The 10 Best Free Alternatives to Microsoft Visio [August 2020]

For those not in the know, Visio is a structured drawing application, originally acquired by Microsoft in 2000, that subsequently became part of the Office family of products. It’s a very powerful and flexible app, usable for many different purposes, but its main function is to help users draw flowcharts, control diagrams, layouts, and other structured graphical ways of presenting information. Visio is terrific for creating organization charts, workflow charts, and many other kinds of graphics. The app lets users quickly create complex and professional-looking flowcharts, and integrates smoothly into PowerPoint or other Office documents for easy sharing. If you need a diagram made quickly, chances are you’ll be using Visio to make your chart.

However, because Visio is part of the Office suite, it’s an expensive program if you don’t already have access to it. You either have to buy Office 2019, or sign up for Microsoft’s Office 365 subscription service to use the product, or subscribe to a standalone Visio Online subscription for $5/user/month, or to the offline version for $15/user/month. In addition, there is no version of Visio for Mac OS X, so Mac users are locked out of the platform. Visio is a great application, and if you have access to it, you probably don’t need any alternatives.

If you don’t have access to Visio, or if you just want to try something different, there are a number of alternatives to try out on your PC. Visio alternatives are a dime a dozen online, but not every application is created equally. Here’s our picks for the best Visio alternatives in 2020.

6 thoughts on “The 10 Best Free Alternatives to Microsoft Visio [August 2020]”

Avatar Helen Phillips says:
Is there a best option for drawing business process maps or using swim lanes?
Avatar Jeff Donkers says:
I’ve just been using a trial version of LucidCharts. I found the webbased software really good and although I didn’t make what you are looking for, I did see examples. LucidCharts also have very good tutorials. I also liked the possibility to have a connection to excel or google sheets (in latter case live) to populate /update the info in the lucidchart boxes. It is also very easy to navigate around the window using the mouse and ALT & CTRL keys. Some other programs require you to click on a Pan or Zoom button which I found a pain. It’s not the cheapest Visio alternative, but it does a lot really well. We have several users in-house, but we’ve created a dedicated user name so that others can use the software (but not concurrently).
Avatar David White says:
If I’m looking to do home plans (floorplans and appliances, furniture, etc.), which of these is the best alternative?
Avatar Echo Lee says:
Hi there, I’m Echo from Wondershare and we just released an excellent visio alternative software Edraw Max, Would you like to check and list us into the article? thanks.
Avatar Sarah says:
I don’t find Google’s Draw good enough to use as a replacement. It is limited to a single sheet and the symbols and connectors are pretty minimal. For example, there is no option to attach text to a connector, or to have a curved connector with an arrow.

I am curently using LucidChart’s free version, which is better than Draw. The Entity diagram is actually better than Visio’s latest, which doesn’t allow you to save the tables and field lists.

Avatar Victor Wachanga says:
I’ve used Draw.IO just today. You can attach text to a connector by simply double-clicking on it. To make a curved connector with an arrow, select the arrow from the collection and double-click on it to create extra pivot points. I do agree Lucidchart is great!
Avatar Elik says:
Does any of the above options support visio files?
in other words, if I have collected through the years specific shapes, can I re-use these in one of the above options?


Avatar Michael White says:
I’d like to know the answer to this question as well.

Mike W.

Avatar John Sloat says:
Hi there, I work at Ardoq. I’m sorry to say that we have recently switched from offering a free plan to a 30-day trial. Please feel free to remove us from this list so readers are not misinformed.

John Sloat

Avatar Christopher Dean Carney says:
That sucks! One less company to use.

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