LucidChart is a very nice diagramming and flowchart tool which is integrated with Microsoft Office for Windows or Mac.
Office has diagram tools via Insert | Shapes but they aren’t very elegant. They serve for simple uses but not a lot more. LucidChart is better than the inbuilt Office diagram tools and not as expensive as Microsoft Visio.
Lucidchart is a lot smarter. Here’s a simple example where moving the ‘Heading 1’ shape automatically adjusts the arrows and there’s guides to indicate the gaps above and below..
According to LucidChart’s press release “Previously, Lucidchart users exported files as static images and copied them into Microsoft Office documents. With the new add-ins, users can now create and insert Lucidchart diagrams directly into their Word, Excel and PowerPoint projects”. That’s stretching it … the new system isn’t as good as those words make it seem.
You still can only add an image from LucidChart into Office documents, but the process is somewhat easier. It’s not true Office integration where the diagram is editable inside the Office program.
Installing LucidChart in Office apps
LucidChart for Office is an Office addin, go to Insert | Addins | Get addins and search for “Lucid” in either Office for Windows or Mac.
The free plan is limited but with enough to try out LucidChart.
Login with a Google account (but not a Microsoft account) or create a separate login.
The LucidChart addin for Office is a portal to view the documents (diagrams) saved in your account with Lucidchart.
From the addin pane you can create a new diagram or edit and existing one. Clicking those buttons opens up a browser window and starts LucidChart.
Lucidchart is a browser based program and a good example of how advanced programs can be in the once humble browser.
Once you’ve finished making your diagram, save it and switch back to Office. Select the Lucidchart document when click Insert. The add-in will convert your diagram into an image then insert the image into your Office document.
The inserted image and Lucidchart diagram are NOT linked. Any changes to the LucidChart are not automatically reflected in your Office document. You’ll need to re-insert the diagram and replace the image.
The Office add-in is free and Lucidchart has free accounts plus a seven day trial of their paid offerings.
For more details go to Lucidchart.