Use Simple Diagrams To Spice Up Your Posts!

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Adding images, graphic or diagrams to your post is an important step towards your readers – you’re enabling them to enjoy a nice picture instead of boring blocks of text.

We will focus on diagrams and especially on a piece of software that has been specifically designed for them, it’s free and while it could seem inferior, it’s very easy to use and produces good outputs.

Simple Diagrams Installation

The program is called Simple Diagrams and you can download it by clicking on the link.

You may then install it, the whole process is very straight forward. The program itself has below 3 Megabytes, so there’s no need to worry about disk space.

First Impression

When you run Simple Diagrams for the firs time, you’ll immediately notice that many features are disabled in the free version and you’ll going to be encouraged to upgrade to the Full Version (a.k.a. buy it).

These requests are not something we can’t cope with and those disabled features don’t limit Simple Diagrams in its main purpose – creating simple diagrams and exporting them.

If you successfully installed and run the program for the first time, this is the main screen you should see after starting your very own first diagram:

Screen SHot 1

Now, there are several important tools we will further discuss:

  • Libraries
  • Toolbar
  • Menu

Libraries Gadget

You can see it on the right, as the image shows:

screen shot 2 simple diagrams

There is a large number of pre-drawn boxes and pictures you can use in your diagrams. When you find the one you like, simply drag & drop it to the main black area in the middle.

Free version is limited to only 4 basic libraries, but rest assured you’ll be more than satisfied with it.

You can make the dragged object larger or smaller according to your wishes and what’s more, you can even rotate it by clicking on the square on the right of every object and moving your mouse:

screen shot image 3 diagram

Toolbar Gadget

You have probably noticed the narrow column on the right – that’s exactly the toolbar gadget.

What can it do?

  • select objects
  • draw random lines
  • create arrows
  • add captions
  • zoom

Arrows are probably the most important asset from that list, it’s called “line tool” and to avoid confusion, it’s hidden behind the picture of the line, not literal arrow (see the image).

You can make straight or bent arrows, it’s again a simple matter of selecting & dragging the green dots.

screen shot 4 diagrams

Other tools are self-explanatory, one last tip goes to the “zoom” – by selecting it you’re zooming IN by clicking and if you want to zoom OUT, hold shift…

Main Menu

Since we’re recommending to use the free version, a lot of features will still be disabled (you may, of course, upgrade to a full version if you like, that’s up to you).

Our interests in Main Menu are these:

  • Diagram / Properties
  • Diagram / Export to PNG
  • Style

Diagram / Properties – you can edit height, weight and background of your diagram.

Diagram / Export to PNG – when you’re done, you should use this option to export your work to a graphic format so that you can upload it to a website, share it etc.

Style – enables you to choose between three basic styles:

  • Chalkboard
  • Whiteboard
  • Basic

Note – you can edit the background color only if you select the basic style.

Limited Features

To conclude our short guide through Simple Diagrams, let’s have a quick look on things you can’t do with the free version:

  • save your files
  • get more libraries via plugins
  • export to something different than PNG

None of these features are extremely inconvenient, nor do they interfere with your diagrams.

All you have to do is to immediately export anything you make, so you actually do save it in the graphic format PNG instead of a Simple Diagram file or any other graphic format.

We’re hoping you’ll make hundreds of infographics and skyrocket your popularity with Simple Diagrams!

Thank you for reading!

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Comments
  1. Daniel McQuillen November 30, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    Awesome tut Ondrej! It’s kind of the “missing tutorial” to SD, so thanks for taking the time to put it together.

    Just so you know, as of Version 1.1.1, free users are no longer pestered by a nag window. “FREEEDOMMMM!” Also don’t forget you get the usual “command key” functions like ctrl-s for save, ctrl-x for cut, ctrl-v for paste, etc. Just look at the menu to see the shortcut for each command.

    ( By the way, there’s a Holiday Sale for the “Full” version 🙂 )

  2. Ondrej Dyrka December 1, 2010 at 4:52 am

    Thanks for the heads up Daniel, I had no clue that the reminding window is gone… I thought it would insult people to include such basic keyboard shortcuts as ctrl+x 😛

  3. Teylor Feliz December 2, 2010 at 2:06 pm

    Very good idea!! I will give a try

    Thank you for sharing!

Comments are closed.

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