An Introduction to Diagramly
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Diagramly is proving to be a very popular tool people use online for their drawings and graphics needs. Similar in concept to the overly simplistic Microsoft Paint, it’s perfect drawing tool for creating charts and flow charts with innovation, diagrams of social networks which allows you to insert smaller images into it.
This online tool was developed by JGraph, which is an English company concentrating on developing visualization software, in particular graphs suitable for publishing online. One of the very cool aspects of Diagramly is how you are able to “drag and drop” components, shapes and images to where you want them placed. And there seems to be an almost endless supply of free components, clipart and images available for you to build up and create your drawing, and so therefore there is no limit to how creative you can be.
There’s no need to register to use the tool. Simply go to the website and start working with it. When you’ve completed what you want to draw, you can then download the finished item and save it to your computer in a variety of formats, all of which are suited to online web publishing. If you partially complete something, by all means save it to your computer to upload at a future time to complete it.
Getting Started with Diagramly
There are two main groups of people who use Diagramly – students and business people. The end results tend to be similar, in terms of producing flow charts, organization charts and network diagrams to show pictorially and visually messages which often don’t make sense when words are used. When I use the online software tool, I have almost always drawn a rough sketch of what I have in mind first, so that I can formalize it in Diagramly. And almost always I have searched around online for the images I am planning to embed into the chart or diagram and I have them saved conveniently in a project folder on my computer.
Like all online tools and every software application, the more you use it, the more proficient you will become. And so don’t be frightened off – jump right in and start clicking away at all the icons and tools that appear on the left hand side panel. And you will note that the top menu looks almost exactly like Microsoft Word and other word processing and office productivity applications.
So in fact the program is very intuitive to use, and needs no real training in its functions. Rather it only needs you to practice how to be creative, somewhat artistic in the way wish to present the information.
Up in the top left hand corner, you are able to select from your computer a file to open assuming you already have partially finished work to get on with, or some document you wish to edit. When you are completed doing what you doing, it is then a simple matter to use the “Save” or Save As” function standard in almost all applications to then save your work locally to your computer, and you have a variety of 4 file formats to choose from – either .JPG, .SVG, .PNG or .XML.
All of these formats are suitable for later printing, and/or publishing online embedded into web pages or downloadable from webpages. Alternatively, these formats allow your work to be circulated as email attachments or embedded into HTML style email content. And whilst the application itself is wonderful and easy to use, it is the ability to publish and distribute your finished work because of its standards based file formats used widely throughout the Internet that makes Diagramly an excellent tool for use by students and professionals alike.
Diagramly is highly function and useful in this sense, and it has vastly more powerful than its poor cousin, Microsoft’s Paint. The formatting options available with Diagramly grant you significantly greater opportunities to explore your creative and artistic side than does Paint. I particularly enjoy the drag and drop function for its ease of use.
If there was any negativity towards the product, then that would be in the area of there being no formal community of users to join in with and to learn from. That there are no FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) for the program, and no help file to speak of means that users must embrace their own intuition on how to use it properly. And it is clear than many users would prefer to be able to save their work online, so that they can access it from any location and not have to be sitting at the computer where they created files.
In their defense, JGraph quite correctly argued that it is a tool they developed in-house for their own needs professionally, that they don’t charge money for it and have only made it available public as a courtesy to the general public. They had never intended to build a business around the tool
That while they have looked into sourcing a “cloud computing” solution so that they can provide it on a membership basis has so far proved too expensive. They appreciate it would be great that people can log in to their own accounts to save and access their own saved files, and to grow a community user group around the product – but with cloud computing costs at the level they are, it could not remain as a free product if they travelled that development path.