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Discover The Best Flowchart Software of 2019

By 19/07/2019 No Comments

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This article will help you quickly compare and evaluate the best flowchart software and other flowchart tools.

“But Ben, I’m a project manager. Why would I use flowchart software?”

Great point. Flowcharts can be great tools for project management—use them to present ideas, jumpstart your thinking, keep your flow of work or communication organized, or map a product from conception to launch. That’s why every PM should have a few graph making tools in their back pocket.

Quickly Compare & Evaluate The 10 Best Flowchart Software

Flowchart Software Logo Soup

Maybe you’ve got a big project pitch coming up and you need to visualize your ideas in order to share them with your client or team. Have you tried using a tree diagram maker to flesh out your ideas? An online graph maker to pitch resource-in and resource-out estimates?

Some background on flowcharts…

The first “flow process chart” was described by Frank and Lillian Gilbreth in 1921 as a way to present every detail of a project where every part of the process is dependent upon or affected by every other part.

Today, flowcharts are taught even in grade school as a way to sort ideas, brainstorm, visualize data and more.

Flowcharts continue to be a great way to visualize data. And visualizing data helps us comprehend and remember information, identify relationships and patterns, and communicate ideas from one person to another.

In this post, I’ll share with you what flowchart creators I’ve been exposed to and highlight a few of the best. I will also explain what a robust workflow diagrams software or even a simple flow chart creator can do for you. I will also answer some FAQs about flow chart software, tell you what you should look for in flowchart tool and our evaluation criteria and provide a simple online flowchart maker comparison.

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The Best Flowchart Software List

Here’s a shortlist of the best software for flowcharts:

  1. Microsoft Visio
  2. Gliffy
  3. Edraw Max
  4. Creately
  5. ConceptDraw Diagram
  6. Cacoo
  7. VisualParadigm Online
  8. Draw.io
  9. Lucidchart
  10. SmartDraw

Below you’ll find an overview of these flowchart software with screenshots, feature overview, pricing and our score.

Jump to flowchart software reviews

Flow Chart Program FAQ

Still trying to wrap your head around all things flowchart software-related? Take a read through my FAQ to help you get your bearings:

What s flowchart software?

Flowchart software is a program or app that can create a sequenced diagram, often of interconnected shapes, that outlines the flow, hierarchy, order or structure of a plan or idea.

What are the basic flowchart symbols?

Typically, an oval means a start or end point; an arrow (or line) shows a connection, relationship or pathway; a parallelogram indicates some sort of input or output; a rectangle stands for a process; and a diamond represents a decision that needs to be (or has been) made.

What are the common types of flowcharts?

Three common types of flowcharts are the Process Flowchart, Data Flowchart, and the Business Process Modeling Diagram. However, there are many different types of flowcharts including but not limited to Swimlane Flowchart, EPC Diagram, SDL Diagram, Cross Functional Flowchart (or Deployment Flowchart), IDEF Flowchart, and many more.

What are the best free flowchart tools?

Some free flowchart tools (or tools with decent freemium offers) include LucidChart, Creately, Google Slides, Gliffy, yED, OpenOffice.org Draw, CalligraFlow, and Draw.io. However, the free versions of said software might limit the number of diagrams and shapes you can create/use or limit how many users can collaborate. Some free flowcharting software options have little to no technical support, little to no cloud storage, have clunky UX, et cetera. Other free programs may only include a limited number of days free so it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of free versus paid software.

Not looking for software for flow charts? Check out our other lists of top diagramming tools:

  1. You might want to try software that helps you build a wireframe model instead.
  2. Go for the essentials: pick from our list of the best Gantt chart creators.
  3. A step beyond flowchart software, workflow management software turns your flows into live processes that keep work moving through the pipeline of your organization.

