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I'm not sure if this is on topic here, but it's not exactly against the rules in the Help Centre so I'll give it a shot.

I want to create a few simple 2D vector images like floor plans or furniture diagrams with some measure arrows on sides etc. When I'm done, I'd like to put them on the web, which means exporting to PNG or better yet - SVG.

The last time I did something like that was 15 years ago and then I used Microsoft Visio. It wasn't great, but usable. However I don't have access to it anymore and I think there should be better free tools today anyway.

I tried using OpenOffice Draw, and I did make something, but it was pretty much a pain and I feel like the UI for doing it could have been a LOT better. In addition, the PNG/SVG export results leave a lot to be desired. Perhaps Draw simply isn't meant for this kind of work.

So - what would be a good free tool for creating such diagrams?

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Try Inkscape. It has steep learning curve, but it makes SVGs without any conversions, it uses SVG as its internal format.

Inkscape is so widely used that good tutorials are easy to find.

BTW I use still pre-Microsoft Visio for electric schematics. It works well for small jobs altough it's not a CAD. Microsoft made it heavy process and system documentation tool where simple drawing started to look out a waste of resources, altough it was well possible, even easier than in the Shapeware era.

Another possiblity is a freeware CAD such as IMSI DoubleCAD. With CAD you gain a good boost in exact drawing capablities:

enter image description here

For example if you have shapes which do not fit to any grid, but you must place point C exactly where a vertical line from A and a horizontal line from B cross, you can get the needed guides in a CAD without any waiting. Illustrator has something like it (=smart guides) but in Inkscape you must insert guide lines. In addition CAD programs know tangent lines for curves.

Unfortunately many CAD programs have poor SVG support (=export only, obscure groupings, omission of colors and stroke types, texts are not text objects but contain a thousand small SVG shapes- but still they advertise SVG support)

  • The version I used was just a little after it was bought by Microsoft, but it was still close to the "original". I don't know what's happened to it in the past decade though. – Vilx- Jul 29 '18 at 15:23

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