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What Flowchart Software Do You Use for Procedures and other Documentation?

Which is the best flowchart software for QS/ISO documentation.

  • AllClear

    Votes: 1 2.0%
  • iGrafx Flowcharter

    Votes: 3 5.9%
  • ConceptDraw

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • SmartDraw

    Votes: 4 7.8%
  • Visio (MickeySoft)

    Votes: 36 70.6%
  • Drawing tools in Office

    Votes: 7 13.7%

  • Total voters
ddhartma said:
Interesting that this thread would pop back to the top once more, and just in time.

I had to write a paper for Monday night's Business Communications class on business communications within my workplace, and had to include an organizational chart. I used RFFlow for the org chart and was asked by the facilitator if I would share with the rest of the class how I got such a "professional" looking org chart. I expect that there are now a few more RFFlow users in the world today.;)
Yes! RFFlow is more than adequate for most drawing.
Note they have a free version (limited only by number of objects on the drawing) which can be imported into Word (microsoft) or Open Office (Sun), a free Office suite. An inexpensive workaround for fiscally challenged folks is to download both free programs and use RFFlow to make portions of flow charts or other diagram-type drawings and import or export to Open Office to exceed the object limit in the free version of RFFlow. Open Office has a drawing module similar to Word.

Link to Open Office
Link to RFFlow

Kevin H

Hmm, missed this on the second go round. We've been using RFFlow since 2001. My recommendation to the company as we needed a flow chart program, it was much more than adequate, worked nicely with microsft applications and was intuitive and easy to learn how to use it. I still really like it - it functions elegantly.

We will be switching to Visio - a directive from the corporate IT department in Sweden. They like to standardize on Microsoft applications or on programs provided by Swedish software companies. My blasted document control program is at times a nightmare. I understand its basic use, the problem arises that even though this version is supposed to be for international use with English as the language many of the warnings/notices pop-up in Swedish. I've gotten pretty good at guessing what they mean, but it does make addressing and correcting them harder.


I have used Microgaphix, Smartdraw and Visio. My votes goes to Visio. I have been enable to make very complex and detailed flowcharts using Visio that was beyond the capabilities of either of the other two products.

Disliking a product simply because you don't like the developer is small-minded. Opiting out because of price is acceptable.

Kevin H

Hmm, I didn't really say whether I liked or disliked Visio - do not really know enough about it to say. I will say that in general I'm not thrilled with Microsoft's programs and how I have experienced their operation (Word & Excel are OK). I said I'm not fond of our document control system, and the fact that it truly has not been adapted for an English speaking user. I'm also not happy that we chose RFFlow before the corporate policy regarding use of Microsoft products was known to the local US Division. I truly hate having to do work twice - learning to use a particular application program for a task and doing the task and now having to repeat both actions. I can think of few things that are more deleterious to efficiency, profits, and morale than such actions.


I have used:
All Clear
Quality America QC-SPC-IV flow section

Excel is as easy and detailed as any,
RFFlow is good too, and
Visio a litle more time consuming,
All Clear too time consuming.


isoreader - 2006

I use ABC Flowcharter from Micrografx, now evolved to IGrafx. Aside from basics, features important to me are:

1. the ability to move a process box or decision diamond or whatever around while maintaining the arrow lines (doesn't break) connected to them. This helps in faster development.

2. to easily number or renumber

3. ability and ease to hyperlink to other documents

4. ability to print to standard paper sizes

5. the ability to put it all on an intranet. (limited in ABC)

6. for document control, the ability to allow or disallow users to view, and edit, and if to edit, to keep track of changed versions. (not in ABC but I see its in IGrafx with even more features).

7. Bonus feature, to be able to assign variables or field values, enabling some form of calculations of what goes in and what goes out. (limited in ABC)

8. Bonus feature, should be based on Open Source,or offer long term safety of the data eg. If the company changes decision to use some other software, can the data be easily transferred to the new software with minimum loss of time. One of the reasons I like OpenOffice too (can do excel or word files, can print out to pdf without having to buy Adobe etc).

These are some of my thoughts.


I find the Office packages are more versatile than Visio.

I did try the flowchart add-in in PowerPoint once or twice but I didn't get on with that I found it quite restrictive.


Update - as time goes by

Graeme said:
At work, I use Visio because that is what the corporate IT dictators tell us we have to use. (I am a contract worker in a very tiny department of a very huge Fortune 100 corporation ... I don't have the horsepower to make those kind of waves!)

At home, I have used AllClear since version 1.something. I tend to think in text outline form, so for me the AllClear text input mode is ideal. (I can understand a picture, but please don't make me draw one!)

I noticed this thread has floated up into visible range again ... so here's an update.

Still forced to use Visio at work, except with the switch to XP and Office 2003 "they" took away my old Visio Technical and replaced it with the standard version. It's OK for flowcharts, but it doesn't have what I need for the other 80% of my drawing needs. (I did manage to save the electronics engineering libraries from the old version so all is not totally lost.)

At home / private business I have started using SmartDraw, because I needed something there and it would be a very long time before my micro-business can afford the other one. I'm very happy with it, and with the price.



Wishful thinker
I don't say its 'the best', but I use SmartDraw.

Because I was a beta tester years ago and got the program for free....

:topic: Was one of the good tips I got from my QA/PM mentor.
Try to be a beta tester for programs. You can have some great little programs for free...;)

S. Thompson

GoKats78 said:
I have used Microgaphix, Smartdraw and Visio. My votes goes to Visio. I have been enable to make very complex and detailed flowcharts using Visio that was beyond the capabilities of either of the other two products.

Disliking a product simply because you don't like the developer is small-minded. Opiting out because of price is acceptable.
I like Visio. I was only introduced to it last year and now most of our process flows are produced using this tool. You can make them as simple or complex as you wish and is really remarkably easy to use.
However, sometimes I use a good old Word document. Some people cannot follow flow charts and like to read from left to right! After all it is these people that have to follow them.
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