yEd Graph Editor Reviews

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Like: Fantastic tool to get the job done! Simple no frills.

Down: The lines sometimes become angled. This causes the OCD part of me really nervous. I like my flowchart lines at right angles.

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Great free software, now with online version!

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I came to this about 10 years ago, went away after a few uses, then came back to it having tried some other apps, and have been using it steadily for 5+ years. This is an excellent graphing tool. For quickly creating a simple diagram to explain something, or to produce an elaborate diagram for an evolving design, this is pretty good. I run it on Windows and Linux and there is no problem with moving between the OS. Stability is good as well. I'd definitely pay money for this app.


Deceptively awesome

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The only graphing application I've used that actively helps you think through and manage complexity. I've tried lots from Visio to Omnigraffle to Sketch to MindManager, etc. Usually they help you add node and node, while the diagram gets more and more complex - until it finally gets unusably complicated, and abandoned!

yEd is great for creating and exploring complex hierarchies - and especially exploring as your create. You can add boxes, figure what they join to, then focus (in the 'Neighborhood' and related views) on just that node and it closest neighors (or successors/predecessors). This lets you revisit and review tiny chunks of the diagram at a time, seeing clearly what they require and what they create.


Not recommended

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• Portable yet Need java to run
• No label and auto resize for a shape


No auto resize for a shape : wrong : a shape can adjust to its label, check the options IIRC

alright i will review it soon

Wonderfully logical!

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I have looked at several diagramming and mind-mapping tools, including some of the most popular, and found most of them tedious or frustrating in various ways.
Having just found yEd I am already impressed with many aspects:

  • its versatility: it seems easy to do what I want, without yEd making assumptions about what that is, or constraining me to a particular style (which mindmapping tools often do)
  • its ease of use: Many tools leave me thinking 'But I just want to ... , why is it so awkward to do?' Not so with yEd.
  • Its logic: This is what makes me enjoy it. Somehow it all makes sense - more than most other tools. There's a clear logical mind behind yEd.

best for years

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My choice for many years now. I even to class diagrams, workflows, etc. I love it!



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This straightforward and clean program makes it really easy to create nice looking graphs that are properly aligned and arranged. I used it to make almost all of the diagrams in my PhD dissertation, except for the graphs which were made with R (another excellent but totally different tool, along with RStudio).

The UI is sometimes a bit clunky, but for the most part everything is smooth and logical, and the automatic layout options are very powerful. One of my favourite features in yEd is graph distance colouring, where you can set up a gentle fade or other colour transition along a tree of nodes.

[Edited by DestyNova, November 16]


Best graph tool, hands down

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Very simple, yet powerful and high performance tool. It's free, open source, and best of all, supported on all major platforms!


Thank You!

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I've been using yEd now since third semester. I'm studying information systems at the Hochschule der Medien in Stuttgart. Right now I've finished my bachelor thesis.

yEd have always been useful to me. In my study-time I used it mainly for modelling UML, eEPK and BPMN 2.0.1. But during my bachelor thesis yEd was especially helpful to me. The bachelor thesis was about process modeling for homogenization of the IT architecture. So, process modelling and IT-Architecture obviously played a big part in it. For this purpose I used the BPMN 2.0.1 modelling notation and the process support map, which is subarea of the software cartography.

I don't know which tool I would have used instead of yEd for my purpose. As a student I'm really happy to have such a powerful tool as yEd, not to mention that it is for free!

So, thank you yEd for providing this tool for all uf us. Keep up the good work so that more students like me can use it to get their bachelor's degree!


Atith Songtham


This is the one I was looking for

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I was a little leery of a java application, and if you open ALL THE TOOLBAR PALETTES at once, you will experience a slowdown perhaps, and thus concludes the negative portion of the review.

I swore off of using cracked software some time ago, but I have used and enjoyed OmniGraffle.
I have USED others, but not necessarily enjoyed. If you, Dear Reader of This Comment, need to "Go to print" with your diagram, then you will probably want OmniGraffle.

IF however you want simplicity, and something that "stays more or less how you configure it once you configure it" go for yEd.

I like that the default format is not a binary file, so that I can keep mindmaps in with git repositories without incurring the cost/drawbacks of binary files.

