Original flowcharts are based not on creative displays, but on the technical representation of data. In this sense, Flowcharter is a prime example of flowchart software. It doesn’t let the user get bogged down in embellishments or graphics; rather, it encourages technical and true-to-form flowcharting. Help and support options are decent, but the difficult-to-navigate user manual can present issues for beginners. Nevertheless, Flowcharter is more than capable of creating a detailed and complex flowchart diagram, leading us to give it the TopTenREVIEWS Bronze Award.
One glance at the diagramming tools Flowcharter offers and you’ll know the software was designed with engineers in mind. Simple and to the point, with time-saving functions like preset data input, this flowchart maker is ideal for making professional and technical diagrams. For example, connectors that come from a decision figure are automatically labeled with “Yes” or “No,” though you can remove this label by right-clicking and selecting “None.”
Figures can also hold multiple blocks of text, provided that the additional ones are selected from the predefined list. This list includes data like date, document information and the like. Figures will automatically scale up in size to accommodate larger blocks of text.
Right-clicking on a figure or connector line gives you the option to change almost anything. You can add connection points, change the shape of an existing figure and more. To add a hyperlink, you simply use the dropdown menus. These give you access to any other features that might not be found in the right-click menus.
One strange thing we noticed concerns the symbol gallery. Instead of having all the figures and symbols available straightaway, you have to manually add shape palettes to your document.
Flowcharter has a strong set of chart organizational tools. Though it lacks a few conveniences – most notably a canvas that automatically expands as you add figures or connectors – it does offer all the important amenities and functions.
This is one of the few flowchart software applications that has container options for organizing your work. Any figure can be turned into a container with just a few clicks. You can set automatic alignment, spacing and sizing through the Arrange dropdown menu for a uniform look.
In addition to the standard grid (displayed as dots instead of solid lines) and guide lines, smart guides pop up as you’re moving objects for more precise placement. And objects snap to the grid with mathematical precision. Memos and notes are accessed by pressing the F6 key.
To scale your entire diagram, just select all the objects and resize the larger bounding box. The only drawback to this is that the connectors don’t resize, just the figures. You’ll have to re-connect all the lines manually.
The save as and export options are outstanding. Your documents can become HTML, PDF or image files, of course, or you can choose Word, PowerPoint, Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop or EPS formats.
This software offers decent text tools for your flowchart, but its graphic tools are only slightly above basic at best. You can change character and paragraph formatting, including the horizontal/vertical direction of the text, and you can import or embed graphic objects.
There are no clipart galleries, design themes, graphic styles or object effects, and there are only 30 color schemes to choose from. There are a handful of 3D symbols available, however, and 20 drop shadow styles for a subtle embellishment.
You can add a solid, patterned or gradient background to your flowcharts, and you can opt to use dashed lines instead of solid ones for your connectors. Other than these few options, your visual options are limited. But if you wish to create technical, no-frills workflow diagrams, this won’t be an issue at all.
Though the layout of this flowchart software is relatively simple, that doesn’t necessarily make it intuitive. Buttons are not labeled, and the dropdown menus are poorly organized. For example, the export options normally found in the File menu are instead under the Tools menu. The tools palette on the right of the page has potential to be useful, but the odd assortment of tools – shapes, formatting and color schemes – take away from its convenience when you're creating a flowchart.
Flowcharter offers a number of help and support options, though they are not all as high-quality as we had hoped. You can access an online email form, FAQs, a user forum and downloadable PDF tutorials from the iGrafx website. There’s also a helpful “Tips & Tricks” section. But we found the user manual to be rather difficult to navigate. It’s extensive, to be sure, but it is poorly organized – a true detriment to its usefulness, given the amount of information it includes. We found that we simply had to perform searches for needed topics, rather than use the index or table of contents.
As flowchart software applications go, this is a powerful and fully functional option. If you wish to create technical flowcharts with few visual embellishments, Flowcharter may be the perfect choice. However, be aware that your ability to create aesthetically engaging flowcharts is somewhat limited.
Flowcharter has fantastic diagramming tools, including some preset tools that speed up the creation process.
Graphic styles and effects are limited, as are help and support options.
This is an excellent application for creating simple or technical flowcharts.