Technical flowcharts and diagrams are a great way for IT project managers to visually demonstrate the ins and outs of a project to all involved. Dia lets users quickly draw customized flowcharts and diagrams. While the program markets itself toward a more technical crowd, we think it's a great tool for just about anyone looking to create a custom flowchart.
At first glance, there's a lot to Dia's user interface, especially if you're not familiar with image-editing tools. But a visit to the ample Help menu, and especially to the Quickstart section, will have you up and running in no time. The window opens with a blank, gridlike "canvas" in the center. A toolbar sits at the top with various edit, view, and layers options. A toolbox with tools for adding text, scrolling, magnifying, and adding shapes and lines resides below that, as do various objects used for creating a basic flowchart or technical diagram. We immediately jumped in and added specific shapes that represented technical commands, connecting them with lines. For example, the diamond object represents "Decision," while the circle represents "Connector." From there, we were able to customize our flowchart by adding colors to our shapes as well as text. Dia has the ability to create diagrams using UML, or Unified Modeling Language, as well as a long list of other special object categories such as Cisco, Database, and Sybase.
Dia's wide swath of technical objects makes it perfect for IT professionals, but its basic tools and ease of use make it appropriate even for non-techies. Dia installs and uninstalls cleanly and without issues. We highly recommend this program for all users.
Dia is open-source visual-editing software that can be used to draw many different kinds of diagrams. It currently has special objects to help draw entity relationship diagrams, UML diagrams, flowcharts, network diagrams, and many other diagrams. It is also possible to add support for new shapes by writing simple XML files, using a subset of SVG to draw the shape. It can load and save diagrams to a custom XML format (gzipped by default, to save space), can export diagrams to a number of formats, including EPS, SVG, XFIG, WMF and PNG, and can print diagrams (including ones that span multiple pages).