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Lucidchart

Lucidchart Review

By: Lucid Software Inc.

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Overview

Lucidchart is online diagram and flowchart making software used to create flowcharts, ER models, UML sketches, and other diagrams. The software is very easy to use for anyone even without any previous experience. It can sketch professional flowchart diagrams for business meetings, presentations, brainstorming, and project management. Lucidchart also allows sharing, embedding and exporting of diagrams and is designed to be compatible with many programs, including Google Apps.


Detailed Review

Visual representation makes it effortless to grasp the information. It can be done using graphs or using diagrams such as mind maps, flowcharts, and org charts.

Lucidchart uses various diagram types, which can be used to define processes, structures, operations, etc. The cloud-based software has variety of elements for creating the diagrams devoted to making it easier for users to understand and communicate the information.

Pros

  • Huge Number of elements in the shape library: For various diagram types, they have added dedicated elements. Elements of a particular category can be added to the side of the drawing area by discovering them on the shape manager.
  • Create a presentation using Lucidchart: You can create impressive presentations using the lucidchart presentation mode. This option is available only for paid users.
  • Connect with multiple apps through the marketplace: There are several applications present on this app’s marketplace. Every application fulfills a different requirement, and many of them can be used for team management.
  • Template Library for getting started: The library is categorized under various tabs which provide premade templates. This makes the job easier for the designer as he only needs to edit the template to obtain the desired one.
  • Multiple view options for the document list: You can arrange the documents in either ‘tiles’ format or the ‘list’ format. The list format is comparatively more informative which gives details about the users, modification date, etc.
  • Smooth drag and drop technique: For creating a structure, you just need to drag the elements from the list of shapes and drop them wherever you need to add them. After that, all you need to do is to resize and connect all the elements.
  • Free trial available to test the product: Free trial is offered, but you can’t use it for more than testing purpose. Without a subscription, you get access to most of the features, but still, you can only save up to three diagrams on the application.
  • Provided for Mobile Apps: You can also download the applications for Android and iOS. Hence, you can create or edit the diagrams from any place you want.
  • Import data from various sources: When you open the drawing area, there is an import option under the “File” tab present on the menu bar. Clicking on that will provide you a list of data types that you can add to the application by importing it from the third-party sources.

Cons

  • Some of the text formatting options are absent: Features such as strikethrough text and line spacing were not found. These could be considered as very small features, but they are essential when text is an important part of the generated design.
  • Limited Templates for Android and iOS UI development: The templates that are currently present in the library are not helpful when you need to design a mockup for mobile phone’s UI. Instead of using the templates, it would be better to use the editor to create a mockup from starting.
  • No mention about the priority support in the plan: You can choose to utilize the self-help option present on the website; Help Center contains articles which can lead you to solutions. However, if you directly need to contact the support team, it can be done using their phone number, generating a request, or through the community. There is no mention that priority support will be provided to the paid users.

Introduction

Before you sign up, you must know whether the product is directed to fulfill your requirements or not. Before we start the review of its elements, we would like to tell the reader about the solutions which they target.

The company Lucid Software Inc. owns the software which has added multiple diagram types covering a number of solutions. We will discuss the types in detail, but for now, our focus is to find out who belongs to the customer and potential customer list.

Industries where a visual representation is required to transfer any sort of information, are the potential users of Lucidchart.

Therefore, if you are a part of a business that has extensive use of designing, Lucidchart’s review could be beneficial for you.

From the basic flowcharts to the complex mind maps, there is much in between. However, not all the options are relevant to everyone.

For instance, there are special features for making network layouts, but these are not required for users who wish to design the website wireframes.

So, out of all the features, there would be a specific group that you would need to use. The review and discussion on these features would aid you in making the final decision whether it is worthy of purchasing the whole product when you only require some features out of all.

Dashboard

After you log in to your account, you will get a customized desktop according to the purpose that you select during sign up.

There are six categories as shown in the image. There are sub-categories which you can discover when you move your mouse pointer above any one of the categories.

After you select the subcategory, the dashboard will appear on the screen.

On the basis of category selected, Lucidchart will prioritize the templates. For instance, if you have chosen the education, education-related templates will be readily available on the dashboard.

Here we will give a pause to the template library section as we have saved it for an upcoming section. Moving to the dashboard, we are beginning with the journey of exploring Lucidchart.

The dashboard doesn’t contain much of itself but provides a path to reach the other segments. Have a look at the image added below to have a better understanding.

A dashboard offers the way to get started and also provides information about the work done. The My Documents tab contains the details of all the work done using Lucidchart.

