Tag: SmartDraw

Celebrating Our Customers’ Continued Success with SmartDraw Diagrams

Purchased ImageAs the Director of Learning and Organizational Development, I have always been intrigued by our end users and how they as well as their organizations continue to thrive using our product.  I find myself fortunate to have had the unique opportunity to meet members of our SmartDraw end user community.

Over the past few years, I have learned how much of an impact SmartDraw has made at the individual and global levels –  from a team of students in Texas who won over $160,000 in college scholarships to assisting a team of educators as they strive to improve STEM education in the U.S. to enabling food technology scientists to design a manufacturing plant in Tanzania with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).

Rather than sharing the success stories of our SmartDraw Community, I thought it would be best to have them share their SmartDraw experience with you.

Engineering Diagrams


SmartDraw was actually the last drawing tool I tested and it turned out to be the best . . . nothing was intuitive as SmartDraw.  I won’t use any other program. Drawing was a piece of cake.  It had all the elements I was used to using from my desktop publishing software.  That’s what made me fall in love with using SmartDraw.” – Gregory Robinson, Founder.  To learn more, read Take a Look at the Innovative Mind of a Modern Day Inventor




“I was previously using AutoCAD, then ArcInfo/ArcView products in conjunction with mapping requirements we had.  AutoCAD allowed me to expand beyond mapping, but was not quick and easy to use as SmartDraw.  AutoCAD updates required retraining on the program at least once a year – time I did not have.” – Kevin Jones, Executive Director of Emergency Communications.  To learn more, read Electrical Designs to Visualize the Safety of City Buildings



Manual Drawing Diagrams


“I wanted something that would be both a professional and scientific in appearance. SmartDraw is very versatile and provides me with the freedom to easily create things in my own way, rather than using the limited options or more difficult designing you might get with other programs.  It also allows me to show my creativity.” – Gregory Solis, Graduate Assistant and PhD Candidate.  To learn more, read A Business Card Design That Leaves a Lasting Impression

Landscape Design Diagrams

http://pixabay.com/en/purple-grapes-vineyard-napa-valley-553463/“When I shared my SmartDraw diagram of the revolver design with the owners of the vineyard, they flipped out. They absolutely loved it.  I won’t draw another vineyard design without it. To be honest, I am not really good with technology.  So far, I love SmartDraw. The software is easy to use and you get some great results.  There’s lots of cool stuff.  It’s worth every nickel.” – Greg Maness, Winemaker & Owner.  To learn more, read Turning Vines Into Wines, One Vineyard at a Time

Flowcharts, Mind Maps, and Project Planning


“Within an hour I literally had, in my hand, the Flowchart that I wanted.  I was just blown away because it looked great. . .My first experience with SmartDraw was just so much fun.  It was so fast, so good. It’s one of those tools that make you look like a pro very quickly. . . SmartDraw is fantastic.  The ability to create a Mind Map and then with one-click put that into a Gantt Chart saves me hours and hours.” – Kristy Heglie, Project Manager.  To learn more, read Customer Realizes the Power of SmartDraw




“It actually helped me organize my requirements and flow them down to other sub-contracts.  I’d use flowcharting in doing policy writing. And I was quite amazed to find that SmartDraw did both and they did them well. I’ve been using it for over 5 years now. I’m still learning new ways to use it.  I have become really obsessed with what I do with it.  It’s a great tool for a small company who wants to achieve big things.” – Lesley Cowan, Director.  To learn more, read SmartDraw: An Entrepreneur’s Secret to Success

Organizational Charts

“I downloaded the free trial with an idea about how I wanted our diagram to look, and within minutes, it was done. I don’t ever, ever . . . write testimonials but SmartDraw played such a significant role in our project that I just had to write in. I came into the project completely blind.  In the end, I couldn’t have done it without SmartDraw.” – Jan Moore, Graduate Student and Administrative Assistant.  To learn more, read SmartDraw Saves the Day

Emergency & Disaster Planning Diagrams


“I started using SmartDraw over 10 years ago.  Even with the cuts in government funding, I have continued purchasing the program from my own pocket.  It is too much of an added benefit to not include it as part of my planning.  Visio is a very complicated program from what I saw.  I looked at the price and oh, my Lord . . . there was no way I was going to use that.” – Cynthia Struve, Emergency Management Coordinator.  To learn more, read HAZMAT Response Team Harnesses the Power of SmartDraw

