VISIO STILL THE STANDARD FOR CHARTS AND DIAGRAMS

VISIO STILL THE STANDARD FOR CHARTS AND DIAGRAMS

If you're a software developer and you succeed in dominating your market, sooner or later the folks from Microsoft are going to be knocking on your door.

So it was with Visio Corp.Now under the Microsoft umbrella, Visio remains the standard for illustrating everything from flow charts to network diagrams and will probably continue to do so.

I've been playing with Visio in its various forms for several months and am still amazed at how easy it is to install and use. Plus, it has different software packages for different users.

There's Visio 2000 Standard Edition ($199), for general business diagramming needs; Visio 2000 Professional Edition ($399), for documenting and designing information systems and business processes; Visio Technical Edition ($399), for creating and sharing 2-D drawings without having to learn the eccentricities of a CAD (computer aided design) program; and Visio 2000 Enterprise Edition ($999), for designing and documenting networks, modeling and designing databases and modeling software applications

What amazes me about this product is that every year it gets better. This newest edition has proven to be:

* Faster and more streamlined than its predecessors.

* Toolbars can be undocked and placed anywhere on the page and are easily customizable.

* You get a preview of templates and a description of their purpose.

* Pages are tabbed, similar to Excel worksheets, making navigation through multiple-paged documents a lot easier.

* You can pan and zoom within templates.

* Text automatically resizes with the shape.

* You can accurately reformat shapes using the Size and Position window.

* You can 'snap' objects to any location on the page or to specific geometric points.

* A new organization chart wizard automatically creates charts from raw data.

* Organization charts can now show or hide subordinate employees.

* You can compare two organization charts and automatically document differences between them.

* Colored bands can be used to emphasize relationships between cross-functional processes.

* An updated office layout utility automatically lays out walls and dimension lines.

*It's compatible with older versions of Visio, Microsoft Office and all Microsoft operating systems.

In addition to all this, Visio 2000 is easily exportable to the web and shapes can be hyper-linked to other documents.

Visio has always been my choice for creating flow charts. But now it clearly has no peers.