The details can be represented in two different ways: Tiles and List. Tiles view is not much informative as it only informs about the name of the document generated. It also contains a thumbnail that shows how the diagram looks.

Whereas when you select the list view, it will give you the details of the users who have access to a particular document, when it was modified last (date and time), and status of the document (Draft, complete, approved, etc.)

When there are multiple documents, it becomes tough to find the required one in the huge pile. At that time, the sorting options added on the dashboard acts as saviors.

The various columns containing the data also acts as sorting features. You just to click the column heading and the content will get sorted. For instance, if you need to sort it according to the date, all you need to do is to click on the date heading.

However, there are no options to filter the list. Take an example where you need to find out about the documents generated by a specific user in a specific period.

You don’t get the luxury of automatically finding the required data. There is an alternative option though. You can sort it according to date, and manually filter the work done by the specific user by going through the list.

It is a time-consuming task, but a filter won’t be. Lucidchart can merely allow users to filter for better navigation to certain documents.

In case you want to go through the recent files, an additional tab is included. Other than that, you can also recover the deleted files by searching them in the trashcan.

For the paid users, contact option is also added on the dashboard. In the case of free users, you can reach to the knowledge base and YouTube tutorial directly from here.

Various Diagram Types

Unlike MindMeister, Lucidchart is not directed towards only one type of diagram. There could be infinite types of diagrams that a user can create through this application. However, you must have a paid plan to save more than three diagrams.

Not only diagrams, but it can also be used for creating floor plans, equations, and tables. However, for these features, there are no or very few predefined templates available. It is because the possibility of creating useful templates for these options doesn’t seem practical.

There is a wide range of floor plan designs, and even the basic structure of these designs varies a lot. Therefore, even creating multiple designs would not be much helpful and it is better to build them from scratch.

In the case of basic charts (flowcharts, org charts), only a little bit of change can generate a new design. They have included a few base templates which users can edit to get the required design easily.

We will brief you about the various diagram types and provide you with the information whether these types have enough templates or not. However, we cannot review each type so, we have focused on the ones which are widely used.

Flowcharts

Flowcharts have a wide range of application such as describing processes, providing information about plans, etc. Hence, a lot of subscribers use Lucidchart for this purpose.

Looking at the template library, it can be said that the company has already found the reason why a large portion of their user base is using their application.

There are more than twenty templates in which most of the flowchart elements are used. The templates are flexible and rigid at the same time.

You cannot alter the templates to the extent that it loses its purpose. However, you can implement a variation by merely adding shape and establishing a connection to it.

Org Charts

Org charts are generally used by the subscribers who need to maintain the information about the structure of a company or an organization.

However, bearing in mind that the requirement of org charts is lesser than flowcharts as org charts have a confined purpose of generating the structure of a company whereas Flowcharts can be used by many companies or individuals wherever a process is involved.

Therefore, there would be lesser demand for org templates. They only offer nineteen templates in the library. Anyway, even if they add more templates, it may not matter much as the structure of an organization cannot be defined using a predefined pattern.

Business Analytics

Visual format helps a business to set goals, find the solution of issues, and combine the ideas to generate new. Considering this, Lucidchart has placed business oriented purposes as its top priority.

There are many organizations which can use team management features which allow the team members to collaborate in real-time and work on the business.

However, if a business starts creating a layout from scratch, it will waste a lot of time, and even after that, desired results could not be guaranteed.

As mentioned in the starting of this section, there are several purposes for which businesses may use Lucidchart. When we visited the library, there were a hundred plus templates, and each serves an important role.

There would be instances when a business would require doing force field analysis, and other times when they need to study an idea. This is why Lucidchart has these many templates.

In case you own a business which you wish to maintain yourself or grow extensively, The platform can help you in proper planning.

For businesses, it is a top-notch product not only because of the feature but due to the ease, it delivers through its templates.

Mind Maps

Unfortunately, there were not many mind map templates present on the application. However, we can consider it a prominent diagram type as it is only available for the paid users.

The company is making it available for the paid users only. That’s why they need to add more mind map templates as there are less than ten as of now.

If people are ready to pay for mind maps, why would they make the payment when the variety of templates is confined. Even if the option is available to free users, they need to increase mind map templates as they are used for brainstorming and project management by large enterprises.

Currently, the templates are not satisfactory due to limited designs. If your primary requirement that you have for using Lucidchart is mind mapping, you can also use the alternative product, MindMeister. Remember that you would not be able to create any other type of diagrams in this app

User Interface, Mockups, and Wireframe designs

There are many graphic designing programs such as CorelDraw Graphic Suite which are dedicated to generating layouts and mockups.

