Creately Review - Visio Without the Price Tag
Easy to Use Diagram and Design Software
Creately is a web based diagram software that is emerging as a very good alternative to expensive software like Microsoft Visio. It has some unique features which sets it apart from other web based diagramming services, most notable of them is the availability of a desktop diagram tool that works on multiple operations systems. In this Creately review I will discuss its advantages and some of its disadvantages. Additionally it has plugins for JIRA,Confluence and Fogbugz which is great if you are using any of those platforms. Lets start with some advantages.
Advantages of Using Creately
Below are some advantages of using Creately as your diagramming tool.
- Anywhere access - This is the number one reason I like Creately. Because its a web based service you can access your diagrams from anywhere in the world as long as you have Internet access.
- Support Many diagram types - It supports many diagram types including flowcharts, UML diagrams, organizational charts, network diagrams, wire-frames, site maps, mock-ups and educational diagrams. It even has simple Gantt charts and its much easier than drawing using MS Project. I also like the fact that they allow all diagram types in the free edition unlike some web based diagram tools.
- Online Collaboration - This feature is only useful if you are working with others. Teams can work together on diagrams real time. So any changes you do is instantly visible to other. This is great for clearly communicating important details. Although I haven't tried it this can be used to work with clients.
- 1000's of Templates - Creately has its very own diagramming community. You can use any of these diagrams as a template. Other than the user created diagrams there are plenty of professional templates created by the Creately team. This makes it very easy to create diagrams quickly and easily.
- Plugins for Other Platforms - This is only useful if you are using any of the platforms mentioned below. But Creately has plugins for Confluence, JIRA and FogBugz. Familiar tool across platforms definitely increases your productivity.
Creately Demo Video I Found in YouTube
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Disadvantages of Creately
Below are some disadvantages of Creately.
- No Visio import - For first time users this is not a disadvantage, but if your trying to bring your Visio diagrams it will be a problem.
- Cant draw floor plans - If you don't want to draw flowcharts this isn't a disadvantage, but it is something they can add.
- Limited Language Support - At the moment they support English, German, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, Russian and French. I guess they have most of the major markets covered but more the better.
Creately Available in Other Platforms
As a Confluence user I found Creately very useful when drawing diagrams in Confluence. So I decided to separately list down other places where Creately is available.
- Confluence Diagram Plugin - A great diagram plugin for Confluence. The click-able diagrams make it very easy to add sitemaps etc in Confluence pages. Also the Creately player enables you to fit larger diagrams into any Confluence page and still maintain usability.
- JIRA Diagram Plugin - Haven't used it but if its anything like Confluence a definite must have plugin for JIRA.
- FogBugz Diagram Plugin - FogBugz is a bug tracking software similar to JIRA and you can extent its functionality by adding Creately diagram plugin.
- Chrome Web Store - Want to use it as Chrome web app ? Well Creately is available in the Chrome web store.
These are the only platforms I managed to find, if its available in more platforms feel free to let me know in the comments.
Why Creately is Awesome for Confluence Diagrams
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