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Lovely Charts

If you’re looking for a way to jazz up your organization’s reports, newsletters, web pages and other publications, what about a chart? Not just the usual boxes and arrows with plain-Jane text labels, but something more of an eye-catching illustration —

chartYou may have noticed the whimsical flowchart I used the other day to illustrate the PDF newsletter production process of the small nonprofit looking for good free PDF tools. It was made with Lovely Charts, a drag-and-drop online drawing tool that lets you create some pretty spiffy-looking organizational maps, flowcharts, sitemaps, and almost anything else you might want to communicate as a diagram.

  • Drag and drop elements in your chart and double-click on labels to customize the text.
  • A toolbar up top lets you change fill and outline colors, arrow styles, and a few basic text style options.
  • There’s no way to group elements together to prevent accidental movement when you’re tweaking your layout, but clicking on the padlock icon with an object selected will toggle a position lock on and off, which is almost as useful.
  • Other buttons let you easily adjust layers so elements can be sent to the back or brought to the front, allowing them to be displayed overlapping as, for example, I did with the little figures representing various people at the nonprofit and the icons representing the PDF files each person was responsible for submitting for the newsletter.

The free version of Lovely Charts has a fairly discreet credit line added automatically to the lower right corner when you export your finished chart — you can see it on the sample I made — and that’s a condition of use. To remove it, you’ll need to upgrade to the premium version for 29 euros/year. With the free version, your export options are JPG and PNG formats, which you can then use on your blog or website, in your newsletter, or anywhere else you might want to use a graphic. The paid option lets you import your own images to use in charts, export your work directly to a PDF, save an unlimited number of diagrams on the Lovely Charts site, add comments, and share and collaborate with others.

To learn more or give it a try, free, visit LovelyCharts.com.

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Posted by 
Published Wednesday, 20 January 2010 at 4:03 PM


  • Chris DattiloChris Dattilo

    Chris Dattilo said:

    I use Lovely Charts, but recently discovered Creately. It has more advanced features and is great for group editing. I recently used it for a sitemap that we could all edit. Later I used it to diagram a Facebook Social Graph. It's at www.creately.com.

    Wednesday, 20 January 2010 at 8:34 AM
  • Rebecca said:

    Great tip, Chris - I've just been checking out Creately, and it's terrific. Thanks!

    Anyone else have a favourite diagramming / chart-making tool to share?

    Wednesday, 20 January 2010 at 9:32 AM
  • uberVU - social commentsuberVU - social comments

    uberVU - social comments said:

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by nptechblogs: Wild Apricot Blog: Lovely Charts http://bit.ly/4SuE8f

    Wednesday, 20 January 2010 at 10:53 AM
  • LuiseLuise

    Luise said:

    Hello Rebecca!

    At one of the local NetSquared meetups here in Chicago, I was introduced to Bubbl (http://www.bubbl.us/) I would imagine it appears fairly limited in functionality, compared with the other tools you're used to. But I like it for its simplicity and ease of use. It's easy to create flowcharts, work-diagrams and most importantly: you can collaborate on these charts with others online.

    Just thought I'd share!


    Monday, 01 February 2010 at 5:06 AM
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