Draw Your Flowchart Using PENCIL for FREE, an Alternative for Microsoft Visio

AsSalam and hi all,

For most system developers, system designer or any other production team (also including  student that developing final year software project..please stop using MsWord to draw a flowchart! ), drawing a diagram or flow chart is important to ensure the development can be start with a clear direction and understanding.

Usually, I personally using Microsoft Visio (MsVisio / Visio) to draw flow chart or any other system development or project diagrams. Due to the recent update and format, I dont have Visio installed in my laptop. I also remember using an online Visio via Office360, but it just not available now as I noticed.??? or I need to update/upgrade and pay for the service now, which I reluctant to do so.

 

 

So, lets look what other software or tools we can use to draw a flow chart, easy, and free? Let me introduce PENCIL, an open-source GUI prototyping tool that’s available for ALL platforms. Pencil is built for the purpose of providing a free and open-source GUI prototyping tool that people can easily install and use to create mockups in popular desktop platforms.

 

To start install and use PENCIL, download the software here. Ensure to choose your suitable OS version;

  1. Once you done download the installer, click and run the installer. Click Next if you wish to install in default destination folder.
  2. It will just take few minutes to install, wait for it.
  3. Done, click Finish button and run Pencil
  4. The main window give an option to choose either to open existing document or create new. For this tutorial, lets click Create a New Document.

  5. New document ready to draw.
  6. At the side panel, you will found option to choose drawing shape category , select Flowchart.
  7. Just simply drag and drop any shape you need in to the drawing stage area. PENCIL also provide features to align your shape easy.
  8. To draw a relation or flow line, just click on 1st point and drag to 2nd point where it should connected,
  9. Example , simple flow line connected with IF , ELSE line Yes and No.
  10. To write details in your shape, just double click on the shape and start write.
  11. Assuming your drawing is complete, lets take a look on how to save your drawing and export it. But 1st, lets see what other setting PENCIL provide. Go to navigation menu next to the PENCIL logo, select Settings…
     
  12. There are 3 tabs, I will explain the General tab and you may explore the other tabs. In General tab, you have option to show or hide grid, adjust the grid size, snapping option and edit option. Once you made any modification, click Close button o apply the update.
  13. Alright, now lets save the drawing 1st. Go to main menu and select Save. Select a folder where you want to save it and click Save button.
  14. Notice that we still have Untitled Page as the drawing name. To rename it, right click on the button name and select Properties. Change the Page Title and click Update button.
        
  15. Now we already save the drawing. To export it, go to main menu and select Export…
  16. There are few Output type option available to choose. In this example, I select Single web page. Then click Export button.
  17. You will find the export file in your project folder. Simple, free and easy.

 

Its simple but may help you to organize or plan your work batter. Some still using normal MsWord to draw a flowchart or any other development diagram, which is not a good way to do it. This is a simple and direct tutorial, you may explore more on PENCEL. Good luck and hope its helps. Thank you.