Whether you’re a freelancer or a corporate professional, diagrams are crucial. We use them often in presentations, company reports, and many other areas.
For a long time, Draw.io has been the preference for most people because it’s open source, free, and supports offline use. However, another contender, Lucidchart, entered the scene and most users turn to it when they want to create professional diagrams.
Both apps have excellent features to help you create and share diagrammatic visuals. But, which of the two is better?
Let’s delve in to find out more.
Draw.io (or Diagrams.net) is a free online-based diagram application and editor. It lets you create, edit, and share custom flow charts, UML system layouts, designs, and complex network diagrams within a web browser.
Seibert Media, a German firm with a specialty in Atlassian and Google Cloud, owns draw.io apps. The applications are developed by the team that built the diagrams.net editor (open source) that’s used in Draw.io.
This diagramming tool works with Dropbox, G Suite/Google Drive, and is also integrated with Jira and Confluence. What I like about the app is that it lets me work on diagrams offline and save them locally using the desktop application for Linux, Windows, and Mac.
Draw.io has an intuitive drag and drop interface, custom diagram templates, and a big shape library. The application’s functionality allows you to track and restore changes, export and import certain formats, and publish and share work automatically.
Lucidchart is an intelligent diagramming app that allows teams to collaborate on drawing, sharing, and revising diagrams and charts. The software brings users together, letting them imagine the future and build it.
As the future of work evolves, Lucidchart provides the visual collaboration that enables teams to start dreaming, planning, and building in real time. Teams working in the same office or remotely can use this application to create innovative solutions together.
Lucidchart makes it possible to take collaboration from a conference room to the cloud. Users can collaborate in real time or contribute at their own time in a shared workspace.
Building consensus is easy, as users can use a visual language that bridges any differences between them, making it easy to connect over ideas.
The application makes it possible to distill sophisticated processes and systems into clear frameworks that highlight future and current states. In other words, it’s possible to explore opportunities and still keep everyone on the same page.
The intuitive interface and cloud-based platform make it easy to start diagramming, regardless of the browser, operating system, or device. So, you can easily get started on Mac, PC, or even Linux.
The software improves how teams collaborate with high-quality features, including co-authoring, shape specific comments, collaborative cursors, and in-editor chat.
Besides, the application lets you see data in context automatically. You can use smart containers and data-linking to overlay essential metrics directly into diagrams. Even better, you can use data to generate diagrams, org charts, and more.
Lucidchart has shape libraries to meet your diagramming needs. You can select from hundreds of shape libraries, such as ERD, network icons, org charts, UML (Ultra Modelling Language), and many others.
The tool also features a presentation mode that allows you to build powerful presentations to let you share your vision and win the confidence of key shareholders. More importantly, it integrates with your most-used applications, such as Atlassian, Asana, Google Workspace, and Slack.
Lucidchart is a premium application, but there’s a free plan as well.
The interface is neatly arranged with useful shortcuts that allow you to quickly find popular functions, settings, and shapes. Draw.io’s left-hand side features a default panel of common shapes to save time when editing.
The click and get feature makes editing fun; when you tap or click on a particular shape, its bigger version shows on the canvas, allowing you to decide whether that shape can suit your project. If you know the suitable shapes for your project beforehand, you’ll enjoy this feature.
On the screen’s right-hand side, you’ll spot a panel consisting of contextual menus. Initially, you’ll see general options like adding a grid or changing the diagram size. But upon selection of an object, a new context appears.
For instance, if you highlight some text, font options will appear. Moreover, selecting a shape triggers the appearance of a menu with color options.
Lucidchart displays the coordinates whenever you move a specific part, which is great. On top of that, you can see small but crucial details, such as the distance from margins or distance between two components. This feature is useful, especially when you want to add symmetry to your diagrams.
The diagramming tool also provides all the basic editing options, such as object size adjustment, object and text alignment, and importing shapes. Not to mention, adding new shapes to the canvas is through the drag and drop functionality.
