Lucidchart vs. SmartDraw – The Better Diagram Software

Lucidchart vs. SmartDraw

SmartDraw and Lucidchart can be used for similar purposes: to create diagrams, flowcharts, project plans, and much more. Both can be used solo or as part of a wider collaborative team. These tools can help you flesh out ideas with mindmaps or create a visual demonstration of your business ideas.

Lucidchart vs. SmartDraw

Lucidchart is probably the most popular of the two and was developed back in 2008 by
Lucid Software Inc. SmartDraw has existed for much longer, having been launched in 1994 by SmartDraw, LLC.

Unique Features of Lucidchart

  • Data linking – You can link company data from Google Sheets directly to a diagram created within Lucidchart. Whenever you update the Google Sheet data, the diagram will update automatically. This ensures your diagrams features live data.
  • Draw freehand or use a template – When using the platform to draw and create diagram types, you can choose to either draw freehand or use one of the platform’s extensive template options. Lucidchart has thousands of templates to choose from.
  • Create a slideshow – You can arrange your Lucidchart diagrams into a slideshow and present it to your remote team.

Unique Features of SmartDraw

  • Intelligent formatting engine – If you edit or delete an aspect of your diagram, SmartDraw’s intelligent formatting will adjust the rest of your diagram to fit. SmartDraw is the only diagram creator with a feature like this.
  • Visio import/export – SmartDraw makes importing and exporting easy with its Visio compatibility. This allows you to easily add your own diagrams and stencils to your SmartDraw work.
  • AutoCAD annotation – SmartDraw is designed to give your drawings a highly professional finish. You can give your sketches an AutoCAD annotation layer, without doing the complicated work yourself. Sizes will be determined automatically.

Which Is Better — Lucidchart or SmartDraw?

So, which is better for drawing network diagrams and allowing multiple users to collaborate at once? Let’s settle the Lucidchart vs SmartDraw debate:

Device Compatibility

Both Lucidchart and SmartDraw are web-based applications. This means you don’t have to download anything to use either of them on your PC. However, it does mean that you need consistent internet to use both. However, it is possible to use a limited version of both of these apps offline. When you install SmartDraw, you’ll be asked for a license key.

There is a SmartDraw app for Android, but not for iOS. On the other hand, you can download Lucidchart for both Android and iOS – making it 100% compatible with mobile devices.

Templates & Dashboard Tools

Instead of designing ORG charts from scratch, you can use one of Lucidchart’s thousands of templates. This includes mind maps, flowcharts, activity diagrams, object diagrams, use case diagrams, sequence diagrams, and much more. In terms of tools, Lucidchart features a flex polygon shape, which you can use to design your own shapes.

There are a bunch of creative templates available on SmartDraw, too. This includes decision trees, engineering plans, flowcharts, ORG charts, infographics, and even floor plans. You can use the software’s freehand drawing, shapes, and other editing tools to create a graph that meets your needs.

Importing & Exporting Files

You can import and export pretty much any file you like on Lucidchart, from PNG to CSV.

Thanks to Visio compatibility, you can easily export and import VSD and VSDX files on SmartDraw. You can also import/export PNG, SVG, PDF, and Office documents.

Team Collaboration

Lucidchart and Smartdraw both promote collaboration through multiple editor functions. This allows for several colleagues to share diagrams and edit work together.

Lucidchart makes collaboration easy by allowing multiple users to make real-time edits on ORG charts, mind maps, etc. The software also features Google Hangouts Chat, which allows collaborators to easily chat with one another.

Collaboration isn’t as straightforward on SmartDraw, as you have to share diagrams via Microsoft Teams, Slack, or email.

Overall User Interface

Lucidchart has a minimal learning curve, as does SmartDraw.

The Lucidchart interface may appear slightly overwhelming at first. However, once you realize it’s laid out similarly to other drawing tools (and even comparable to Word Document), it becomes a lot more manageable. In the center, you’ve got your blank canvas and down the left side, you’ve got various shapes.

The SmartDraw interface is very similar. You’ve got your shapes and templates to the left, tools along the top, and a blank canvas in the middle. Despite being older, SmartDraw appears much brighter and cleaner than the Lucidchart interface.


Lucidchart allows for plenty of third-party integrations, allowing you to streamline your workflow. Specifically, Lucidchart integrates with many leading productivity apps, including Microsoft Office, Slack, Microsoft Teams, Jira, G Suite, and much more.

SmartDraw can also be integrated with a wide range of platforms. This includes Google Docs, Confluence, Microsoft Teams, Microsoft Azure, Trello, Jira, and Dropbox.


If you have a problem with Lucidchart, you can reach them through their ‘contact us’ page. Unfortunately, there is no 24-hour support chat. Once you reach out to Lucidchart, it normally takes them about a day to get back to you.

SmartDraw has a much better support infrastructure, with live chat and phone support services offered.

Pricing Plans & Free Trials

The free version of Lucidchart can be used indefinitely. It’s not a free trial version so you never technically have to upgrade. With the free package, you get 100 templates, 3 editable documents, and 60 shapes. To enjoy unlimited editable documents and unlimited objects per document, you’ll need to upgrade to an Individual account. This costs $7.95 per month.

Lucidchart price

SmartDraw, on the other hand, only offers a 7-day free trial. After that, you’ll have to pay for a premium version. It costs $9.95 for a single user per month. Or, $5.95 per month for 5+ users.

The free version of SmartDraw adds watermarks to graphs, while the free version of Lucidchart does not.

SmartDraw price

Final Verdict: Best Diagram Software

Pros and Cons

Lucidchart Pros

  • Data linking
  • Strong collaboration features
  • Comprehensible interface

Lucidchart Cons

  • Poor customer support

SmartDraw Pros

  • Data linking
  • Great customer support
  • Clean user interface

SmartDraw Cons

  • Limited collaboration
  • Limited free trial

The Lucidchart vs SmartDraw debate is difficult to resolve. Both can be used to translate a complex idea into a great-looking graph or chart. Plus, both feature a dozen integrations, are web-based, and can help large enterprises create mind maps, ORG charts, and much more.

However, Lucidchart is definitely the most advanced, so therefore the better option. With live data linking and great collaboration facilities, it’s definitely the best option, no matter your enterprise size. Plus, the free trial is limitless, the software boasts more features, and new templates get added to it regularly.

But, that’s not to say SmartDraw is lacking in positives. It’s got a better-looking user interface and has much better customer support.


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