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Are there any alternatives to Microsoft Office Visio for Ubuntu?

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15 Answers 15


And it's compatible with Windows and Macs too. Check it out

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Sorry pencil does not work well on ubuntu. Tried it, some objects will not be visible while exporting and exporting does not work also for some formats. –  prdatur Feb 7 '13 at 14:50

I especially like yEd.

DIA is unusable in comparison. I still wonder how I managed to document my Bachelor's Thesis using it. Try aligning objects in DIA, try creating any diagram so that it doesn't look like it was done in 3 minutes.

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Oh, you are right, yEd is far better. The only (and unmeaning) disadvantage is that it's not in GTK+. –  Alfredo Hernández May 2 '11 at 16:13
Thanks for your good solution, I have to draw network maps time to time (Network node map for each room and apartment). –  Ubuntu Helper Nov 7 '12 at 3:35
It looks like a rant against DIA. –  Luiggi Mendoza Nov 28 '12 at 2:10

Many of the sugggestions above are good stand-ins for Visio for general diagramming. One gap I found was in the lack of a decent set of network equipment symbols like those found in Visio. So I jumped in a built a set for OpenOffice/LibreOffice, now shipping in Fedora in the vrt-network-equipment package. It's also available here (http://www.vrt.com.au/downloads/vrt-network-equipment) if you just want the OO/LibO extension.

Edit: Now also added to extensions.libreoffice.org and extensions.openoffice.org

enter image description here

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In addition to Dia, some good alternatives to Microsoft Visio are Libreoffice Draw, Calligra Flow and yED. There are some online alternatives but most of them have paid subscriptions. There is one online app which provides all the features for free though, its called draw.io. You can check it out!

Btw, you can follow this guide for more information.

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I would recommend Lucidchart as a robust alternative. As far as I know, it's the only Linux-compatible option that will import and export Visio documents and stencils.

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I have used few, dont remember the names though. But you can try few browser based visio alternative . There are few out there obviously they are platform independent and based on flash or HTML 5. Some of them contains lots of tues and they are easy to use!

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In terms of online solutions, including those already mentioned in this thread, there's

I'm not in a position to pass a judgement on relative merits, because I develop one of them.

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I've primarily used Inkscape. It's a very different UI, but it works well and it's a powerful tool. Output can (depending on input) look as professional as necessary.

In Inkscape, use the "Create diagram connector". It has the option to "Make connector avoid selected objects". If you draw a connector, then select the object you want to avoid, edit the connector and finally click the button to avoid that object, you can use smart connectors that will not overlap the different elements of your box. In practice, I find the easiest way to do this is to:

  1. Draw a connector
  2. Deselect the connector by clicking the object you want to avoid
  3. Hold SHIFT and double-click the connector you just drew
  4. Choose "Make connector avoid selected objects"

Also see this question and answers: Nice network diagram editor?

About the other recommendations

I haven't used it much yet, but yEd looks very good.

Alternatively, LibreOffice Draw is a popular piece of software, see other answers. One thing to note is that LibreOffice can now open Visio diagrams, and it lets you edit them. It works well for simple diagrams, not as well for very Visio-idiosyncrasy-intensive ones. It could still be usable with more effort, and in an environment with a lot of existing diagrams, this might be tolerable.

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Inkscape would also be my preferred option, but note that it is not as much a diagram drawing tool as it is vector drawing software. DIA and Visio can auto-align and draw smart connections (well, Visio can) between blocks. In Inkscape this would require additional steps, making the design a more cumbersome process, but the results will look excellent. –  Tomas Jan 18 '13 at 8:54
I always had trouble letting the diagram connectors dodge other objects, though I must admit it has been a while since I tried. Just found the "Make connector avoid selected objects" option and got it to work, that is doing what I was implying with "smarter behaviour". Would you mind if I updated your answer a bit, explaining this? –  Tomas Feb 6 '13 at 17:40
@Tomas - great edit ; thanks. –  belacqua Feb 11 '13 at 15:53

I guess most web based solutions would match this answer. Of the web based solutions Creately offers a desktop solution that works on Linux. Although Flash haters might not like it.

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Also, for online use - check out http://www.gliffy.com/ - it seems very powerful

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I tried Visual Paradigm and I must say that it works beautifully. I am currently going for my BS on EET and i find it really handy and reliable.

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I believe a solution that has been completely overlooked for far too long is Visual Paradigm. It's closed source, but it has a free community edition (non-commercial use) and is very stable and polished. Also, the UML only commercial license is only $99.

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I also like yEd very much: it has a straightforward approach to creating diagrams and lets you work efficiently after a very short while. The quality of the diagrams can be very high: there are advanced alignment functions, custom Icons can be imported (also from Visio) and there are various output formats available.

However, yEd requires an Oracle Sun Java VM, which is not standard e.g. in Ubuntu 11.10. A solution is given in http://yed.yworks.com/support/qa/17. The easiest solution for me was to download and extract the "Zipped yEd Jar" Download and call the Oracle Sun Java explicitely, like:

<path_to_Oracle_Java>/jre1.6.0_30/bin/java -jar <path_to_yEd>/yed-3.8/yed.jar
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I like LibreOffice Draw, its not as colorful as Visio, but works for me.

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As aldomann commented, install Dia Install Dia using the Ubuntu Software Centre.

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