For a marketing person to use a white board during a business meeting is to also become part teacher and part engineer, but the process is great for walking through scenarios, brain dumps, processes and procedures, as well as problem solving, and official brainstorming.
You can do the same thing on your Mac’s screen with a diagramming app and you won’t get marking pen dust all over your hands and clothing. Plus, diagrams on the Mac are easily shared with other users, simple to print out, and quickly edited.
A new project I’m working on at the office has me in search of an inexpensive diagramming app. The two I’ve chosen to review are Shapes and xDiagram, both under $10, both look and function much the same way. Think miniature white board on your Mac’s screen with a shape library, symbol library, and options to drop in graphics, and connect shapes into a process, procedure, diagram, org chart, or anything else you’d do on a white board.
First up is Shapes, which appears simpler to use initially, but is packed with tools; shapes, symbols, connecting tools, and all the OS X basics; fullscreen mode, Quick Look, Autosave, and Versions.
Shapes comes with a free trial version to support the Mac App Store version, but costs a few dollars more that xDiagram for similar functionality.
On the other hand, xDiagram is a bit more complex, but works much the same way. Add to a diagram from dozens of pre-defined shapes, 2,000 symbols, and almost any image file type can be dropped in.
Both apps allow you to adjust fonts with different size, color, fonts, and more. Line types include arrow, arrow type, dash, and many others. Other differences between the two is that xDiagram has a version for the iPad and a wider variety of shapes but fewer tool options than Shapes, and no try-before-you-buy option.
That really is a failing for both Mac app developers who choose to use the Mac App Store and price their apps beyond $3.99, and Apple which doesn’t allow for trial use and then in-store app purchases.
Of the two, my preference to date is Shapes because it’s a bit easier to use initially, has many of the same functions as the slightly less expensive xDiagram, and seems more stable (no crashes to two).