The 7 Best Flowchart Software of 2020

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There are endless reasons why a business would want to create a flowchart, whether to help familiarize new employees with common practices, lay out a project’s timeline, or even build mind maps and org charts for existing team members. These graphic diagrams can be invaluable, but they are also quite arduous to create without the right tools.

Flowchart software can make it simple for users to create personalized diagrams with the use of pre-designed templates and drag-and-drop platforms. But because flowcharts are used for so many different jobs, the software options you might consider using are equally varied. 

To help you decide which is the best flowchart software for you and your organization, we analyzed more than 15 platforms to decide on our top picks. In this process, we compared things like platform integration, team collaboration options, template design choices, cost, and ease of functionality. We’re confident that the right option for your needs is on this list.  

The 7 Best Flowchart Software of 2020

Best Overall: Lucidchart

Lucidchart

Lucidchart

Our overall top pick for best flowchart software goes to Lucidchart, a simple-to-navigate online app designed for users of any operating system, which also allows for easy remote team collaboration and integrates seamlessly with nearly all popular platforms.

Pros
  • Works with Windows, Mac, and Linux

  • Wide range of integration options

  • Remote team collaboration

Cons
  • Free plan is very limited

  • No offline access

Utah-based Lucidchart is an online diagramming app that works for Windows, Mac, and Linux users. Lucidchart is quite popular with over 15 million users and has been chosen by 99% of Fortune 500 companies.

For its wide range of functionality and integration options, Lucidchart is our best overall choice for flowchart software. The platform has hundreds of template options to choose from, including everything from flowcharts and mind maps to wireframes, org charts, and everything in between. Lucidchart allows for remote team collaboration and easily integrates with platforms such as Slack, Google Drive (including Sheets, Slides, Docs, and Gmail), Jive, Microsoft Teams, and more. 

Lucidchart does offer a free, basic subscription without any time limit. However, this plan is very limited, only allowing for up to three active documents at a time. Paid subscriptions start at $7.95 per month for individuals, with team options as low as $9 per user with a three-user minimum. It’s also important to note that because this is an online-based app, there is no offline access available.

While Lucidchart offers more than 1,000 templates as well as blank-slate design options, some users claim that there is a bit of a learning curve. You don’t need to be a professional to use Lucidchart, but true novices may need to explore the platform a bit in order to get comfortable.

Lucidchart currently has an 8.7 out of 10 rating on TrustRadius with more than 95 user reviews.

Best for Beginners: Gliffy

Gliffy

 Gliffy

Gliffy offers users a simple drag-and-drop system with hundreds of templates to choose from, making it the best choice for beginners.

Pros
  • Supports Windows and Mac users

  • Hundreds of templates to choose from

  • 30-day refund policy

  • Simple drag-and-drop design system

  • Many easy options for sharing diagrams

Cons
  • Monthly billing options not available

  • Diagrams are public with basic plan

  • No offline access

Our top pick for new and beginner flowchart software customers is Gliffy because this web-based program offers Windows and Mac users a simple drag-and-drop design system with hundreds of creative templates to choose from. Options fulfill many different organizational needs, including mindmaps. It’s easy enough to navigate even for first-time users. 

Gliffy currently has more than 16 million users and offers plans for both individuals and teams.

Saved diagrams can be shared with anyone via URL or embedding, and Gliffy integrates with platforms like Slack, Trello, Hipchat, GSuite, WordPress, Jira, Confluence, and more. However, diagrams created within the 14-day free trial cannot be shared, and all diagrams created with the free basic plan are public.

There is no credit card required in order to get your two-week free trial. Once the trial ends, you can continue with the (very limited) free basic plan or upgrade to an individual or team subscription. Individual plans start at $7.99 per month, and team subscriptions start at $4.99 per month per user. Monthly billing is not available on individual plans (only quarterly billing options) though Gliffy does have a 30-day refund policy.

Best Value: SmartDraw

SmartDraw

 SmartDraw

Offering more than 14,000 templates and CAD-like functionality for less than $10 a month, SmartDraw is our best value choice when it comes to flowchart software.

Pros
  • More templates than most competitors

  • Many integration options

  • Runs in web browser or behind firewall

  • Top-of-the-line functionality

  • Cloud-based project access

Cons
  • Trial period is short and limited

  • Software is a bit sophisticated for beginners

  • Online platform can be slower than downloaded software

If you’re looking for the best value for your dollar, SmartDraw is our top pick for flowchart software. This platform offers more design templates than most of its competitors (over 14,000 to choose from) as well as CAD-like drawing capabilities. Plus, it’s the only diagramming app offering “intelligent formatting,” which automatically adjusts and shifts your design as you edit/add shapes to maintain the arrangement. 

