Announcing OmniGraffle (.graffle) file import

Posted on by Emily Bell

We’re excited to offer free OmniGraffle file import to Lucidchart users! Although OmniGraffle is a common desktop diagramming tool, no other online diagramming app currently offers import of OmniGraffle files.

You don’t have to own a Mac—or even an OmniGraffle license—to try it out. Simply upload an OmniGraffle file to see its content. If you’d like to edit the document, sign up for a free trial of a premium Lucidchart account. Whether you’re a former OmniGraffle user or you just work with OmniGraffle files, we think you’ll find this feature very convenient.

Our OmniGraffle import is simple to use. You can access it two ways:

1. From the documents page, select the Import button and choose OmniGraffle.

2. From the editor, select File > Import, and then choose OmniGraffle.

In no time at all, you’ll be editing your OmniGraffle files online with Lucidchart’s collaboration-friendly software. Since our program is completely web-based, it’s the perfect OmniGraffle alternative for those who work with both Mac and PC.

This feature is still in beta; feel free to send us your feedback on it. We’d love to know how we can improve. We have more OmniGraffle-related features on the way, so stay tuned.

If you don’t have a Lucidchart account yet, sign up free now to try OmniGraffle import for yourself!

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What diagram should I use? Take the quiz!

Posted on by Emily Bell

At Lucidchart, we’re positive that diagramming can help with any professional problem, no matter what industry you’re in. But sometimes the possibilities are overwhelming. How do you map out a problem—or a solution—if you’re not even sure what kind of diagram you should use?

We’ve whipped up a useful (and slightly silly) quiz to help you choose a diagram. Lucidchart has a large library of diagram choices, some of which you’ve probably never heard of. Find out which diagram is most useful to you by taking this short quiz, then explore that shape library in Lucidchart.

Let us know what your results are—did we get it right? Or is there a diagram type that you think everyone should know about? Tell us in the comments.

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Create an org chart

Posted on by Emily Bell

Let’s say you need to create an org chart. You know they have infinite uses—organization charts can help you show company hierarchy, illustrate a family tree, or capture the relationships between species—but you’re not sure how to get started.

Luckily for you, Lucidchart makes it easy, just like any other diagramming task. Sign up free if you don’t already have an  account. Then read on for step-by-step instructions on making an organizational chart with our software.

 

Continue reading →

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How to make a site map

Posted on by eliza

If you build or market websites, you should know how to make a site map. But many web professionals know nothing about site maps—primarily because there aren’t many tools that make site maps. So we’re happy to announce a new addition to Lucidchart: a free, easy-to-use sitemap maker. Instead of painstakingly building diagrams by hand, you can produce a beautiful finished document in a few minutes.

How to get started

  • First, sign up for a free account.
  • Open a new Lucidchart document and click “More Shapes”, then turn on the site map shape library.
  • Drag and drop shapes from the toolbox to the canvas, then rearrange them as necessary. Additional options can be accessed from the pop-up context panel.

If you’d like to publish the document or collaborate in real-time with others, just click “Share” from the menu bar.

Site mapping features in Lucidchart

We’ve never had a dedicated site map tool before—instead, folks would use the org chart or flowchart shape libraries to build out basic maps. It worked well enough. But with the recent changes, users can build structured, interactive site maps faster than ever before. Nearly all of our site map features are contained within the handy context panel, which allows you to:

  • Choose from 3 dozen sitemap shapes that encompass nearly every website element
  • Drag and release to automatically structure parent-child relationships
  • Instantly change the layout type without losing information
  • Clean up the layout with a single click
  • Quickly add a URL to any sitemap element
  • Switch shapes with the click of a button

We hope you enjoy the new sitemap tool! As this is a new feature, we welcome your honest feedback—sound off in the comments.

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How to use landscape design software

Posted on by Charly Kuecks

Using online landscaping software can save you upfront costs, spark your creativity, and help you figure out the nuts and bolts of landscape design. Whether you’re renovating your backyard or figuring out whether that fancy potted plant will fit through your doorway, it can be difficult to go from an initial idea to a polished end result. For a quick solution to your landscaping design needs, try our free landscape template. How to use landscape design software Click to open a Lucidchart landscape design template. Then edit and share!

This post will teach you how to use Lucidchart’s editor to build basic landscape design sketches. You can also import SVGs and other image files for a customized look.  Continue reading →

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iPhone 6 Mockup Tool

Posted on by eliza

One of the biggest tech events of 2014 happened last week, when Apple announced the latest iteration of the iPhone. The world learned that two iPhones would be released: the iPhone 6, with a 4.7″ display, and the iPhone 6 Plus, which lives up to its name with a display of 5.5″.

Lucidchart decided to act fast, and today we’re happy to announce updated device shapes in our prototyping library. Now any Pro or Team user can build realistic mockups and wireframes for iOS 8! The examples below were created in the Lucidchart editor—the entire process took less than 30 minutes.

Make mockups for iPhone 5, 6, and 6 Plus

One of the coolest prototyping features that Lucidchart offers is instant snapping to the right device. If you drag out a pre-made iOS element from the toolbox and add it to a device shape, the element will automatically resize to the perfect height and width. Enjoy this and other options, like the ability to add an unlimited number of real-time collaborators on your document. You control who does what—no one can edit, view, or comment on the prototype unless you give them permission.

