Microsoft Visio and Lucidchart are both excellent visualization and diagram creation tools used by everyone from Google to NetSuite.
Visio is owned by Microsoft, which means you can easily integrate other Microsoft tools into your Visio projects. Lucidchart is owned by Lucid Software Inc. and was initially released in 2008.
Both Lucidchart and Visio allow users to create unique flowcharts, diagrams, and other visual creations. This allows companies to more effectively project manage and also allows them to create insightful graphics for meetings and proposals.
These tools also boast collaboration features, which allow multiple users to work on the same file, graph, or document simultaneously. Not only does this encourage collaboration, but it also allows your team to brainstorm and come up with new and exciting ideas together.
Unique Features of Visio
- ShapeSheet Intellisense – Instead of memorizing ShapeSheet codes, ShapeSheet Intellisense completes these codes on your behalf. With this, you can complete complicated shapes without having to type out a single code.
- Presence indicator – Collaborating with your co-workers is made easy thanks to Visio’s presence indicator. With this, you can check exactly what your peers are working on.
- Backstage view – Visio’s backstage view feature allows you to check how a graph or chart looks before it is complete. With this, you can spot and rectify mistakes early.
Unique Features of Lucidchart
- Bigger template range – Lucidchart boasts thousands of templates, which gives you plenty of options when creating graphs and charts. This includes flowcharts, wireframes, diagrams, and much more. Visio, on the other hand, features only 80 templates.
- Data linking – You can add live data to your charts and graphs in Lucidchat that changes as your data is updated. This means you don’t have to spend as much time updating documents.
- Google Hangouts Chat – When collaborating, you can chat with your colleagues directly through the Google Hangouts Chat function. This is beneficial as it means you don’t need to leave the Lucidchart file you’re working on to chat directly with a collaborator.
Just as there are differences between these two flowchart tools, there are also many similarities. Let’s take a closer look and see if what Visio offers beats what Lucidchart offers and vice versa.
Mac users might want to go with Lucidchart. There’s no desktop version of Visio for macOS, so you’d have to access it via your web browser. Lucidchart, on the other hand, is a cloud-based platform. It can easily be accessed on various operating systems such as Mac, PC, Linux, or any other device you may have.
So, while Windows users may favor Visio, we’d definitely recommend Lucidchart if you use Apple products.
There is Visio Viewer available for iPads and iPhones, which allows you to view and share what you’ve created within the platform. However, these do not allow you to edit your Visio files. On the other hand, Lucidchart for Android/iOS allows you to work on your graphs and charts from the comfort of your phone.
These platforms can be installed either from app stores or by visiting their respective websites.
As aforementioned, Lucidchart has a bigger template library than Visio. Lucidchart is also constantly updating its template library and recently added two new ones for users to experiment with. These new templates included the bracket template and the product owner roles and responsibilities template.
On the free version of Lucidchart, you can only access around 100 templates. When you upgrade to a premium package, you unlock premium shapes and templates. If you use the free trial version of Visio, you’ll gain access to all 80+ templates from the get-go.
Importing & Exporting Files
On Lucidchart, you can import and export PDF, PNG, JPEG, SVG, VDX/VSDX, and CSV files.
Although Visio is primarily designed for Microsoft Office integration, you can import and export some file types using the platform. This includes JPG, GIF, PNG, SVG, and EMF. Data can also be imported and exported via SQL databases, Access, OLEDB, and SharePoint sources.
Interestingly, you can export Visio files into Lucidchart, and vice versa!
Converting files works the same on both platforms: under File, you’ll find Export. Here, you can select what kind of file type you’d like to export the diagram/chart as.
On both flowchart software types, several team members can collaborate on the same document at the same time, allowing you to clearly communicate complex processes and structures.
Lucidchart offers slightly better collaboration tools, with chat features and a wide range of permission levels. However, both allow users to collaborate on mind maps as well as present and share their work.
There doesn’t appear to be a limit to how many people can collaborate on projects at one time.
Overall User Interface
The Lucidchart interface has a small learning curve. The drag-and-drop feature is less restricted than on Visio. Plus, locking objects, drop shadows, and other master tools are laid out logically and are easy to use.
The Visio interface, on the other hand, is very complex and has a steep learning curve. Several tools populate the interface, which makes it very confusing for non-professionals to manipulate. However, if you’re used to other Microsoft platforms, you should be able to pick up the basic tools easily.
Lucidchart has much more integration options than Visio. With Lucidchart, you can integrate with Google Drive, Slack, Microsoft Office, and Trello. On Visio, you can only really integrate with SharePoint and other Microsoft tools.
Lucidchart offers phone support and e-mail support. If you need help with Visio, you’ll need to contact Microsoft support.
Pricing Plans & Free Trials
On the free version of Lucidchart, you get 3 editable documents, as well as basic shapes and templates. This is not a free trial – you can use this version for as long as you need. To unlock premium features, you need to pay at least $7.95 per month for an Individual account.
A free 30-day trial of Visio is available, which allows you to try out all the features found on the premium version.
Final Verdict: Best Flowchart Tool
- Huge template range
- Unlimited free trial
- Plenty of integration options
- No 24/7 chat
- Limited free version
- For professionals
- Easy integration with MS Office
- Complicated interface
- Bad for beginners
- No 24/7 chat
Lucidchart can definitely replace Visio as the top diagram creation software. It’s much easier to use, has vaster compatibility, and provides more templates.
Still, Visio has many benefits that more experienced graph and chart creators would benefit from. For example, Visio offers ShapeSheet Intellisense, backstage view, and data linking.