Flowchart Software Comparison Criteria

What are we looking for when we select diagram makers and flowchart tools for review? Here’s a summary of my evaluation criteria:

  1. User Interface (UI): Is it clean with attractive presentation tools for sharing your diagram with clients and teams? Above all, flowchart software is a visual tool, so the graphical interface is a top consideration.
  2. Usability: Is the graph maker easy to learn and master? Does the company offer good tech support, user support, tutorials, and training? Additionally, the best flow diagram software should come with a good stash of flow chart template options to get you started.
  3. Features & Functionality: In flow charting software, I looked for:
    1. Drag & Drop: Arrange shapes, lines, and grids intuitively with drag and drop. Even better if the flow charting software offers auto-align and auto-snap features to speed up the process.
    2. Lots of Graphical Elements: Any good process mapping software should supply a large variety of objects to work with. You’ll need standard options like shapes (ovals, diamonds) and connectors. The best apps also let you make your own shapes and add your own images.
    3. Templates: I mention this as part of overall usability. While not everyone wants templates, in general, a robust template library helps you put the tool to use immediately. The template library should have clear navigation that makes it easy to search for and visually sort through the many options. My advice is to check the template library before getting started to make sure the tool offers the type of templates you’ll need.
    4. Collaboration: At its most basic, collaboration features include comments. Some of the more advanced flowchart diagramming software includes some form of groupware that lets users edit simultaneously in real-time on the same diagram, which can be really useful for remote teams.
    5. Exporting and Presentation: Your diagrams should be easy to present, share, and export in a range of formats. Keep in mind that if you’re printing your diagrams in a large format, the software needs to support vector file exports.
  4. Integrations: Is it easy to connect with other tools? Any pre-built integrations?
  5. Value for $: How appropriate is the price for the features, capabilities, and use case? Is pricing clear, transparent and flexible in your choice of software for flow chart design?

Overviews Of The Top Flowchart Software

Flowchart Software - Featured image

Here’s a brief description of each of the flowchart software solutions that are featured on this top 10 list.

  • free trial.
  • from $6.40/user/month.

User Interface (UI)

100%

Usability

90%

Integrations

80%

Value for $

90%

Features & Function

90%

Overall Score

90%

1. Microsoft Visio – Popular tool for making flowcharts, diagrams, org charts, floor plans, engineering designs, and more

With Visio flowcharts, multiple team members can work on diagrams at the same time. You can connect your flowcharts and diagrams to real-time data so that changes in underlying data is reflected through applied shape formatting. A web version of the software lets you work on your flowcharts anywhere, in any browser.

In the Usability and Features sections of our evaluation criteria we stress one thing: Variety! A good flowchart app will let you pick through a library of useful diagrams and chart templates in order to cater to each unique use case. MS Visio does this well, offering charting options fitted to different needs.

Visio doesn’t have a ton of software integrations to tout but, of course, it connects with Microsoft OneDrive. Third party integrations include: Lucidchart, The VIP Test Modeller, AxisTV, netTerrain Logical, and Digital Enterprise Suite.

MS Visio would benefit from a more seamless integration with apps like PowerPoint, Excel, Google Sheets, and Google Slides. Being able to easily import or drag-and-drop diagrams into common visual presentation tools would take this app to the next level.

Microsoft Visio starts from $6.40/user/month and has a free trial.

Overall Score: 9
Visit Website
  • 14 days free trial.
  • from $4.99/user/month.

User Interface (UI)

100%

Usability

100%

Integrations

80%

Value for $

90%

Features & Function

100%

Overall Score

94%

2. Gliffy – Drag and drop diagram builder with a stack of ready-made templates, plus an HTML5 editor to create larger-scale visuals

Gliffy diagram and flowchart software is a drag-and-drop based diagram building that lets you sketch and share your flowchart ideas with little to no fuss. Templates and themes are available for time-saving starting points and the ability to preserve and track changes will make sure you never lose something important.

gliffy screenshot

Gliffy’s clean and simple interface makes building data-driven flowcharts intuitive.

Gliffy nails many of the requirements we have in the evaluation criteria for features and functionality: Intuitive interface, including for object importing; shapes conveniently snap to grid; revisions can be rolled back in the event of error; and it has easy editing and sharing capabilities.

Gliffy software integrates with many other apps, including WordPress, Jira software and Jira Service Desk, Lucidchart, Atlassian Confluence, Bitium, and Nuclino.

A broader color customization pallet would have helped the charts tell a better data story, particularly in flowcharts with a lot going on visually. Furthermore, the software was a little buggy in the Google Chrome browser. Minor complaints for an otherwise solid tool.

Gliffy starts from $4.99/user/month and has a free 14-day trial.

Overall Score: 9.4
Visit Website
  • 30 days free trial.
  • from $8.25/user/month.

