How To Use Dia as a Free Replacement for Microsoft Visio

The diagramming software comes at a price in the retail market out there. The Microsoft Visio 2007 for one does not come lesser than $260.

Its price can be as high as $550 if you are going for a professional version. That is a huge sum for those who are looking to get software at a reasonable price – or even free. But there is no need to worry. Dia is the alternative you are looking for.

using dia

Dia is the perfect alternative because it comes totally free of cost. Though it is free, it can give a professional service. You can create electronic circuit diagrams, simpler flowcharts and diagrams related to computer network. The good thing is that Dia allows you to export the diagrams with a range of image formats. Via this, you can even import these diagrams to Microsoft Visio.

How to Use Dia

Before you use Dia, remember that it is not as glamorous as the Microsoft Visio. However, it does not disappoint you as you can create images with great details. A toolbar greets you as soon as you launch Dia. With the options and objects available on the toolbar, you can create charts, diagrams and graphs. Canvas is another screen that opens for you. This is the place where you can create as well as edit the projects.

dia tools

Creating a Computer Network Diagram

By the way, you can create complex diagrams using this free alternative as well. However, to start off, an easy example will be much better to introduce what Dia can do for you. For this simple test, we can create a grass root computer network diagram. Creating such a diagram is not too difficult task, as there are images available in the object libraries by default.


With a range of options at your disposal, you will have to set up your toolbox according to your needs. Creating such a diagram is quite simple if you have a basic idea of the computer network diagram. It is easy for another reason that there are images in the libraries so all you need to do is use them at the correct places. It is as simple as drag and drop process.

setting up tool box

Working With The Images

Once you select the objects you want to use, place them on the canvas by clicking the canvas area. As any image processor allows you, you can rescale the images on the canvas. You can even move them around to see how they fit best on the canvas. You can name the images as there are labels and text boxes easily accessible.

working with images

The interesting option is of converting the diagram to various different formats. You just have to right click on the image which shows the menu and the options.

converting diagram into different formats

But remember, you have to save the file first before you can use this option. As you have the freedom of saving the image in your favorite or desired file format, it becomes easier to use the file in an email or even on a web server.