Every so often I have the need to be able to draw a flowchart. It could be a diagram showing connectivity between computer systems, or just the direction and flow of data in the data processing system. While there are many tools that can provide this service, many of them are expensive and are difficult to work with. In another career, I used Visio to be able to do this type task. Visio is a great Microsoft tool that allows you to draw charts. Unfortunately, Visio is not part of the standard office suite, and also does not have a Macintosh counterpart.
I’ve looked at tools to be able to do this on the Mac like OmniGraffle. OmniGraffle is a terrific tool that allows you to do just exactly this. But I’m regretful it’s not inexpensive. They do have a great iPad app but again it is not cheap. I would recommend that if you need to draw charts like this all the time on the Mac, this is definitely the tool to use. But I do this only once in a while. I hate to spend this type of money to only draw a few charts year. While doing some web searching for a tool but might be inexpensive, I ran into Lucidchart.
Lucidchart Is a web-based chart creation tool. It’s functioning features make you believe you’re actually running a full application on your computer or on your iPad. Because it’s completely web-based, it’s cross-platform too. You have the ability to be able to use it on Windows Mac or even on the chrome book. In fact chrome is the main location that they recommend using this application in. You can pay for Lucidchart by the month, or if you’re charging needs are minor you can use their free version that allows for up to 60 objects created for chart. For my needs this basically fits exactly what I need to do.
One thing you’ll find if you give it a try is after using it for a few minutes you’ll believe you’re actually running a full application, not something in a web browser. This application is been implemented so cleanly that I can actually easily drag, move, and change objects on the fly. It also gives you the ability to be able to export to a PDF or even to the Visio chart if you want to move to Visio to finish up your drawing.
If your need to draw flowcharts is simple, I highly recommend you give this application a try. When you sign up, you get to sample the full version for a number of days and then it reverts to the free release.