A flowchart is a very common and highly utilized diagram that easily and clearly visualizes steps in a process. Called by different names — like data flow diagrams, workflows, or process maps — a flowchart provides visual clarity and instant communication. Flowchart software and makers enable users to quickly build complex flowcharts, enabling teams to analyze and solve problems, as well as document solutions.
Table of Contents
- What Is Flowchart Software?
- Best Flowchart Software and Makers
- Types of Flowchart Software
- Must-Have Flowchart Software Features
What Is Flowchart Software?
Flowchart software is a diagramming or drawing tool accessible via a browser or desktop app that simplifies the creation and sharing of flowcharts for various purposes. Flowcharts can visually represent a wide range of data flows and routines, such as product development workflows, technical and engineering diagrams, and business processes.
Flowchart makers and tools allow users to layout flowchart sequences easily with ready-to-use templates and a wide choice of stencils, shapes, and connectors. It has an intuitive interface, drag-and-drop functionality, and smart features that help users create, format, and arrange flowchart components. Today’s best flowchart software can include features such as real-time collaboration, customization, integrations, a presentation mode, and automations.
Read also: What is Critical Path in Project Management?
Best Flowchart Software and Makers
A flowchart maker enables users to quickly build a map of a process such as designing a website, launching a new product, or planning a content calendar. Here is a list of the best flowchart software that makes it easy for everyone involved to view and understand each step of their process.
Microsoft Visio is a flowchart maker and diagramming software that users can access through the web or via desktop app. Microsoft 365 commercial subscribers can also access a lightweight version of the Visio web app, allowing teams to create diagrams from anywhere collaboratively. It comes with ready-to-use flowchart templates, starter diagrams, stencils, and customizable shapes.
Visio integrates with Microsoft 365 apps to enhance the features of visual process flows. Users can create, view, edit, and collaborate on diagrams from inside Teams. They can also embed diagrams into Power BI dashboards, export diagrams to Power Automate, break down complex diagrams into individual parts in PowerPoint slide snippets, or store and share files in OneDrive.
- Drag-and-drop interface
- Customization features
- Library of templates
- Compatibility issues when importing diagrams from other software
- Pricing is on the high side
Miro is a visual collaboration platform for teams. It is an online whiteboard platform that brings teams together for meetings and workshops, brainstorming, research and design, and mapping and diagramming. It has an online flowchart maker that allows teams to create flowcharts speedily to simplify workflows and daily routines.
Miro lets teams plot flowcharts together so they can check off all essential steps in their processes. Users can start with a simple flowchart template or a cross-functional flowchart template, or choose a swimlane diagram template for more complex processes. Aside from its extensive template library, it is also intuitive to use, includes styling tools, facilitates collaboration through feedback and co-authoring, and integrates with other software, like Google Docs, so users can edit files directly in the flowchart maker.
- In-browser collaboration
- Document co-authoring
- Drag-and-drop interface
- Overwhelming for new users, which requires training
- Limited color settings
Lucidchart diagramming software is an application that enables users to make better decisions by clarifying complexities and aligning insights. The flowchart maker includes a visual workspace that combines diagramming, data visualization, and collaboration so teams can easily create a shared vision that brings everyone onto the same page.
Lucidchart’s dynamic flowchart creator lets users turn engineering data flows, code, and structures into clear visuals that non-technical viewers can understand. It has customizable flowchart templates that can help teams understand and communicate processes. Real-time collaboration allows users to work alongside teammates on the same canvas simultaneously. Other features include a mobile app, presentation mode, and Google Workspace integrations.
- Intuitive drag-and-drop interface
- Customization features
- Tiered plans, including a free plan
- Available shapes are not as extensive as other leading software
- Limited ways to add text, titles, and notes
Wondershare EdrawMax is all-in-one diagram software with rich flowchart templates and other templates to turn ideas into visuals. Users can create flowcharts and visuals to clarify processes that drive better business decisions. It offers a subscription plan billed semi-annually and annually, as well as downloadable plans with one-time payment supported on different desktop platforms.
Aside from being a flowchart maker, EdrawMax also has tools for floor plan designing, electrical engineering, and software and system planning. Companies can use it to diagram meetings and brainstorming activities, build organizational charts, layout piping and industrial systems, and create plans for strategies and projects. The software supports several image file types, including Visio files.
- Ease of use
- Template libraries
- Strong industrial-type diagrams
- Some file compatibility issues
- Inconsistent availability of support
Cacoo by Nulab is comprehensive diagramming software for flowcharts, wireframes, mockups, network diagrams, presentations, database diagrams, and projects, to name a few. Teams can share and edit the same diagram simultaneously. The software also tracks changes and keeps versions.
Cacoo allows teams to discuss ideas and converse using comments, chat, video conferencing, and screen sharing. It has a diverse library of templates and shapes for creating flowcharts and other diagrams. Other features include a presentation mode, in-diagram comments, chat, diagram and folder sharing through secure links, exporting in various formats, and embedding in web pages and wikis.
- Ease of setup and use
- Shareable links without the need for an account
- Clean presentation and UI
- Complex navigation
- Limited integrations
SmartDraw diagramming software is for creating flowcharts, floor plans, and over 70 other types of diagrams. Users can start quickly with pre-built templates. It aligns shapes automatically, helping minimize formatting, rearranging, and reconnecting. Users can add or remove a step in a few clicks, and process elements re-align and rearrange automatically.
