SmartDraw FAQ: Fantastic Awesome Questions | SmartDraw Mailbag

Photo credit Erich Ferdinand via Wikimedia Commons

Photo credit: Erich Ferdinand via Wikimedia Commons

Our SmartDraw mailbag feature was quite popular the first time we did it, so I’m going to dig into it again. Our customers ask some pretty terrific questions. I hope you find our answers, along with several tips and tricks, equally terrific. Let’s get right to it.

I am a beginner and need guidance with making professional organizational charts.

-Cecilia G.

Hi Cecilia, I have great news. You can find a wealth of information about making organizational charts on our website. For example, this article gets into the basics of what an org chart is, how it’s structured, and what kind of information should be shown in org chart boxes. We have other articles including an org chart tutorial (with a video included), some tips for making org charts, and even how to create your org chart in SmartDraw by importing data from a data file. Hopefully, that will get you started. If you still have issues or need some help, I encourage you to call or email our awesome support team. Not only are they really nice, but the support is free. How can you beat a deal like that?

Super program, but I´d like to be able to format dates to European standard (day/month/year) and change the headline of columns in the project plan.

-Lisbet L.

Ciao, Hola, Bonjour, Halla, Guten Tag, Hei, Lisbet! I can you help with that—here’s what you do.

Open up your project file in SmartDraw. Click “File” in the upper left-hand corner of the menu. Then scroll down and click “Options.” This will open a window that has the heading, “Spelling, Date, and Time.” Go to the “Date Format” line and click the box. This will allow you to change your date format to the European “DD/MM/YY” standard. How to change the time and date format in a SmartDraw project You’ll also note a couple of other things here that will help you customize your SmartDraw experience, depending upon the default settings you may have. You can change your dictionary language to a number of European languages and dialects. You can also set your time format to a 24-hour day rather than a 12-hour day.

As for changing the headings in your project plan columns, that’s easy to do, as well. Just double-click on the title you want to change. This will highlight it. Now, simply type in the new title and… voila! (See what I did with the French right there?) How to change column headings in a SmartDraw project I was searching for Visio and your demonstration appeared. I have made my first floor plan with SmartDraw and am thrilled.

-Michelle R.

We never get tired of hearing comments like yours, Michelle. SmartDraw is all about making your life easier. Visio is a very good program, but a lot of people agree it’s time-consuming to learn and tough to use. Call me biased (I totally am), but I think our development team has done a wonderful job of making SmartDraw easier to use and faster to learn than Visio. Plus, anyone can produce a higher-quality, more professional-looking result than you’ll get with any other diagramming tool. Thanks for writing in. Stay in touch and let us know how you like SmartDraw for creating flowcharts and other graphics.

My interest is in process, software architecture & design, meeting actions, strategic planning. I’m buying SmartDraw Enterprise as an individual as I believe it will help my career.

-Rob B.

That’s great, Rob. I’m quite confident that you’ll discover many ways that SmartDraw Enterprise will help you advance your career. Have you tried the Lean diagrams yet? If not, try them out and let us know what you think. I find using Kanban boards to be a great way of staying on top of my “to-do” list.

Still waiting on electronic scrum!

-Sandra H.

Photo link to "The Unforgettable Buzz" book  about the history of electric football

Photo credit: “The Unforgettable Buzz”

For some reason, Sandra, this visual came to my mind when you said “electronic scrum.” I imagine most of our readers are too young to remember electric football. But when I was a little kid, we all wanted one of these things—even though there was no way to replicate anything that even resembled a real football game. (Most of the players just turned and headed toward the corners—others would just spin around in circles, or flop onto their backs and do the “gator.”)

But obviously, you’re talking about scrum tools for agile development. Have you checked out the electronic Kanban boards we’ve added in SmartDraw CI? They’re designed to be as easy to use as the old sticky notes on a whiteboard (aren’t those almost as archaic as electric football?). You can add lanes for stories, progress status, and completion. We use SmartDraw electronic Kanban boards on a projection screen during meetings. It’s easy to add and move cards, assign tasks, etc. And then the file is shared online with the whole team, so everyone has anywhere/anytime access.

SmartDraw also gives you two alternative ways of organizing your Kanban board. The assignment view lets you enter the names of people on the team, and then drag cards into their lanes. The category view allows you to organize cards by parent task.

Of course, SmartDraw also has easy-to-use charting tools for tracking burn up and burn down. With SmartDraw, you can easily input data from an Excel table. But it isn’t necessary to create a spreadsheet. Just input your data directly into the chart. Example of burn-up chart created in SmartDraw

SmartDraw also lets you easily plan in a mind map, convert to Gantt chart or timeline with a simple click, and keep everyone on the team up to date with online sharing through your SmartDraw account.

Plus, you get faster and easier flowcharting tools than Visio, and other tools such as UML diagrams, data flow diagrams, and web design tools for wireframes and web site maps. All included in one program. I need to stop now. I’m sounding like a commercial.

Can my current SmartDraw version be upgraded to CI?

-Christina D.

Yes, Christina. Please check out this link to upgrade to SmartDraw CI.

If I buy SmartDraw Business, could I upgrade to SmartDraw Enterprise later at a discount?

-Martin B.

Yes you can, Martin. Click this link to upgrade your version to SmartDraw Enterprise.

With only one license, will I be able to display SmartDraw files created on my laptop from my tablet? Or does this require another license? (This is for my use only.)

-Jeff M.

Hi, Jeff, great question. Yes, you can view the files you create on your tablet device through your SmartDraw account. It’s free to set up and use. If you use an iPad, we have a free app for you. For more information about your SmartDraw account and accessing your files on any device, see this page.

