Great tools for creating diagrams and charts

I am a person, who regularly needs to create various diagrams – flow charts, org charts, UMLs, business process modeling, technical drawings – you name it. Thus I’ve tested many tools that are for charts/diagrams building. Here are some of my favorites:

1. Gliffy – web based service, very easy to use – drag and drop functionality with amazing library of shapes at your fingertips. You can share, and collaborate on diagrams with your colleagues, and track changes as well. It is web based, so you can work from anywhere with internet connection. You can get free account with limitations: 1 user, 5 diagrams, 2mb storage, and the diagrams are only public. Or you can pay from 5 to 10$ per month, depending on the plan yo decide.

2. Creately – another web application for charts wit large library of shapes.  You can collaborate with people, comment on charts and publish your diagrams. Furthermore, Creately supports revisions as well as backing up options. There is a free option for 1 user, 5 public diagrams and 1 project, but you can’t have private diagrams. Otherwise, the pricing starts from $5/month.

3. Cacoo – another web based drawing tool.  It has great library of shapes supporting various charts and diagrams, which can be developed in collaboration from several users. Furthermore, here you can share your diagrams to your social networks. You can sign for a free plan, but you are allowed to export the diagrams only as PNG files, and you are limited to 25 sheets, as well as  there is no revision history.

4. LovelyCharts – another great tool for developing charts – this is very easy to use, relying on great library of shapes, and gives you the option to import your own shapes.  The service allows you to work offline, save your files locally or to Dropbox, export diagrams in imge or PDF, as well as versioning support. Unfortunately, there is no free version, once the trial period expires, you need to pay to continue using the system.

Windows Software

1. Edraw – this software supports wide range of diagrams, charts, mind maps, floor plans and more.  Its navigation is very close to that of Microsoft Office, so you won’t have any problems with getting around the program. It has great library, allows you to export your diagrams in many formats. You can either use the limited version of the program, or buy a license to use the entire software. But it is worth it. Very easy to use but with great capabilities.

2. Visio – it is doubtful that you are working on building charts/diagrams and have never at least tested the Microsoft product – Visio.  Many people love it, but I personally could not make myself use it. It has three editions: Standard, Professional and Premium, supports huge library, a lot of formats and is very useful for people.