SmartDraw integrates with other tools such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Google Workspace, Confluence, and Jira. It is collaboration-ready, so teams can save flowcharts in shared team folders. Users can share flowcharts with non-users through links. Teams can get feedback using comments, and data automation allows users to build diagrams with built-in extensions or enhance diagrams with shape data.
- Customizable scripts
- Auto-save feature with version history
- Strong selection of IT-related templates
- Multiple tabs open up, cluttering the screen
- Quality and response time of support needs to improve
Creately is a visual workspace where users can layout ideas, plans, and diagrams on a smart, data-connected canvas. It combines the capabilities of an online whiteboard and a database, creating a free-form visual canvas. Teams can capture knowledge, plan projects, and execute work with increased efficiency and innovation.
Creately flowchart maker enables users to visualize, document, and analyze workflows, systems, and processes. It has customizable flowchart templates and an extensive shape libraries for flowcharts, swimlanes, and other types of diagrams. Real-time collaboration allows teammates to work together. Other features include drag-and-drop tools, context-aware shape switching, dynamic connectors that rearrange automatically, and freehand drawing and highlighting.
- Template libraries
- Online whiteboard feature
- Ease of use
- Limited font options
- Guest access is available only in the highest tier plan
Gliffy is diagramming software and a team collaboration tool for sharing ideas visually. Users can create flowcharts for business processes, wireframes for design projects, or diagrams for software engineering applications. They can easily drag and drop shapes, use templates and themes, and share diagrams through links or embedding.
Gliffy lets users collaborate with the option to choose who can view, edit, or comment. It integrates with Atlassian products so users can add visuals directly to Jira and Confluence. The flowchart software automatically preserves and tracks changes, allowing users to access previous versions. Users can also import old diagrams from other tools, edit them, and export as a new creation.
- Ease of setup and use
- Customization tools
- Multiple integration options
- Users wish for more modern visuals
- Requires time for familiarization
ConceptDraw DIAGRAM is desktop diagram and drawing tool. It runs on MacOS and Windows platforms. It provides a complete range of business diagramming and graphic documentation solutions. It includes stencils and templates for quick implementation.
ConceptDraw DIAGRAM is expandable with business-specific add-ons for a variety of workflow requirements. It is compatible with Visio files through import and export tools. The flowchart maker also includes a set of comprehensive drawing tools to arrange and format any type of diagram. It has format, order, align, and position tools available in side panels.
- Ease of setup and use
- Good feedback from Mac users in particular
- Responsive support
- Licensing is per desktop installation
- No collaboration features
Draw.io (Diagrams.net) is a free diagram and flowchart maker that offers both an online solution and a desktop app. It is highly compatible to various platforms, allowing users to easily share diagrams and flowcharts. Users can collaborate on diagrams with the option to show or share the mouse cursor.
Draw.io is an open-source application, allowing many other applications to integrate with its editor or provide an add-in with its diagram technology — such as the draw.io for Notion extension. Users can edit a shape’s connection points visually, and place numbers in shapes and connectors. Flowchart programming is also possible, since shapes, connectors, and text elements are in XML.
- Free and open source
- Easy to set up and use
- Available as an online app and desktop app
- Basic user interface
- Limited templates
Types of Flowchart Software
Flowchart makers are available in a variety of formats. Although the range of features vary, all these tools enable users to create basic charts with a few steps, as well as complex documents with advanced shapes and detailed elements.
Diagramming tools are software solutions that enable users to create a variety of business and industrial diagrams from a library of templates, stencils, shapes, and connectors. They also have built-in drawing tools, so users can create their own unique shapes in addition to existing elements.
Most tools can integrate with other applications to allow users to work with other file formats. Many cloud-based diagramming tools include real-time collaboration for simultaneous viewing and editing of diagram files.
Online Whiteboard Tools
Online whiteboard tools are collaborative platforms that enable remote users to work on the same virtual whiteboard simultaneously or asynchronously. The platform provides a seemingly infinite canvas that is ideal for brainstorming and mind mapping. Many of these tools include flowchart makers with buttons for common flowchart shapes and elements. Modern whiteboard tools can also accept various multimedia files, such as photos, to create dynamic content.
Must-Have Flowchart Software Features
Flowcharts are useful for a wide range of use cases, so users come from many industries and levels of organization. The following are some important features to look for in a flowchart maker.
- Template library: A comprehensive library of ready-to-use templates makes it easy for users to choose and build the right flowchart for their needs.
- Drag-and-drop: A smart interface that reduces the complexity of building a flowchart allows users to spend more time perfecting their diagrams.
- Graphical elements: A large supply of shapes and flowchart elements means that users can simply pick from available shapes instead of drawing elements themselves.
- Collaboration: Teams who can view, comment, and edit together can complete flowcharts faster and make sure diagrams are up-to-date.
- Shareable: Flowcharts are often used for presentations, and seen by people who do not necessarily have editing permissions or access to the tool. Flowchart software with built-in features for secure sharing eliminates the need for additional tools.
- Integration: The ability to integrate or be compatible with other tools, or at least import and export other file formats, can streamline the flowcharting process.
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