Document and Data Flow Chart Help Needed

H

humblejohn

#1
My boss wants me to do a document flow as well as a data flow chart for our department. Does anyone know where I can get a beginner's description of the symbols and so on? Many Thanks. Please reply to:
[email protected] (drop the nospam)before sending.
 
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D

David Mullins

#3
Please don't beat me for saying this, but WORD does have a set of flow chart symbols that you can use. Alternatively, other programs you're running will also have these described synbols.

Create your own standard set of symbols if need be, because there is simply no consistency in the usage of symbols.

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Marc

Hunkered Down for the Duration
Staff member
Admin
#4
I haven't explored the symbols in Word, but now that you mention it I know Powerpoint has a whole bunch of symbols under its AutoSymbols menu. In the Mac version as you 'mouse-over' each symbol in the flow charting pallet its description (such as 'decision' for the diamond) shows in a small box.
 

barb butrym

Quite Involved in Discussions
#5
do yourself a favor...pick up a copy of the standard version of VISIO...its reasonable and dead easy, self explanatory...all drag and drop...don't bother with the professional version...it gets into technical stuff and schematics, etc.
Got my 10 year old grandson doing them in 5 minutes....seriously.
 

Marc

Hunkered Down for the Duration
Staff member
Admin
#6
I have Smartdraw www.smartdraw.com - it does everything Visio does and more. Integrates with Office as well. Cheaper than Visio. $49 bucks for the sdtandard and $100 bucks for the 'professional' version. All flow chart programs are easy to use any more and Smartdraw is no exception.

On the other hand, I typically use Powerpoint for flow charts. Normally I simply don't need all the bells and whistles Smartdraw has. PP has everything you need as well.

Smartdraw and Visio are for when you really want to get into details like linking files and such.
 

barb butrym

Quite Involved in Discussions
#7
cool....I had not heard of smartdraw before.... I don't typically use the bells and whistles...but Visio does link to MS office, so it has served me well....I tend to keep things simple. But i must boast I have gotten better, and on a rare occassion have linked photos and instruction video (AVI) to the visio charts and other procedure/form references. I never thought of using Power Point for flow charts....although I have for org charts??? probably cause I have been using Visio longer than Power Point?
 
L

Laura M

#8
I got the VISIO demo for $1.55 S/H. Many of my clients us it so I figured I'd eventually buy it. Marc, do you know if a flow chart from smartdraw get saved into visio?

I've used the project managment tool in VISIO(Gantt chart) successfully as well.
 

Marc

Hunkered Down for the Duration
Staff member
Admin
#9
> ...but Visio does link to MS office...
SmartDraw does also.

> I tend to keep things simple. But i must boast I have gotten better, and on a
> rare occassion have linked photos and instruction video (AVI) to the visio
> charts and other procedure/form references.
My only comment here is to say make sure you do not end up 'assuming' that your client will have the same talent in-house to maintain the system links, etc. after you're gone. This often becomes an knowledge issue.

As an example -- I have kept this web site simple. Oh, I have played with videos and sounds but found that the simple, no-frames, no-frills html allows just about everyone access. I can put in shockwave baubles and such but as complexity increases so does maintenance time/knowledge requirements -- not to mention you start screening certain people out who simply don't want to have to install shockwave to view the site. This said, the main issue as it regards this topic is that simplicity can save a bundle in maintenance and knowledge costs. Powerpoint is in all the office packages, I think, except maybe the personal edition or whatever they call it while Visio is an extra cost. Powerpoint is simple to use.

> I got the VISIO demo for $1.55 S/H.
The hook. What does the full version cost?

> ...do you know if a flow chart from smartdraw get saved into...
Smartdraw imports visio files (individually or BATCH) but doesn't export them. It does export about everything else - you can export directly as pdf, as bitmap, as Micrografix, as a windows meta file --- there are about 10 or more (never really counted, but there's a bunch) export formats.

As I say, I typically only use powerpoint as it does what I need. In my opinion, too many people set up overly complex systems of links and such. I've ended up helping several companies recover after a complex system was devised by another consultant that were maintenance nightmares.

And it's not always consultants. One client was told by their registrar (in the interview prior to the company hiring the registrar) that they had to have a document control software package as a minimum to comply with ISO 9001. Of course, Visio was 'sanctioned' by the registrar for process/systems maps.

I go on here about this issue because I think too many companies make their systems (especially document related systems) overly complex and many, early on, are talked into complex systems with great talk about 'software solutions' which are sold as a 'golden bullet' solution to things like document control.

It all goes back to KISS.
 
L

Laura M

#10
Originally posted by Marc Smith:
>
> I got the VISIO demo for $1.55 S/H.
The hook. What does the full version cost?
.
Full version is $120-$150 I think - waiting for my 60 days to expire! I'm not sold on it yet, but with several clients using it, it'll pay for itself!

I've also seen over complicated systems. One had imported stuff all over the place - excel imports because the person didn't know about Word - tables, then the rev of the excel sheet and word base doc have to match....a real nightmare for someone coming into it, altho it made sense to the person who created it.
 
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