Science & Education Diagrams


“I’ve been a huge fan of SmartDraw since it first came out.  More importantly I generate all sorts of diagrams for our curricular materials.  Considering, I have ZERO artistic ability, your software has been a godsend for me! . . . Thanks for making such a good product that is very affordable and has served us well for many, many years! – Rene McCormick, Executive Director of Science Programs.  To learn more, read Customer Feedback: We Messed Up, Fixed It, and Discovered a SmartDraw Friend & Advocate

Floor Plans & Manual Diagrams


I needed to give my students a tool that would allow them to design well-detailed diagrams.  Combined, these four students received over $160,000 in college scholarship money from various schools and corporations.  That’s where SmartDraw played a key role.” –  Cherie Busch, Family and Consumer Science Instructor.  To learn more, read ProStart Winners’ Special Ingredient in Their Recipe for Success




In 2009, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization hired Booth Smith Food Technology to assess, develop, and design a Halawah factory for a UN project in Tanzania. Using the Tahini and Halawah Manufacturing Plant diagram as well as a live demonstration, Brian successfully taught a group of sesame seed farmers the Halawah manufacturing process.

The power of it is to be able to create and then export. I incorporate it into other documents. Think of it as a tool to enhance your reports or the work that you do. So that you get the most benefit. Others will appreciate what you’re doing.” – Brian Smith, Food Technologist and Founding Partner.  To learn more, read Helping Food Technology Experts with Global Efforts

Do you have a SmartDraw experience that you’d like to share?

How do you use SmartDraw?  I’d love to hear your story. I’m always intrigued to find out how other members of the SmartDraw community are using it.  Send me an email at rjbitner@smartdraw.com.

5 Steps to Become a SmartDraw Power User


A power user can be defined as someone who uses advanced features of a program which are not used by the average user.  You too can become a SmartDraw Power User by following these five steps.

STEP 1: Understand the Layout

Understanding the layout of the system will enable you to navigate efficiently.  It will also provide you the resources you need to get the job done.


 STEP 2: Know the Components of a Template

Although each template within SmartDraw has unique features and functionality, those who are well versed in SmartDraw understand that there are standard elements found within each Template.  Once a user understands how the templates are designed, they are closer to maximizing SmartDraw’s potential as a power user.


STEP 3: Discover the Power of the Ribbon

When you select a particular template, a recommended ribbon is displayed as a default.  What many users are unaware of is the power that the ribbons have to customize, create, and modify your diagrams with a matter of one or two clicks.  Once a Tab is selected, it displays a ribbon that contains a series of groups that offer a vast number of features found in menus.


STEP 4: Collaborate in Just One-Click

If you’re a avid user or soon to be power user, you may have already discovered the Quick Access Control Menu found at the top left corner of every SmartDraw Template.  It’s here where you can collaborate with colleagues with only a simple click of the keyboard.

quick access control2

STEP 5: Master the Keyboard Shortcuts

Keyboard shortcuts are the easiest way to create diagrams faster.  The trick with keyboard shortcuts is that you must train your muscle memory to use them instead of a mouse. It takes time, and it’s not exactly a fun thing to do, but it’s worth it in the end.  You’ll never get rid of the mouse completely, but that’s not the point. As a SmartDraw Power User, it’s about making yourself faster with both.

keyboard shortcuts2

If sharpening your SmartDraw skills is your goal or if you strive to become a SmartDraw Power User, click here to download your FREE Two Page SmartDraw Quick Reference Guide

qrg screenshot

SmartDraw FAQ: Fantastic Awesome Questions | SmartDraw Mailbag


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.

Hyperlinks in a PDF? Yes You Can! Here’s How to Do It

Purchased Image iStock_000009328843SmallWe live in a world where we’ve become accustomed to navigating to web pages with a simple mouse click. And we’ve also gotten used to saving stuff in universal PDF format to share with others. But the problem is that it isn’t easy to put those wonderful, clickable hyperlinks into PDFs. Well, it used to not be so easy. But good news! That has now changed.