When looking at Draw.io vs Lucidchart in terms of the ease of use, it’s a tie. Both apps are amazingly easy to use. Each application has simple video tutorials and extensive documentation to help you master using it.
Importing files to Draw.io is easy; simply go to File > Import from and choose the source. You can import from Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox, GitHub, GitLab, device, browser, or URL.
This app allows you to import files in a variety of formats, including .xml, .vsdx (Visio), .json (Lucichart), .gliffy (Gliffy), .jpeg, .svg, and .csv (copy the text from a csv file to create a diagram automatically).
Draw.io supports file export too; click File > Export and select the format you’d like to export the file to. After exporting a diagram, you can save it in png, jpeg, svg, html, pdf, xml, url, or vsdx (Visio) formats.
When using a diagramming application, you may want to import files from other platforms or tools. That said, Lucidchart lets you import diagrams from Gliffy (.gliffy and .gxml), MS Visio (.vsdx, .vdx, and .vsd), OmniGraffle (.graffle.zip, and .graffle), and Draw.io (.xml).
The file importation process is easy in this tool. However, you may face some issues when importing Visio files into the app. Some of the issues include invalid files, non-supported (older) file versions, and the import process taking longer because the file is too large, among other issues.
It’s worth noting that editing imported files is Lucidchart’s premium feature available on Enterprise, Team, and Individual Plans.
Moreover, Lucidchart supports file export. To do this, go to File > Download As. You can also use a keyboard shortcut CTRL + D or CMD + D for Windows and Mac respectively.
The winner is Draw.io because it offers a seamless import and export process. Plus, you can edit an imported file for free.
In Draw.io, collaboration only works if you share the document and connect it to third-party cloud storage platforms, such as Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive, or Google Drive.
You’ll have to depend on the sharing functionalities in these cloud storage apps to let other users access your Draw.io files. Both OneDrive and Google Drive offer collaborative editing that lets multiple users edit a diagram while seeing all the changes everyone is making.
Besides, there’s Draw.io for Confluence that supports collaborative editing, allowing several users to make changes to a document simultaneously and see the changes everyone makes.
You can collaborate on Lucidchart whether you’d like to brainstorm for a company project, improve workflow, or stay aligned with the team while working remotely. You can start by sharing a document; click on the “Share” button (orange) and add your colleagues’ emails so they can access it.
If you want coworkers to access the information they need without making the changes you haven’t approved, you can set the appropriate access and editing permissions. There are four permission levels: can edit, can view, can edit and share, and can comment.
Would you like to know the specific contribution of each collaborator? Lucidchart lets you assign a particular color to each collaborator; simply have every collaborator choose a color and ask them to maintain that color for every shape they add to the file.
The application uses comments to help collaborators communicate about a diagram’s specific components.
For example, if you’d like a shape’s style to be modified, simply suggest it in the comment and tag the doc designer by adding ‘@’ before their names. The person will receive a notification and navigate to the diagram component you flagged and leave a reply.
What’s more, you can assign document statuses to let everyone keep track of the document’s progress. This feature is essential, especially when several people are working on a document at different times. That said, you may assign statuses like complete, pending review, or draft directly to a document within the documents page.
Lucidchart wins hands down, as it allows collaboration right within the application at several levels. Draw.io doesn’t have collaborative features within the app, but rather uses what third-party apps can offer.
Draw.io is completely free to use. To start using the software, head over to the website and decide where you’d like to store the diagrams, such as on Google Drive, GitLab, GitHub, or Microsoft OneDrive. Next, you can start creating your diagrams.
There are several ways to access and use the free Draw.io. For instance, if you’d like to sync the draw.io data to Google Drive, you can access the application from their main website or through G Suite, which requires installing and approving the draw.io add-on.
Other free draw.io versions integrate with Dropbox and Google Chrome.
But, if you’re already running a Jira or Confluence server in the enterprise context, you may want to obtain a premium draw.io license that lets your users access the app. Draw.io’s paid versions don’t come with extra design or collaboration features, but they give you full control over other users’ data.