Not only for the desktop, and but there are software which are also used to design the mobile UI of an application.

Although they have added separate categories for Android, iOS, and desktop templates, it would be better if you don’t keep much expectation with the software section.

The number of templates under all three categories is limited. It would be better to create mockups through a blank document, or else preferring other products for this purpose could be considered.

A few other diagram types

There are many more diagram types but discussing them all isn’t a practical approach. The other templates highly focus on the business directed user.

The categories like business, sales, and service management work to manage the business and growth. The specific purpose of a template is mentioned on the right side along with the description.

However, there are a few categories which don’t offer many templates. If you are using the application for creating the engineering diagram, floor plans, or data flow path, you need to work from beginning with the help of their respective elements.

The sitemap and software category also require attention as there is only one template present in each group.

Drawing Area and Its Features

The number of features it contains, the methodology it adopts to assemble components, and features which support the functionality, all together define a drawing area. And the capability of drawing area defines the performance of the whole application.

Therefore, diagraming software must not miss any opportunity of adding an element. Lucidchart’s alternative, Edraw Max houses a nearly equivalent number of items. However, it is possible that some of the features which Edraw contains may not be present in Lucidchart and vice versa.

There are a few more programs which have tried to compete with Lucidchart. But these programs remain directed to a specific purpose such as MindMeister which is used primarily for mind mapping.

Whereas in Lucidchart, you can do a lot more in addition to the mind mapping. The software due to its shape library can be used for multiple purposes. We will explore the shape library and find out if it covers everything or is it possible to look for improvement.

Shape Library and its use

When you click on the Gear Button, the shape manager will open in which all the provided shapes are categorized under thirty plus libraries.

Some of the Libraries are only available for the paid users, and hence, free users have to work with the help of shapes provided for the free plan.

Some of the major libraries which free users can’t use houses the options to create mockups of iOS, Android and other user interfaces. You can’t generate mind maps also before making the payment.

Other than these libraries, most of them are available for you. When you check to mark any of them, they will appear on the column which contains all the required shapes.

On the top, there are five standard options: Text, Block, Note, Hotspot, and Arrow. The standard options inform us about their working with the name itself. Hotspot is used to link either external or internal links or emails.

As you scroll down, you will find all the library elements which you have added here from the shape manager. You can keep the once which are used frequently, and others can remove to avoid confusion and unnecessary crowding.

However, it would be better if they would have segmented the tools under a particular library heading. For instance, there are shapes related to construction comes under Floor Plan Library. But you will not find any such heading here. Instead of that, they have directly used subheading as headings.

The similar tools such as types of walls, types of doors, types of basic network shapes are placed under their respective heading without having a parent heading. Parent heading would make the search for the required tool easier.

There is a search option present on the top of the column which can be used when you have added a considerable number of features here.

However, it searches the feature in the shape manager as well. So, if the needed shape is not available on the left column, it will find it from the shape manager.

You just need to type the name of the shape which you want to use. Sometimes, you may make typos or write the spelling wrong. In these cases, also, the search option doesn’t fail to find whatever you ask.

Menu Options

The menu bar looks like a typical menu bar present on any application. Hence, it is as vital as other menu bars are for their respective software.

Many of the menu bar options are basic such as cut, copy, paste, etc., which we are not going to discuss here, but there are a few who deserves a mention.

We have not come across many applications which allow importing of data from these many sources. You can also choose to directly import the diagram from the applications such as Visio, OmniGraffle, and Gliffy.

In case you are working on any other software, and don’t wish to switch in fear of losing the data, that won’t be an issue as data can be imported.

In the same way, you can import the generated draft in various formats like PDF, PNG, JPEG, etc. which take care of your output requirements.

There could be a possibility that you may have added multiple wrong shapes which you need to delete. You can use the undo option but creating the entire layout again would be an annoying job.

Instead, you can select all the shapes by finding the “select all shapes” option under the Select Tab. Just click on the ones along with the control key which you don’t want to delete. This can also be used for moving multiple shapes together. You can also customize the selected ones simultaneously.

Various Zooming options are available to provide us a better idea of the design which we are generating.

There are various insert options which allow to automatically add the name, date, time, information about modification, etc. If you are using the application for building UI mockups, you can quickly fill the text with Lorem Ipsum.

These diagrams can be added to the website and blogs using the embed code. The embed code can be generated using the share option. You only need to copy paste in your site editor wherever you wish to add the diagram. You can also change the width and height according to your website’s layout.

