There was a time, earlier than computer systems, when each youngster in senior faculty carried with them a plastic stencil for creating neat flowcharts. Fortunately, creating them on a pc is a lot simpler to do, quicker to alter, and infinitely reproducible.

Clear diagrams can element the move of knowledge, merchandise on a manufacturing line, the execution of code in software program, and a dozen different business-critical processes.

Managing folks and sources might be troublesome with out understanding the dependencies concerned, and these paperwork can usually reveal these succinctly.

Listed here are 10 of one of the best we might discover, every with their very own twist on the right recipe for being nicely understood.

1. Cacoo

A complete charting device with good groupware performance

Nice cloud connectivity

Connects to Slack


Restricted template choice

Enterprise customers usually don’t work in isolation, and Cacoo by Nulab is a charting answer constructed to handle that want, amongst others.

It’s an internet device that interfaces to a variety of cloud companies, together with Google Drive/Docs, Confluence, Adobe Inventive Cloud, Field and Dropbox. Along with Cloud saved and distributed content material, Cacoo additionally works with TypeTalk (one other Nulab product) and Slack to allow an data move that alerts different group members when a diagram is up to date.

The variety of templates is likely to be lower than different merchandise, but it surely has all of the important ones like Community diagrams, organisational charts and ground plans.

The function set makes it of essentially the most use to programs designers, software program engineers, undertaking managers and enterprise directors.

Pricing is aggressive, with a single consumer license costing simply $four.95 (£three.70) per thirty days, and a three-user Workforce plan is $18 (£13.45) per thirty days. For these wanting higher management over their mission-critical instruments, Cacoo affords an enterprise choice the place the system is put in on a non-public server, for ten or extra customers.

There are additionally academic plans for academics and college students.

For these wishing to take a look at Cacoo, trials can be found for 14 days, and there’s a free plan that permits six diagrams to be created in it, with restricted sharing choices.

2. ConceptDraw Professional11

Refined charting device with nice flexibility

Superb template choice

Home windows and Mac

Visio suitable


ConceptDraw is a whole suite of purposes designed to allow enterprise planning and improve productiveness.

Now at launch 11, ConceptDraw Professional is only one of those instruments and sits alongside ConceptDraw Workplace four, Mindmap 9, Challenge eight and ConceptDraw Retailer.

Professional model 11 is a extremely versatile enterprise graphics and diagramming product with 1000’s of stencils and a whole bunch of templates prepared to make use of.

However for people who need higher flexibility, it’s attainable to design any stencil components from scratch and incorporate them right into a design. These customized components can then use the tree and chain connecting modes out there within the ConceptDraw Professional 11 software program.

Totally suitable with Visio (stencils and drawings), Professional 11 might be put in both to the Microsoft Home windows or Apple Mac platforms, every costing $199 (£149) for a single license.

5 and ten consumer license packs can be found with a consumer low cost, and you can too purchase Professional 11 in live performance with Mindmap 9 and Challenge eight for higher financial savings.

For academics and college students it may be had for a really affordable $99 (£74), and a free trial is offered for these wishing to strive it out.

three. Creately

A extremely reasonably priced multi-platform answer

On-line and Home windows app


Free public model

On-line model makes use of Flash

The place different instruments depend on software installations, Creately is offered on-line, as a desktop app and in addition on cell platforms.

It’s not solely for Flowcharts both, as it may be used to provide all kinds of diagrams together with organisational charts and wireframes, Gantt charts, Infographics and even maps.

The out there templates are intensive, and you’ll strive it out on-line earlier than you make investments.

One snag, and for a lot of organisations it may very well be a deal breaker, is that on-line Creately makes use of Adobe Flash, and insists on it being on the consumer platform.

On-line Creately prices simply $5 (£three.74) per thirty days or $49 (£37) per yr for a single consumer, and cheaper-per-head group pricing can be out there. The Creately Desktop is $75 (£56) with one yr of updates included.

For most people, Creately permits 5 diagrams to be created at zero price, excellent for that small charting job that you may’t simply bend one other device to make.


A free device that’s higher than many paid ones


Confluence and JIRA related

Large template choice

Solely on-line

Let’s say it upfront: is free. No, significantly. They develop and preserve it for gratis to the consumer. Whenever you’ve recovered from that shock, you need to know that it’s an internet answer that may save your work to Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive.

It will possibly deal with a variety of schematics, together with advanced BPMN workflows, UML diagrams and normal Flowcharts, together with thoughts maps and community infrastructures. The record of prospects is so large that we selected to not record all of them right here.

