases unlimited free use. However the catch is often 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 but if this is a particular concern, you’ll probably find our look at the best alternatives to Visio for Mac more helpful.
With this in mind, here then is our list of the top flowchart and diagramming software for Mac of 2020 in order of ranking.
The main reason SmartDraw is our choice at the top flowchart maker for Mac is because it makes drawing professional looking flowcharts unbelievably easy and fast.
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.
In fact, SmartDraw is superb at pretty much any type of diagramming and has rapidly become a popular replacement for Microsoft Visio on both Mac and PC.
Here are some of the reasons that make SmartDraw our top choice.
- SmartDraw easily has 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 has a slick, polished interface and uses high quality vector graphics whereas most online flowchart software uses pixelated bitmap graphics. This makes flowcharts look extremely professional and eye catching compared to other flowchart drawing apps.
- 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 diagrams all swimlanes and boxes so that it always looks clean and organized. There’s no need to spend time manually going through diagrams or flowcharts and re-balancing them after you’ve made changes.
- SmartDraw has a crazy number of shapes and objects. There are more than 34,000 shapes and objects to choose from, all as high quality vector graphics.
- We really like 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. SmartDraw automatically provides the steps which are most commonly used in such processes which you can then move, delete, edit or keep in the flowchart as needed.
- If you need to import flowcharts created in Microsoft Visio, you can import Visio VSD and VSDX files easily. SmartDraw is also the only diagramming app that can export into the VSDX format used in Visio 2016.
- Since SmartDraw is cloud based, it 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.
- There’s no noticeable lag when using SmartDraw. Dragging and dropping is as smooth and fast as any desktop app. You do always require an internet connection to use SmartDraw though – you can’t work with it offline.
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.
Price: Single User $9.95/month or Team $5.95+/month
Unlike SmartDraw OmniGraffle is a desktop diagramming software for Mac which can be used for all kinds of diagramming on Mac including flowcharts.
For those that prefer a native desktop flowchart app for Mac over web based apps, OmniGraffle is definitely one of the best diagramming apps for Mac out there.
OmniGraffle is a powerful, design oriented alternative to Visio on Mac capable of everything from wireframes to industrial prototypes but if you don’t need all that, it’s also an excellent tool for creating attractive flowcharts.
OmniGraffle can import flowcharts in VDX and VSDX format from Visio but it can only export to VDX used in Visio 2010 or older.
There are thousands of stencils and templates for OmniGraffle although the slight drawback is that some of them are part of Graffletopia which costs extra but it gives you a choice of over 10,000 templates including hundreds of flowcharts.
There are however other free OmniGraffle templates and stencils resources which don’t cost a cent.
Most OmniGraffle stencils and templates are uploaded by other users with very diverse diagramming and flowchart needs meaning there’s a huge variety of themes.
The Standard version of OmniGraffle is $99.99 and is more than enough for most flowcharting needs. However, if you need Visio import and export, you’ll need to upgrade to OmniGraffle Pro for $199.99.
There are generous discounts for educators and students.
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.
You can check out our review of OmniGraffle Pro for more.
Price: $99.99/$199.99 (Pro) Mac App Store – Free Trial
Lucidchart is a cloud based diagramming software that makes it easy to create flowcharts on Mac.
Lucidchart doesn’t require any installation and since it’s cloud based, works on any version of macOS.
Lucidchart isn’t quite as slick as its nearest rival SmartDraw as it doesn’t use vector graphics and there are far fewer templates.
On the plus side, it is better integrated with Microsoft Office as it has an Office plugin which enables you to create flowcharts directly within Microsoft Office apps such as PowerPoint, Word and Excel.
Lucidchart also allows you to work offline via a free Google Chrome plugin and you can create Lucidchart flowcharts within Google Docs too.
Lucidchart can import Visio flowcharts in VSDX and VDX format but it 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.
Creating flowcharts with Lucidchart is very straightforward.
You simply need to enter your email address to go straight to the editor or you can use your Google account to sign-up.
When you sign into the editor, Lucidchart will ask you what type of industry you’re in so it can automatically customize the interface for your particular industry.
Once you’ve selected an industry, you’ll then be given a choice of things you’d like to visualize.
Just select the type of diagram you’d like to create such as flowchart.
For individuals, the Pro plan costs $9.95 per month if billed on an annual basis but if you’re working in a team of 3 or more, the Team Plan works out cheaper at $6.70 per user, per month.
You can check out our full review of Lucidchart for more.
Price: Single $9.95/month or Team $6.70+/month – Free Trial
ConceptDraw Diagram (formerly ConceptDraw Pro) is another professional desktop flowchart software for Mac that works natively on both Mac and PC.
Although ConceptDraw Diagram is aimed more at those with advanced diagramming needs, it’s very complete when it comes to creating flowcharts on macOS.