Below the menu option, there is a basic toolbar in which some necessary customization tools are added.

Most of the text editing features own a place in this toolbar. These tools are amazingly useful when you create website mockups, label the diagrams, or generate layouts for brochures, etc.

However, there are a few general things that are absent. Maybe, the features such as line spacing, bullet points, strikethrough the text are not of much use, still, they can add it with no effort.

You however have an alternative option to  write content in any other text-oriented software such as word and paste it in the text area. Though it is not very convenient.

We can go through every feature offered in the drawing area, but then it would be endless exercise to discuss them. However, moving across this diagram maker, we have realized that there are very few options which are not implemented yet.

Thus, adding them would complicate the user interface unnecessarily. As of now, the application has enough number of features which are perfectly visible due to the well-structured user interface.

Additional Features

Lucidchart has not provided us with many opportunities to suggest improvement. We are still curious how this application manages to contain so many features without complicating the user interface. Probably that is one of the reason why it has got so much love from the users.

The more we explore, the more we find. As the software deals with diagrams, users would require hardcopy in many cases.

We believe, there should be an option to adjust the page size and design. The right panel provided us with nine different pages sizes which are used widely. Also, you can set a custom size by setting the height and width yourself.

You can also define margins, grids, and choose to work under the ruler. Even though these features are the elementary ones, they assist a lot to place the content exactly where it is needed.

You can either add a Comment to the whole document or choose to comment on a particular shape that you select. The comments play a significant role when you collaborate with others.

You can provide your inputs about a particular section or whole document. However, if the comment is dedicated to a specific person, there is an option to tag a person. They can also add the voting option like MindMeister has done. It is a helpful tool when you discuss the ideas.

The platform does not allow us to comment on multiple shapes at once. For instance, there are two boxes linked with each other, and you want to generate a comment that is common for both of them, that would not be possible.

However, it still helps to share the thoughts to the whole team efficiently. There are many more advanced team management features which we will discuss later.

It’s time for some Slideshow now! We all try to find new ways of delivering presentations- intuitive and attractive at the same time.

Using PowerPoint would require you to generate each slide separately. Alternatively, Lucidchart allows you to create whatever you wish to present, on a single page. Then you can divide them into various slides using the Presentation Mode.

Is it better than the conventional way of generating slideshows?

Creating a presentation on your own is the only possible way to find its answer. The primary challenge that the application faces is to make the slideshow quirky and informative at the same times.

On the same right panel where the other features mentioned above are added, you can find the presentation mode. However, this option is only available in the paid plan.

After you create a diagram, click on the slides icon to discover the canvas containing the slides. Clicking on the “plus” symbol (new slide) well introduce a rectangular box on the canvas which represents the slide.

Whatever present inside the boundaries of the box will act as a slide. You can merely reposition it to anywhere on the canvas to the content which you wish to appear in the slide. It is also possible to resize the box using the corners.

For creating more slides, you need to repeat the process. Sure, it is easy but what about the uniqueness?

Uniqueness depends upon you as the slide contains the content which you have created on the canvas. There are customizing features which we have already discussed.

Using those options, you can give a different appearance to every element that you will draw on the canvas. In addition to that, you can also choose the layers which you wish to remain visible during the slideshow.

One more impressive feature that we found here is the Revision History. Lucidchart saves all the versions of your document whenever you or any collaborator makes any changes.

You just need to click on the clock icon displayed below the presentation mode. All the saved versions will appear, and when you click on one, the whole diagram will come into view. You can choose to restore the selected version or else, you can save it as a new map.

The tool helps a lot whenever you need to undo the changes made by any other collaborator. It also provides the opportunity to compare two different stages and find the better one.

With Lucidchart’s Revision History, you can create documents and allow others to make changes to it, without worrying about the undoing of variations made.

Account Settings

The availability of the application in different languages affects the size of the user base. Many users prefer using the application which is available in their language.

You can select the language from the account settings. The by default language is English, which you can change to Dutch, Spanish, French, Japanese, or Portuguese. Hope the language that you prefer has made it to this list.

Moving to the preferences, we found the features more features that we would like to mention here. You can adjust the zoom or else you can automate the zooming by leaving the decision upon Lucidchart. However, they should have allowed setting the zoom percentage according to our wish.

Under preferences, you can also change the page type and size, units, and choose to grid lines. This shows how precisely the application has taken care of every need of the user.

In addition to FAQs and community, you can also get the help via support ticket which can be generated from the help center. However, for tracking the active support ticket, you need to visit the account settings.

