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Need an Alternative to Visio

By radiospanky ·
I am curently a student earning a degree in Network Technology. One of the classes is Network Engineering, and we will be using MS Visio. As I can not afford the Visio program is there any free alternatives to Visio that will be compatable with Visio? So I can do the assignments at home in my time and not have to stay at the school every waking moment.

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Do you HAVE be able to save Visio files?

by TomSal In reply to Need an Alternative to Vi ...

Check out smartdraw, its much cheaper than visio and is surprisingly very good. Granted I still like some things better in the latest version of visio, but smartdraw is easier to work with and still very capable. I created blueprints of our two-story office building using only smartdraw, I also did all network documentation with smartdraw -- until only very recently when I got afforded Visio 2003 by my employer.

I *think* smartdraw can read visio files but I'm not sure if you save a smartdraw file into visio format.

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Free might be difficult

by maxwell edison In reply to Need an Alternative to Vi ...

Getting a good graphics program for free? I don't think you'll have much luck.

If you want something that's pretty good, you'll have to spend some money. I might suggest looking for AutoCAD LT on ebay.

The retail value of AutoCAD is in the $3,500 range. The retail value of AutoCAD LT is in the $500 range. The primary difference is that the light version (LT) doesn't allow the customization that the full-blown AutoCAD allows. However, there's a work-around for that as well, but not a free work-around. There's an Australian company that markets an add-on called, LT Toolkit with LISP. It works pretty well, and is in the $200 range. But if you don't have the need, or the ability, to do some LISP programming to enhance the basic AutoCAD, you won't need it. And AutoCAD LT is a pretty good and reasonably priced alternative.

Be careful buying software on ebay, however. And if I'm not mistaken, an AutoCAD license, once purchased from Autodesk, is not "transferable" without permission from, and a fee paid to Autodesk. So if you buy it this way, you may not be able to buy subsequent upgrades. (But maybe not, I've not read the whole license agreements lately.) But if you do buy it, you can sure install it and use it -- as long as the Serial Number, CD-Key, and authorization code are all included.

I suppose you could also buy Visio on ebay, for that matter.

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Alternative to Visio

by Ckbtwy In reply to Need an Alternative to Vi ...

Its possible that MS put out a student version of Visio - student edition software normally has complete functionality - you just can not upgrade to a new version from it. Student software is normally much lower in price than off the shelf versions - but you will need a student ID. Check your school's book store or a computer software vendor like CompUSA or Circuit City.

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How long is the need?

by TheChas In reply to Need an Alternative to Vi ...

How long do you need to be able to use Visio?

You can get a 30 day trial version from Microsoft.

If you time your installation right, it may be a work around.


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by G.Brown In reply to Need an Alternative to Vi ...

It's not free (well unless you find it on a coverdisk like I did) but this also gives a 30day trial - so, again of you time it right you got 60 days to play with.

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Student discount

by tturner33 In reply to Need an Alternative to Vi ...

Check with your school (bookstore?) to see if they have MS products discounted for students. I am currently enrolled at University of Phoenix Online and they offered MS Visio for $40 (plus S&H).


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by radiospanky In reply to Need an Alternative to Vi ...

Thanks to all who posted. I did check with my school bookstore and they do not offer it. Even checked with my professor and he told me that he was going to allow enough time in classes to complete the projects. Once again thanks for posting.

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Try SmartDraw 2007

by dan In reply to Need an Alternative to Vi ...

We are seeing lots of former Visio users trying SmartDraw 2007, because it is cheaper, easier to use, and makes better looking graphics. There is a free trial at

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EDraw - Visio like Software

by edrawing In reply to Need an Alternative to Vi ...

It was similar enough to Visio. Easy to create flowcharts, org charts, uml diagrams, network diagrams. There are more cliparts in the software. It's rather a lightweight yet incredibly powerful diagramming tool. Learn more at

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Try Dia

by Arup_Kabi In reply to EDraw - Visio like Softwa ...

Dunno if it has been already answered or too late for you..for anyone I would recommend Dia
It has support for Flowcharts,UML,Network diagrams,Cisco diagrams and some more. Of course not as exhaustive as visio, but good overall.

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