You can also use your SmartDraw account to share your files with anyone you want. They don’t even have to be SmartDraw users. All they have to do is to just set up their own free account to view the files you share (they won’t be able to edit them).

And remember, if you have any questions or need help, our fantastic customer support team is ready to assist… drop us a call or an email.

14 Responses to “SmartDraw FAQ: Fantastic Awesome Questions | SmartDraw Mailbag”

  1. Jessica K June 12, 2014 at 9:50 am #

    Hi Ken,
    I love this FAQ! I’m just a mere few months into smart draw, I love the program but have run into a few issues.
    I’m in need of a swim lane landscape flowchart but looking to add a sub process’ in. I’m only seeing this option in flowcharts, not swim lanes. DO you have any suggestions on getting around this?

  2. Ken Wilson June 12, 2014 at 2:51 pm #

    Hey, Jessica,

    Thanks! Glad you’re enjoying using SmartDraw. I ran your question past one of our awesome product support experts. Here’s her answer:

    “There isn’t a sub-process button in swim lane flowcharts; however, a sub-process is just an easier way to hyperlink two files together. So if you need to do it in a swim lane flowchart, you can create the other file (sub process) separately then link to it by right clicking on the shape you want to link to this file, and choosing Add Hyperlink.

    “I think that was a run-on sentence..but it’s OK, I’m a grammar REBEL.”

    Run-on sentence or not, I think that’s a pretty simple fix to get you unstuck. If not, I highly suggest you give our grammar rebels… I mean, our support team a call at 1-800-768-3729.

  3. Martin June 21, 2014 at 11:12 pm #

    Hi Ken,
    Thank you very much for the great program, but the correct form for the European date format would be DD.MM.YYYY with dots instead of slashes.

    Best, Martin

    • Ken Wilson July 8, 2014 at 10:02 am #

      Hi Martin,

      Thanks for your feedback. Hopefully you and the rest of our friends in Europe can live with the date format in slashes. Or maybe just look at them as long, diagonal dots?

  4. marta monjane June 23, 2014 at 6:29 am #

    Dear all,

    I am using Smart Draw entreprise and would like to set up notfications and project progress circles for my project deliverables but the notifcation tab is deemed and cannot find the progress tab. Any help is appreciated. Thanks

    • Emese Gaal July 7, 2014 at 4:46 pm #

      Hi Marta, Since this may be a little complicated to answer, we’re going to have one of our product specialists reach out to you on the email you provided. If you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to contact us either here or via

  5. Chris Smith July 5, 2014 at 10:35 am #

    I am really impressed with the capabilities of SMARTDRAW but find it confusing that Steve Jobs and his presentations get referred to continually – yet it is not available for Mac users

    • Ken Wilson July 8, 2014 at 10:09 am #

      Hi Chris,

      We have some things in the works now that should please Mac users, as well as users of other devices and platforms. Here’s what our CEO, Paul Stannard, had to say on this topic:

      “Today SmartDraw remains an application that runs on the Windows desktop, but we all increasingly use multiple devices and we want one set of files available on all of them. Last year we added the ability of Windows SmartDraw to share files with your phone, tablet and web browser. The next step is fully functional SmartDraw on every device: Windows, Mac, IOS, Android, and any web browser, with full file compatibility across all platforms.”

      Stay tuned – we will let you know the moment this next step becomes reality.

  6. Penny Eskenazi July 10, 2014 at 5:21 pm #

    SmartDraw Landscape is exactly what I am looking for……oops, not for Mac! How disappointing.
    WHEN will the Mac version be available? Best guess. thank you.

    • Ken Wilson July 11, 2014 at 1:20 pm #

      Hi Penny,

      I understand, and I wish I could give you a guess, but unfortunately I can’t. (See my response to the previous comment above.) What I can tell you is that I run SmartDraw CI on my Mac using Parallels and the functionality is quite good. I know, it isn’t the same as a Mac version, but if you do run Parallels it is an option for now.

      Stay in touch. We’ll announce any news on this as soon as it happens.

      • Komi July 22, 2014 at 4:01 pm #

        Hi Ken Wilson
        How can I use smartdraw in classroom !

        • RuthJoy Bitner September 19, 2014 at 3:10 pm #

          Dear Komi, That’s a great question. SmartDraw is perfect for the classroom setting whether virtual or instructor led training. I am an educator myself, as the Director of Learning and Organizational Development I have used it from all aspects: curriculum design, classroom layout, to execution. I think this would be a great blog series. I’ll add it to our calendar.

  7. D Ben September 20, 2014 at 11:10 pm #

    9-20-2014, 2310 PDT: After completing my SD2012 website map, printing/exporting it is impossible. Sending it to Word/PowerPoint/Outlook 2010 results in the information being compressed laterally into a fraction of its original width. Attempts to enlarge it by dragging didn’t work.

    Website’s are not mentioned under “Articles” or “Training”.

    SD insists on having the child on the *right* of the selected box, which takes up much extra horizontal space. The children should be able to be arranged *vertically*. Having them indented, as in an org chart, is not acceptable.

    • Joshua Platt September 23, 2014 at 1:52 pm #

      Website maps can be huge, spanning many pages. When I make website maps I find getting it into PDF to be the easiest way to work with them outside of SmartDraw. My trick for getting a large map to fit onto a page is by going into File -> Print, and changing the printer to our PDF printer. Then change the settings to be “Print Actual Size” and the paper size to something that matches the size of your drawing. I find ISO A1 to work well. Then click print to save your new PDF to your computer.

      You make a great point, we should allow you to change the branch style in website maps, like we do with org charts. I’ll add this to the feature backlog.

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