Reviewed: Geetesh Bajaj
March 25th 2010
March 25th 2010
Visual content often scores higher than pure textual content -- and this has been proved by several scientific studies and surveys. Yet it is not always easy to create and use visual content in slides, documents, or even web pages because the tools required in creating such content typically involve a long learning curve, and familiarity with some new terminology. Our review product, SmartDraw 2010 overcomes these limitations and allows normal office people to create good looking and effective business graphics. How does it fare? Read on.
SmartDraw 2010 is from SmartDraw.com, a company based in San Diego, CA, United States. You can download a trial version of Smart Draw 2010 from their site...
SmartDraw 2010 is the new, updated version available as a free upgrade for SmartDraw 2009.5 users -- if you are using version 2009.5, you can download the upgrade from the SmartDraw site...
My contact at
SmartDraw.com for this review was Aaron Stannard - thank you, Aaron.
We have already reviewed several previous versions of SmartDraw, including SmartDraw 2009.5, SmartDraw 2008, and SmartDraw 2007. So rather than do a general review of this version, we will look at the new features in this version. We have divided these new features under several categories below:
Time Saving features:
- The new Templates Browser makes it easy to find the visual you need for your project, as shown in Figure 1.
- The Search function helps you find the visual you are looking much faster.
- Now you can add shapes to flowcharts, org chart, and other visuals by using keyboard shortcut keys. You can also use Ctrl+arrow keys to add shapes in different directions or just press the Enter key to add a shape.
- By default, shapes now have the new 3D style applied. You can change the styles based on your requirement.
Figure 1: Templates browser
Project Managment features:
- Tasks are automatically added as something is typed on the charts.
- You can adjust the time scale of the task.
- You can also hide the colums for compact charts.
- Collapse and expand the sub-task for detail and summary
- Show the percentage of completion for each task.
- Start the task in a Mind Map template, and later convert it to a Project Chart.
- Import the task to Microsoft Project.
- SmartDraw 2010 integrates with Microsoft PowerPoint adding new capabilities in making PowerPoint presentations easily.
- You can export SmartDraw visuals to Microsoft PowerPoint with one click.
- With the PowerPoint Storyboard option, you can author a full PowerPoint presentation.
- SmartDraw 2010 reads Visio files and allows the user to edit them.
- The user can convert entire folders containing Visio files to SmartDraw visuals using Visio Converter.
- SmartDraw integrates with Sharepoint just like other Microsoft Office applications.
- The new Markup feature lets you comment.
SmartDraw 2010 costs $197 for a single-user license, and multi-user licenses are avilable.
Support options include manuals, knowledge base, e-mail, phone support, and FAQ. The SmartDraw.com web site also has extensive tutorial content.
SmartDraw has always been an extremely capable program -- version 2010 adds great collaboration and workflow features that makes the program contemporary and easier to use.