Large and small software vendors offer many ways to build a block diagram on a computer. All tools work in a similar way - first the project is loaded (by template or new), blocks are created, and then they are combined, building a specific algorithm or sequence of actions and events. Among the best programs for creating flowcharts - both paid and free. To choose the right one for your needs, you should familiarize yourself with the most popular ones.
Choosing the best program for creating flowcharts.
Draw.io - browser program for drawing flowcharts. In this and its advantage - do not need to install anything. Applications are much more functional than it seems at first glance. In everyday life, we often act in accordance with a certain plan. Even when cooking dinner, many people use culinary recipes. The instructions described in them are nothing but algorithms. And in order to present algorithms in graphical form, we use flowcharts that we can create in draw.io. In addition to the above schemes, the tool also makes it possible to develop various types of diagrams - from standard, useful in many office work and business situations, to specialized, useful ones, for example, in software development.
As befits a browser extension, draw.io offers data storage in the cloud. Regardless of which device we are working on, we can continue the work we started earlier or present its results at any convenient time. To build flowcharts and save files in the cloud, do the following:
- Immediately after the launch of the tool, a window is displayed in which you can select the location to save the diagram we created. We have Google Drive, Dropbox and OneDrive.
- In the same window, you can change the program language. To do this, click on the planet icon and select the desired language from the list. Changes will be made after refreshing the page. If at this stage you do not want to decide where to save the project, simply select the “Solve Later” option.
Creating flowcharts from templates
- After selecting the storage location of the flowchart, it is offered the opportunity to choose between launching a new project and loading an existing one.
- When creating flowcharts, you can use templates that are sorted by subject in the drop-down list.
- After clicking on the "Create" button, a block diagram will appear containing the finished items. All of them are editable. You can resize them by dragging the handles along the edges, and also rotate by moving the button with the round arrow.
- Double clicking with the left mouse button on the selected object will allow you to add text to it. The entered text will be automatically matched to the angle of rotation of the object.
- Text fields can also be added outside of objects — by double-clicking the left mouse button or by using the Ctrl + Shift + X key combination.
- If the diagram lacks the necessary elements, you can add them from the menu on the left. The selected object is added by clicking on it or dragging it to the desired place in the work area.
- After selecting an object, you can give it the right look. To do this, use the menu on the right. It is divided into three tabs, corresponding to different aspects of the display object.
Drawing up a new flowchart:
If none of the available templates matches your needs, you can create your own flowchart. To do this, create a new project.
- To create a chart without using a template, select the Empty Chart option from the group of basic templates.
- A running project will not contain automatically inserted items. In it, you need to place the blocks yourself - just like when editing an existing template. To access more items that can be added to the project, select “Other shapes” in the left menu.
- A window opens in which you can choose which groups of shapes will be placed in the side menu. Select the groups you are interested in. You can also select additional shapes when using a project based on a template.
- When you add a new item, you need to combine it with others. Around the characteristic blue arrows will be displayed.
- Clicking on the arrow will copy the selected item and merge the original with its copy with a thin arrow.
- If you click on the arrow and drag the cursor to another location, a line will be created, which can combine the selected element with any other element in the flowchart.
In addition to supporting popular cloud services, Draw.io also provides the ability to store charts on disks of our computers.
Saving the diagram as an XML file:
- To save the project on a computer disk, when creating a new diagram, select the option “Device”.
- The created project will be saved in the .xml format.
- Each click on the “Save” button available on the “File” tab in the top menu results in the loading of a new XML file. A similar effect gives the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + S.
The tool also makes it possible to upload diagrams created by us in various formats.
Microsoft Visio is a tool for people who often draw diagrams and flowcharts on a computer for their work. Here is a wide selection of embedded formulas. This program will help create an attractive presentation in the form of diagrams or flowcharts with a lot of information:
- shapes and patterns
In Microsoft Visio, it provides a number of different forms that are divided into groups in order to facilitate their search and maintain a common order in the scheme. There are also many templates that are a set of forms and help us add them to the drawing. Learning to use them, connect, disconnect, share shapes and “stick” to the relevant objects is quite simple - on the Internet you can find any manuals, both videos and simple instructions.
Templates are very useful when creating diagrams. There are many template groups available, and each of them in creating the diagram makes a certain process of our actions more consistent. To use them properly, you first need to learn how to adapt the template to the type of work.
Visio diagram forms can contain different types of data. Exporting data from external sources, such as Excel, Access, SQL Server or SharePoint, is a two-step process consisting of directly loading and pre-transforming the data into the required format. Microsoft Visio is used to create all kinds of flowcharts, which allows them to be edited and adapted to our needs. People familiar with the popular office maker package will be able to familiarize themselves with the interface and manage new projects and templates within a few minutes.
The Professional version, in comparison with the standard one, is equipped with the possibility of parallel use by several users, as well as additional editing options: new forms, templates and supported types of flowcharts. The library is replenished with elements necessary for constructing electronic floor plans, maps and diagrams, as well as flowcharts related to software, databases and process steps. Regardless of the type of project chosen, the program is quite easy to use - all functions are available on the ribbon.
Dia is a free program that can be an alternative to Microsoft Visio and other similar tools when you need to quickly and accurately draw an algorithm in the form of a flowchart. Allows you to create graphical presentations of various types - flowcharts, diagrams and graphs. There is a library of templates that includes universal UML symbols (used in object analysis and object-oriented programming), as well as symbols for other specializations — electricians, programming, civil engineering, etc.
The program uses its own DIA format based on XML, and also allows you to read and save documents in DXF and SVG formats. Unfortunately, Visio VDX and VSX files are not supported. The program interface is similar to the popular GIMP, which is the result of using the same GTK + libraries.
On the Internet there are many similar software, which is slightly different functionality. In most cases, the main difference is the cost of the program, so the choice is yours.