ASCII Diagram Tools

by Yves Dagenais on April 26 2012

In more than one occasion I wanted the ability to diagram something in text.  Unfortunately, there aren’t many ASCII diagram drawing tools; especially for the Mac.


ASCII Flow is a nifty online tool that does the job perfectly.  Here’s an example:

                Web Request
         +-----+  Controller  +-----+
         |     +--------------+     |
         |                          |
         |                          |
         |                          |
         v                          v
  +--------------+          +--------------+
  |    Model     |< --------+     View     |
  +--------------+          +--------------+

One nice feature with this tool is that they've integrated Ditaa; a tool that allows the generation of graphical diagrams from ascii art. So simply click on the Ditaa! button on AsciiFlow and it will generate this:

ASCII Diagram using ASCIIFlow and Ditaa


Another nice little ASCII drawing tool is JavE. It's a desktop application that's written in Java so it can run on Windows, OSX or Linux. JavE is more of an ASCII drawing tool but it does allow you to do some diagrams.

             | Controller  |
             |             |
              ,'        `.
            ,'            `.
           -                -
 ,'''''''''''''|      ,''''''''''''`.
 |    Model    |______|    View     |
 |             |      |             |
  `''''''''''''       '`'''''''''''''

Did you find any other tools out there? Post your findings in the comments.


  1. Martin Schayna |

    OK, some findings 🙂 JavE supports “algorithmic” rectangles and lines, which ditaa can consume too. Thanks for the whole new world I could explore…

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