Use this Free Program to Create Great Flowcharts and Diagrams


"Visio" is most probably the application that comes to your or anybody else's mind first when being asked about a diagramming software. Not many know that there is a great and powerful program available for free that does a very good job in that area as well. In fact, I prefer it over others for its great auto arrange capabilities.

yEd Graph EditoryEd by yWorks is a great example for a "free but professional" application. It is as simple as it is feature rich. It comes with several icon libraries and diagram templates and I am sure that anyone in need of a diagram or flowchart will be able to create it with yEd (BPMN diagrams, Flowcharts, Family Trees, Semantic Networks, Social Networks, UML Classes, Org Charts, Network diagrams, Swim Lanes and more).

What I liked about yEd is its great capability to auto-arrange your diagram. Don't worry about the layout too much while creating your flowchart. Just add your boxes and connections and then when you're done, use one of yEd's many auto-arrange algorithms. I am confident you'll find one that does it just right for you.

yEd is freely available and runs on all major platforms: Windows, Unix/Linux, and Mac OS. Get it here:


This article is maintained by George

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It's still out there and works. The yWorks site does not make it apparent that there is a free version. At all. I had to search "yED free"

Had a quick browse of this site and could not see an article listing more flow chart programs for Windows (apart from the Vector page).
I am looking for something that would allow me to enter single line captions, and connect them.
The single lines means I can get a lot into the page.
Behind the scene for each caption there would be a paragraph or two of text, that could pop up when I click (or mouse) a caption.
I have a large VB6 program, written when I was less 'brain dead', and I sometimes need to map a flow of logic, to remind myself what was the logic behind some function.
Perhaps being 'brain dead' I am looking for the incorrect category.
Is there some other category of software I should be looking for ?

PS Selecting the correct installer for 32bit XP Windows, is not easy for the 'brain dead'
It says -
"For installation on Windows XP, you can use the installer without JRE"
But it is not clear if that is a choice when installing that one ?
Or are you meant to choose one of those lower on the page ?

I haven't tried this software yet because there is a feature that is needed before I waste anymore time experimenting with software. I have spent days looking for the right software with all the features.

Does this software have the ability to export a flowchart as a webpage?

Thanks in advance.

Yes, yEd supports export to the following formats: - .bmp - .emf - .eps - .gif - .html - .jpg - .pdf Why don't you download it and give it a test drive? Best regards, George

Hello Sir,

You have my profound respect for this tool. Every where I end up seems to have it lying around.

I'm an old COBOL programmer, re-invented as a PHP5 web coder, who remembers good old Jackson Structured Programming and still thinks there's a limited place for this inside OO Methods.

Is there anyway to conjure up new symbols: a tiny circle or a tiny star in the North-East corner of a rectangle; plus some square braces big enough to contain a rectangle with an indefinite number of vertical arrows beside the rectangle?

Warmest regards,


Yes, you can "Import Symbols.." from the Palette menu (right-click) but they're more rudimentary than the standard ones. I learnt that it was usually easier to get by in yEd without using too many custom symbols. You might find the same particularly for your second example. Search for "Custom Symbols" in yEd help to get more info. You can use bitmap and vector graphics formats to create custom nodes but they won't have modifiable visual properties unless they are Visio XML shapes.