flowchart software

Today we will talk about the best online flowchart software platforms.

Frank and Lillian Gilbreth developed the concept of the flowchart in 1921. They developed the flowchart to display details of a project’s process and the task dependency. 

Drawing a flowchart is easy if the process is simple and requires a few steps. However, it quickly becomes complex as the number of processes increases. In this case, it would be best to use a flowchart software program to draw flow charts.

With these tools, you can draw, edit and share flowcharts with a few mouse clicks.

If you are looking for an online flowchart software platform, you can review the options discussed in this post and select the one best suited to your requirements. All these software platforms are renowned and provide many features to draw interactive flowcharts.

What Is Flowchart Software?

A flowchart is a diagram that visually displays the steps in a process using different shapes. Flowchart software is a platform that can create a sequence diagram of interconnected shapes that sketches the flow, hierarchy, order, or structure of a plan or idea. 

They can range from simple charts to diagrams having multiple routes. 

Basic Flowchart Symbols

A flow chart can have many symbols; these symbols are ovals, arrows, parallelograms, rectangles, diamonds, etc.

An oval shape depicts the start or end of the chart; an arrow (or line) shows a connection, relationship, or pathway; a parallelogram symbolizes input or output; a rectangle stands for a process, and a diamond signifies a decision that needs to be made.

Common Types of Flowcharts

Flowcharts have many different names such as Process Flowchart, Process Map, Functional Flowchart, Business Process Mapping, Business Process Modeling, and Notation or Process Flow Diagram. Three popular examples of flowcharts are Process Flowchart, Data Flowchart, and Business Process Modeling Diagram.

Some other types of flowcharts are Swimlane Flowchart, EPC Diagram, SDL Diagram, Cross-Functional Flowchart (or Deployment Flowchart), IDEF Flowchart, etc. They are also coupled with other famous diagrams, such as Data Flow Diagrams (DFDs) and Unified Modeling Language (UML) Activity Diagrams.

Why Should We Use Flowcharts?

All businesses strive to improve the efficiency of the workplace, and a process map can help them achieve this objective. A process map can find bottlenecks in the process and can help streamline them. Streamlining processes will help the team to increase its productivity, and more productivity means more sales.

The goal of flowcharts is to communicate how a process works without confusing it with any technical jargon. They are extensively used to improve and communicate complicated processes visually to stakeholders.

Flow charts can help organizations immensely improve their processes. 

A few uses of flowcharts are:

  • Flowcharts help develop plans, business process documentation, and training materials.
  • They help analyze business waste and inefficiency.
  • In the form of decision trees, they are used as a step-by-step guide to solve a problem.

Flowcharts are commonly used in all fields by professionals and non-technical people.

I have tried many project management software and task management tool, such as Wrike and monday.com but none of them a has feature to draw a flow chart. If you need to draw a flow chart or a process map, you will need to use a standalone flowchart software tool.

Best Flowchart Software Tools

Below are a few top flowchart software:

  1. Lucidchart
  2. Microsoft Visio
  3. Draw.io
  4. SmartDraw
  5. OmniGraffle
  6. Cacoo (Web) OR Textografo (Web)
  7. Google Drawings

1. Lucidchart

lucidchart

Lucidchart is a visual collaboration suite; it facilitates discussions by writing and sketching ideas on a shared space resembling a whiteboard. Multiple stakeholders can work and collaborate on it from different places.

With intelligent diagramming and cloud visualization, organizations can plan by combining ideas from different stakeholders.

Lucidchart operates on browsers that support HTML5 and does not require third-party software like Adobe Flash.

It authorizes the team to collaborate on flowcharts, ERDs, BPMN, wireframes, mockups, network diagrams, org charts, and other visuals in real-time.

Lucidchart integrates with G Suite, Google Drive, Microsoft Office, Microsoft Teams, Salesforce, Confluence, Jira, and more.

