The flowchart is soon to turn 100 years old. While it’s hard to imagine modern business, programming, and so many other facets of today’s life without them, they really aren’t that old.
More than anything, flowcharts take complex ideas and workflows and make them into smooth and straightforward steps to convey ideas quickly and visually.
Nonetheless, creating flowcharts and other diagrams actually isn’t too easy. It is possible to twist word processing, image editing, or presentation software into an ad hoc flowchart app. Still, the usual results aren’t great, and the process can be a major headache for whoever is designing them.
That’s why, nowadays, many people have invested in dedicated flowchart software. And there are plenty of excellent and affordable options.
Here’s our list of the best flowchart software you can start using now.
How Flowcharts Benefit You And Your Business
Flowcharts have become integral parts of modern business. Their benefits include:
- Visual Representation – the biggest advantage of using flowcharts. They take complex ideas and make them visual and easy-to-follow
- Communication – Flow Charts clarify processes and progresses, allowing team members to easily see and track their responsibilities across steps
- Coordination – Use them sequence events and prevent over-tasking team members while eliminating unnecessary steps.
- Increase Efficiency – In addition, to clarify steps, you can remove unnecessary steps and reduce errors due to communication breakdown.
- Problem Solving – Flowcharts build problems directly into the workflow along with steps towards solution into actionable plans.
- Documentation – Flowcharts give you a record of steps and processes to make evaluating and documenting a breeze.
What To Look For In FlowChart Software
All excellent flowchart software, including our top choices, shares these overlapping features:
- Ease-of-use: It may seem redundant, but the purpose of flowchart software is to simplify your life, not make it more complicated! Likewise, there should be tutorials, blogs, and other resources to answer all your questions.
- Templates: Robust template libraries let you get started using the software right away even if you’ve never built a flowchart before. But even for pros, they’re a good way to source inspiration.
- Built-in Tools: It should be straightforward to arrange things clearly and logically. This includes a variety of shapes, grides, auto-snapping features, and more.
- Export Options: Sometimes, you need a JPEG, other times, you’ll need a PDF. Whatever it is, you should be able to export, scale, and share with the world at large.
- Collaboration: Flowcharts are primarily team tools. The software should be able to support real-time editing and task-sharing with multiple team members.
- Integrations: Software is all only as good as the other software it interacts with. Go with flowchart software you can easily integrate into other aspects of your business.
Best Flowchart Software
After rigorous testing, here are five awesome flowcharts software options that you should look into.
Lucidchart is one of the best-know and highest regarded flowchart options available. It’s easy to use, and they offer a web-based interface, so there’s no bloatware on your computer.
It’s highly flexible, easy to navigate, and can import files from a wide range of competitors, including Microsoft Visio and Gliffy.
Lucidchart also has a wide range of export functionality, including PDF, image, and vectors, and is the only cloud-based app that can support Microsoft Visio format export.
But what you’ll really love about it is online real-time collaboration. So, you can see edits as your team members make them. It’s one of the few options out there, including Visio and Draw.IO, that offers true real-time collaboration.
Lucidchart has a decent free plan that includes 3 documents and individual plans, starting from just $7.95/month.Click Here To Get Started
Creately is made to be easy. They have a large template library that spans across industries. Whether you’re developing an app or refining your hiring process, there are tons of great examples.
In this vein, the UI is also clean and simple. It has a cool contextual toolbar that suggests relevant shapes as you’re building the diagrams.
Like Lucidchart, it also has solid real-time collaboration tools, but it also includes built-in video conferencing allowing you to discuss ideas with teammates as you build your charts.
The only downside to Creately is fairly limited integrations. Only Slack, Google Drive, and Confluence are currently supported. But Zapier and OneDrive are coming soon.
There’s even a free version that allows up to three collaborators. If you want an affordable way to bring teams together, then Creately is an excellent option with plans starting from $5/month.Click Here To Get Started
3. Microsoft Visio
Microsoft has been working on Visio for 25+ years. You can definitely feel this as you use Visio. The interface is smooth and highly polished. You can use it both on desktop and web apps.
More than anything, it provides a truly spectacular template library. It doesn’t matter whether you’re making a diagram or software mockup, Visio provides a wide range of excellent templates to help you craft your ideas.
And since it’s packaged into the Microsoft Office ecosystem, even newbies can use it with ease. The top feature, however, is automatic flowchart sorting. Once you amassed a library of diagrams, this will definitely come in handy.
Everything is integrated well into MS office, of course, but it doesn’t go as far as you’d expect for software that’s been around this long. Outside of the MS world, you can’t get to far with Visio.
For years, the biggest complaint with Visio was actually the price. But you can now get it for $5.00/month or as part of the larger MS Office 365 package.
If you’re deep into the Microsoft ecosystem, then don’t miss out on Visio.Click Here To Get Started
If you’re new to the world of flowcharts, then Draw.IO might be the best place to start. It is 100% free for personal use (paid plans from $5/month for 10 users). You don’t even have to create an account to get started using it. It syncs directly into your Google Drive.
The UI is also clean and easy to learn, and there are plenty of options and templates to choose from. In addition, it supports file importance for Visio and Lucidchart while supporting exports to nearly format imaginable.
In a world of web-based software, Draw.IO also offers an online version you can use across platforms allowing you to work even without an internet connection.
The downside is you don’t have as many shapes and templates overall, but the software is flexible and worth checking out, especially if you don’t need diagrams too often and want a good free option.Click Here To Get Started
Gliffy is another of the more popular diagramming software options out there. It’s similarly web-based and easy-to-use.
There’s a decent template selection, a large variety of shapes and icons, and a helpful built-in grid to make everything nice and tide.
Export options are flexible, including Visio export. The one interesting feature is that Gliffy can integrate with Jira and Confluence to make diagrams using information directly from these apps.
Ultimately, Gliffy is pretty solid and definitely a must-have for Jira and Confluence users. Gliffy Online pricing starts from $4.99/month billed annually.Click Here To Get Started
What Flowchart Software Is The Best Value?
It’s hard to argue with Draw.IO as providing excellent value. That’s not just because of its free plans but also because of its very affordable team plans.
For a paid service, Lucidchart does it all and more at affordable price points ($7.99/month), and you can also use it for free for up to three projects meaning you might not even have to pay for it all!
Which Flowchart Software Has The Best Features?
This is truly tough. Flowchart software has advanced by leaps and bounds over the last few years. But one tool is truly ready for the 2020 business ecosystem, and that is Creately.
Creately’s built-in video conferencing makes remote creation of flowcharts so easy by keeping everybody on-page while working together. And with free and affordable $5/month plans, it’s also easy on the wallet too!
What About Best Integrations?
Lucidchart wins it again here. Their integration list includes:
- Google Drive
Even outside of our top five best flowchart software lists, few other tools can offer such a comprehensive integration list. If you’re working in and out of multiple software ecosystems, then you’ll want to opt for Lucidchart.
Getter More Out Of What You Do With Flowcharts
Interactive content and video get all the spotlight. But when it comes down to getting things organized and taken care of, you need flowcharts.
Nowadays, there are some truly excellent options out there. All of these apps offer free trials, but if you’re going to get started anywhere, we recommend either Lucidchart of Draw.IO because of their generous free options.
What productivity goals will you achieve with flowcharts? Get started on creating something great with one of these fantastic tools now.