User Interface (UI)

90%

Usability

100%

Integrations

80%

Value for $

80%

Features & Function

100%

Overall Score

90%

3. Edraw Max – Loads of professionally designed templates, plus easy exports to Visio, PDF, Word, PPT, JPEG and/or Html

Thousands of our professionally designed templates will help you get your flowcharting started quickly, which helps in fast-paced work environments where time is of the essence and ideas need to manifest fast. A library of symbols, icons and shapes work in tandem with over 50000 vector built-in graphics to ensure you have everything you need to get started.

eDraw Max screenshot - Flowchart Software

Edraw Max is a flowchart desktop program for Mac system with myriad symbols in the built-in libraries.

The sheer number of templates, icons and shapes make Edraw a stand-out competitor in our evaluation criteria for Features & Functionality. Graphic elements aplenty and a robust templates stockpile are one of the selling features of this tool.

Integrates with the likes of PowerPoint. They also have an unconventional integration offer where OEM partners can integrate Edraw technologies with their own procust and distribute that package to customers as a sublicence. You can also export your drawings to a variety of familiar file formats, such as Visio, PDF, Word, PPT, JPEG, Html, and more.

Some more traditional app integrations would have been a nice touch, although Edraw’s communication with PowerPoint is of great value. Furthermore, some sort of eraser tool would go a long way to making Edraw feel complete.

Edraw Max starts from $8.25/month and has a free 30-day trial.

Overall Score: 9
Visit Website
  • free demo.
  • free trial.
  • from $5/month.

User Interface (UI)

100%

Usability

90%

Integrations

80%

Value for $

100%

Features & Function

100%

Overall Score

94%

4. Creately – 50+ types of diagram templates, plus 1000s of examples. Sports plugins for Confluence, JIRA and FogBugz

Thousands of templates and shapes paired with intuitive drawing tools and precision controls makes Creately a robust option for creating flowcharts and diagrams for a variety of business purposes. Their flowchart software supports lean and agile methodologies and lets you run process mapping and redesign projects with multiple teams and clients.

creately screenshot

Creately offers a clutter free drawing area and powerful automation to create flowcharts.

Creately nails the category of user interface when it comes to our evaluation criteria spectrum. They have a clean, aesthetically pleasing look that is intuitive to use and navigate. The design is straight forward, collaboration and sharing is easy, and the fact that it works both offline and online is an added bonus.

Software integrations include G Suite and Atlassian Confluence. Unfortunately, one downside of the software is the lack of other easily accessible integration options.

The free version of the software allows for only up to 3 collaborators, so you will need a paid plan for larger teams. Furthermore, it can be challenging (or impossible) to organize folders or move drawing between different folders once you have set them up initially. More flexibility in organization would be welcomed.

Creately starts from $5/month and has a free demo as well as a free trial.

Overall Score: 9.4
Visit Website
  • 21 days free trial.
  • $199

User Interface (UI)

90%

Usability

100%

Integrations

60%

Value for $

90%

Features & Function

100%

Overall Score

88%

5. ConceptDraw Diagram – Business graphic documentation solution with 1000s of stencils, 100s of templates, and many export options

Design custom stencils, arrange and format diagrams of any complexity using revamped side panels, format and order position tools for professional-looking flowcharts, create a dynamic chart that can change in visual appearance based on external data source files, and more.

ConceptDraw screenshot - Flowchart software

ConceptDraw Diagram is a versatile diagramming tool with emphasis on sharing and team collaboration.

ConceptDraw Diagram’s asset organization is superb, including organizing thousands of images in contextual groups, object formatting and more. Therefore, they scored quite highly in our Features and Functionality evaluation criteria, where graphical elements, template options, and exporting flexibility reign supreme.

Integrations listed include the ability to import and export to the Visio file format. That’s it. In fact, they have a whole section denouncing the need for further integrations. See below for more details.

While ConceptDraw Diagram considers itself;f a “toolbelt” with features like INGYRE technology, intelligent topics, smart inputs and outputs, live Objects, ConceptDraw Solutions, dashboards, and dynamic presentations, they don’t play well with third-party software outside of their own app. This is the biggest con of the program.

ConceptDraw Diagram starts at $199 and has a free 21-day trial.

Overall Score: 8.8
Visit Website
  • 14 days free trial.
  • from $5/user/month.