If you’re looking for an iPhone 6 mockup tool, Lucidchart won’t disappoint. Here’s how to get started:

  1. Sign up for a free Pro or Team trial.
  2. You’ll be instantly transported to your documents page. Click “Create” in the upper-left corner.
  3. Select “New Document”, then select a blank iOS mockup template.
  4. Now you can drag out shapes, import images, and share the finished document.

Additional iOS resources

Looking for design inspiration? You may want to browse the Lucidchart Community Library, which features user creations. This page on mobile mockup tools includes Android and iOS mockup examples to spark your imagination. Let us know what you think, and happy diagramming!

Image source: Apple

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Make a network diagram free

Posted on by Emily Bell

A network diagram visually summarizes the components of a computer or telecommunications network. It’s a good idea to create a network diagram if you plan to make modifications to the network or need to diagnose its problems. Read on for step-by-step instructions on how to make a network diagram free with Lucidchart.

1. Determine your diagram type

Before you begin drawing, you’ll need to determine your diagram type. Network diagrams come in three principal types: personal area networks (PAN), local area networks (LAN), and wide area networks (WAN). If you’re designing a network for client, such as a view of how office computer’s are laid out, you probably need to make a LAN network. This will primarily require shapes for devices, routers, and various cables.

Continue reading →

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Choose Collaboration Software in 3 Steps

Posted on by eliza

It’s 2014, so collaborative software is well-established. But if you’re a new manager, a recent college grad, or someone who’s transitioning to a more tech-savvy industry, you may be playing catch-up.

At Lucid, we develop our own collaboration software, as well as use similar programs internally. You might be surprised at the simplicity of our selection process. Here’s the checklist we use to find—or decline—collaboration software. We invite you to try this approach yourself and tell us what you think!

Choose collaboration software in 3 steps

1. Does it solve one problem beautifully?

The biggest mistake you can make is to search for the Holy Grail—that one software package that will solve all of your problems, then make your bed. Instead, look for software that knocks it out of the park in one area. It’ll be a labor of love, with features that have been carefully considered and speedily implemented. A product like that can’t take on every use case, but it can perfect conference calls, Google Apps management, and even diagramming.

Worried that using several products at once will be messy? Avoid that outcome by choosing tools that are genuinely easy to use. It’s even better if you select ones that will be supported and updated for years to come. That way, you create a library of user-friendly resources that don’t need to be replaced often. Here are a few indicators of longevity and ease of use:

  • The software has positive reviews from unbiased sources
  • It can interface with popular platforms
  • New features are announced on a regular basis
  • Documentation is plentiful and up-to-date
  • User requests are taken seriously
  • Free trials are offered

2. Does it fix more problems than it causes?

It’s an obvious question. But in the excitement of finding a shiny new toy, you may introduce an unacceptable number of problems.

For example, does the product take care of its own hosting and IT costs, or is that passed onto you? Will it be difficult to train your staff to use the tool? How much security oversight is required? Can one person manage the account, or does the product require a whole slew of contributors?

A great way to vet a product’s value is to try it for yourself. Take a week or two to scope out key features, scrutinize customer support, and test the ability to integrate with your company’s existing processes. Be sure to document those findings before making your decision.

3. Does it scale up, down, and sideways?

Let’s say you love the product. Have you thought about what happens when your whole department wants to use it? Scalability is a major concern right now, and for good reason—companies want to know that their investment will be worthwhile. Software performance should remain consistent, even as users and requirements increase.

So find out how hard it is to upgrade your licenses. If the company has an applicable whitepaper, read it. And explore your options for collaborating as a team, sharing documents, transferring admin controls, or even freezing your account.

We’re confident that these three questions will save you time and frustration in the search for great collaboration software. Feel free to share your own tips below!

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How to Make a Lesson Plan With Lucidchart

Posted on by eliza

Every day, thousands of lessons are planned and taught. Not just in schools, either—offices, research labs, sports leagues, and other organizations have a strong need for continued training. And the best way to administer an effective lesson is by following a lesson plan that’s tailored to your audience. Keep reading for useful tips on creating a lesson plan with Lucidchart, along with lesson plan templates that are available for download.

Many lesson plans consist of a numbered list on a sheet of paper. The problem with a text-only plan is that it may not suit every teacher or learner. If you prefer a more visual approach, this blog post will show you how to craft one.

1. Understand the learning objectives

Ask yourself, “By the end of this lesson, what should my students know?” The answers are your learning objectives. Research shows that information is best absorbed over time, so consider choosing one clear, simple learning objective. Continue reading →

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Make an Infographic

Posted on by Charly Kuecks

Infographics have recently seen a huge uptick in popularity. They combine the visual appeal of images and diagrams with the educational qualities of facts and figures. You can make an infographic in any medium—by hand, with specialized software, or online. If you’re looking for an intuitive canvas for designing infographics, try Lucidchart!

What are infographics?

Images and text have been combined for centuries to present information more succinctly. In the 1800s, designers started combining maps and charts in innovative ways. They often illustrated problems in social science and politics, such as the proportion of war casualties from different causes. Urban planners also used them to create better maps, as shown by this early London Underground map which makes use of color coding.

London Underground Railways Infographic 1908

The infographic as we know it took shape in the 1990s. As software became more common, it was easier to design charts and graphics that were educational, and also fun. In the past decade, with the rise of the social Web, searches for infographics have exploded.

Continue reading →

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