Vertigo-inspiring graphics

Take your graphs to dizzying heights with this flashy program.

Swan Studios' 3D Graph Generator is an innovative program for creating animated three-dimensional graphs. Used responsibly, this software makes memorable and informative graphs that will give your presentations a professional appeal. If you're not careful, though, you'll need to pass out motion sickness bags at your next sales meeting.

The program's interface is fairly intuitive, although the Options menu, where the graph configuration takes place, is a bit confusing at first glance. The built-in Help file is brief but adequate. The program's sample data gives an immediate look at what's in store, and we quickly regretted eating dinner immediately before trying it out. The 3D graph looks cool and plays intense, trance-like music, but it also rotates. Quickly. Way too quickly to be of any use, other than as an emetic. Fortunately, you can adjust the speed of the rotation or turn it off entirely, which makes things much easier to look at. We also like the capability to import data to create graphs. While the program is easy to use, overall it feels rather gimmicky. The graphs may look cool, but they're distracting and hard to understand. It probably wouldn't be our first choice for presenting data in the best possible light.

3D Graph Generator has a 30-day trial period. It comes as a zip file and installs desktop icons without asking, but it uninstalls cleanly.

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