Jira and Confluence draw.io integrations are available for purchase at the Atlassian Marketplace, and the costs vary based on the number of users. The draw.io for Confluence Cloud version costs $15 per month for 20 users and $450 per month for 2,000 users.
The Data Center version costs $6,000 per year for 500 users and $10,000 per year for 2,000 users. On the other hand, the Server version pricing starts at $10 per year up to 10 users, $220 per year up to 25 users, $450 per year up to 50 users, $900 per year up to 100 users, and $1,800 per year up to 250 users.
Lucidchart has a free plan and three premium plans: Individual Plan, Team Plan, and Enterprise Plan. The free plan allows only three editable documents, comes with 100 templates, offers basic collaboration and integration, and secures your data.
However, the free plan lacks easy admin controls, advanced security features, and advanced data and automation.
The only difference between the free account and Individual Plan is that the latter offers unlimited editable documents and over 1000 professional templates. The Individual account’s cost starts at $7.95.
On the other hand, both the Team and Enterprise Plans offer unlimited editable documents, 1000+ professional templates, advanced integration and collaboration, and data security. One difference between the two plans is that while Team comes with basic admin controls, Enterprise has advanced admin controls.
The second difference is that Enterprise offers advanced data and automation plus more advanced features, but Team lacks these two additional features. The pricing for the Team Plan starts at $6.67 per user and requires a minimum of three users. To switch to the Enterprise Plan, you need to contact the sales team for a quote.
Draw.io takes the trophy when it comes to pricing because it packs tons of top-rate features that let you draw high-quality diagrams without paying anything.
This application integrates with a large number of platforms and tools. Just like we’ve got many types of diagrams for diverse use cases, various departments use a variety of platforms for different reasons.
Draw.io integrates with Atlassian’s Confluence, Jira, and Trello. It integrates with Confluence at the Cloud, Server, and Data Center levels, allowing collaboration with team members. You can track business processes, develop business plans, collaborate on infographics, and more.
Integration with Jira allows you to add diagrams directly to various tickets, and thus make customer service, debugging, and development easier and quicker. And integration with Trello lets you add draw.io diagrams to your Trello cards for clear communication.
Draw.io integrates with Google Drive too, allowing freelancers to create and share diagrams within the content instead of sending the diagram files separately via email. You can also import Draw.io diagrams from Google Drive to your Google Slides to make the presentations better.
But that’s not all: Draw.io integrates with other third-party applications, including Aha!, Bookstack, Atom, FOSWiki, Docstell, LumApps, Grafana, JupyterLab, MediaWiki, ownCloud, Sandstorm, Nucliono, Nextcloud, Redmine, Samepage, XWiki, and WordPress (though the DrawIt! Plugin).
More importantly, being an open source application, the software’s source code is on GitHub and anyone can use it to develop their own integrations.
The diagramming tool integrates well with numerous other platforms. Like Draw.io, it integrates with Atlassian where you can add diagrams to Jira issues or Confluence wikis for visual contextualization.
It also integrates with most Google apps, including Google Drive, Docs, and Sheets. The integration makes it easy to manage your Lucidchart team via the Google Workspace.
You can add context to most of your charts and other drawings when you integrate with Microsoft Excel, Word, and PowerPoint. Besides, admins can grant other users instant access via Centralized Deployment.
Do you use Salesforce? You can automatically import Salesforce contacts into this app before dragging and dropping them onto a canvas to create robust account maps, along with the Salesforce shape library.
If your team collaborates via Slack, you may get file notifications, manage file permissions, and use Slack shortcuts to create new Lucidchart diagrams.
Lucidchart visualizes your Azure architecture within minutes and lets you filter and organize details on MySQL, tags, storage, virtual machines, and more.
And how useful is a GitHub integration? You can add a public link to any Lucidchart diagram, making it easy for co-workers to pull a request or easily understand an issue.
The diagramming software also integrates with Zapier, Quip, BambooHR, GCP, Asana, LeanIX, Nextpond, AuditBoard, UVExplorer, Zoho Connect, Nuclino, and Dropbox Paper.
