Review: SmartDraw 7
SmartDraw 7 Suite Edition
San Diego, California
SmartDraw is a drawing program that features an amazing variety of
built-in symbols and impressive ease-of-use at an excellent price. I
recently got hold of the latest version and gave it a try. I already
liked SmartDraw before this, and now I like it even more.
Say, for example, you need a UML diagram for a proposal. You don't
really want to fire up a full UML tool just for this, so you start
SmartDraw and tell it you want a new drawing. You get an extensive list
of categorized templates. Select the Software Design category and there
are dozens of UML drawings, from blank UML documents to fully
Double-click a template to open it. You'll also get a bunch of symbol
libraries and a UML Wizard. The wizard is modeless (so you can interact
with it AND with your drawing at the same time), and it shows you how to
do most basic drawing tasks. Click a button here to go to SmartDraw's
online UML Center, which will give you instructions on drawing common
diagrams. Or, of course, just start dragging symbols and lines on to the
diagram and playing with their formatting.
Want more? There are tens of thousands of symbols in their library. You
may never need a medical illustration of scabies, a great horned owl, or
an abacus on your drawings, but if you do they're here. You can also
easily package your own corporate artwork into reusable symbol
There are lots of other features here. For instance, you can export
diagrams to the Web or to HTML files. You can apply consistent styling
across entire drawings at once with the click of a button. You can
create floor plans, organizational charts, or Gantt charts (there are in
fact less expensive editions focused on these individual chart types).
This new version features an upgraded, more modern looking user
interface, improved ease of use, and improved floor planning. Plus it
seems like it has more artwork choices, though I'm not sure I ever
managed to look at all of the ones in the old one. Anyhow, if you find
yourself needing to put together art for presentations, proposals, or
just your kid's school, this is definitely worth a look.
Mike Gunderloy has been developing software for a quarter-century now, and writing about it for nearly as long. He walked away from a .NET development career in 2006 and has been a happy Rails user ever since. Mike blogs at A Fresh Cup.