Diagrams are a visually attractive and well-structured way of explaining complex ideas, concepts, data, processes, and relations between different elements. With the advent of diagram software, people quickly switched from paper drawings to 2D/ 3D digital diagrams. The main advantage of this transition is the time saved through quick editing and replication of diagrams. It also makes diagrams easy to store and share globally with anyone.
This article discusses the popular free and paid software options that enable users to draw different types of diagrams individually or in teams. You can read about them in detail and decide which option suits you the best.
What Is Diagramming Software?
Diagramming software is a program that allows users to visually represent information with detailed drawings. It offers libraries of elements and tools to easily create diagrams for different industries and purposes.
Examples of diagrams created with a diagramming tool include mind maps, scientific illustrations, floor plans, project management diagrams, database diagrams, network diagrams, organizational chart diagrams, flowcharts, and more.
Some diagram software solutions also offer collaboration options so that different team members can edit diagrams simultaneously and provide their feedback.
What Makes a Great Diagramming Tool?
Given the numerous diagramming tools available for different purposes and price ranges, users must consider a few things before getting started with one. Some of the main considerations are:
- It must offer standard customizable templates to help the user get started quickly and save time.
- A user-friendly interface with keyboard shortcuts to enable easier navigation.
- A good diagramming tool is compatible with different devices and operating systems to ensure that users can work on any device, even on the go.
- Sharing and real-time collaboration feature to enable remote working in teams.
- Features like auto-linking, auto spacing, auto aligning, and more to avoid repetitive tasks and create diagrams quickly.
- Integrates with different project collaboration tools and other systems to ensure easier process flow, synchronization, and collaboration.
- Allows you to import/ export data in different file types and formats.
Difference Between Flowchart & Data Flow Diagram
A flowchart is a form of a diagram that represents an algorithm. It depicts the flow of control in a program and can even act as a program planner for problem-solving. In contrast, a data flow diagram is a graph showing the flow of data during a process, from input to output.
|Parameter||Flowchart||Data Flow Diagram|
|Purpose||Represents control flow in a program||Represents connected processes and their data flow|
|Types||Data flow, System flow, Document flow, Program flow||Physical data flow, Logical data flow|
|Order||Describes process sequence, sometimes timing||Does not describe the order or simultaneous occurrence of processes|
|View level||Lower level to view the system in detail for design and analysis||High level to gain an overview of the system|
|Complexity||More suited for basic systems||Works well for complex processes|
|External source||No input/ output to an external source||Input/ output from external to internal source and vice versa|
Key Features of Diagram Software
Regardless of their purpose, all diagram software offers some standard features to their users. Some of the major functionalities are:
- Engineering diagram software: It is used to create precise technical drawings to convey information about the creation or functioning of an object. It is popular among engineers, contractors, electricians, and other related professionals.
- UML diagram software: The software enables the creation of UML diagrams to visualize a system or project in terms of structure, behavior, and connectedness. It is mostly used by software engineers.
- Flow diagram software: This software allows drawing a sequenced diagram to represent the outline, order, or hierarchy of an idea, process, or plan.
- Business form software: This tool is used when you want to create business forms like memo forms, purchase order forms, invoice forms, bid proposal forms, job application forms, and the like.
- Business diagram software: It lets you create a visual representation of business plans, processes, strategies, and solutions for different departments. Examples include SWOT diagrams, roadmaps, process maps, organizational charts, etc.
- Fashion design software: This software helps users make designs, sketches, and other elements before creating accessories, jewelry, shoes, apparel, and more.
- Infographics software: It is a tool to prepare graphic representations of data for easier understanding and analysis. Examples include how-to infographics, comparison infographics, statistical infographics, map and location infographics, etc. It is used by marketers, educators, journalists, and many other professionals.
- Network diagram software: You can create simple or detailed network diagrams, representing the interaction between different network components.
- Floor plan software: It helps create 3D blueprints for the construction of buildings. This blueprint helps in brainstorming and understanding different ideas to optimize the plan before actual construction.
- Wireframe design software: This software is mainly used by designers to create UI blueprints of sites and apps. It depicts spacing between different elements, functionality buttons for user interactions, and other UI blocks on a site page.
- Web diagram software: It aids users in developing websites, website maps, and other web diagrams. You can use it to structure web content and organize intranet sites.
- Cards and presentations: This diagram tool lets you create figures that act as visual aids in cards and presentations.
- Project Management diagram software: This software allows users to develop a project overview with task dependencies, timeline details, resource allocation, etc.
- Mind Mapping software: Also known as concept mapping software, this tool enables users to create visual diagrams of different ideas depicting their relationships. Diagrams help in brainstorming and coming up with improved ideas.
- Database diagram software: With this software, you can portray relationships between different database entities through entity-relationship diagrams.
- Scientific Illustration software: This software allows the easy creation of diagrams to explain complex scientific subjects.
- Organizational chart software: It enables the creation of an organization’s structural hierarchy and reporting relationships. This chart is important for every employee and business to have clarity in their business structure.
