Best Alternative to Microsoft Visio for Macs?

I am looking for a Mac based progam to create diagrams and flow charts where I can drag, drop and connect various shapes. Ideally, I would be able to add text. I believe that Microsoft Visio is the standard for Windows, but I am a neophyte in this area.

I do use MindNode but find it cumbersome for diagram creation. Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance.


This is the app most often associated to “Visio on a Mac.”
(for the record, I don’t use it, so I have no feedback)


Probably the most Visio-like software on macOS is OmniGraffle. It is excellent, expensive, and powerful. Personally, I like it better than Visio.

I also like SimpleDiagrams, though not as feature-rich as Visio, and Diagrammix, which is the least expense of the three I mentioned. Also not as feature rich.

Some web-based diagram apps include Lucidchart, which is compatible with Visio files, and


If you want to stick to the keyboard and have a portable file that you can read (with some effort) without a specific piece of software, check out mermaid.js — I use it in Obsidian, which supports it out of the box. (In fact, it’s one of the main reasons I keep Obsidian around.) Probably not ideal if you have very complex or large diagrams though.

1 Like

If you want dynamic diagrams with intelligence, I recommend looking at Flying Logic.

Discussed here:

See also, Zengobi’s Curio.

Discussed at length here:

+1 for Omnigraffle. In years past I used it for diagramming networks, and on one occasion for planning the move of a large department of people and equipment.

I’ve been a fan of the Omni group for a very long time.


I work on Entity-Relationship and Data Flow Diagrams almost daily, and most of the people I work with are Visio users. The export from Omnigraffle has never let me down, and as others have noted the app is great. The stencils at are fantastic also.

Great answers. Thanks for the info.


@gswpitt Like others have mentioned, OmniGraffle is really the gold standard for the Mac. Used it for years, loved it for years. If you are an educator then they offer a very nice discount.

Depending on your specific needs I know of a simpler/cheaper alternative. It won’t do all that OmniGraffle will do, but what it does … it does well, simply, and quickly. That app is Diagrams. More here:

1 Like

I use OmniGraffle Pro and Diagrammix

Why are most of these apps so expensive? LucidChart works well, but the free version only supports 3 files. is free and works okay.

1 Like



Arguably, it takes a fair amount of effort to make diagramming software relative to, say, a task manager or notes app. And clearly it takes more time and effort, and creativity, to make a good one (since there seem to be relatively few).

Finally, I assume most of the market is businesses or professionals who can write off the cost as a business expense (whether that means the business pays for it, the professional gets a tax break, or just it’s easier to justify a larger price tag if it helps you make money/a living).

So all together, I’m guessing the developers not only feel justified in charging more (effort), but can probably succeed in doing so (less competition + business/professional customers).

Or, as @anon41602260 put it much more succinctly: capitalism.


Unfortunately so many folks have gotten used to super cheap software that there is so much pushback in paying what I consider to be a very reasonable price for a very useful quality application. I own most of the Omnigroup’s apps, and feel like I have gotten way more than my money’s worth for all of them.


Might not be exactly what you’re looking for but I’ll throw a few contenders into the ring: Scapple and PlantUML.


I second this. My needs are very occasional but I have no troubles using this service online and it’s very Visio-like if you’re used to that.

It was quite a few years ago, but I tried out OmniGraffle and expected it to behave like a gold standard it was touted to be (and for the price!) Then it did something which completely floored me. It transpired that line thickness was being achieved by turning the line into a rectangle, which had major implications for its behaviour, and was unlike any other application I have ever used. I’m sure it moved on years ago, but so did I.

1 Like

I’ve been using OmniGraffle & OmniOutliner* since the early 2000’s and have paid upgrade pricing to keep up. I think I paid around $50 for OG originally but now it’s around $250. That’s a pretty steep increase in price. I’m not saying it has to be $5, but I don’t see what justifies the 5 fold increase in price.

*replaced OO with Markdown, so don’t use this anymore.

The program Omnigraffle replaces is much more expensive:


I didn’t realize it had gone up that much, as I have had it for over 10 years. I think the Omnigroup has chosen to design apps aimed at the professional user market. When I buy these apps, I compare the price to my hourly billing rate and try to estimate how much time they save me to see if it’s worth it.

I still have Omni Outliner, but find myself not using it much any more.

If you are in education, then the discount is pretty generous. Seems to be 40% off. And once you have purchased, then the upgrade prices seem reasonable. And upgrading doesn’t happen often.

I use OmniGraffle Pro a lot less now than 10 years ago, but that’s because my needs have changed and not due to any disappointment with OmniGroup or OmniGraffle specifically.