I am looking for a free or paid alternative for Mac OS X (macOS). I have used Microsoft Visio a lot, but I can't find a good alternative which works for OSX.

It should support these diagrams at least.

Which one is a great one and matches my requirements?


6 Answers 6


OmniGraffle is a commercial application for flow charts and diagrams. Additionally, lots of people use it to model user interface and actions too. It comes with many templates and example documents for exactly the requirements you listed.

Additional notes:

  • It imports/exports Visio documents (it also imports Visio stencils).
  • It's a native Mac application so it looks and feels great on the Mac (as opposed to yEd and Draw.io). It supports all the modern Mac OS features including automatic document saving and versioning, full screen, quicklook, gestures, HiDPI displays... There is also a companion iPad application.
  • If you've used Visio, the interface will feel familiar but easier and more useable. I've used Visio a lot and OmniGraffle is the interface Visio should have. Just the initial adding items, changing magnets, adding connections, etc. Additionally, there are lots of integration with the trackpad to move, manipulate items with multi-touch input.

It has a full featured trial available (available direct download, you can also buy it in the Mac App store too if you prefer). The developer has won Apple design awards, is long established in the Mac community and is very responsive to users via a variety of methods- twitter, forums, etc.

OmniGraffle Flow Chart Screenshot

  • 2
    It is probably worthwhile to mention that OmniGraffle is also extensible in that you can make use of third party stencils to increase and/or improve the quality of the diagrams you draw. Graffletopia is just one of the places from which you can download third-party stencils. Unfortunately, they began charging for access to the stencils, they used to be free IIRC.
    – Anil
    Commented Feb 10, 2014 at 19:03

Draw.io is an excellent web app covering all of your requirements. You can generate virtually any diagram you could care to build including:

  • site maps from the general tools section.
  • Class and Use Case diagrams from the dedicated UML section.
  • ERD Diagrams from a similarly dedicated ERD section.

You can also do website mockups, iOS and Android layouts, circuit diagrams, state machines, and even just generic flowcharts.

You can then save your work to either Google Drive, Dropbox, or your local machine. The files can be saved as XML or exported to HTML, SVG, JPG, PNG, PDF, or GIF.

There is a Desktop version available to Windows, macOS and Linux.

Best of all, the service is free and open source.


yEd graph editor is a free java application so it runs cross platform very nicely.
per the site:

yEd is a powerful desktop application that can be used to quickly and effectively generate high-quality diagrams. Create diagrams manually, or import your external data for analysis. Our automatic layout algorithms arrange even large data sets with just the press of a button.

I have used it to create class & use case diagrams before with no hassle. It does not have a lot of graph items out of the box but it allows you to create your own. The layout algorithms are pretty awesome and handy.


There are some great suggestions above. However, I will add OpenOffice Draw as a good Visio replacement on the Mac as well. I was never a power Visio user so not sure how it compares for really fancy diagrams but for the simple diagrams I do on occasion it works great for me: https://www.openoffice.org/product/draw.html


VSD Viewer Mac:

Tool designed to support the use of the Visio documents by Mac OS users, enabling them to open and read MS Visio drawings on Mac.

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Features include:

  • Navigate multipage documents
  • Switch documents layers
  • Processes EMF / WMF metafiles
  • Processes OLE-objects

You could also try Cacoo; a powerful and easy to use online diagramming tool for all flowcharts, UML, network diagrams, etc.

Features can be summarised as follows:

  • web-based with secure cloud storage
  • Ability to share your diagram with anyone without them having to download a special viewer.
  • Integrates with heaps of third party applications

You can view customer templates and download them here.

The pricing is competitive - ranging from free plans for individuals and education to business and enterprise-level subscriptions.

Grab the Ninja Add-On and give it a go, or the Google Chrome Plugin.

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