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I am using yEd to draw a diverse range of diagrams:

  • UML (components, state, etc.)
  • BPMN
  • generic workflows / data flows
  • etc.

I do not have to follow any specific guideline (specifically, I do not have to follow UML or BPMN strictly - I am free-forming quite a bit, but of course there are only so many different ways to draw diagrams that I end up with them as a starting point).

Now, I'm basically happy with yEd, but due to the sluggish/weird GUI I feel myself getting really resistant to even start it up. It often feels like I have to fight against it. This is especially problematic if I haven't used it for a while and I need to squirt out a quick little diagram; I then find myself not creating one at all, and just using textual descriptions, or even scribbling on paper or on a whiteboard during a presentation instead of preparing a diagram.

(Also, for some reason, the output created by yEd often has not-so-nice-looking fonts, or weird pixel issues, but this is just an aside here.)

Does someone know a nice, sleek, quick, simple, elegant alternative for drawing diagrams? I used others, like Visio, dia, GraphUML (embedded in Confluence) in the past, but all of them somehow suffered similar drawbacks to yEd.

I am aware of specific tools (like one only for BPMN, or e.g. Balsamiq only for GUI wireframes, or Inkscape which would be hugely overfeatured here), but that's not what I am looking for here. I am looking for a single tool that I can use just like my main editor as a default "go to" for quick pictures/diagrams, to visualize simple things.

  • Have you tried GraphViz, where you give an ascii text description of a diagram & the tool auto-formats it for you graphically? Take a look at the gallery to see what it can achieve. – Mawg Jan 24 at 11:09

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