Key Features of Lucidchart

  • Create neat and clean diagrams
  • Works faster with keyboard shortcuts
  • Flowcharts can be published to PDF, JPG, PNG
  • Easy import and export of flow diagrams

Lucidchart Pros

  • No installation is required to use Lucidchart
  • Easy to integrate with the Google suite
  • An intuitive interface allows you to get started quickly

Lucidchart Cons

  • Integration with Microsoft software suite can be a hurdle
  • Printing is challenging given the export process
  • Sharing option should be improved
  • Pricing is not transparent

Lucidchart Pricing Plans

lucidchart pricing plan

Lucidchart has four pricing plans:

  1. Free: In the free plan, you can edit three documents, you get 100 templates, and you will have basic collaboration and integration.
  2. Individual: The price is 7.95 USD per month. You can edit unlimited documents with over 1,000 pre-built templates. You will get basic automation, collaboration, and integration.
  3. Team: The pricing is 6.67 USD per month, but you must have at least three users. You will get advanced collaboration and basic automation.
  4. Enterprise: The pricing for this plan is not given on the site, and you must contact customer support for a pricing plan. Here you will get all features from the Team plan plus advanced data automation and admin control.

2. Microsoft Visio

microsoft visio

Microsoft Visio is a diagramming and vector graphics application and is part of the Microsoft Office family. The product was first introduced in 1992 and was developed by Shapeware Corporation (in November 1995, Shapeware changed its name to Visio. Jeremy Jaech and Dave Walter were two of Aldus’s founders; Ted Johnson was the lead developer). Microsoft acquired it in 2000.

Microsoft Visio is a diagramming tool to create flowcharts, which assist in data visualization and process modeling. Visio helps to create organizational charts, floor plans, pivot diagrams, etc. 

Visio does not have a Mac version.

Key Features of Microsoft Visio

  • Easy conversion of Excel process map data into Visio diagrams
  • Effortlessly create professional diagrams
  • Collaborate with others and share diagrams seamlessly
  • Simple, highly secure sharing

Microsoft Visio Pros

  • Preparing flowcharts is easy
  • The predefined template helps in creating use case diagrams seamlessly
  • It provides the ability to work offline and on cloud support
  • It has enhanced and a large number of icons or symbols for workflows

Microsoft Visio Cons

  • The desktop application is not available for Mac and Linux users
  • Lacks artistic design-based suggestions
  • Printing or publishing diagrams is not easy
  • Not available as part of an Office subscription

Microsoft Visio Pricing Plans

visio pricing plan

There are two plans available here. The first plan goes for $5.00 per month paid annually or $6.00 paid monthly. The second plan goes for $15.00 per month paid annually or $18.00 paid every month.

Microsoft Visio Professional costs $530.

microsoft visio pricing 2

3. Draw.io

draw.io

Gaudenz Alde founded Draw.io. It is an Atlassian ecosystem diagramming plugin for Confluence and Jira. The plug-in is owned by Seibert Media, a German consultancy that specializes in Atlassian and Google Cloud. 

Draw.io is much more powerful and versatile and can be helpful to create diagrams for:

  • BPMN
  • UML
  • ER
  • Org charts
  • Networks (AWS, Azure, Cisco, Citrix, GCP, IBM, etc.)
  • Mockups and Wireframes
  • Floor plans
  • Infographics
  • Mind Maps

It is responsive and works on mobile devices.

It is a cloud-based online tool and integrated with G Suite/Google Drive and Dropbox. Users can create diagrams offline and save them locally using draw.io’s desktop app for macOS, Windows, and Linux. 

It provides an intuitive interface with drag and drop functionality, customizable diagram templates, and an extensive shape library. Users can create and edit various diagrams, including flowcharts, org charts, process diagrams, ER diagrams, UML, and network diagrams.

