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.