It is certainly easy to create charts using the tools inside PowerPoint -- or by using a specialized program like Rich Chart Builder. But what if your charting expert, boss, or publicist wants you to make very important changes at the last minute? That's certainly not easy -- especially if you don't have access to the program that you used to create it.
Luckily, Rich Chart Live -- the product we are reviewing today can cope up with all these issues because it is not a program in the conventional sense. In fact, Rich Chart Live is an online application which provides much of the same workflow capabilities like its sibling program Rich Chart Builder that we earlier reviewed on Indezine.Back
About Rich Chart Live
Rich Chart Live is from Blue Pacific Software, a company based in Portugal, Europe that creates Flash oriented rich media tools. Their other products include Rich Chart Builder, Turbine Video Encoder, etc. You can learn more about these products from their site (link no longer exists).
Rich Chart Live is an online service which creates interactive and animated charts it works exactly like Rich Chart Builder, although some of the features are not the same -- for one, it does not allow you to add audio narration, nor does it support the publishing of the chart to JPEG and PDF. Having said that, it has the essential charting options like a choice of different templates and styles to choose from like 3D, shaded chart styles, etc. And yes, you can publish to Flash SWF movies and PowerPoint presentations.
My contact at Rich Chart Live for this review was Manuel Fernandes - thank you, Manuel.Back
Rich Chart Live runs as an online application service -- so there is no software to download and install. All you require is a web browser with a nice internet connection that supports Flash. And you could be running any of the browsers on Windows, Mac, or Linux that support Flash.
To avail the service, you need to buy a subscription. After paying for your subscription online, you will be provided by a Personal Access Code. Open the Rich Chart Live site and enter the Personal Access Code in the text box provided and you will be signed in (see Figure 1 in the next section).
If you want to sign for a free trial before buying a subscription, you can do that as well -- any charts that you create will be watermarked.Back
Using Rich Chart Live
Let's now get started with using Rich Chart Live.
- Browse to the Rich Chart Live site and enter the Personal Access Code provided to you in the text box, as shown in Figure 1.
Figure 1: Enter the Personal Access Code
- This opens the Rich Chart Live interface, as shown in Figure 2.
Figure 2: Rich Chart Live Interface
- The interface is explained below:
- Preview is where you can see all the changes applied on the chart.
- Properties has seven different tabs for parameters and settings:
- Template allows you to choose a preset chart template.
- Data (see Figure 3) is where data can be input by importing, copy-paste from Excel, or typing manually. The other options at the right allow you to add rows and columns, and to give names to their respective series.
Figure 3: Data
- Series Style(see Figure 4) allows you to customize the series type, style and sub-type -- and the color palette for the series values and labels.
Figure 4: Series Style
- Axes (see Figure 5) is where you can choose the type of axes you want to use. Choose the axes type and style, and tweak other parameters like color and legend.
Figure 5: Axes
- Animation (see Figure 6) has options to choose chart animation presets -- you can also control the animation speed.
Figure 6: Animation
- Layout (see Figure 7) lets you enhance the chart with elements like a title, axis legend, background theme, etc.
Figure 7: Layout
- Publish (see Figure 8) allows you to export chart to two primary formats:
Figure 8: Publish
- Flash (.swf): Macromedia Flash movie.
PowerPoint (.ppt) PowerPoint presentation.
- When all the options are selected, publish the chart into an output format of your choice. All throughout, you can preview the chart before publishing by clicking the Preview button at the top right of the properties pane (see Figure 2 earlier on this page).
Pricing and Support
Rich Chart Live is an online service for which you subscribe -- a monthly subscription is for $79.00. You can even purchase the subscription on a daily or weekly basis.
Support options include email support, and a help manual.Back
I like Rich Chart Live, but it certainly seems like a work in progress now -- there's no obvious way to save your charts on the Rich Chart Live site and come back later and edit them -- or even collaborate on creating them with someone else. That's a serious shortcoming.
Now to the pros -- Rich Chart Live creates great charts and it works fast as well -- and I like that I can download PowerPoint slides with pre-populated Flash charts. And of course -- you can create charts with Rich Chart Live anywhere as long as you are connected online. Finally, simple day, week, and month plans mean that you only have to pay for how often you want to use the program.Back