SmartDraw recently released a Tablet PC version of SmartDraw 2007 and I was able to test this software first hand. I have to say I was impressed because I am not an artist, by any means. SmartDraw makes it possible for anyone to create professional quality business graphics such as flowcharts, org charts, Gantt charts, time-lines, floor plans and more in minutes.
It was easy to download and only took about 10 minutes for the full, 3GB version to load. Once you download the software it automatically adds an icon to your desktop and you’re ready to get started. When you open the program it directs you to a list of options that can be overwhelming for some users. These options are actually different templates for you to choose from. Then inside each template like the calendar, mind-map, flowchart, marketing graph, certificate or a floor plan, there are more options and features. It is a never ending process, but it can be simple if need be.
This is the calendar I created. As you can see it is possible to add in icons for appointments, lunch meetings, haircuts, etc… It is very easy to use and you can choose from a large selection of calendar templates from animals, to black and white, scenic views or just plain. (view large image)
SmartDraw 2007 is the company’s first Tablet PC-enabled version, allowing users to take notes and create high quality graphics on the go. It was nice to be able to write directly on the screen and input your information on the charts or graphs. Most of their templates help keep you organized like the flow charts or mind-maps, but there are templates for business professionals. You can create graphs, floor plans, forms, electrical diagrams, web pages or entire presentations. Not only can you create an entire presentation, but you can save and export it as a PowerPoint, Word or Excel document, PDF and as a JPG photograph. That is one of the great features about SmartDraw 2007, especially for mobile users.
This is my small office floor plan. I enjoyed creating my own floor plan because I got to be the designer. As you can see I put the offices in the back corners, the receptionist and kitchen to the right and the waiting lounge to the left. You can choose the color of your furniture, the texture of your desks and floor and even where you want to put the walls, doors and windows. (view large image)
This tool really comes in handy if you are looking to design a new office, a room in your house or even redo your landscaping. You can create a professional floor plan and show it to the architect or designer, without being embarrassed by your scribbles. The Tablet version lets you ink directly on any floor plan template. You can add in your own notes or describe what you want. It also has the convert to text function, for those of us with unreadable handwriting. With over 150 professionally designed templates and a library of over 20,000 standard symbols and shapes you can create any thing you want.
This is my mock-up marketing sales graph for a Honda Dealership. (view large image)
If you don’t like comparison charts then you can choose to do a pie chart or bar graph. If you want it, I can pretty much guarantee this program has it. The only problem is since there are so many options it is hard to navigate your way around. SmartDraw does let you create professional documents in minutes though, so if you are short on time this would work for you.
Overall, SmartDraw 2007 is a great program. It lets you express your creativity, make professional charts and diagrams, presentations and calendars or award certificates, which are great for the kids. I liked all the options and templates, I mean you could change anything you wanted from the shape of an object to the size of a line, but this may be overwhelming for some. The ink input worked well and made it is easy to write on the screen, once you figure out how to get rid of the text box. The ink input adds a personal touch, which helps when you need a signature on a document or when you are creating a birthday calendar.
- The ink (pen) input works great and gives it a personal touch
- Affordable, especially considering all the features
- Takes only minutes to create a professional looking chart
- Can save and export anything you create as a PowerPoint, Word or Excel document, PDF and as a JPG.
- Difficult to navigate around program
- Overwhelming feature choices (for some users)
- User manual extremely long
SmartDraw is available for purchase now with prices starting at $197. For more information click here.