When you’re presenting numerical charts, flash sometimes counts as much as substance. Charts Pro 1.0, which began life as Adrenaline Software’s OpenDoc-based Numbers & Charts, lets you transform even the most mundane sales figures into dazzling presentations.
Charts Pro, which no longer requires OpenDoc, sports a logical, uncluttered interface, belying its capabilities, that makes navigating the program simple. Although Charts Pro lacks its predecessor’s integrated spreadsheet, importing data is a snap. You can paste data from the Clipboard, read it from a text file, or drag and drop it from other applications. Charts Pro instantly translates your data into a bar graph using one of three basic color schemes. But you’re not limited to this default bar chart; you can choose from 22 additional styles, including line, pie, and 3-D surface charts.
You can apply colors, textures, or images to any of a chart’s major graphical elements, since the program supports many popular image-file formats, including Adobe Photoshop, PICT, and JPEG. For added punch, you can replace the data markers with 3-D objects in 3DMF format. And if you’ve got a hefty amount of RAM, you can create dynamic presentations by applying QuickTime movies to data markers.
Charts Pro sports several tools that you’d expect to find in a 3-D design applicationyou can rotate, zoom, or translate a chart, and you can even specify the location and field of view. Five external light sources create an endless variety of dramatic effects. And if you have a QuickDraw 3-D-accelerator card installed, your changes update on the fly. When you’re done, you can render and export your work in a variety of formats. You can even animate your chart by rotating it on the x, y, or z axis and then saving the spinning chart as a QuickTime movie. Charts Pro also supports an extensive vocabulary of AppleScript commands that allow you to generate charts automatically.
For an application with this much graphics prowess, Charts Pro offers limited text handling. For example, you can rotate text, but only in 90-degree increments, and there are no provisions for text animation or other special effects. If you do hit snags in the program, the amply illustrated documentation provides helpful pointers.