User Interface (UI)

100%

Usability

100%

Integrations

100%

Value for $

90%

Features & Function

90%

Overall Score

96%

6. Cacoo – Collaborative diagramming to edit and share flowcharts along with your team, with revision history and comments

Edit, track changes, and collaborate on flowcharts that you design and update with easy sharing links and embed links designed to make collaboration simple and intuitive. Keep team assets organized with shared project folders, save work directly in Cacoo, monitor project status with activity notifications, and more.

Cacoo screenshot - Flowchart software

Share and edit diagrams and charts with team members using a variety of templates and shapes.

Cacoo is quite easy to learn and navigate, grating it high scores in the evaluation criteria sections for usability and UX. It’s both nice to look at and intuitive to figure out, even for those who are not super tech savvy. The wealth of available integrations makes it a cince to adapt into your regularly established workflow, too.

Integrations listed include Google Drive and Google Docs, Typetalk, AWS, Adobe Creative Cloud, Slack, Dropbox, Visio, and Box. They also offer a “suggestion box” for ideas of what app they should implement integration with in the future.

Screen space can be a minor challenge to navigate, like the clunky zoom-in function, for example. However, this is a minor critique given what else the software has to offer. A few more things you might want to watch out for includes the inability to save to PDF formats and the shaky responsiveness of the software on some mobile devices.

Cacoo starts from $5/user/month and has a free 14-day trial.

Overall Score: 9.6
Visit Website
  • free version.
  • from $4/month.

User Interface (UI)

90%

Usability

100%

Integrations

80%

Value for $

90%

Features & Function

100%

Overall Score

92%

7. VisualParadigm Online – Professional diagram software including a flow chart maker, UML, mind maps, charts and data analysis

VP Online Diagrams lets you drag and click to build shapes and lines into a flowchart with an alignment guide to snap everything into place. A spreadsheet-like editor tracks and interprets your data into a visual representation and the smart dashboard lets you glean valuable insights from your work.

VisualParadigm screenshot - Flowchart software

Pre-made templates help you design diagrams, charts and other visuals with VisualParadigm online.

VP Online Diagrams finds its stride between the evaluation criteria for Features and f=Functionality and that of Usability. Tutorial videos and products will help you get started running and the free version means you can experiment before you commit. They have many different diagramming and planning tools, a variety that will work well for anyone managing different teams with different requirements.

Integrations mentioned include Eclipse, VisualStudioes, and Net Bean. You can output and share diagrams via formats like PNG, JPG, GIF, SVG and PDF.

Some of the visual elements of the diagrams and the app UI could look a little nicer. Diagrams and output docs could use a bit more polish, particularly in color settings. But overall, this is not a major drawback – just something to be considered for anyone with a draw to aesthetics.

VisualParadigm online starts from $4/month and has a free version.

Overall Score: 9.2
Visit Website
  • free

User Interface (UI)

90%

Usability

90%

Integrations

100%

Value for $

100%

Features & Function

80%

Overall Score

92%

8. Draw.io – Free graph maker online built around Google Drive for creating flowcharts, UML, entity relation, network diagrams and mockups

Draw.io is a free, browser-hosted app for easy, intuitive chart building online. Because it’s online (though it can be used offline too), it’s simple to boot up and get started creating on a moment’s notice. Features include drag and drop functionality, a library of available shapes, plenty of templates, importing/exporting various formats, and more.

Draw.io screenshot - Flowchart software

A simple, in-browser diagram editor that can auto-save projects to Google Drive, OneDrive, or your PC.

Obviously, being free to use, Draw.io ranks highly in our evaluation criteria for value for price. Although it may seem sot of features compared to its for-pay counterparts, Draw.io is great for small teams with smaller budgets or those who might only need flowcharting software on occasion.

Draw.io integrates with many popular apps like Google Drive, Google Docs, Dropbox, Chrome, Confluence Server/Cloud, JIRA Server/Cloud, Github, Gitlab,and OneDrive.

A few cons and critiques to note: The browser version requires Chrome to work; the app could use more shapes and templates to choose from; positioning the shapes could be a bit finicky and the “snap to place” was clumsy.

Draw.io is free to use online.

Overall Score: 9.2
Visit Website
  • free version.
  • free trial of paid versions.
  • From $4.95/user/month.

