Map processes and more with Workflow Designer

Design workflow processes, procedures, and mind maps with this powerful freeware.

Anyone who works understands workflow as an intuitive concept, but analyzing, modeling, and designing workflow processes is another thing. Workflow Designer is a freeware workflow application that does much more than map out processes and procedures: it serves as a centralized access point for the data and graphics tools you need to create everything from drawings of simple processes to elaborate mind maps and process diagrams. The optional cloud-based Workflow Connect system gives users access to a wide range of modules to expand their capabilities on demand without committing to unneeded tools.

Workflow Designer opened with an optional tool tip, the first of which explained the advantages of subscribing to Workflow Connect. We continued on to the main interface, which opened with a start page offering many choices. We could jump right in and create or open a Workflow or access a variety of Help and Setup options, Hints and Tips, Web sites, and other resources. The program's layout resembles a lot of graphics editors and word processors we've seen, with a top toolbar and a left-side palette of graphics tools, shapes, connectors, and other program-specific objects. We started with a new Workflow, which involved selecting the Standard Template, though we could create as many templates as we needed and add them to the selection tool or browse to any folder of templates, including imported data. The basic workflow diagram resembles a racetrack in a nine-point field. An optional, expandable right-side panel featured tabs displaying Workflow Details, Purpose and Scope, Revision History, and more, with a series of handy icons on the bottom. The program's Quick Draw tool made switching between tools, modes, and settings easy, with Step Details displayed on the right. We could also quickly access Tasks, Files, and a Jump feature from the right-side panel.

Workflow Designer is a capable tool that requires some familiarity not only with its features but also its concepts to get the most out of it. While anyone who has used Photoshop, CAD, or plotting tools will be familiar with Workflow Designer's basic operation and graphics tools, it's helpful to be familiar with process maps before you try to create one. For those who can make use of this powerful freeware, it's obviously highly recommended.

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