So what’s the catch? Properly, in the event you use both Confluence or JIRA Cloud, then they’d like a subscription paid for that performance. Nevertheless it’s hardly costly, being 1$ (£zero.75) for Confluence per consumer and $zero.50 (£zero.37) for JIRA, and pricing for 200 customers is $20 (£14.94) and $10 (£7.47) respectively per thirty days.

Earlier than you spend cash on different options, it’s value trying out, if solely to be amazed at what software program instruments you may get totally free, and the way good they are often.

5. Edge Diagrammer

A robust charting device that even works on Home windows XP

Free extension packs

Free file viewer

Solely on Home windows

No groupware performance

Based mostly in Arizona, Pacestar Software program has 4 diagram design instruments of which Edge Diagrammer is essentially the most versatile.

Utilizing Edge Diagrammer, you possibly can simply generate block diagrams, flowcharts, org charts, household timber, knowledge move diagrams and lots of different customary diagrammatic types.

Along with the bottom performance, Pacestar has some free extension packs that help an excellent wider vary of various diagramming methodologies.

The restrictions of this product are that it’s solely Home windows platform, though it has very minimal necessities and can run on any full model of Home windows from XP upwards. There’s additionally a free to distribute Home windows device that permits anybody to view drawings created utilizing Edge Diagrammer.

Whereas this software program is undoubtedly highly effective and efficient, it doesn’t take account of knowledge move or distribution inside a big operation. Subsequently in the event you intend to make use of this you’ll have to handle the information it creates with different instruments.

A single consumer license is $149 (£111), and the extra seats you buy, the cheaper it will get per consumer.

For these desirous to strive it out a thirty-day trial is offered to obtain, and for that interval you possibly can expertise full performance.

6. Edraw Max V9.1

The one-stop-shop for all of your charting wants

Helps 280 diagram varieties

Native on Home windows, Mac and Linux 

So highly effective it would delay new customers

No groupware connections

One other cross-platform choice, Edraw Max, works on Home windows, Mac and Linux natively.

Created by the Shenzen Edraw software program firm, Edraw Max was constructed to assemble professional-looking flowcharts, organisational diagrams and has templates for 280 completely different diagram varieties.

If in case you have a selected want, you won’t want all the facility of Edraw Max, and the identical firm makes tailor-made instruments for Thoughts Mapping, Infographics, Org Charts and 9 different completely different particular diagram necessities.

In principle, Edraw Max can do any of those jobs, though customers may discover the scope and energy of this device a bit of daunting at first.

People who get by an initially difficult studying curve report that after mastered it is a nice software for creating skilled wanting schematics quickly and effectively. 

A single consumer license is $179 (£134) and consists of free upgrades for 3 years on Home windows and Mac. Pay a bit of extra and you may get a lifetime license with indefinite upgrades, or you possibly can pay $99 (£74) per yr for a subscription.

Multi-user reductions are additionally out there, as they’re for academic customers.

7. Gliffy

On-line device for visible communication and collaboration

On-line and Chrome app

Helps Confluence and JIRA 

Comparatively low-cost

Restricted object customisation

This product has many parallels with, in that it additionally helps Confluence and JIRA Cloud, however Gliffy can be engaged on a proprietary Cloud answer to be launched quickly, referred to as Gliffy Challenge.

Gliffy Diagram is offered now and gives a simple device for creating a really extensive number of chart varieties on-line or inside Confluence. It additionally shops created charts into Google Drive, must you use that these Cloud companies.

Pricing is $7.99 (£5.97) per thirty days for a single consumer, however this unit price reduces to $four.99 (£three.73) per consumer for group members. Multi-user licenses additionally embody further groupware performance.

For Enterprise clients pricing is much less per-person structured, and Gliffy gives an built-in answer that may dovetail into current enterprise processes.

One good twist on this on-line software program device is that you may set up a Chrome model that may work offline, ought to an Web connection not be out there.

What this product lacks is far in the way in which of object customisation, though it scores extremely on ease of use and a mild studying curve.

eight. Lucid Chart

A massively common and cheap charting app

On-line app that works with any OS

Integrations with different companies

Cheap per seat

In accordance with Lucid Software program, they’ve over 11 million customers. Strongly suggesting that this isn’t a distinct segment answer, however a extremely common one.

Lucid is without doubt one of the few instruments that covers Microsoft Home windows, Apple Mac OSX and numerous Linux distributions by default, admittedly by being an internet app quite than natively.

For many who want workflow integration, Lucid Chart helps Confluence, JIRA and JIVE, together with the Google Cloud and apps and Microsoft Visio compatibility.

There’s a free trial that isn’t time restricted. As an alternative, diagrams are restricted to a most of 60 objects, enough to discover its potential.

Licensing begins at $5.45 (£four.07) per thirty days for a House consumer, and ‘Professional’ Enterprise customers pay $10 (£7.47) per thirty days, each paid on annual subscriptions. Professional customers get the power to import and export to Visio, and dynamically hyperlink knowledge into their charts for the additional cash.