Key Features of Draw.io

  • Free
  • Drag and drop functionality
  • Text to chart
  • Mind map
  • Process map

Draw.io Pros

  • Makes flowcharting easy
  • Helps in importing and exporting data
  • Allows multiple users to work on one project to ensure effective teamwork

Draw.io Cons

  • The app lags and becomes slow if used for a while
  • Exporting the diagrams is challenging
  • Lacks a few customization tools needed for diagram elaboration

Draw.io Pricing Plans

Draw.io online is a free-to-use web application with no premium paid-for functionality, watermarking, or other limitations.


4. SmartDraw

smartdraw

Paul Stannard founded SmartDraw in 1994. SmartDraw helps you draw all sorts of flowcharts.

With SmartDraw, you can create calendars, decision trees, floor plans, forms, maps, network diagrams, organizational charts, project charts, etc. 

Organization and structure charts can be created in minutes using SmartDraw’s built-in templates, tools, and symbols. You can export flowcharts in Excel, pdf, HTML, image formats, etc. SmartDraw assists anyone who wants to make a diagram and become more effective.

Some well-known users of SmartDraw are Coca-Cola Beverages, Hewlett-Packard, Nike, Nortech, Kent State University, and the US Department of Justice.

Key Features of SmartDraw

  • Intuitive drag and drop interface
  • Auto-adjusted feature adjusts shapes automatically
  • Seamless third-party integration
  • Available in 100 languages

SmartDraw Pros

  • Easy to create beautiful flowcharts
  • Great export capability
  • Useful quick access toolbar

SmartDraw Cons

  • Too complex for larger projects
  • Inflexible during the changes made in views

SmartDraw Pricing Plans

smartdraw pricing plan

SmartDraw has two pricing plans:

  1. Single User: The price is 9.95 USD per month, but you have to pay annually. In this plan, you will get one year of access to SmartDraw which includes both the online and Windows desktop editions, 4,500+ templates and 34,000+ symbols, powerful intelligent formatting, integration with Microsoft Office®, Google Workspace™, and the Atlassian stack including Confluence and Jira, save and open diagrams from Dropbox®, Google Drive™, Box®, and OneDrive®, Visio® import and export, etc.
  2. Multiple Users: The price is 5.95 USD per month, but you need to have at least five users. In this plan, you will have everything from the Single User plan plus control over who can access SmartDraw and how they can share documents, retain control of all documents, even those stored online, and consolidate multiple existing accounts and trials under a single license with full administrative control, etc.

If you want to use SmartDraw with a desktop, you can buy it for a one-time payment of 297 USD.

smartdraw pricing plan 2

5. OmniGraffle

omnigrafle

OmniGraffle is a diagramming application designed to work with Apple products. You can download it on your device, and use it offline. It is a flexible tool with a focus on creating mockups for software and websites. 

It provides you with many pre-designed templates to quickly mock up a landscaping project or create an electrical diagram.

OmniGraffle was made for professionals who need to organize or communicate visually beautiful mockups.

Key Features of OmniGraffle

  • Export layered OmniGraffle files like Adobe Photoshop files (.psd)
  • AppleScript support
  • Create tables and subgraphs
  • Work with multiple editing windows open

OmniGraffle Pros

  • It is easy to use
  • A vast collection of features and allows the creation of powerful documents
  • The interface is clean, and the software is reliable
  • A powerful tool for UML and other diagram conventions

OmniGraffle Cons

  • Steep learning curve
  • Lacks real-time collaboration

OmniGraffle Pricing Plans

OmniGraffle pricing is available in the following plans:

Buy for Mac

omnigraffle pricing plan

OmniGraffle is available in Pro and Standard versions.

  1. Pro: $249.99
  2. Standard:$149.99

Buy for iOS

omnigraffle pricing plan2
  1. Pro: $119.99
  2. Standard: $59.99

6. textografo (Web)

textografo

Julien Andrieu founded Textografo in 2015, and the company is located in Barcelona, Spain. It is a cloud-based diagramming tool that lets users draw diagrams like flowcharts, mind maps, organizational charts, decision trees, etc. 