SmartDraw can be run via web browser from any device (Mac, PC, or mobile) and can also be installed behind a Microsoft firewall. This allows you to access and edit your diagrams from anywhere. If you’re accessing SmartDraw online, however, some users report that editing large files can be a bit slow.

SmartDraw integrates with platforms such as Microsoft Office, GSuite, Trello, Confluence, and Jira. You can save and open diagrams from Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, and Box. It also offers Visio import and export options.

There is a seven-day trial subscription available; note that all diagrams created during the trial will include a watermark. Paid subscriptions start at $9.95 per month for one user, billed annually. 

SmartDraw currently has an 8.9 out of 10 rating on TrustRadius with more than 20 user reviews.

Best for Advanced Features: Edraw Max

Edraw Max

 Edraw Max

Edraw Max is our choice for flowchart software with the most advanced features, offering templates and functionality options for creating mind maps, floor plans, engineering diagrams, and more.

Pros
  • Works with Windows, Mac, Linux, or web

  • More than 280 diagram types

  • 30-day money-back guarantee

  • Advanced range of features and uses

  • Over 1,000 templates

Cons
  • Definite learning curve

  • No free plan

  • Annual billing is the shortest subscription option

  • Not ideal for beginners

  • Limited integration

Perhaps one of the most powerful flowchart software options available, Edraw Max is our top pick if you’re looking for advanced features. 

This platform—with more than 25 million users—is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux systems as well as access via the web. Edraw Max provides 2-D technical diagramming with more than 280 diagram types and over 1,000 templates from which to choose. Whether you’re looking to create basic flowcharts, Gantt charts, mind maps, and organizational charts, or more advanced designs such as floor plans and engineering diagrams, Edraw Max likely has what you need.

Subscriptions for Edraw Max are billed as one-year, two-year, or perpetual licenses; monthly options are not available. A 30-day money-back guarantee is offered, however. There is no free plan, but new users can take advantage of a 15-day trial. Just note that the trial is very limited, and anything you create, save, or print will include a watermark.

While Edraw Max allows users to create some very unique diagrams, sharing them with other users outside of the platform can be tricky. There are not as many basic integration options as what you’ll find with other flowchart programs, though some options—such as exporting diagrams as a vector—can be even more helpful for engineers and designers, for instance.

Best for Integration: Cacoo

Cacoo

 Cacoo

Connecting easily with a wide variety of platforms and cloud services, Cacoo is our leading choice for flowchart software integration.

Pros
  • Real-time or asynchronous team connection

  • Integrates with most popular platforms and cloud services

  • Good tool for software engineers

  • Valuable team collaboration features

Cons
  • Not as many templates as competitors

  • Online program only

  • Cannot choose free plan after trial period ends

If you’re looking for a flowchart software option that integrates easily with your existing platforms and offers intuitive team collaboration features, Cacoo is a good choice for you. It earns our pick for best integration because it allows users to connect with platforms and services such as Google Drive/Docs, Dropbox, Adobe Creative Suite, TypeTalk, Slack, OneDrive, Microsoft Teams, Visio, Zapier, and Confluence.

Cacoo makes it easy for teams to collaborate, whether in real-time or asynchronously. The online platform offers team commenting, tracked changes, in-app chat, and diagram sharing so that team members can collaborate anytime and from anywhere.

There are more than 100 templates to choose from; though this is notably less than some competitor software options, it still gives its more than 2.5 million users a healthy library of options. These can be used to create flowcharts, wireframes, presentations, timelines, or anything in between. Cacoo also allows users to create UML (unified modeling language) models, making it a great choice for software engineering.

There is no credit card required to sign up for a free 14-day trial. It’s important to note, however, that after the free trial is over, you’ll need to sign up for either a pro or team plan—you cannot switch to the free basic plan after completing a free trial. Paid plans start as low as $5 per month when paid annually, or $6 per month when paid monthly.

Cacoo is touted as being fairly user- and team-friendly. This makes it worth a look whether you’re using flowchart software for the first time or have some level of diagramming experience.

Best for Collaborating: Creately

Creately

 Creately

Earning our top nod for team collaboration is Creately, which allows for real-time and asynchronous collaboration thanks to features like team chat, video messaging, and project notes.

Pros
  • Wide range of collaboration options

  • 1,000+ styled and themed templates to choose from

  • Free and low-cost plans

  • 70+ diagram types

  • Drag-and-drop functionality

  • 30-day money-back guarantee

Cons
  • Limited integration

  • Free plan only allows for three public documents

In terms of the best flowchart software for team collaborations, Creately earns our top pick. It currently has more than four million users and is utilized by teams from companies like Amazon, eBay, PayPal, National Geographic, and even NASA.

