Aug 16, 2011

Is there a program similar to Visio for the Mac?

One of our users needs to draw some diagrams (org charts and process flow charts) but Visio doesn't run on OSX 10.7 Lion.

In my extensive research and experience on Mac there seem to be 3 major alternatives to Visio on Mac at this time i.e. Lucidchart, OmniGraffle and ConceptDraw. All of them can import and edit Visio files and the choice depends on whether you want something cloud based (like Lucidchart) or something built specifically for Mac (like OmniGraffle and ConceptDraw. All of them are suitable for professional needs (Lucidchart and OmniGraffle also work on iPad too) and although none of them quite feel like Visio, they get pretty close. This is a very useful summary of the Pros and Cons of each: http://machow2.com/best-alternatives-visio-mac/
Another recent alternative is Nevron Draw - www.nevronoffice.com
Lucidchart lets you import and export in the Visio format and runs on any browser.
Conceptdraw PRO v10 supports Visio 2013 native format

I tried ProcessOn.com and I must say that it works beautifully. that's a web app maybe less well-known but it really handy and reliable.


Currently Visio is not offered to Mac users. So there are two options if you want to run Visio on a Mac. The first is downloading crossover software and then download visio which can be costly and obnoxious in my opinion or if you still want to work on and download visio files, Lucidchart offers a pretty good offer for free to view and edit visio files. It also doesn't require downloads which makes it nice and easy to work with. 

Here is a link https://www.lucidchart.com/pages/alternative-to-visio-for-mac-OS-X


Conceptdraw Pro is a serious alterantive to Visio. It's a desctop based solution aimed at prefessional designers working in CAD environments. It is aslo a good option for those who work between Mac and PC because one license is valid for both.


And if you only need to open files on Mac, check out Visio Viewer for Mac. It also can switch layers visibility and display shape data.


If your company is open to cloud apps, I'd encourage you to look at Lucidchart.  Along with being like a Visio for the Mac, it's cross platform so it's also like Visio for iPad.   It can import/export Visio files which makes things a bit simpler as well.  Have not compared it directly to Omnigraffle though to tell you the key differences. 

If he really needs Visio then you could opt to run Windows via VirtualBox on your Mac. VirtualBox is free and you can download it here:


You may also want to consider creating a Boot Camp partition on your Mac to run Windows. More info on that here:




 - available in std and pro versions

 - imports/exports Visio .vdx (XML) format

 - available for iPad too


That's great that it supports VDX files; that was going to be my next question!


Omnigraffle is your best bet, for what you're looking.  The standard version is $99.  The Pro version, with Visio support, is $199, though - still cheaper than Visio's $249.


In the Pro version, in addition to opening Visio's VSD file, Omnigraffle will also open Visio stencil (VST) and Visio template (VST) files.


(I do not work for Omni.  I do use a Mac, and Parallels whenever the job requires otherwise.)

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