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October 15, 2010

LucidChart – Collaborate On Diagrams and Flow Charts

For years, designers, engineers, and other business professionals have used diagrams to help explain complex ideas and theories. The problem with most conventional software programs used to create flow charts, wireframes, and diagrams, however, was that more often than not they were extremely difficult to understand how to use. LucidChart is a revolutionary new application that makes it easy for just about anyone to create flow charts, wireframes, UML models, sitemaps, and business diagrams from scratch, which can then be shared with others in a collaborative environment.

To start using LucidChart, you don’t need to download any software or add any plug-ins. Just visit the application’s website and create a free account. When you want to make a new diagram to explain an idea to colleagues or clients, click “Create New Document” and choose between making a flow chart or an organization chart. To draw up a new diagram, drag the shapes from the toolbox that you’d like to use—or images from your desktop, if you prefer—onto your canvas. You can then add text and draw lines to better illustrate your point. In a matter of minutes, you will have created a functional diagram that your coworkers can use to execute the ideas you’ve thought up. Using the application’s collaboration tools, you can also work together with colleagues to create group diagrams in an online environment.

When it comes time to share your diagram with outsiders, you can publish it as a PDF or image file and save it on your desktop. LucidChart also allows for one-click diagram publishing on websites, blogs, or wiki pages. For individuals who are looking for a basic yet effective way to create all types of diagrams and charts, LucidChart is a worthwhile application that makes it easy to get complex thoughts down on paper.

Practical Uses:

  • Create a flow chart showing how to streamline office productivity
  • Explain a new concept by making a diagram and emailing it to colleagues
  • Collaborate with coworkers on a new wireframe
  • Host a group brainstorming session without having to all be in the same room

Insider Tips:

  • The desktop images you drag onto a canvas will be automatically saved to your image library
  • Use the Document History feature to revert to any previously saved version
  • Set unique access levels for each collaborator working on a particular diagram
  • Use LucidChart to create iPhone application mockups

What we liked:

  • Multiple users can work on an individual diagram at one time
  • LucidChart is fully integrated into the Google Apps Marketplace
  • Users can choose to publish only specific portions of a diagram, or the whole thing
  • Premade templates simplify the process of making diagrams and charts
  • LucidChart can help people create more than just one type of business diagram

What we didn’t like:

  • A number of other applications already offer flow chart-creation tools
  • The free version does not offer any business features or SSL encryption

Alternatives:

Company Info:

Costs:

  • Free plan
  • Personal plan is $5/month
  • Professional plan is $50/month

Comments

  1. http://diagramo.com is another free diagraming tool, built with HTML5

  2. John

    Great tool, really easy to use.

  3. Another alternative is http://zillable.com/. It is a simple tool that allows you to gain perfect project visibility. It also comes with Mind Maps and Patent Creation features.

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