The best Visio alternative for Mac is OmniGraffle

Apr 25, 2010 - 17 Comments

“I use Visio frequently at work in an all Windows environment, but I really don’t want to have to install Parallels or Boot Camp on my new MacBook just to run Visio. Is there some kind of alternative like Visio for Mac OS X?”

omnigraffle mac icon This is a great question, and I think you’ll be quite pleased to hear there’s an excellent Visio alternative that runs natively in Mac OS X, it’s called OmniGraffle. Omnigraffle is a excellent application that lets you quickly draw beautiful charts and diagrams that are perfect for presentations, project specs, website mockups, page layouts, documentation, or any other visual communication need.

If you need a Visio alternative in Mac OS X, I’d highly recommend Omnigraffle, it’s a fantastic program. The OmniGraffle interface is very intuitive and it’s actually much easier to use than Visio in Windows, yet somehow it’s just as powerful if not more so. If you’re doing professional quality work and need seamless Visio interaction, you’re best bet is to go with the Professional version.

OmniGraffle is offered in two versions, both are available for immediate download on the Mac App Store:

Check out the 5 star ratings and reviews on both the Mac App Store and Amazon.

Speaking of Amazon, you can buy Omnigraffle 5 Professional from Amazon and sometimes get a discount from the Mac App Store price, the downside is that you have to wait for the app to ship to you.

visio alternative for mac

Dare I say that OmniGraffle is better than Visio for the Mac? Try it out yourself, it rocks.


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Posted by: William Pearson in Mac Apps, Mac OS


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  1. Olivia Camp says:

    Currently, I’m using Edraw Max 9.4 if I need to do projects on Mac OS. I can open, view and edit Vsdx and Vsd files with this tool. The preset diagramming resources are also rich including charts, presentations, business diagrams, wireframe diagrams etc.

  2. yuls says:

    Omnigraffle does not support diagrams with swimlanes and therefore it is not a viable alternative to Visio.

  3. Teresa says:

    For serious & professional grafx – ConceptDraw is the best one.

    • Anne Kerman says:

      I use that tool as well and I think it’s very good visio alternative. For ERD, UML, ORM, FlowCharts conceptdraw pro is excelent. I like the appearance of the diagrams Conceptdraw produces and this is an important consideration for me.

  4. siposon says:

    This is a good idea, I encountered the same problem! Your article is very useful for me, helped me find another way, I like your blog, I will visit and read! Thank you very much

  5. Bryan says:

    Are any of these apps compatible with the ipad?? I need a visio type app i can use on my ipad.

  6. Donovan Rittenbach says:

    I totally disagree. ConceptDraw Pro by Odessa is a superior diagramming that actually keeps connections between points when you are dragging around symbols for example. It has extensive shape libraries, connector types and more. It also opens Visio XML files.


  7. John M says:

    I too use a Mac. Since some of my colleagues use PCs, we ultimately decided to use an online application, specifically LucidChart. Since it’s online, we don’t have to worry about all the Mac-PC interface issues.

  8. Roseann says:

    Does OmniGraffle open .vsd files?

  9. Bill says:

    OmniGraffle works well – you can export to Visio, but be careful to remove shadows, as Visio interprets these as black boxes and it doesn’t look good on a PC.

  10. Jack Frost says:

    Visio also works just fine through Crossover Pro.

  11. JamieH says:

    Personally, I use Mind meister. Browser based and free.

  12. scottw says:

    Omnigraffle is the application that made me switch from windows to mac. Excellent application.

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