- Geo Maps software: It is used for representing different positions on the Earth’s surface to easily visualize location data and interpret spatial relationships.
Best Flowchart & Diagram Software Comparison Chart
|Diagram Software||Supported platforms||Pros|
|Lucidchart||Web-browser||Shapes & templates, SAML SSO, Integration with collaboration & project management tools|
|Creately||Web-browser, Mac, Linux, Windows||Shapes & templates, Filter-based search, Google Drive integration|
|Diagrams.net||Web-browser, Windows, Mac, Linux, Chrome OS||Shapes & templates, Freehand drawing, Integration with collaboration & project management tools|
|Miro||Web-browser||Multiple grid view, templates, Integration with collaboration tools|
|Whimsical||Web-browser||SAML SSO, Keyboard shortcuts, Configurable elements library|
|Visual Paradigm||Windows (64-bit), Web-browser||Templates & charts, Visio compatible, No-code form builder|
|SmartDraw||Windows (64-bit), Web-browser||Templates & symbols, Visio compatible, Automatic element alignment|
|Visio||Windows, Web-browser||Shapes, Data validation rules, Accessibility tools|
|MyDraw||Mac, Windows||Templates, Visio compatible, Spellcheck, Multi-lingual|
|Gliffy||Web-browser||SSO, Drag and drop, Integration with collaboration tools|
Suggested Read: 10 Best Free Drawing Software for PC & Mobile
Best flowchart and diagram software come with premium templates, shapes, and integrations. They also have advanced features like automatic alignment and data validation. Some of the most popular options of diagramming tools are discussed next.
SmartDraw diagram software allows users to draw over 70 types of diagrams, including floor plans, flowcharts, organization charts, circuit diagrams, network diagrams, etc. It has automated tools to easily add, move, adjust, and delete shapes. You can add/update data to shapes for smart diagrams, set data rules to modify shapes and export shape data. In addition, it simplifies the access to options for adding hyperlinks, notes, and comments to shapes.
- 34,000+ symbols and 4500+ templates
- File sharing via folders and links in emails
- Automatic alignment, spacing, and sizing
- Integration with AWS, MS Office, Jira, Google apps, and more
- Visio import and export
Pricing: Pricing is available on request at techjockey.com.
Platforms: Windows (64-bit), Web-browser
Visio is a diagramming solution used to create industry-standard diagrams through available templates and shapes. You can automatically generate charts using data obtained from Exchange, Excel, and other sources. It also has several customization options for background color, size, transparency, and the like. You can save the diagrams in both JPEG and PNG formats.
- 250,000+ shapes
- Formatting options like auto-align
- Co-editing in MS Teams
- Pre-defined rules for diagram validation
- Accessibility tools
Pricing: It offers a 1-month free trial for the web version. Pricing starts at INR 360/ user/ month. Pricing for a 1-time license version starts at INR 25,599.00
Platforms: Diagramming software for Windows, Web-browser
MyDraw diagramming tool supports building flowcharts, organizational charts, mind maps, data flow diagrams, cross-functional diagrams, Venn diagrams, cause and effect diagrams, etc. You can draw complex shapes by performing operations on different shapes and merging them. With automatic layouts, you can arrange your diagrams easily.
- Hundreds of templates
- Export to PDF, JPG, SVG, DXF, EMF, etc.
- Compatible with Visio drawings
- Spellcheck and text formatting
- Supports multiple languages like Spanish, Bulgarian, Portuguese, Russian
Pricing: You can opt for a perpetual single-user license at INR 5168.72. For licensed users, annual subscription renewal for updates starts at INR 2696.72. Under certain conditions like marketing for MyDraw, you can get a free software license.
Platforms: Diagram software for Mac, Windows
4. Gliffy (1,900)
Gliffy is used by software engineers, designers, and businesses to draw flowcharts, wireframes, organization charts, Venn diagrams, mind maps, etc. You can use templates and import data from other applications to get started quickly. You can also comment on the shared diagrams or embed live diagrams.
- Unlimited diagrams
- Drag-and-drop interface
- Google-drive plug-in
- SSO integration
- Integrates with Trello, GSuite, Slack, etc.
Pricing: It offers professional and enterprise plans. You can take a 14-day free trial before purchase. The professional plan’s annual pricing starts at INR 449.57 per user per month for 10 to 50 users. It also offers an app for Jira and Confluence. Students can get a free account.
Suggested Read: 15 Best Free Online Flowchart Maker Software in 2022
Best Free & Open-Source Diagram Software
If you want to try free diagram software, there are many free and open-source software options too. Some of these are mentioned here:
Lucidchart is a cloud-based diagramming software that enables users to draw mockups, wireframes, mind maps, UML, flowcharts, etc. You can add shapes via a simple drag and drop functionality and quickly connect them through the auto prompt feature. In addition, you can export the diagrams to different file formats and publish or embed them for sharing. It is compatible with files from Gliffy, Visio, draw.io, etc.
- Shape libraries for UML, Venn diagrams, wireframes, process maps, etc.
