Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Office 2.0: Basic Visio Replacement

Visio is a great tool for creating all sorts of diagrams - from simple to very complex. In UPDATED: Educational Uses of Web 2.0 Based Applications, I referenced webware and a particular web-based application - Gliffy - that is a free alternative to MS Visio. Here is another called LucidChart. While Gliffy can handle a variety of diagrams, LucidChart is even more bare-bones, focusing solely on flowcharts. While neither will replace Visio, both are handy when you're in a hurry and you need a simple diagram. Flowchart: LucidChart Makes Stripped-Down Flowcharts for Free
Flowcharts are supposed to be a combination of words and line drawings anyone can grasp, but some software solutions get far too complex with them.

LucidChart, an online flowchart creator that offers a free plan with 5MB of online storage, gets back to black-ink/white-background basics. The standard process/decision/input/etc. inputs are in a left-hand toolbar, the diagram background is graph-lined paper, and it works fairly snappy on most browsers. There are custom images for certain fields, and you can upload custom images if you'd like. But for those who just want a clean and easy PDF, screengrab, or print-out, LucidChart's basic tools are best. LucidChart has a free plan that requires a sign-up.

1 comment:

Barton George said...

Hi Mike,

At the risk of shameless self-promotion I'd like to bring up another Visio replacement in the area of process mapping and discovery, Lombardi Blueprint http://www.lombardisoftware.com/bpm-blueprint-product.php We are offering it free to professors and students who use it for education. Pls feel free to ping me directly if you would like more info barton@lombardi.com

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