It seems great that this option is even present for free users as most of the companies provide support only to the paid subscribers. We will discuss the support in detail in an upcoming section.

There is one more feature which attracted us as it is of high importance. Taking an online backup of the diagrams and charts created would save them in case you lose the offline content. The data saved as the backup can be restored anytime from this section. But the backup service is only offered to the users who purchase the Pro plan.

Choose Integrations from Lucidchart’s Marketplace

As there are around thirty integrations and reviewing them all isn’t a task that is very practical. Hence, we have selected a few out of all which we are going to mention here.

Out of these thirty integrations, some can be used for the individual purpose, and others are required when you work in a team.

When team management and sharing is required, you have the option to connect Lucidchart to applications such as Microsoft Teams, Quip, and Slack.

You can integrate Lucidchart with Google applications such as Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Slides. Lucidchart comes under the add-on option present on the respective applications.

After you integrate it with any of these Google applications, you can just insert the diagram. Furthermore, you can even edit and share the document from the application itself. That makes the integration seamless and productive as you can work seamlessly with these document-based applications and other G suite programs.

However, you need to be careful while using the Google application when a diagram is required to be shared with anyone else.

While working on Lucidchart, you need to set an access level. Let’s consider you have set the access level for a particular diagram as “View Only” level.

Now while sharing the diagram through integrations, you need to set the access level again. Here, establishing a more liberal access level will dominate the access level provided on the Lucidchart. So, if you set the access level to “Allow Edit,” the person will be able to make the changes irrespective of the level you have set on Lucidchart. It can be the case with other integrations also.

Similarly, you can also connect it to the Microsoft document-based programs such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. In short, with all the programs which come under Office365.

As we mentioned above, Microsoft Teams is one of the prominent and newly added integrations for team management, we need to discuss it in detail.

Lucidchart allowing users connecting it to Microsoft Teams is a worthy effort that makes the sharing effortless. You can share it with the whole team by creating a tab on the MS Teams. You can use all the Lucidchart functions making it easier to edit the document even while using a third-party application.

There can be some features which are absent on the application itself. But it widens the usage when the application is efficient enough to provide so many integrations.

Apart from the discussed integrations, you can also find Lucidchart as an add-on to Confluence, Jira Software, and Canvas. Edraw Max gives a tough competition to Lucidchart when it comes to diagramming, but when the integrations are taken into consideration, Edraw Max gets doesn’t stand a chance due to its platform availability.

Help Center and Community

As Lucidchart has wide-ranging features, subscribers may need help regarding multiple concerns like finding elements and using them, sharing the content, billing, and subscription, etc.

Therefore, Lucidchart has no option but to take care of the concerns of its users. That requires a knowledgeable support team as well as advanced self-help options.

We stated that the support is provided to the free users also, and this is a positive point worthy of mentioning.

Rather than live chat, you can use the provision of posting a query on the community. Else you can go through the already published posts and perhaps, you will find the solution.

In the Help Center, there are articles categorized under various sections. Along with the articles, you will also find tutorials and slideshows which can be used to solve the issues.

If nothing works, contacting support is always an option. However, you may need to wait for some time to get their reply.

Summing up

Lucidchart is a web-based diagramming application which means you can start creating charts and visual representations whenever you want to, from any device, and any location.

All you need is good internet connectivity, and everything that you saved will appear on the dashboard.

We found that the number of template categories is vast. The categorization is done efficiently which allows the user to see the template which would fit perfectly for the job that he requires to perform. However, he may not find the required template if it is not available.

We have already discussed that there is a need for adding more templates in a few of the categories about which you should know before purchasing the Lucidchart.

The shape library is vast, and we have found most of the elements here. But they must not forget that there is an endless possibility of adding more features.

This will also maintain the interest of users who will keep discovering the use of new additions to the applications.

The application is easy to use, and a very few products hold such capability of delivering so many diagram types. Even though the product requires small changes which we have discussed the review, still, it is one of its kind and hence, users must at least try the free version.

Top Features

Chart Design
  • Cloud Based
  • Drag & Drop
  • Multi User
Collaboration
  • Group Chat
  • Group Comments
  • Cross Platform
  • Development History
  • Embed Diagrams
Security
  • Encryption
  • Automated Backup
  • 99.9% Uptime
  • Role Based Permissions

Visibility

Overall Visibility Score 61.13

Score Influencers

  • Overall
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Website Mentions
  • Estimated Visitors

Company Information

Company Name: Lucid Software Inc.

Founded In: 2009

Address: 10808 South River Front Parkway Suite 600, South Jordan, Utah, USA

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