Eric Baker

Hints & tips
Charts & diagrams

v7.4  14 January 2018  © Eric Baker

How do I find the best software for doing charts and diagrams?

No such thing - it depends on what you want to do as well as on your budget. You can spend huge sums for software to do 3D designs of buildings or mechanical parts. For 2D charts Microsoft Visio is very good but it's very expensive so I use the pretty good Draw package in Libre Office. Here's an example:

Backups diagram
That shows my backup procedures. The diagram is maintained in Libre Office then I add a semi transparent cloud over it in Photoshop. I could probably do it all in Draw.

Most word processors will allow basic charting but they tend not to be very good at it, eg Word 2003 was very poor with diagrams with arrow connectors. Presentation packages such as PowerPoint do quite a reasonable job on charts. If you have PowerPoint (or similar) that's one choice until you become an expert.

There are all sorts of specialist bits of software for designing kitchens, gardens etc and some is available online, eg for geneology. There's also gliffy online - free for up to 5 diagrams (but they're viewable by anyone). I'll stick with Libre Office.

How do I create a flowchart? Flowchart

Basically it's just a matter of thinking carefully about the steps in a process (like it is or else how it should work in future) then documenting them along the lines of the simple PowerPoint example shown.

I used to be ace at creating flowcharts way back when I was a salary-man. A portion from one of the simplest, used for training, is shown below, done in Visio.

Process flow

How do I plan my new kitchen or garden?

There are some specialised packages but PowerPoint or Libre Office Draw might work. Drawing

This might just be one of those tasks where cutting out scale drawings on card, of cooker, tables etc and moving them around a paper template then gluing them when finished might work much better than trying to computerise everything in sight. You can always scan the results if you need to email them or incorporate them in some other document.

Another alternative is the planners you can use online with IKEA and others. They tend to be limited to what they sell but can give a good 3D idea of how your new kitchen or bedroom might look.