Five flow charting applications
As a freelance technology writer, I find myself often having to create various types of charts. In doing so, I have discovered that there are a number of different tools available to help you to create flowcharts. Here are five such tools.
Credit: Images by Brien Posey for TechRepublic
Any suggestions for organizational charts. I'm using Powerpoint and it's good but slow to get everything just right. I need to have boxes automatically change to the largest size in a category. (some position names are longer and need more space but I want all the boxes to default to the largest sized one or maybe the font size could change to make things uniform. Also one where lines automatically go the appropriate box and I don't have to worry about length and angle. Thanks.
I have used RFFLOW for over ten years. Very fast, easy to learn and use. I have Visio, but I always go back to RFFLOW for flowcharts.
Well, these dont actually look that impressive, I was recently introduced to a software called yEd from yWorks which is fast, windows based, free and can create decent looking flowcharts and diagrams without even having to think - what's particularly strong is the ability to rearrange everything easily...
The options presented in the article amount to TinkerToys, not much better than the days of DOS 6.1.
In the end, nothing can beat Graphviz for raw power and flexibility, but it requires a commitment to understanding the underlying basic graph theory and character based metaphor.
But GraphVisio combines the raw power of Graphviz with the grahpical Visio drag'n'drop interface to give the best of both worlds.
This is still an area that cries out for the 'killer app'.
Whoever designed this webpage presentation should be taken out & whipped.
Has he no concept that the whimpy forward/backward buttons are so well disguised that only a determined search rolling eyeballs around the page will eventually reveal.
The web is about being convenient, intuitive, & obvious which requires a little skill.
SmartDraw is the easiest to use of all of these, since it has the most built-in automation. You can even use the keyboard to create a flowchart. Shapes are automatically connected, try building a flowchart in real-time in a meeting or via Go-to-Meeting sometime with any of these other products, and you will see why SmartDraw is by far the fastest.
Arrow/Slide controls aren't working in Linux Firefox v23.0.1. Who/what platform is this page designed for? What happened to the traditional write-up?
edit: finally got slides to slide after several minutes' background loading.
Can't believe you left out Cacoo. Does all this and more, online and for free. I use it for all of my top level diagrams for C-Suite. They get tired of looking at Visio diagrams and this gives a fresh look.
You really missed out by not including a single cloud-based application in your list. There are a lot of good ones out there that let you avoid the hassles of installed software. Welcome to the 100% web-delivered world. Here is my quick list of six that are pretty good:
Bizagi (www.bizagi.com) is also great for professional flowcharts and creating SOPs in word through Bizagi. The paid version is useful for simulation however, the free version is complete for process mapping.
Slideshow doesn't seem to be working on Chrome? <- Never mind working now. Just wasn't patient enough