Jun 12 2009

Create & Collaborate

This latest cool stuff was pointed out to me by Patrick Murray-John who once again has found a rockin’ tool. Creately is an online tool that lets you create diagrams and designs and collaborate with others on said stuff. This is one of the best programs I have seen for diagram and design collaboration because not only is it intuitive but it also comes jam-packed with lots of useful features and lots of granular control.

Creately Screenshot

The objects are smart and have features that only appear when you need them to by clicking on them. The tool has hundreds of features but does not overwhelm you with a myriad of menus and buttons. The toolbar is simple and elegant too. Images can be stretched, skewed, and inverted. You can change colors, size, font and there is an infinite undo and redo button (yay!). The tool saves revisions so you can revert back (like wikipedia) if necessary. There are lots more features I could talk about but it is better if you go there and try it out for yourself. Creately is a powerful tool and most importantly (to this site at least) it is free!

Collaboration is made easy by clicking the share button in the upper-right hand corner and sending it off to your fellow collaborators. You can also leave comments to discuss the diagram/design and Creately allows you to intelligently point to a specific piece within the diagram/design so other people know exactly what you are talking about. There is little confusion when using this tool, it is really user friendly. Another great feature that is simple but important is the ability to export what you have created. There is the option of creating an image, PDF, XML, or to send it off in an e-mail. You’d be surprised how many tools that work great don’t have great options for exporting what you create, for this Creately gets extra bonus points.

As of today (6/12/09) it is in private beta but, I got an account easily enough and within half an hour I was playing around with Creately. So next time you have a group project that requires designing or diagramming I expect you will enlighten your group about this awesome tool. And go ahead and take the glory for making the group project much easier through your “discovery” of this cool tool, I won’t tell them where you heard about it.

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