I'm looking for a tool for sketching network diagrams. Ease of use and aesthetic appearance are important. Flats icons or Cisco diagrams icons are would be nice.

My goal is to create networks diagrams with IP subnets, IP address, link connection, different types of machines, and networks symbols. The most important requirement is that the finished diagrams have an aesthetic look in the final output.

It must run on Windows 8/8.1 or/and Mac OSX. The budget is not important.

I know Dia Diagram and Microsoft Visio, but is there a more suitable tool that has specific network element libraries?

  • 2
    "Best tool" is very opinion-based. Could you edit your question and specify more features? Please read this FAQ on what is required for a question to contain enough information
    – Tymric
    Commented Nov 25, 2014 at 23:24
  • Much better with your edit, Igor. Any specific needs for the "design" – e.g. including images/icons, descriptive texts, hyper-linking? Or concerning file formats (e.g. for export)? What "Automation features" are you thinking of (here an example might be useful), and what is "pratice" ("practical" in terms of "nice-to-have" maybe)?
    – Izzy
    Commented Nov 27, 2014 at 23:03
  • 1
    It's often hard to beat Microsoft Visio. Commented Nov 30, 2014 at 20:19

3 Answers 3


IMHO the best tool under Windows is still MS Visio, but if you want to work cross-platform and don't need a full-fledged software I recommend the free web app Gliffy. It's amazingly easy to operate and has enough options to satisfy the average user.


Imo, you can't beat yEd for diagramming.

One nice feature is that, in addition to the built in tabs full of icons, you can add your own & slowly build up a good library.

Here is a link to a bunch of free networking icons (2,173 of them !).

For Cisco icons, you can either learn German ;-) or load this page in Chrome & let Google translate it for you. It mentions that SVG version s of Cisco icons can be found at http://www.3dh.de/3dh.de/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/yEd_palette_CiscoNetworkIcons.zip and http://www.3dh.de/3dh.de/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/cisco_svg_icons.zip

Google around for yED networking icons or yEd Cisco icons and you will find more.

Have a look at the yEd gallery & see what you think.

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Maybe not of interest to you, but yED can import from Excel and also text files in GML format. This would allow you to run a network discovery program to obtain information about your network, then code a simple program to covert that to GML and now you can auto-generate diagrams of a changing network, rather than having to edit your diagram by hand.


You can use 10-Strike Network Diagram for that (runs on Windows). It can even scan your network and draw what it has found. The tool contains a lot of vector network device icons and supports Visio device libraries so you can download and use any library with the tool.

the program's screenshot

You can export your diagrams and sketches to Visio (if it is necessary), save it as an image, or print it.

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