yEd is pretty nice for simple things, and has some good automatic layout functions. If maximum compatibility is a concern, then Visio is probably a better option, but it's Windows-only (whereas yEd is cross-platform, and open source). I've used Pencil a fair amount a couple of years ago and found it nice looking but clunky to use. That may have changed between then and now. Hope this helps!
What is Flowchart Software?
It's easy to spend a lot of time developing business processes and creating presentations, particularly if you're not using the right tools. Depending on your role, you may need to create and regularly update organization charts, network diagrams, process-flow diagrams or wireframes. You may need to share your charts with your team members, in-house and remote staff or even to present your diagrams to external clients who want to purchase your product or services. Flowchart software gives you the tools you need to more efficiently create professional-looking diagrams that visually communicate complex ideas and processes in the simplest, clearest form possible.
Although you can use spreadsheet and presentation programs as well as some free online programs and apps to create flowcharts, these programs are often limited to basic features and shapes, which means that it can be time consuming to create and edit diagrams, especially if they're large or complex. It may be worth investing in flowchart software if creating or editing diagrams is a regular part of your job, if you need more than basic functionality or if you require professional-looking diagrams.
As you look for the best flowchart software for your company, consider which features are the most useful to you and can save you time, the different types of diagrams you want to be able to create, and how you can most efficiently share your diagrams with your staff and your clients.
Flowchart Software: What Features to Look For
Different businesses have different needs, but there are some common flowchart software features you should look for regardless of your business needs. The best options have a user-friendly interface and provide templates and shapes for a variety of applications.
- Affordable subscription plans (monthly or annual)
- Library of customizable shapes for your diagrams
- Fully designed themes that utilize fonts, colors and effects
- Drag-and-drop functionality
- Ability to use spell check, replace shapes without having to delete the original shape, and resize shapes to fix text
- Real-time collaboration tools that allow multiple users to view and edit diagrams at the same time
- Ability to include several diagrams in a single project and link between them
- Allows viewers to add comments and edit charts
- Ability to guide your client through the diagram by enabling you to link to other sections and pages of the diagram
- Ability to control the access that your collaborators and clients have to your diagrams
- Allows you to export your files to shareable formats that can be emailed or printed
Flowchart software services offer licenses and monthly or yearly subscriptions. The software pricing will vary based on the amount of users and the needs of each business.
Most of the programs have free trials that allow you to test out the software before purchasing the product. This is helpful if there are specific functionalities you need and want to try them out before purchasing the software.
Flowchart Software Use Cases
Choosing the right flowchart software for your business makes it easy to quickly create professional-quality charts and diagrams. The best programs can be used with business and industry-specific applications and include collaboration, sharing and presentation functionality. So which options should you consider?
- If you're looking for flowchart software that has professionally designed templates, a familiar Microsoft Office interface and technical functionality, like the ability to set and check rules, consider Microsoft Visio.
- If you want an intuitive, browser-based flowchart program with an iPad app that supports a variety of diagrams, Lucidchart is worth checking out.
- If you want a visually rich program with an abundant selection of examples for many types of diagrams that also enables you to create infographics, Edraw may be a good option for you.
- If you need flowchart software that is both inexpensive and includes real-time collaboration features, check out Creately.
- If you're looking for a Visio alternative, for example if you're a Mac user but your clients use Visio, Lucidchart and ConceptDraw Pro can also export files in Visio format.
Common Flowchart Software Questions & Answers
How can I get organized?10 responses
Your to do list should comprise your most important things of the day at the top. Emails could be done before or after lunch and no more than thirty (30) minutes. Things that don't need your direct attention should be delegated to specific persons. Emergencies... should always be taken care of with personnel that can take over when the fire is out. Evernote, Wunderlist, & Asana are some helpers to make life easier and sync your day. Cheers, Jack Arnold Group, LLC
Having people Check-Off and Sign-off that they have done the procedures as documented often helps. Have them sign-off on the procedures, each time they change assure that they have read and understood the changes. Holding them accountable for their sign-off often helps. Having the adherence to the procedures be part of their performance reviews often helps. In short - Having them sign-off on the procedural changes and placing some consequences to not staying on-top of the procedure changes...
List of the Flowchart Software Buying Guide
Lucidchart is a competitively priced program with a large offering of features and applications. Because this software is cloud-based, it’s compatible with both Macs and PCs. A functional app is available for iPads, and you can use it to view and edit your charts. There isn't an app for Android tablets, so you can only view your flowcharts via a browser, not edit them.
Cacoo is an online flowchart generator that includes real-time collaboration features. It has a chat feature within the flowchart software so each user can chat and exchange ideas while editing the charts. It is an excellent choice if you are working with clients or team members outside your office.
ConceptDraw Pro is comprehensive design software that lets you take basic or freehand shapes and resize, edit, color and fill them with text in order to make diagrams and charts of any kind. You can use it for business process modeling, SWOT analysis and Venn diagrams as well as network and UML diagrams, wireframes and technical drawings.
Creately’s flowchart software works on your desktop and online, offering good sharing tools and real-time collaboration. This online flowchart software provides simple design while being fully capable of creating your professional-looking workflow diagrams efficiently. The desktop version of the program is available for both PC and M
Edge Diagrammer is flowchart software that you can use to create organizational charts, process flow and network diagrams. The company also also offers basic flowcharting software and programs specific to LAN and UML diagramming.
Edraw provides excellent flowchart software that can be used not only for flowchart generation but also to create a multitude of business diagrams and technical drawings. It has a great variety of diagramming, text and graphic tools, a solid set of organizational features and one of the simplest interfaces to learn. It works on Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems.
Gliffy offers a basic but effective flowchart software solution that is easy to use and suitable for many business flowchart needs. It has a useful library of standard shapes and containers for grouping shapes together as well as good viewing tools, but it lacks some of the advanced sharing and collaboration features of other diagram software.
IGrafx FlowCharter is suited for business professionals and features process mapping and modeling.
RFFlow is flowchart software that you can use to create a variety of process flow charts and diagrams. In addition to creating organizational and process flow charts, you can also use this diagramming software to create block, network, UML and Venn diagrams, office layouts, Gantt charts, technical drawings such as circuit diagrams and more.
Visio’s diagram software is easy to use and has many outstanding features for small businesses. It also offers excellent help and support, including a tutorial to help you become familiar with the program.
Software Ideas Modeler
Software Ideas Modeler is a software that allows users to make complex models, create their own styles and style sets, as well as design screens using wireframes.
SmartDraw Cloud’s intuitive design and excellent ease of use means that you should be able to start creating diagrams quickly with only a slight learning curve. Solid diagramming and sharing tools as well as outstanding graphic features and good text options make this a good choice for flowchart software.