I'm looking for software that can be used to create Character Relationship Maps similar to the ones below:

Sono Hanabira Nasuverse Maria-mite Strawberry Panic

My current system is Windows 7 SP1 64-bit. Ideally I'd rather a 32-bit installer and the program to be compatible with both Windows 7 and Windows 10 (I plan to upgrade my computer when I get more room).


  • Text and images together for one character: similar to the first one, maybe not as fancy.

  • Customizeable connections: i.e. colour, line style, icons (like with the first one, see the hearts) at the very least I want to be able to colour code them because I can get character maps more complex that the second image and if they are all black lines it makes it hard to read.

  • Group characters together: similar to second and forth, also would like to be able to group those groups (i.e. different divisions of an organization) though the lack of this can be made up for having coloured groups.

  • Offline: not just usage but the installer needs to be offline too. This is because the computer I do a lot of my work on doesn't connect to the internet and I have very little to no intention to make it so.


  • Preferably free but I won't mind having to pay for it if it is good.
  • No payment plans. I want to buy the software and that's it, not have to worry about monthly/yearly.

Rejected software

  • Tinderbox: it's too expensive. US$199 ~= Aus$265 and that's going by Google's conversion as of 12/09/2016 and when it comes to paying not every financial insinuation has that same rate depending on any currency conversion fees. That's like almost my entire monthly personal allowance (I set aside some money every month outside bills and necessities for personal purchases like games, anime/manga/merch, software, hardware, other random junk).

  • Scapple: doesn't have Customizeable connections. I emailed the devs asking this and their reply was

    Regarding customizing "connections" in Scapple: there isn't very much customization. You can change whether or not the connection is a line or an arrow, but that is about it. It is always a straight line connection (no turning corners) and you cannot control the color.

  • Microsoft Visio: I don't have Visio in my Office Suite so to get it is more expensive than Tinderbox. 365 also runs a subscription system which I don't want to use.

  • Microsoft Project: I don't have Project in my Office Suite and the offline solutions are even more expensive that Visio. This is also assuming that that the prices I'm seeing are in Aus$ with the Australia Tax on them (with help from Geoblocking).

  • Are you aware for freeware alternatives to some of those which you have named? E,g Dia for Visio, Libre OFfice for MS Office (did you really mean MS Project? Surely MS PowerPOint?).
    – Mawg
    Commented Mar 24, 2017 at 8:01

3 Answers 3



I'm not sure of the special requirements for character relationship maps, but yEd is good for drawing almost any kind of diagram that is fundamentally a mathematical graph (such as a flowchart or network diagram).

Requested features satisfied by yEd:

  • free of charge
  • labels for nodes (text with character portrait)
  • customizable connectors, including bendability
  • installable and usable offline
  • compatible with Windows 7 and 10 (implemented in Java, so highly multiplatform; 32-bit and 64-bit Windows installers available)

As for grouping nodes together, I'm not sure if yEd has full support for that; I haven't needed it myself. Looking at some of the sample diagrams in their gallery, it would seem you could definitely at least get by with careful coloring.


I am not sure if you are looking for a drag & drop painting program, or would prefer (as I do) to describe the relationships in text and have a program draw the image for you, based on that description.

Take a look at Graphviz's gallery to see what it can produce.

For instance

graph { 
        a -- b; 
        b -- c; 
        a -- c; 
        d -- c; 
        e -- c; 
        e -- a; 

produces this

enter image description here

And you can add your own images, as described here

Graphviz has been around for decades, is free and well suported. I can't recommend it enough (but, if you don't go with GraphViz, then do go with yEd, as @JohnY recommends). It also lets you define your own shapes.

  • 1
    Thanks for the mention. I would like to clarify something: yEd will draw the graph for you from a textual description of the nodes and edges, but unfortunately DOT is not one of the graph languages it supports. (There is an ongoing request to add this to yEd.) The most user-friendly way to enter graphs into yEd without using its GUI is perhaps its Excel import.
    – John Y
    Commented Mar 24, 2017 at 14:34
  • Wow!! That is very interesting (+1). Is that "Y" in "John Y" just a coincidence? :-) yEd is my #1 go to for drawing diagrams, but I code a lot of scripts to - for instance - parse log files & generate diagrams. Could you please post a link to how I can get yEd to "draw the graph for you from a textual description of the nodes and edges" ?
    – Mawg
    Commented Mar 25, 2017 at 18:56
  • 1
    The 'Y' in my name has nothing to do with the 'y' in yEd or yWorks. As for automatic layout, I mean you can import the graph data from one of several formats, some of which are text-based. Chief of the text-based formats used by yEd is probably GML, not to be confused with GraphML (which is also used by yEd, but is even less human-friendly).
    – John Y
    Commented Mar 27, 2017 at 17:10
  • 1
    If you mean you want to use yEd as a fully scripted, "batch-mode" graph renderer, I doubt it is suitable for that. You could possibly use AutoHotkey or similar to spoof keystrokes and mouse clicks to the yEd GUI, and kind of automate it that way, but it's certainly not designed for non-GUI operation.
    – John Y
    Commented Mar 27, 2017 at 17:20
  • and they say "yEd simply does not have the necessary command-line interface because you are not allowed to use yEd in an automated process like "exporting via script". Please see the yEd Software License Agreement, §1 License Conditions."
    – Mawg
    Commented Jan 11, 2018 at 11:29

It might be too late to reply to this thread. But try Graphy https://graphy.studio if you haven't found anything good yet.

  • Welcome here! You can answer a question any time later.
    – peterh
    Commented Jun 10, 2020 at 10:05

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