Most of us have been introduced to a variety of flowcharts and diagrams during our school days. However, the use of flowchart and diagrams get really complicated when you enter the professional field. If you’re a software developer, you know the struggle. It is not that you can go online anytime and avail the flowchart writing service. However, there are plenty of tools that can help you create diagrams and flowcharts with convictions.
Since Windows is the most widely-used computer operating system, it is better to talk about the flowchart applications that you can run on your computer. Some of these are paid, some of these are free. However, both of them serve the same purpose. Here are several flowchart applications that you can consider if you are always in need of diagrams and flowcharts.
This is one of the most well-organized diagram and flowchart applications on the list that allows you to create simple flowcharts, complex technical diagrams and everything that falls in-between to communicate with clarity. This collaboration online tool comes with a limited free account where you can create unlimited diagrams with a limit of 60 objects per each diagram.
This is cloud based web application works perfectly on your windows browsers including Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, Microsoft Edge and even Internet Explorer 8. One of the most distinguishing features about this tool is that it allows you to collaborate between teams in real time. Since it’s a web-based app, it does not require any installation.
The tool allows you to import from Vision, OmniGraffle 6 and OmniGraffle 6 Pro, which makes the process a lot easier for those who love to use multiple tools for their work. Interestingly, it allows publication and sharing where you can export files to vector PDFs, PNG and JPEG images. Even though this amazing tool offers a free account, the free trial is valid for 7days only. After the 7 days of trial, you need to pay at least $4.95 per month to use the basic features.
2. Microsoft Visio:
If you’re a big fan of Microsoft products, Visio is the perfect diagramming application for you. It’s a part of the Microsoft Office family, and you can use it to create almost all sorts of diagrams. It offers a wide range of built-in shapes, objects and even stencils which you can use to design a variety of diagrams. You can also create flowcharts, organizational charts, website wireframes, mind maps, software prototype and UML designs with this application.
Just like the LucidChart application, Microsoft Visio also allows publication and sharing. But it is not available as a cloud-based app or a web application. You need to purchase the software and install it on your Windows system to enjoy its benefits. Talking about benefits, Visio offers enterprise-level security and admin control. Also, being a part of the Microsoft family, it allows the integration with MS Excel, SQL Server, SQL Azure and SharePoint.
However, there are several downsides to this application. Firstly, it does not allow the collaboration between teams in real time, which LucidChart offers. Even though the free trial of this software is valid for 30 days, you will need to pay $299.99 for the standard version and $589.99 for the professional version. So if you are not an advanced diagram composer, it is recommended that you think this through before making the purchase.
If you are looking for a collaborative diagramming application that serves both offline and online, you can choose Creately for your task. You can avail this application both in a cloud-based format as well as desktop format. It even supports integration with Google Apps, Confluence, and JIRA. While it also offers enterprise-level security and admin control like the previous two applications, it also allows the plugins like FogBugz Server, Confluence Server, and JIRA.
This tool is particularly effective for people who work on multiple devices throughout the day. If you have worked on a project halfway through it on an office computer, and need to work further on the same project using the same software, you may need to save it on an external storage device and carry it home. Tools like Creately free you from that stress since they offer you a cloud-based service which you can access from anywhere whenever you want.
Creately comes with several templates, which allows the users to prepare the diagrams right away. Also, it offers plenty of free resources which you can avail from the Creately website. They even have mini sites which offer articles and pages, explaining various aspects of diagrams and flowcharts. Creately is a great option for beginners. However, the advanced users can also get benefitted from this diagramming application.
Dia is a free and full-featured flowchart application that functions almost similarly to Visio. Interestingly, you can install the software on other OS besides Windows, like Mac OS X and Linux platforms. Its simple and intuitive interface makes it one of the favourite diagramming software for Windows users. It offers hundreds of shapes, symbols and objects which you can use for diagram designing.
The application offers hundreds of different shapes and objects which you can use to create diagrams and flowcharts. Furthermore, you can add more shapes to it from the Dia repository. You can use XML and SVG to add custom shapes on this software. In fact, you can draw UML, Network, circuit and assorted diagrams using Dia.
This open source software allows you to add alternative layers to diagrams. In fact, it supports almost all the diagram file formats with the exceptions of Visio VSD files. Since it is available for free, it is one of the most widely used diagramming platforms that are in practice.
5. yEd Graph Editor:
Just like the Dia software, the yEd Graph Editor is also compatible with the Windows, Linux and Mac OS X Platforms. It is Java-enabled software, which requires the installation of Java JRE on the computer to run. It is also available for free and offers plenty of tools which you can download from its official website to create a flowchart.
Like most of the applications mentioned in the list, yEd Graph Editor also offers a huge range of shape nodes, flowchart symbols, edge types, BPMN symbols, entity relationship symbols and other crucial diagram elements. Additionally, the software has a lot of annotation options which allow you to add multi-line text, icon or HTML labels to them.
What makes yEd Graph Editor different from the rest is its automatic layout feature. This feature allows the software to arrange the flowchart diagram parts for the end users. Also, this software supports a wide range of import and export file formats, including XML, GraphML, HTML, PDF, GIF, JPEG, SVG, BMP, PNG and more.
When we are talking about free flowchart and diagram applications, how can we leave out Think Composer? ThinkComposer is quite popular among the professional users. Besides its efficacy in creating flowcharts, it also quite effective is handling business models, genealogy trees, class diagrams, timelines, the use of case diagrams and much more.
This open source platform is extensible with plugins. Also, you can create custom, reusable nodes and connections using this application. It can also allow you to create deep, multi-level diagrams that offer a full visual expression of ideas. Furthermore, it can generate reports based on your data in various formats, including PDF, XPS and HTML.
7. LibreOffice Draw:
LibreOffice is a worthy competitor of Microsoft Office when it comes to word processing, presentations and spreadsheet creations. However, most people don’t have the idea that it can also help create visual diagrams. It is available for free and comes with a number of benefits.
Speaking of benefits, it can open files that are saved in Microsoft Visio format. So if you are working on Visio, but have to leave the computer, you can work on it on a different computer that has LibreOffice Draw installed it. However, you need to carry it with you, since it does not offer the feature of saving files in the cloud.
In this diagram software, you can get some amazing features like custom page sizes for all sorts of chart types, 3D controller and advanced object manipulations. Also, the page map feature in this application makes it easy to work on multiple charts.
Pidoco is another cloud-based application that makes flowchart creation as smooth as butter. Quite similar to the other cloud-based tools in the list, Pidoco also allows real-time collaboration between teams. In fact, it also allows publication and sharing. Since it is run on almost every browser of today’s date, users can run it on the Windows, Linux and even Mac OS X platforms.
One of the best features of the Pidoco application is that it allows you to create interactive prototypes. Besides, the application offers integration with Planio and JIRA. You can also export files as PNG, vector files or as HTML, just like some of the other applications on the list. However, it comes with a certain amount of price.
After 31 days of free trial, you need to pay at least $12 per month to continue using this application. The standard edition costs $25 per month, where it offers 8 active projects. There are several other editions of this amazing application which offer more benefits. So check out all the packages and see which one meets all your requirements.
There are lots of other names that can offer equally amazing services like the aforementioned tools. Even though all of these tools serve the same goal, there’s something unique about each of them that separates them from the rest. Now that you have gathered enough knowledge of these diagram and flowchart tools for Windows, you can choose one that can solve your dilemma now.