Microsoft’s Visio has been the de facto diagraming application for almost two decades. I’ve used it to draw networks, floor plans, swim lanes, org charts, and countless random things for as long as I can remember. It is a truly great application. In my opinion its only flaw is the price tag.
At two-hundred and fifty dollars for the standard edition and almost six hundred for the professional version, it is just to pricey to justify for anyone that doesn’t need to decigram on a regular basis. Even as an IT professional that uses it frequently, I find the cost prohibitive.
Over the years I have tried numerous alternatives: OpenDraw, Google Drawings, and Dia to name a few. None of them were able to do the job for me. Don’t get me wrong, the applications work, they always missed some feature or function I needed to complete my work.
Earlier this year I purchased a new laptop, I was using it to write some documentation for a job. I needed to add a technical drawing to my document, but I didn’t have Visio on my personal computer. I didn’t want to fork over a few hundred dollars so, I opened the Windows store and found Grapholite.
Grapholite is available for Windows, Android, and iOS. I was able to install the software and create the drawing I needed without issue. The software is intuitive and specifically designed for touch screens. All the main features I use in Visio are available in Grapholite. Grouping, layers, auto-connectors, import pictures, a wide array of stencils, themes, and snap grids are all available in easy to use side bars.
To be honest, I didn’t expect the software to work as well as it does. It cost less than $30.00, I was shocked to find myself preferring it over Visio for basic diagraming. It seems like everytime that I use the software I find a new feature. For example; just the other day I learned it could export drawings to a VDX (Visio Drawing File Format).
Don’t get me wrong, there are still things Visio does that Grapholite has no way of accomplishing; dynamic data graphics, auto-discover, and importable stencil packs are all missing. I still haven’t installed Visio on any of my personal systems. I find Grapholite easily does the job. If your diagraming needs don’t involve advance shape data, or complex coding, it will probably do the job for you too.