User Interface (UI)

90%

Usability

100%

Integrations

100%

Value for $

90%

Features & Function

90%

Overall Score

94%

9. Lucidchart – Flow charts and complex technical diagrams you can connect with live or imported data

Over 500 templates and a drag-and-drop shapes library lets you start planning and diagramming easily with Lucidchart—or you can use an automated layout to generate a diagram from preexisting data. Provide clarity to engineers and UX/UI designers, build and share product roadmaps, gather requirements and map dependencies, and more.

LucidChart screenshot - Flowchart software

A free flowchart maker with numerous shapes and tools that you need to draw any type of process.

In my evaluation criteria section, I mention the importance of easy collaboration in the Features & Function notes. Lucidchart excels here, letting you log in and make changes online before sharing it to your team or work group. The stand-out presentation features are another way Lucidchart makes it easy to socialize ideas.

Lucidchart lets you import data from Excel, Zapier, Salesforce, and LinkedIn Sales Navigator. Other integrations include Google Suite of programs, Atlassian, Microsoft, Salesforce, LinkedIn Sales Navigator, Slack, AWS, Jive, Github, Bamboo HR, Quip, Zoho Connect, and many more. Access even more integration options through the Zapier app.

A few cons/critiques: Integration with come Microsoft apps and programs isn’t as smooth as it could be and often requires a bit of a time commitment. Too many images/graphics can make the software chug a bit.

Lucidchart starts at from $4.95/user/month and has a free version as well as free trials of the paid versions.

Overall Score: 9.4
Visit Website
  • free trial.
  • from $5.95/user/month.

User Interface (UI)

90%

Usability

80%

Integrations

90%

Value for $

80%

Features & Function

100%

Overall Score

88%

10. Smartdraw – Flow chart maker that runs on any device with over 70 quick-start diagram templates from flowcharts to floor plans

Pick between the desktop edition or the online edition, depending on your use case needs. They have quick-start diagram templates for over 70 different diagram types (and over 4,500 templates overall), intelligent automatic formatting, over 34,000 symbols, collaboration online or behind a firewall, draw and print architectural and engineering diagrams to scale, and more.

Smartdraw screenshot - Flowchart software

Select a Smartdraw template and get started editing or building a flowchart for any business process.

SmartDraw is a robust diagramming tool that speaks to all of my evaluation criteria for Features & Functionality, particularly the easy of drawing tools, many different templates to choose from, and ease of use so fair that even beginners can jump right in.

Any SmartDraw drawing can be inserted into Word, Excel, PowerPoint as well as Google Docs and Sheets. The app easily integrates with Microsoft, Google, Confluence, Jira, WordPress, Dropbox, Trello, and Box.

The app was a little finicky, some progress saving issues resulted in lost work and the software has a tendency to crash on top of that. I would recommend working in the cloud to instigate auto-saving in order to combat these issues.

Smartdraw starts from $5.95/user/month and has a free trial.

Overall Score: 8.8
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Other Flowchart Maker Options

Here’s a few more that didn’t make the top list. If you need additional suggestions for handy process flow diagram software, check these out.

  1. Visme – Hundreds of presentation, infographic and other templates, with simple content block builder to quickly create custom designs from scratch.
  2. Processplan – Cloud-based business process manager that offers process templates for hundreds of different departments and industries.
  3. Grapholite – Easy to use, touch-friendly tool for all types of business graphics: flowcharts, floor plans, uml diagrams, org charts, and more.
  4. FlowBreeze – Time-saving software that converts text into flowchart shapes as you type, auto-selecting the symbol, formatting, connectors, and more.
  5. Pencil Project – Free and open-source GUI prototyping tool that can be easily installed and used to create mockups in popular desktop platforms.

What Do You Think About These Top Flow Chart Programs?

Have you tried out any flowchart program listed above? The best flow chart creator is out there for you to discover. If you have a favorite flowchart maker, let us know in the comments below (and tell us why you like it).

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Ben Aston

About Ben Aston

I’m Ben Aston, a digital project manager and founder of thedigitalprojectmanager.com. I've been in the industry for more than 15 years working in the UK at London’s top digital agencies including Dare, Wunderman, Lowe and DDB. I’ve delivered everything from film to CMS', games to advertising and eCRM to eCommerce sites. I’ve been fortunate enough to work across a wide range of great clients; automotive brands including Land Rover, Volkswagen and Honda; Utility brands including BT, British Gas and Exxon, FMCG brands such as Unilever, and consumer electronics brands including Sony.

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