- Custom templates and shape libraries
- Real-time collaboration
- SAML authentication for single sign-on (SSO)
- Integration with MS Office, Slack, G Suite, Jira, Salesforce, and more
Pricing: It offers a free plan limited to 100 professional templates and 3 editable documents. For unlimited editable documents and the choice of more than a thousand professional templates, you can opt for a paid plan. Pricing starts at INR 597.94 per month.
Creately software offers professional templates to quickly draw AWS diagrams, Gantt charts, network diagrams, sitemaps, flowcharts, mind-maps, etc. It has several shortcut options to easily create connectors and shapes. You can export the created diagrams to several file formats and embed them in websites or publish them to social media platforms.
- Thousands of templates and shapes
- Filter-based search option
- Real-time collaboration
- Integration with Google Drive
- Image import
Pricing: It offers a free plan with a limited number of shapes, collaboration, and storage. Paid annual and monthly plans come in three categories- Personal, Team, and Enterprise. Pricing starts at INR 300.77 per month for an annual subscription of the Personal plan.
Platforms: Web-browser, Mac, Linux, Windows
3. Diagrams.net (draw.io)
Diagrams.net (formerly draw.io) supports the creation of flowcharts, floorplans, network diagrams, Amazon architecture diagrams, and several other types of drawings. You can use available shapes and freehand drawing options, or automatically create diagrams using basic text statements. In addition, it offers several keyboard shortcuts for shape selection, connection, overlay, deselection, and deletion.
- Search and preview option for templates in different categories
- Shape libraries
- Real-time collaboration
- Freehand drawing tool
- Integration with Jira, Google Workspace, Confluence, MS Teams, and more
Pricing: It is free and open-source diagramming software
Platforms: Web-browser, Windows, Mac, Linux, Chrome OS
Miro diagram maker has a collection of connectors, shapes, flowchart icons, and many other elements to create diagrams in a few clicks. Teams can edit and send feedback while working together on shared diagrams. You can also add diagrams to presentations as images. In addition, enterprises can select additional security options like audit logs.
- Ready-made templates for AWS, Kubernetes, VMWare, and more
- Action plan creation option on Miro board
- Multiple grid view and changes overview
- Correction suggestions
- Integration with MS teams, Asana, Confluence, Jira, etc.
Pricing: It has a free plan with a limit of 3 editable boards. In addition, you can opt for the paid Team, Business, or Enterprise option to get unlimited boards and collaboration tools. Annual pricing starts at INR 600.41 per member per month.
Platforms: Web-based diagramming software
Whimsical lets you work on wireframes, flowcharts, mind maps, and projects. You can easily customize diagrams in a few clicks. You can add images, text, icons, URLs, and connectors to the diagram as per your needs. It also offers several formatting options to style elements. Further, Kanban boards help in keeping track of different projects.
- Library of configurable elements like inputs and buttons
- Color palette
- Real-time collaboration
- Keyboard shortcuts and quick lookup
- SAML SSO for security
Pricing: It offers a free plan with 1000 items per workspace. To get priority support and unlimited items for every workspace, you can buy Pro or Organization plans of the software. Annual pricing starts at INR 749.53 per editor per month.
Platforms: Web-based diagram software
6. Visual Paradigm
Visual paradigm offers tools to draw over 200 types of diagrams, including floor plans, flowcharts, class diagrams, and more. You can add icons, illustrations, isometric shapes, and more to the diagrams. You can also generate shapes automatically according to structured text. It even allows users to import Visio drawings.
- 2000+ templates
- Royalty-free images
- Real-time collaboration
- Support for chart types like line chart, pie chart, bar chart, rose chart, etc.
- Data import from Google Sheet
Pricing: You can opt for a free plan for personal or non-commercial purposes. There are perpetual and subscription options under Modeler, Standard, Enterprise, Professional plans. It offers a 30-day free trial. Pricing starts at INR 374.800 per month
Platforms: Drawing software for Windows (64-bit), Web-browser
- What are the key benefits of diagram software?
Diagram software helps visualize workflows and processes, effectively analyze illustrated systems, manage resources, among other benefits.
- What are the best diagram maker tools?
Best diagram maker options include Lucidchart, diagrams.net, SmartDraw, Miro, Visio, and more.
- What are the best Venn diagram maker?
Some of the best Venn diagram maker solutions are Creately, SmartDraw, Visme, Canva, and EdrawMax.
- How to create a workflow diagram?
Choose a software solution that supports the creation of workflow diagrams. Then, depending on your target audience and the desired outcome, you can select the type of workflow diagram you want to create. Next, use the available templates and tools to create the diagram from the gathered data. Then, analyze the result and make changes, if needed.
- What are the best tools to create an architecture diagram?
For creating architecture diagrams, the best tools include Diagrams.net, Edraw Max, Lucidchart, etc.
- When to use diagram software?
You can use the diagram software for project planning, document processing, team collaboration, process analysis for improvements, process documentation, etc.
- How is diagram software helpful?
Diagram software is an effective tool for analysis, coordination, problem-solving, visual clarity, structured documentation, and efficiency improvement.