Editor’s note: The following review is part of Macworld’s GemFest 2011 series. Every day from mid June through July, the Macworld staff will use the Mac Gems blog to briefly cover a favorite free or low-cost program. Visit the Mac Gems homepage for a list of past Mac Gems.
Diagrammix helps you quickly build eye-pleasing flow charts. Don’t want to shell out for a high-powered vector graphics suite, or spend hours of fiddling with lines and bubbles? Diagrammix makes it incredibly easy to build great-looking charts in minutes.
First, pick from one of Diagrammix’s four templates, which range from whimsical to glossy to fully customizable. Then drag and drop shapes and arrows from the left-hand palette onto your open canvas. Double-clicking on a shape brings up a contextual menu that lets you add text, change the color, and draw connecting lines to other objects. By default, those lines are straight, but with a few clicks you can add sharp angles or smooth curves. When you’re done, export your chart as a PDF, PNG, TIFF, or JPEG.
Diagrammix’s developer seem to have thought of everything. You can adjust nearly every element to your liking, from text style, color, and orientation to where the connector lines attach to each object. You can drag and drop in image files, then use text and connectors to label them; the connectors will still point to the right areas, even if you move the image.
Diagrammix’s few small hiccups don’t ruin the overall experience. When working with objects near the side of the screen, the contextual menu sometimes spills off the edge and out of sight. Thankfully, you can simply drag the window wherever you like until it’s fully visible again. And for all its helpfulness, the advice window that appears whenever you perform an action usually shows up right on top of whatever you’re trying to do. You can turn it off in the program’s preferences if it gets too annoying.
Diagrammix does just one thing, but does it really well. It’s fast, friendly, fun, and, if you make flow charts on even a remotely regular basis, well worth its modest price tag.
[Nathan Alderman is a highly indecisive writer and copy editor in Alexandria, Va.]