Do your lists of rigid rules, processes, and workflows bore your employees so much that they go on Buzzfeed to look for cat videos? These materials don’t have to always be boring lines of text. You can beautify them into flowcharts with shapes, colors, animations, and pictures that make things fun and engaging.
You can also use flowcharts to create engaging and humorous visual content for your social media pages and articles, instead of posting walls of text.
They can seem very sophisticated to make, but there are easy-to-use flowchart software. These typically come with templates, drag and drop builders, and pre-built shapes that simplify things. You don’t have to be a master designer to make them.
In this post, I’ll share the best flowchart software for creating beautiful flowcharts that your employees and social media followers can’t stop looking at.
What makes an excellent flowchart software?
A search for flowchart software will lead you to hundreds of options. But not all of them have the essential features. Here are the most important ones you need.
Beginner-friendly builder: Designers who create unique and sophisticated flowcharts use tools like Photoshop and Illustrator. But flowchart software is usually for amateur designers who want to create flowcharts quickly and easily. The builder should be drag and drop friendly. It’s also a plus if it works on mobile devices.
Templates: A builder alone will make it hard for newbies to create top-quality flowcharts. But with professionally designed templates, anyone can quickly add or modify the elements and text to make a beautiful flowchart in minutes. It’s also crucial that there are significant differences between the various templates. The option to import templates or get a professional designer to create templates is a bonus.
Building elements: A variety of elements such as shapes, arrows, photos, fonts, illustrations, and charts make for unique flowcharts. The software should allow you to modify colors and sizes. You must be able to upload your photos, icons, and branding elements like logos, too. Some builders offer a branding kit to make this straightforward.
Measurement features: The software should have elements like grids and rulers to make it easy for you to stay consistent with the distance between the elements and arrows.
Download formats: Flowcharts can serve various purposes, so you should be able to download them in multiple formats. For example, if you’re designing a workflow flowchart to explain a process to your team, it would be better to create a PDF. But if you want to share your flowchart on social media, PNG or JPEG would be ideal. Video and GIF formats are also great for sharing animated flowcharts on social media.
Integrations: Integrations will simplify and improve the flowchart design process. Most flowchart software offer integrations with Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft Word, and Slack. This makes it easy to import design elements and export the finished product. Some also let you share your flowcharts on social media.
Your software should have these essential features. But, of course, you can skip some if you have other tools that make up for the deficiencies or if you don’t need them.
The 7 best flowchart software you should try
Here are some of the best flowchart software with the above features and some extras.
1. Lucidchart [Online flowchart software for teams]
The key to creating flowcharts your team will easily decipher is to get their feedback while you make it. This is where Lucidchart excels. One of its powerful features is real-time editing. Your team members can make changes to your flowcharts, and you’ll see them immediately. It feels a lot like creating flowcharts with Google Docs. You can create profiles for each editor and edit their licenses, roles, and groups.
There are other features like in-editor chat, shape-specific comments, and collaborative cursors that simplify team collaboration.
Lucidchart has every other necessary feature for creating comprehensible flowcharts. These include an intuitive editor, elements, and 1000+ templates. You can also overlay metrics into existing diagrams with data linking. There are also auto visualizations to generate charts.
You can export creations into various formats such as JPEG, PDF, PNG, and SVG. Plus, you can either use the web version or the iOS and Android apps.
Lucidchart also integrates with many popular third-party tools such as Asana, Google Drive, Slack, Salesforce, AWS, and Quip.
On top of this, it integrates with competitors like Microsoft Visio, Draw.io, OmniGraffle, and Gliffy. It definitely makes it easy to import and export your flowcharts.
Pricing: The individual and team plans cost $7.95 and $6.67 per user/month (minimum three users). There’s also a Free plan and an Enterprise plan.
2. Draw.io [Free flowchart tool with a Google Workspace feel]
Draw.io is a free flowchart software. You don’t even need to sign up to use it. A unique feature of this software is that the interface resembles that of Google Workspace tools like Google Docs and Sheets. It works similarly, too.
It’s effortless to use—a new file opens up as soon as you visit the website. There’s also a grid in the background to make it easy to arrange the various elements. You can play around with the wide array of elements, such as shapes, text, and arrows, adjusting their shape, size, and color.
This software makes it easy to download your creations or save them to Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox, GitHub, and GitLab. Formats include PDF, PNG, SVG, HTML, and XML. If you save your files to Google Drive or OneDrive, you can share a URL, just like with a Google Doc or Sheet file.
Draw.io also lets you import files from all of the above tools. It’s got a lot of features for a free flowchart software. The only drawback is that it has very few templates, and there isn’t much variety. Also, some users may find it counterintuitive that the templates are under the “Arrange” tab, instead of the “Edit” tab, and there are no tutorials for new users.
Pricing: Free. There’s a paid Draw.io version for Confluence hosting that costs $15 per month.
3. Microsoft Visio [Best flowchart software for Microsoft users]
Visio is a flowchart builder from Microsoft. It’s an excellent solution for people who use other Microsoft software such as Microsoft 365 because it makes it easy to import and export information between the tools.
An example is the option to convert Excel map data into Visio diagrams with Data Visualizer. You can also document your Visio process diagrams in Word and store your creations on Microsoft’s OneDrive. Plus, new users may find it comforting that the interface resembles other Office tools.