I didn't love the way you make nodes at first, because I hadn't even looked at the preferences yet. Once I checked a box, everything was all good. ( made the nodes fit the labels auto)

I use this thing for brainstorming software architecture and it has helped me put a few things in order. Actually. There were times when I would find myself pausing the moment after I opened up previous mindmappers, pausing to think "WHY THE F AM I DOING THIS" and then I would generally close the program, next. With one app in particular, I could never understand why the keyboard shortcuts were so illogical. I'm not saying yEd's are great, but I don't find myself needing them, so it all works out.


Powerful diagramming tool for free !

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I find this software very useful, invaluable and much better than many (if not all) commercial sofwtares.

Easy to use, smart, intuitive and a lot more : the perfect tool for high quality diagramms !


yEd is amazing. And free. It has so many capabilities.

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First -- I'm writing this because I'm in hacker love with this software. And I feel like I owe yWorks something for the gift. So thank you. and here goes....

yEd is java based software - runs on anything - that helps you make node-edge diagrams. So, anything from simple flowcharts to one of those wild thousand node network diagrams.

I use it mostly when I need to show connections between steps in a process, or between concepts, or to make a model of the basic physiology behind an experiment. Recently I used it to put together diagrams for a grant proposal, so you can make them beautiful if you need to. When I first got yEd, I was put off by the default look. Don't be.

If it's simple, and you want to do it by hand, yEd has great alignment guides -- way better than Keynote or PPT. Not only shows you when things are lining up, but when things are spaced evenly -- in pretty complex situations. Beautiful.

Now, if you have something really complex, you might not want to lay it out yourself. yEd has many different automated (and tweakable) layout schemes. Try it. Tweak it and yEd lays it out again. Repeat until your happy. Keep in mind that pretty much everything is tweakable.

What I've been doing of late is to hack out the basics of the diagram by writing, by hand or with scripting, a list of nodes and connections using the so-called Trivial Graph Format that yEd supports.

TGF is a simple text file that looks like this:

  • 0 first step
  • 1 another step
  • 2 session start
  • 3 baseline urine collection
  • 4 IV ports placed
  • 5 baseline blood collection
  • 0 1
  • 1 5
  • 1 3
  • 2 4

[If that list shows up with bullets in this review -- skip the bullets]

So, first the nodes. Then the connections (edges). Do not forget the # between the list of nodes and the list of connections.(!) I think the connections can have labels too, but I haven't used that. Give the file the .tgf extension and open it in yEd. Apply an automated format to get things started. Then go to work.

This can be taken to extremes. Recently, an old project came back to haunt me that had limped along on the back burner for a couple years. [Actually, i like the project, but you get the idea]. Anyway -- Now, all the sudden, the project was (maybe) moving to the front burner. I needed to figure out where everything was and what was related to what. Dozens of R statistical coding programs, which read dozens of data files and output dozens of output pdfs, pngs, etc. Ouch. And no, it wasn't beautifully top-down designed because I wasn't supposed to be the main guy. I was just helping out from time to time. It was a rats' nest, made by ADHD rats.

So I wrote some code (in R) to navigate the directory tree, scanning the text inside R files for other filenames, and then writing all those filenames and their connections in the Trivial Graph Format. 200+ nodes and 300 edges.

Read it into yEd. Pick an automated layout. Boom. Complex network diagram that I can now use to pull the project back together. yEd loves this stuff. [And I love yEd. Isn't that sweet.]

So, just download yEd and start playing. If you can drive stick, so much the better. Do not underestimate this tool. I've barely scratched the surface myself.

Anyway -- this is my thank you to the folks at yWorks. Wow. Makes me wonder what you get if you actually buy something from them.

[Edited by rs123, October 09]


Thank you for confirming what I've been seeking for years.

Let me know what you've further experienced.

Best wishes,

David Holliday

Excellent free software

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Since a couple of years I've been using the software and it has a lot of amazing features! Automatic layout algorithms give impressive results. It is great it's free.
It is easy to start with it, but it takes a while to unlock the real power hidden in it. It is by far the best free piece of software I've found and I am glad it remains that way. There are plans to implement it in Android too, and I can't wait to have it available in my tab.