If you don’t have the funds or inclination to pay for Vizio or Lucidchart here are a few tools for easily creating a variety of common diagrams, from flow charts to entity relationship (data structure), dependency, UML and presentation graphics. Some don’t require any drawing or layout skills whatsoever and allow you to produce clear professional looking diagrams quickly just by typing concise human readable text – no manual and time-consuming drawing, positioning, resizing, formatting and alignment of objects and connectors!
See also Activity diagram for the equivalent in the internationally agreed UML notation.
Activity, Class, Gantt, Mindmap & more
Archimate is an internationally agreed standard, in the style of UML, that lets one describe pictorially all elements of Enterprise Architecture from motivation like drivers, goals and outcomes to business processes, data, applications, technology, strategy, capabilities, courses of action (like projects and programmes) and deliverables.
All Plantuml diagrams can be constructed, shared and saved via
however since the URLs are so long (the URL encodes the script that describes the diagram) a URL shortener can be employed for easier sharing and embedding.
Tip: change the real URL you land on using the shortened link above from the format
to this format
to be able to edit the diagram!
Here is the new URL of the revised diagram, in the SVG format this time, which can be scaled without loss of resolution:
Note: if you change the diagram the URL of your edited diagram will also change, which means that you will need to change the diagram URL embedded in any documents that refer to it if you want them to reflect your edits. Of course, if you simply download and include the generated png file in your document you need to change the document whenever you revise the diagram too. The upside is that anyone can revise the diagram in future without having to recreate it from scratch and without needing any software – just internet access. One isn’t even dependent on a particular website since the ‘long string’ from http://www.plantuml.com/plantuml/uml will also work at https://www.planttext.com and one can even install one’s own diagram server:
Class and many other UML diagrams
Also allows one to quickly write: Sequence diagram Usecase diagram Class diagram Object diagram Activity diagram (here is the legacy syntax) Component diagram Deployment diagram State diagram Timing diagram
These can be very powerful by providing insight into the chain of dependencies and relationships within a system. Graphviz allows diagrams in the simple ‘dot’ graph description language to be constructed, shared and saved via e.g.
Slide Presentation Graphics
https://app.diagrams.net/ (formerly draw.io, fiddly on a phone)
https://docs.google.com/drawings (needs sign up, cumbersome on a phone)
http://dia-installer.de/ (needs installation on a desktop OS so unusable on a phone)
https://www.lucidchart.com (needs sign up, app installation on phone and free version limits documents and objects per document)
Hope this helps – feel free to share your favourite diagramming tools and resources in a comment!