You can use Visio’s builder to create other types of visuals such as network diagrams, floor plans, and org charts. There are several templates, starter diagrams, and stencils that make it easy to design these visuals.
Users can choose between the desktop (Windows) or web version of Visio to collaborate and create in real-time. Features such as autospace and autoalign help you lay connections and shapes consistently and neatly. There are also layers, rulers, and grids.
The only drawback is that there are no Macbook and Android versions. You’ll need to use the web version on these devices. There is an iOS version for both iPad and iPhone, though.
Pricing: The Visio Plan 1 and Plan 2 cost $5 and $15 per user/month. You can also make a one-time purchase. The Visio Standard and Professional versions cost $250 and $530.
4. SmartDraw [The Intelligent Flowchart Maker]
SmartDraw is an AI-powered flowchart tool. One of its unique features is intelligent formatting. It will automatically adjust and maintain the arrangement when you move, add, or delete shapes in your diagram. The AI ensures that all elements are connected and realigned with the correct spacing.
The interface is also easy to navigate. You can use the builder and keyboard shortcuts to design flowcharts quickly.
Along with flowcharts, you can create 70 other types of visuals with SmartDraw. These include mind maps, decision trees, organizational charts, infographics, floor plans, and planograms. There are over 4,500 templates and 34,000 symbols to help you create these diagrams quickly and easily. You can also draw and print engineering and architectural diagrams.
It also has several built-in extensions and integrations. Google Workspace, Jira, Excel, Powerpoint, Dropbox, OneDrive, and Trello are some of the tools that integrate with it. You can import from Lucidchart and import and export with Visio.
Collaborating with this software is easy. There’s a web version and a Mac version. Users can also leave comments and share diagrams.
Pricing: The Single User and Multiple User plans cost $9.95 and $5.95 (for 5+ users) per month, billed annually, with a seven-day free trial.
5. Miro [Flowchart builder with an infinite canvas]
Miro is a whiteboard tool with an infinite canvas. You or your entire team can collaborate and create flowcharts with pre-built templates—or from scratch. The infinite canvas makes it possible to create a flowchart that’s as long as you’d like it to be. You can save your creation as a PDF or an image.
You can also use Miro to draw freehand. There’s a Smart Drawing mode that converts your sketches into rigid shapes.
It’s even got some powerful collaboration features like Screen Sharing. You can use it to stream your creation to team members and explain your flowchart. Another prominent feature is that you can view cursors of other collaborators to see how they interact with your diagrams and the changes they make.
You can either use Miro on the web or with the app. It’s got apps for Windows, Mac, iPhone, and Android. It integrates with a lot of tools and apps that other flowchart builders don’t. These include Adobe Creative Cloud, Livestorm, Unsplash, Hubspot, Typeform, Vimeo, and Product Hunt.
Pricing: The Team and Business plans cost $8 and $16 per month. There are also Free and Enterprise plans.
6. Venngage [Infographic builder for creating aesthetic flowcharts]
Venngage is primarily an infographic builder. You can take advantage of its templates and elements to create engaging flowcharts. Start with the flowchart templates or templates meant for infographics and other forms of content. Then, add icons, photos, and other elements from its library or upload your own.
You can also add graphs to your flowcharts using Venngage’s graph templates. You can either type your data manually, upload an Excel file or paste the link to your Google Sheet and it’ll automatically generate a graph.
Venngage also has a brand kit that makes it easy to add brand colors, logos, and fonts to your new flowcharts.
Besides flowcharts and infographics, you can create other content such as ebooks, roadmaps, timelines, newsletters, and flyers.
When you’re satisfied with your work, you can download your creations as images or PDFs or share them on social media like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
The only drawback is that you need to upgrade to the business plan ($49 per month/user) to get rid of the Venngage branding.
Pricing: The Premium and Business plans cost $19 and $49 per month/user. There’s also a free version and an Enterprise plan.
7. Cacoo [Collaborative flowchart maker]
Cacoo is a popular flowchart maker with over 2.5 million users. It has exceptional collaboration features. Team members can either comment on the diagrams or make changes themselves. You can view changes in the revision history. There’s also an in-app video and chat for the team to offer feedback and discuss ideas.
Impressively, many of these features are available on the free plan itself. You can also add unlimited users to the free version.
Cacoo also allows you to create other visuals for purposes like marketing, design, and project management. It has templates for empathy maps, personas, Gantt charts, wireframes, and sitemaps.
You can either download your diagrams or share them with a link. You can also embed them on web pages. It integrates with popular tools like AWS, Google Drive, Typetalk, Microsoft Teams, and Box.
The main con is that there are limited templates for flowcharts.
Pricing: The Pro and Team plans cost $6 per month and $6 per user/month. There’s a Free plan and an Enterprise plan, too.
What’s your favorite flowchart software?
You can’t go wrong with any of the flowchart software listed here. The one you pick should depend on your requirements, budget, and the number of people that’ll use it.
If you have a tight budget and plan to use it alone, Draw.io is the best option. But if you work with a large team, Lucidchart will be better. Venngage is a better option if you are making more engaging flowcharts to share on social media.
Make a list of all your needs, try the software that matches your requirements, and finally, pick the best one.
If you’re looking for software to design flowcharts and other types of visuals, check out the AppSumo store for sweet lifetime and annual deals!