How to Create Hyperlinks in a PDF in Three Easy Steps

With SmartDraw CI, you can now turn your diagram or graphic into a PDF with active hyperlinks, quickly and easily. This works with flowcharts, maps, graphs, and all of your other favorite SmartDraw diagram types.

Step 1. Insert One or More Hyperlinks

Use the Insert Hyperlink tab in SmartDraw to place the target web page or other document (located on a shared network) in your diagram. Here, we have a flowchart and want to provide a link to the purchase order form.


Step 2. Export Your File to PDF

Click the “PDF” button in the ribbon bar to export your SmartDraw diagram to PDF.

PDF button

Step 3. Voila! You Now Have a PDF Document with Active Hyperlinks!

Okay, this isn’t so much a step as a chance to just sit back and admire your work. So I lied, it only takes two steps. The PDF document now has your SmartDraw diagram, complete with active hyperlinks, as shown in the illustration below. Now, when your recipient clicks on the hyperlink, their browser will open the linked web page.

PDF with Hyperlinks

Keep This in Mind

The hyperlinked file must be in a place that your recipient can access. A web page or a file saved on a shared company network, for example. If you create a hyperlink to a document on your computer’s local hard drive, then it will only be accessible from your machine.

That’s it! I tried to keep this easy, but as always, should you have trouble just give our awesome, home-based support team a quick call.


Helping Wounded Warriors and Other Stories from the SmartDraw Mailbag

One of my favorite things to do here at SmartDraw is to read through our customer comments and questions. They generally fall into one of three categories:

  1. SmartDraw Love. Comments like “Awesome software!” and “Your software is the greatest!” Probably 90% or more of our customer mail falls into the “Love” category. We love you guys, too. Thanks.
  2. Product Questions/Technical Issues. We try to respond to each of these personally, and I’m including a few here. Hopefully they’ll help other customers who have similar questions.
  3. The Haters. Fortunately, we don’t receive many, but we do get the occasional flame. To the guy who wrote, “YOU SUCK,” what can I say? We’re human, and we probably can’t meet everyone’s expectations. I’m sorry about that, but if you could be more specific about exactly what you think we suck at, maybe there’s something we can do to help.

Occasionally we get a note that is emotionally moving. Today was one of those days.

https://pixabay.com/en/military-vietnam-war-1348228/One of our customers, Dave J., wrote to tell us how he’s using SmartDraw for the Wounded Warrior Workshop. I just got off the phone with Dave. It’s simply mind-blowing some of the horrific stories he told me. Stories of wounded veterans who are given the run-around by the US government instead of the benefits they’ve earned. Years and years of run-around in some cases while they go through their life’s savings. His stories literally have my heart aching for these men and women. They deserve to be treated as heroes by the country they’ve so bravely served.

I hope you’ll take a minute to go visit the Wounded Warrior Workshop site and see the good work these folks are doing to step in and help.

Okay, let’s dig a little deeper into the SmartDraw mailbag.

I’ve used the trial for about 2 hours and have completed a room layout drawing which would have taken me more than a day with other tools I’ve used. Buying SmartDraw is a no-brainer. And I haven’t even scratched the surface of all the drawing tools and templates available. Thanks for a quality product.
-Peter S.

Hey Peter, I don’t even have to be good at math to know that doing something in two hours instead of eight is saving you some serious time. Hopefully you’ll find that our other drawing tools will add to your efficiency, too. Thanks, and let us know how it goes.

Your product appears (to be) good however I cannot find the rotate button to turn an icon.
-Richard S.

Hey Richard, I’ve had that happen before, too. Here’s a little trick that should help. Sometimes when I open a new SmartDraw file the zoom level is too small for me to see the rotate tool. Adjust your zoom level to 100%, then you should be able to see the rotate button. Here’s how it looks using a start symbol in a flowchart as an example:


I hope that helps. If not, please give our product support team a call. They’ll be happy to walk you through it.

Perfect software for the non-geek, computer-savvy person like myself. Thank you!
-Elizabeth S.

Thanks, Elizabeth. As a fellow NGSP, I agree.

May I please confirm with you that if I buy a new computer (to be expected, in time) that there is no issue re-installing SmartDraw on a new computer? I am buying the Platinum Business version on the assumption that I would be free to install a copy onto a new computer if required (note: I would only ever be operating 1 license on 1 computer at a time).
-Adam T.