This mobile and web platform allows users to collaborate in real-time or asynchronously from anywhere in the world, with features like video, threaded discussions, action items, and multi-format exporting and sharing. Easily integrate and share your Creately diagrams through platforms like Google Drive, Slack, and Confluence; OneDrive and Zapier are both coming soon.

The platform is aesthetically pleasing and easy to navigate for many users, even novices, with professionally designed themes and styled templates. Creating more than 70 diagram types is as simple as drag-and-drop, with thousands of templates to choose from and customize. 

There is a free plan option with Creately, though it limits users to three public documents that can be shared between three collaborators. Paid versions start at just $4.95 per month when billed annually. There is also a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Best for Mac: OmniGraffle

Omnigraffle

 Omnigraffle

If you use Apple technology—whether a Mac computer or a device such as an iPhone or iPad—OmniGraffle offers an easy, integrative platform that will feel familiar, earning it our top pick for Mac users.

Pros
  • Apple users will find it intuitive

  • Works across all Apple devices

  • 30-day return policy

  • Access to user-submitted design library

Cons
  • Limited templates

  • Mac and iOS apps sold separately

Apple products and programs are known and loved for integrating with one another, giving users a streamlined experience no matter which device they are using. If you’re looking to continue that experience with your flowchart and diagramming software, OmniGraffle is the best option.

OmniGraffle is a downloadable software option that works for all Apple users, whether they are using a Mac or an iOS device. While the Mac and iOS versions of the app are sold separately, users can access projects from all of their Apple devices—at home or on the go—enjoying seamless functionality across each. Not all tools are available in the Mac and mobile versions, however.

A 14-day free trial is offered by OmniGraffle; after that, subscriptions start at $12.49 per month for iOS and Mac, or the program can be downloaded to a Mac for $124.99. If you want to access your designs on multiple devices, you may need to purchase both. There is a 30-day return policy for users, as well.

Compared to other software platforms, OmniGraffle doesn’t offer quite as many diagram templates. However, subscribers do get access to Stenciltown, a user-submitted and -created library of unique chart designs and stencils. 

If you’re already familiar with Apple-based design programs like Creative Suite, OmniGraffle will feel very comfortable. If you’re brand new to diagramming, though, or aren’t accustomed to Apple design platforms, there may be a bit of a learning curve. OmniGraffle isn’t quite as newbie-friendly as some of the other drag-and-drop options on this list.

What Is Flowchart Software?

With the use of flowchart software, individuals and organizations can create a variety of useful visual templates and diagrams. These can range from organization charts to project management timelines, mind maps, wireframes, and more.

Some flowchart software programs can be used to create even more advanced diagrams such as floor plans, UML (unified modeling language) models for software programming, and engineering diagrams.

With flowchart software, users will typically work from a pre-designed template. This allows them to drag and drop different shapes, lines, images, and text boxes as well as add pertinent information to suit the chart’s intended purpose.

Who Should Get Flowchart Software?

There are many individuals, teams, and organizations that can benefit from flowchart software. While these programs are commonly used by HR departments and marketing professionals, they can realistically be utilized by anyone whose team could benefit from an org chart, decision tree, project timeline, floor plan, and more. 

Flowchart software is especially helpful when it comes to employee orientation, demonstrating how an organization operates or how a task is performed, as well as project planning, software design, and even engineering.

What Does Flowchart Software Cost?

The cost of flowchart software depends on the functionality required as well as the number of users. 

There are some free options available, though you can expect those plans to have limited features such as a maximum number of active projects, limited collaboration with team members, and restricted access to features and tools. 

Individual and team subscriptions typically range from $5 to $10 per month per user, depending on the program. Some platforms will require users to download the software with a full license (rather than paying a monthly subscription), in which case the cost is typically between $100 and $200.

How We Chose the Best Flowchart Software

In order to choose the best flowchart software for readers, we looked at a number of key features. This included comparing functionality and the features offered by each platform, looking at whether the software was best suited for beginners, advanced users, etc. We also looked at how the software could be accessed and used—was it online-only, downloadable, accessible by mobile web, or all three? 

We compared factors such as the number of diagram types and templates available, how easy and intuitive the software is to use, and whether users can try it out with a free trial prior to purchasing. Lastly, we considered the cost of that flowchart software and whether the company offered a money-back guarantee to subscribers.

Article Sources

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  1. TrustRadius. "Lucidchart." Accessed October 29, 2020.

  2. TrustRadius. "SmartDraw." Accessed October 29, 2020.