SmartDraw 2007.

Author:Grossman, Harris
Position:Review - Audiovisual review
 
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SmartDraw 2007, CD-ROM, 2007, SmartDraw.com, $297-$449.

Support: user guide, online tutorials, online knowledge base.

SmartDraw 2007 contains a wealth of graphics templates for business and personal use. The templates are divided into nine major categories, from flowcharts and organization charts to office-floor plans, process mapping, timelines, and Gantt charts. Besides the standard business edition, there are legal, healthcare, and CEMM editions. (These specialized editions cost more.)

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When you select a graphics category in SmartDraw, it opens up a list of subcategories from which you can select smart templates, examples, or blank templates. You can modify templates as you choose.

On the lefthand side of the interface, there are various types of symbols that are typically used with the category. You can select a symbol with the left button of the mouse--say, a hand stamp symbol--and place it where you want it in the document by pressing the left button again. Symbols can be resized, text can be added, and effects can be applied.

Shapes of various kinds can be inserted and manipulated. When you put symbols into a document, shapes, symbols, lines, and text are automatically aligned. You can also create data-driven graphics with the program.

The program has a full range of formatting options, including text styles, line types, arrow types, background, color, and alignment. You can import pictures into your document very easily.

SmartDraw documents can be exported to numerous file formats such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PDF, JPG, HTML, PNG, TIFF, GIF, BMP, Windows Meta File, Enhanced Meta File, Adobe Illustrator, and MicroGrafx Draw. SmartDraw runs on Windows XP, 2000, or Vista.

If you aren't satisfied with all the templates and symbols included in the program, new ones are regularly added by the vendor and are available for download as updates.

SmartHelp appears on the righthand side of the interface. (If you don't need it, it can be turned off.) The help is both...

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