Basic draw software recommendations

Can anyone recommend a basic graphics program that doesn’t cost too much?

I have been using Visio for 20+ years, but recently upgraded to Office 365 and it isn’t included. A new license costs several hundred dollars.

Visio has some great features, especially for flowcharting, but it is also quirky and there are quite a few things that are difficult or impossible to do with it.

I’ve used Irfanview and Paint. IV is mainly for viewing and Paint is, well, Paint. :upside_down_face: I also tried GIMP, but found the UI impenetrable. :crazy_face:

Here are some of the features that I’d like to have:

  • Draw basic shapes.
  • Annotate photos and graphic images.
  • Support for layers.
  • Simple CAD-like drawings with dimensions.
  • Color shading and gradients.
  • Fit text to curves.
  • Support for what Visio calls a stencil – an object that is saved once, as in a library, and can then be used multiple times without having multiple copies (for large images).
  • Support for null backgrounds (png and gif).
  • An active user forum.
  • I’d like support for flowcharting, but that is not critical.

I’d like to pay up to $50, if possible, but could go to $100 or so for a really great program that is easy to use, has a great UI, and great support.

Thanks for any help

You want more than a little too much functionality for $50-100.
Even though Adobe Illustrator can do pretty much what you describe, on top of the monthly subscription fee, you’d need a plug-in for the CAD capability and that plug-in alone would cost nearly $400 (I know, I use it in my work. It’s indispensable and definitely worth the cost.)

Affinity Designer does most of what you need, except for the CAD dimensions aspect. As @PrintDriver said that can get expensive. But other than that Affinity Designer has active forums and everything else. Well, it also doesn’t have inherent flowcharting capability.

Bottom line if you really need CAD and flow-charting you may need to look specifically on a CAD forum for suggestions.

I don’t know anything about Visio, but a quick Google search turned up an article listing alternative software.

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