Is there any software similar to Microsoft Word's SmartArt function?

I'm looking for an alternative to generate graphics like charts. Ideally it would be similar to Microsoft Word's Smart Art and still be easily configured and changed, preferably using text lists.

Edit: more detail

Basically, I enjoy the ease of creating hierarchy graphs using lists in MS Word's SmartArt. This is a question if anyone knows of a similar software that's available.

Desired features

  • Can generate graphs, hierarchy style, diagrams
  • Input is preferably text-based list but open to other options
  • As long as it works on Linux or Windows desktops (Linux preferred)
  • Free, but willing to consider premium apps

The reason I'm looking for this kind of software, is that I'm sick of producing complex diagrams using GUIs, then having to tediously adjust them when adding one more element. From my perspective MS SmartArt elegantly solves the issue, but I'm interested to know of other similar software.

  • 1
    Welcome to Software Recommendations! Are you open to alternative input formats? Any specific requirements for input and output formats? Are command-line solutions acceptable, or must it have a GUI? Any considerations towards the OS it must run on, or should/might it be a web-app as well?
    – Izzy
    Commented Sep 26, 2015 at 10:53
  • What price are you willing to pay?
    – user416
    Commented Sep 26, 2015 at 16:50
  • Hi, Yes I'm willing to consider any alternatives, I've updated the question to include more detail Commented Sep 27, 2015 at 0:21

3 Answers 3


Graphviz and bunch of compatible generators like Gephi

Graphviz is standard de-facto in open source. It used widely by different applications that delegate drawing graphs to it


Adioma helps you to make timelines, grids out of lists. Each point with icons which are auto-suggested.


I wanted to have a kind of mindmap so here is what I did :

  • I downloaded planuml.jar : http://plantuml.com
  • With Visual Studio Code, I got the "Command Runner" extension
  • I Created a command in user/settings.json:
     "command-runner.commands": {
        "update image": "java -jar [Path]/plantuml.jar ${file}"
  • Then, a key shortcut in user/keybindings.json
        "key": "ctrl+shift+s",
        "command": "command-runner.run",
        "args": { "command": "update image" }
  • I opened a .txt file which look like this :
    * Item 1
    ** Item 2
    ** Item 3
    *** Item 4

Then you can save and use the defined shortcut, it creates a png file.

I opened both .txt and .png file in the same editor and started working on my mindmap and I didn't even forget what I wanted to do!

  • Very cool, looks like what I originally wanted. Thanks for sharing! Commented Jul 8, 2019 at 0:39

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