Lucidchart also integrates well with various platforms, allowing you to import or export documents. You can transition to the Visio cloud and import diagrams in mass before you start editing them. Export from Lucidchart to Visio is possible too.
You may also import documents from Draw.io, Gliffy, OmniGraffle, and Quickbase.
For added security, the app allows for authentication with SAML and SSO. User authorization and authentication are possible through identity providers, such as Google, Ping, Centrify, OneLogin, and more.
Also, integration with a SCIM provider, such as OneLogin, Okta, or Azure, lets you automatically provision licenses (with view-only access or editing privileges) whenever someone makes edits within the identity provider.
Lucidchart has far more extensive integrations than Draw.io.
If you have reliable internet, you can access Draw.io directly on the web and create diagrams. That means you can access the application through the browser on a desktop, cell phone, or tablet.
There’s a desktop application that allows you to save documents locally on your device and work on them offline. This application works on Mac, Windows, Linux, and Chrome operating systems.
While there’s no draw.io mobile application, if you have an iPad or Android tablet, you may add draw.io to the home screen and open it like any other native app. The app also works on iOS and Android smartphones, but diagramming works better on bigger devices, such as tablets.
The diagramming software is compatible with most operating systems, including Windows, Linux, Mac, and Chrome.
Lucidchart supports four major web browsers: Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge. Mozilla Firefox, and Apple Safari.
What I like about Lucidchart most is its mobile compatibility. It has iOS and Android apps. You can diagram on the go with their iPhone and iPad applications that feature intuitive controls for creating, viewing, commenting, and editing your documents.
In a similar fashion, you can use their Android app to access Lucidchart documents anytime. As an Android user, you can edit and view existing diagrams or build new ones to visualize ideas, processes, and systems anywhere, anytime.
In terms of compatibility, Lucidchart has an edge over Draw.io because of the iOS and Android apps that Draw.io doesn’t have (yet).
- It’s completely free to use
- No sign up needed
- It’s an easy and intuitive diagramming tool
- It integrates easily with your favorite platforms, such as Google Drive, Dropbox, Jira, and more.
- It’s easy to import and export documents
- The desktop app supports offline use
- Useful documentation and video tutorials are available on the website
- The diagrams you create on this platform can be used for commercial purposes without extra licensing or watermarks.
- In-app collaboration is not available, but only possible with third-party apps like Google Drive
- No iOS or Android apps
- It’s a freeware app, which means technical support may be limited
- Highly secure; it requires user authentication and authorization
- iOS and Android apps are available
- Integrates with many other platforms, such as Google apps, Visio, Microsoft Office Suite, Salesforce, and more.
- It has many collaborative options, making it suitable for teams.
- An extensive resource (learning campus) with easy to understand tutorials
- Intuitive and easy to use platform
- Huge object and template libraries
- No desktop app
- Inadequate templates in the legal, education, and healthcare niches
- The free version has limited features
- Both integrate with other platforms for seamless collaboration, import, and export.
- Both are compatible with Windows, Linus, Mac, and Chrome OS
- Documents on both platforms can be stored in the cloud
- Both have a free version
- Both support a broad array of keyboard shortcuts
- Both support offline mode
- Lucidchart has a more extensive template library than Draw.io
- Lucidchart has more collaborative capabilities than Draw.io
- Draw.io is open source, but Lucidchart is closed source
- Lucidchart offers better customer support than Draw.io
Both Lucidchart and Draw.io pack a punch, but if I had to go for one, I would prefer Lucidchart. It has many templates that you can use for different needs, and it supports document collaboration without any trouble.
It has excellent security features, making it a preferred option for most enterprises. Lucidchart is also easy to use and whenever I’m stuck, I can turn to their useful guides for help.
What’s more, the mobile apps make diagramming on the go a piece of cake.
Tom loves to write on technology, e-commerce & internet marketing.
Tom has been a full-time internet marketer for two decades now, earning millions of dollars while living life on his own terms. Along the way, he’s also coached thousands of other people to success.