You can create an animated diagram with Textografo to communicate the message better. It is an online diagramming application tool being used in more than 80 countries by all sizes of organizations. 

Using simple textual syntax makes it easy to create, update and collaborate on diagrams like flowcharts, mind maps, decision trees, organizational charts, and site maps. With Textografo, you can design diagrams quickly. It is easy to take notes and then convert them into professional-looking diagrams.

Textografo is used in every industry to design new processes and software. It is used widely by product managers, business analysts, UX designers, developers, consultants, and managers. 

Key Features of Textografo

  • Diagram automatically generated from text
  • Display the diagram step by step in one click
  • Basic and cross-functional flowcharts
  • Download as PNG and PDF
  • Professional-looking themes

Textografo Pros

  • It is elegantly easy and user friendly
  • The software uses a text-to-diagram framework that users can immediately learn
  • Textografo’s creators offer a free trial that requires no credit card

Textografo Cons

  • No mobile app
  • 24-hour support response
  • It only supports two software integrations

Textografo Pricing Plans

textografo

Textografo has two pricing plans:

  1. Essentials: The price is 5 USD per month, but changes to 4 USD per month if you pay annually. In this plan, you will get five private diagrams, 50 shapes per diagram, text-to-diagram, one-click animations, quick themes, collaborate with anyone, embed in an external website, zoom in, nested diagrams, notes, and icons badges, export as PNG, etc.
  2. Premium: The price is 19 USD per month but changes to 14 USD per month if you pay annually. In this plan you will get unlimited private diagrams, unlimited shapes, text-to-diagram, one-click animations, quick themes, collaborate with anyone, embed in an external website, zoom in, nested diagrams, notes and icons badges, export as PNG, export as SVG, revision history, no Textografo branding, premium customer support, etc.

7. Google Drawings

Google drawing

Google Drawings was introduced on April 12, 2020. It is a diagramming software tool combined as part of the free, web-based Google Docs Editors suite offered by Google. Google Drawings is available as a web and desktop application on Google’s Chrome OS. 

The app allows users to create and edit flowcharts, organizational charts, mind maps, website wireframes, concept maps, and other diagrams online while collaborating with other users in real-time.

Google Drawings is similar to a digital poster board — or a big digital piece of paper.  It is a virtual board that lets users generate content by drawing, pasting images, linking videos and websites, and embedding text, shapes, tables, and other content onto a Google Drive page. Users can create concept maps, flow charts, diagrams, visual storyboards, and original art. 

This app is freely available to anyone with a Google account.  Users can collaborate on the same drawing simultaneously. This means students can collaborate on similar drawings from various computers at different locations. You can share drawings via a link or insert them into a webpage (by selecting “Publish to the web” in the File menu).

Key Features of Google Drawings

  • Create images, diagrams, charts, prototype drawings, and rough layouts
  • Consolidate images from outside of Google Drawings
  • Include drawing into documents, spreadsheets, presentations, interactive whiteboards, or other digital media
  • Show work on a math problem
  • Create timelines, infographics, and logos
  • Incorporate text into label a drawing or stylize text to enhance a document
  • Collaborative brainstorming
  • Use It for Collaborative Post-It

Google Drawings Pros

  • Free
  • Ease of use
  • Collaboration with other Google users
  • Finished projects in different formats can be easily downloaded or inserted into another Google app
  • Users can connect from a number of different devices and view/edit the drawing in real-time

Google Drawings Cons

  • Limited features are available
  • Users must have a Google email account

Google Drawings Pricing Plans

A free version is available.


Conclusion

Flow charts plays important role in planning, designing, mind mapping, and other business aspects. If you are looking for the best online flowchart software, I recommend you review the flowchart software discussed in this blog post and select the one best fits your requirements.

What flow charts software are you using at your work? Please share it in the comments section.