Alternatives to Microsoft Visio for us Apple Arm folks
Recently, I upgraded my trust MacBook to an M2 chip and can no longer run Visio. I am not a fan of the cloud version for two reasons. First, it seems clunky. Second, you have to pay for icons. I get it, but no. If it weren’t clunky to me, I would consider paying. I am sure there are thousands and thousands of people using it and like it. So I looked into what I could switch to to generate network diagrams. I am no Visio master, so these are just works for me.
Lucidchart is a cloud-based diagramming and visual collaboration platform often considered one of the leading alternatives to Visio. It provides a user-friendly interface for creating flowcharts, network diagrams, mind maps, and more. Lucidchart’s real-time collaboration features are especially valuable for team projects, and it seamlessly integrates with other cloud services.
- Cloud-based, no software installation required.
- Collaboration and real-time editing.
- A wide range of templates and shape libraries.
- Compatibility with Visio files.
I found this to be just off enough to make it hard to draw lines and work with objects. Maybe if I was new to creating diagrams, it would be different. I think my years of Visio use tainted me on this product.
Formerly known as draw.io, diagrams.net is an open-source, browser-based diagramming tool. It offers a simple and intuitive interface for creating various diagrams, from flowcharts to wireframes. diagrams.net can be used offline by downloading it as a browser extension or desktop application.
- Open-source and free to use.
- Browser-based, desktop application, or browser extension.
- A vast library of shapes and templates.
- Integration with Google Drive and other cloud services.
I liked this tool, but the inability to import my extensive collection of vision stencils was a deterrent.
Creately is an online diagramming tool designed for collaborative work and efficient diagram creation. It’s suitable for both individuals and teams and offers a user-friendly experience. Creately provides a diverse selection of templates for various diagram types, such as org charts, mind maps, and SWOT analysis.
- Collaboration features for team projects.
- A vast template library.
- Quick drag-and-drop diagram creation.
- Real-time preview and live chat for collaboration.
Gliffy is a browser-based diagram and flowchart tool that aims to simplify visual communication. It offers a range of pre-made templates and shapes, making it easy to create professional-looking diagrams. Gliffy also integrates with popular platforms like Confluence, JIRA, and Google Drive.
- Integration with various productivity and collaboration tools.
- A simple, drag-and-drop interface.
- Real-time collaboration for teams.
- Robust version control.
yEd Graph Editor is a free desktop application for creating flowcharts, diagrams, and complex graph-based visualizations. It’s known for its extensive automatic layout algorithms, making it a strong choice for complex and data-rich diagrams.
- Extensive automatic layout algorithms.
- A wide range of import and export options.
- Supports various graph types, including tree, organic, and circular layouts.
- Cross-platform compatibility (Windows, macOS, Linux).
Cacoo is a cloud-based diagram and design tool that emphasizes team collaboration and real-time communication. It’s designed for creating a variety of diagrams, such as wireframes, mind maps, and UML diagrams. Cacoo also integrates with other cloud-based services, making it easy to share and collaborate on your diagrams.
- Real-time collaborative editing.
- A broad range of templates and shapes.
- Integration with popular cloud services.
- Version history and commenting features.
This is my favorite because it just works. Drawing lines is smooth, and importing existing stencils is nice. I also like it because it’s an app. I don’t have to be connected to use it. This means I can escape somewhere and churn out some diagrams.
- Canvases multi-page drawings
- SVG import
- Apple Pencil support