If you work in a mixed Windows and Mac environment and don’t want an online flowchart tool, ConceptDraw Diagram could well be your best bet.
ConceptDraw Diagram is very good at guiding you through flowchart creation 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.
This helps you find objects and shapes and link them together to create business process flows 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 Diagram including Visio Stencils in VSSX format.
You can also export flowcharts to Visio VSDX format 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).
There’s also the option to export directly to third party productivity apps such as Microsoft Word, Project and Evernote.
One slight drawback is that the number of objects, symbols and templates is limited in the app itself but you can download more from ConceptDraw Solution Park which also includes audiovisual clips and tutorials to enhance your flowcharts.
ConceptDraw Diagram offers a fully functional 21 day 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.
There’s also our full review of ConceptDraw Diagram for more.
Price: $199 – Free Trial
Gliffy is an easy to use cloud diagramming app that’s similar to Diagrams.net but with more restrictions on the free version.
The interface is similar to Draw.io although unlike it, it doesn’t support importing or exporting of Visio VSDX files.
Gliffy is very team focused and like Draw.io, also supports offline flowcharting via a Chrome extension.
Gliffy uses HTML5 to provide a very quick and snappy diagramming experience with smooth, fast and quick drag and dropping of objects.
There aren’t many templates in Gliffy but there are more than enough shapes to create flowchart diagrams as you can see below.
Gliffy is free for students but individuals must upgrade for $7.99 per user per month with team plans starting at $4.99 per user, per month.
You can read our full review of Gliffy for more information.
Price: $7.99/month for individuals. Teams start at $4.99 per user/month.
Creately is another 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.
The Creately 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. Note that all free diagrams are made public so make sure you don’t create anything that you don’t want sharing.
You can also check-out our Creately app review for more.
Price: Personal $4 per month / Team $12 per month / Basic free version
MyDraw (formerly known as Nevron Draw) is a cheap Mac desktop diagramming software inspired by Microsoft Office.
MyDraw is also one of the few desktop diagramming apps for Mac that supports both Visio VSDX import and export as well as the older Visio VDX format and even Visio VSSX stencils.
MyDraw uses the familiar Microsoft Office ribbon interface which makes it easy to get going with.
MyDraw has plenty of objects and templates, and is ideal for cross-functional flowcharts, workflow diagrams, data flow diagrams and sketching out process flows.
You can also read our full review of MyDraw for more.
Price: $69 full license / $36 subscription license
EDraw Max is similar to MyDraw in that it’s a cheap desktop diagramming software for Mac and PC. EDraw looks very similar to Microsoft Visio and can import or export Visio files.
EDraw Max supports vector graphics and has around 1300 objects and 100 different flowchart templates to choose from.
You can add attachments, notes and comments to flowcharts, expand and collapse shapes and collaborate on diagrams via the Cloud. There are many easily accessible flowchart shapes to help illustrate your flowcharts with.
Other useful touches are that Edraw Max automatically aligns swim lanes and flowchart objects and can also create double page, super sized flowcharts.
Edraw Max is a surprisingly powerful tool considering the cost although like MyDraw, it does feel a bit like it’s been ported directly from Windows to Mac.
You can try a free trial of Edraw and you can also read our full Edraw Max review.
Pricing: Licensing costs vary from $179 for 3 years to $99 per year.
If you’re looking for something that doesn’t cost a cent, has tight Google Drive integration but still packs a punch, Diagrams.net (formerly draw.io) is definitely worth a second look.
Diagrams.net is completely free to use for individuals (it only requires payment for team plans) but includes premium features such as Visio VSDX import and export.
Although it’s Cloud based, you can still work offline thanks to a Google Chrome extension which syncs diagrams and flowcharts when you go online.
Diagrams.net is integrated with most major online cloud storage solitions such as Dropbox, Google Drive and Dropbox so you can choose where your diagrams are stored.
Diagrams.net doesn’t have a huge choice of templates or shapes but the basic are there to enable you to create straightforward flowcharts.
Price: Teams $10+ per month / Basic free version
Shapes is an elegant cost effective Mac diagramming tool that produces impressive flowcharts.
Shapes focuses on the bare essentials of diagramming and that’s ideal for good looking flowcharts, wireframes and visualizing model relationships.
Shapes is particularly well suited to Programmers and Web Designers to quickly design Charts, lay out Wireframes, or visualize Model Relationships.
Shapes is also well integrated into macOS and supports Quick Look, Full-Screen Mode, Autosave, and Version Browsing.
There’s no Visio import or export support but it does export to SVG and major image formats such as PNG, JPG and TIFF.
Price: $9.99 – Free Trial
If you have any questions, comments or experiences you want to share about the flowchart solutions covered here, let us know in the comments below.