There are additionally Workforce variations with groupware and Enterprise choices, all at additional price.

Lucid satisfied Amazon, Adobe, DocuSign, Cisco, Crimson Hat and Wells Fargo to be clients. And, it is likely to be proper for your enterprise, too.

9. Microsoft Visio

The software program that redefined charting purposes

Workplace 365 integration

Trade customary

On-line and Home windows app


Lacks inherent groupware options

When most individuals take into consideration move charts, they virtually instantly consider Visio, though the product is able to creating all method of diagrams shortly and effectively.

It was one of many first merchandise with sensible drawing instruments, and as we speak it retains the power for the device to intelligently restructure a drawing because the consumer strikes objects round.

The plain large promoting level of Visio is that its a part of the Workplace 365 suite, and due to this fact designed to combine with the opposite Workplace instruments seamlessly.

Microsoft affords 4 completely different choices with Visio; two on-line, and one other two which can be standalone Home windows purposes.

Visio Normal 2016 and Skilled 2016 are the installable apps, they usually retail for £279.99 ($375) and £529.99 ($709) respectively. As you may guess, that prime pricing is meant to encourage you to subscribe to the net variations, labelled Visio Plan 1 and Visio Plan 2.

Plan 1 is pitched at £three.80 ($5) per consumer/month and is solely an internet model, the place Plan 2 prices £11.30 ($15) per consumer/month. And with that you just additionally get on-line and Visio 2016 Skilled app, and entry to raised cell instruments, and a Visio Viewer for iOS.

These costs are in the event you subscribe yearly, with month-by-month pricing being a bit of greater.

For these already utilizing Workplace 365, lots of the current packages embody the net model of Visio. And, you possibly can strive that totally free on Microsoft’s Workplace on-line web site.

10. SmartDraw

Preferrred for homicide scene investigators and lots of others

Works with Confluence, JIRA and extra

70 chart varieties

Solely on Home windows

Costly per seat

Like Lucid, SmartDraw can title a formidable record of blue-chip corporations which can be license holders for the reason that firm began in 1994. These embody a minimum of half of the Fortune 500 quoted companies and greater than 250,000 private and non-private enterprises throughout the globe.

The SmartDraw product can be utilized on-line or as a standalone Home windows software. It helps the creation of at least seventy chart varieties, together with all the usual ones.

There extra unique templates embody these for documenting a criminal offense scene, panorama gardening, seating plan and even accident reconstruction. 

For these working as a part of a group, it helps Confluence, JIRA, Trello and Google’s GSuiite. And, it’s totally suitable with Visio, capable of import and export diagrams and stencils with Microsoft’s software.

The Home windows Desktop affords a single consumer license for $297 (£222) and multi-user 5+ licenses from $595 (£445).  The web model is simply $9.95 (£7.43) per thirty days for one consumer, and $5.95 (£four.45) per consumer/month for five+, each billed yearly.

The multi-user packages have additional performance that permits licenses to be managed and also can management the sharing of SmartDraw knowledge with different customers.

A lot of the sophistication of SmartDraw is within the templates and never the appliance. Subsequently it is likely to be extra appropriate for many who make many easy charts, and never these concerned within the creation of very advanced diagrams.

What to search for when selecting flowchart software program

Though designers may use these instruments, the vast majority of folks creating flowcharts aren’t classically skilled graphic designers. Subsequently, they want a device that assumes no inventive talents however can generate skilled wanting outcomes quickly.

There’s a positive stability between an software giving the operator the facility to do no matter they need and funnelling their efforts within the route of final success.

The way in which that almost all software program handles this delicate stability is to supply the consumer templates that keep away from them utilizing too many fonts, or attempting to cram too many components right into a design.

If the operator has graphical expertise, these restrictions might sound a hindrance, however to the much less assured, they are often precisely the structural help these of us want.

These are the important thing points that you just may need to contemplate earlier than buying a flowchart answer:

  • Templates: What number of does the appliance have, and are any of them tailor-made to your particular wants (coding, recreation logic, command constructions, and so forth)?
  • Objects: Nearly all software program can have a choice of predefined objects, and the quantity and high quality of those must be assessed. If the graphical components that you just particularly want aren’t within the library, the power to outline your individual can be crucial.
  • Groupware: As necessary because the creation of a diagram is likely to be, getting it distributed and centrally up to date can be important. Some purposes can allow a number of folks to work on the identical design, which is likely to be helpful when documenting an particularly difficult course of.
  • Trial: A few of these instruments might be costly or require ongoing licensing, so it’s helpful to check a trial model earlier than investing firm money.
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