Yes, Adam, you are correct. Having Platinum Protection means you may reinstall SmartDraw as many times as you need. If you ever experience trouble with this, just give us a call.

Had a question… called the support line… didn’t go to India or Pakistan… and she was knowledgeable, helpful and kind. The tech made the sale!!!
-Aric R.

Thanks, Aric. We have nothing against the nice folks in India and Pakistan. But we’re proud to be an American company who believes in “in-sourcing” our jobs. Our product support team members work right here at our home office in San Diego.

I find your org chart cumbersome to use. For example, trying to shift boxes will move others. I hope CI is easier to use.
-Vincent L.

We apologize for your past experience, Vincent. While we may not have gone so far to call them cumbersome, we weren’t satisfied with their performance. That’s why we gave org charts an overhaul in SmartDraw CI. I think you’ll find these much easier to work with and loaded with cool new features. Let us know what you think.

Looking forward to learning and using the lean methodology diagram features.
-Paul R.

Oh, yeah, Paul! I’m excited for you. I’m really enjoying the Lean diagrams we’ve added in SmartDraw CI. We’re getting great feedback and reviews for our automated value stream maps. We’ll be adding more Lean-related content here on the blog and in our articles area in the coming months.

(I’m a) long-time Visio user — Smart Draw is a lot more intuitive to apply and use. Expanded libraries are excellent.
-Brent C.

That’s outstanding, Brent. We hear this frequently—and never get tired of it. I spoke last week with a former Visio user who switched to SmartDraw. His comment was, “I know I’m smart enough to learn how to use Visio, but why would I waste the time, when I can do the same things so easily with SmartDraw?”

I really enjoy using SmartDraw every day (since I started using it). I have done many presentations with it. Will keep it very close, always. Thank you!
-Jose S.

Presentations are one of my favorite SmartDraw features, Jose. I love being able to bypass PowerPoint and use the SmartDraw presentation builder, then save it on my online SmartDraw account. I can’t tell you how many times I use it for a quick one-on-one presentation on my iPad. If I were in sales, I couldn’t live without SmartDraw.

I’ve been “talking” about putting together a strategic plan for the last several months. I’m cautiously positive that this is going to make it a reality. I appreciate the 30 Day Money Back Guarantee. That is 100% the reason why I’m making this purchase right now!! I’d prefer NOT to use the guarantee…I want this to be a perfect fit! Thank you.
-Slaten V.

Strategic Planning white paper-SmartDrawI’m happy to hear that, Slaten. SmartDraw offers a lot of useful reference material if you need help or ideas to get your strategic plan finished. If you haven’t seen it already, here’s a link to our free white paper.

Was surprised / delighted to be able to import my VERY old *.vsd files!
-Robert M.

Glad you found that helpful, Robert. It’s a key reason why so many Visio users find it easy to switch to SmartDraw.

Found on internet but purchased due to the most courteous attention of a lady by the name of Sheila C. Product Specialist. Give that lady a pay rise!!
-Martin W.

Thanks, Martin. Yeah, Sheila is awesome. I’d give her a pay raise, but I’m not authorized to do that. How about I give her a new title: Totally Awesome Rockin’ Product Specialist Goddess! I don’t think I’m authorized to do that, either, so let’s just keep that between us.

Thanks Chris Dowling for wicked service! Cheers!
-Michael O.

Chris gives wicked service to everyone, not just Bostonians! And he’s a really cool guy (for a Raiders fan).

OMG… so easy! I had tried several (other diagramming programs) yesterday and was so frustrated.
-Kelly P.

Sorry about the pain, Kelly, but OMG I’m so glad you found us!

I almost missed out on using the tool as each download was causing my PC to crash, but it worked finally and I am glad it did.
-Paul W.

Hey Paul, thanks for sticking with us. I’m not sure what was up with the SmartDraw download causing your PC to crash. Occasionally there are web browser issues, especially if you’re using an older browser. For anyone having this problem, please call or email our super wicked awesome home-based support team so we can save you from frustration.

Thanks, everyone for all the great comments and questions. We love hearing from you. And our very best wishes to our wounded warriors and the great people working on their behalf.

Pony Express mailbag photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons, photographer-Brett Neilson; used under the Creative Commons license. Click here for source photo.