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Micrografx FlowCharter 7 Redefines Desktop Diagramming

New Solution First to Enable Dynamic On-Screen Interaction with Diagrams

RICHARDSON, Texas, Jan. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Micrografx(R), Inc. (Nasdaq: MGXI), a global leader in graphics software, announced today the immediate availability of Micrografx FlowCharter(R) 7, the most productive diagramming tool to manage business processes. An innovative business drawing, diagramming and charting software tool, FlowCharter 7 includes patent-pending Living FlowCharts(TM), a first in the business diagramming category which allows business people to dynamically interact with diagrams on-screen. This unique technology enables users to create flowcharts that collect data, perform calculations and simulate processes, helping them gather information, teach others, understand a process, evaluate options, make decisions and learn new skills.

In addition to the Living FlowCharts functionality, Micrografx FlowCharter 7 includes easy-to-follow wizards and templates to create more than 20 different diagram types, including pyramid charts, comparison charts, timelines and circle spoke styles. Catering to the needs of enterprise-wide corporate users and small business users alike, FlowCharter 7 brings a new level of intuitiveness, power and extensibility to the diagramming category.

"Micrografx FlowCharter 7 leapfrogs the competition by completely redefining the desktop diagramming category. It does for flowcharting what Lotus did for spreadsheets -- allowing users to interactively build and edit business diagrams, which are never static in real life," said Doug Richard, president of Micrografx. "Users will return to FlowCharter 7 time and time again, whether to create a simple process chart or even an interactive customer survey. No other diagramming software is such an indispensable business tool."

Micrografx FlowCharter 7 Outscores Visio in Usability

In a November 1996 comparative test of Micrografx FlowCharter 7 and Visio 4.0 by independent testing group Usability Sciences Corp., users completed tasks 43 percent faster in FlowCharter than in Visio -- translating into greater productivity and efficiency for business people who use Micrografx FlowCharter 7.

"It is rare to see a product outperform a competitor as significantly as FlowCharter did in this study, which focused on working with process flowcharts and multi-page diagrams," said Jeff Schueler, president of Usability Sciences Corp. "Users were more productive, more satisfied and preferred Micrografx FlowCharter over Visio by a wide margin."

* For details on the test, methodology and results, please refer to the Usability Study Summary document at the end of this press release.

FlowCharter 7 Delivers Advanced Ability, Flexibility and Ease

Micrografx FlowCharter 7's new features add intuitiveness, power and extensibility to the software. Among its new features are:

Living FlowCharts -- gives the ability to create diagrams that are interactive and dynamic, thereby helping users understand the content of the diagram much more readily. Creators of Living FlowCharts can also utilize the Shape Action Wizard (SAW) to apply actions to shapes and paths adding interactivity to flow diagrams.

CoolSheets(TM) Templates -- enables people to quickly and easily create structured diagrams, such as pyramid-shaped charts, comparison charts, timelines, checklists and target charts to embed in documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. The new CoolSheets templates automatically lay out the diagram structure and require the user to simply drag-and-drop shapes into the CoolSheet, type in their text, and connect shapes with lines.

Microsoft(R) Office 97 Compatibility -- dramatically reduces the learning curve for FlowCharter 7 with Microsoft Office 97 users. Micrografx FlowCharter 7 supports tear-off menus and dockable toolbars, and it utilizes the same common dialog structure found in all Microsoft Office 97 applications.

Microsoft Intellimouse Support -- allows Micrografx FlowCharter 7 users to more intuitively navigate through diagrams, especially complex flowcharts that span multiple pages. Using the Intellimouse's innovative wheel, scrolling through a document or zooming in to view data becomes a one-step effort that alleviates hunting for scrollbars, buttons and menus on the screen.

New Drawing Tools -- provide customizability and added creativity with l0 freehand drawing tools, seven ways to combine shapes, 16 pre-defined shadow effects and 20 pre-defined 3D effects. These new drawing tools greatly enhance people's ability to generate shapes and special effects that more effectively communicate the intent of a diagram.

Custom Templates, Shapes and Applications -- allows Micrografx FlowCharter 7 to be utilized as a platform to create customized templates, shapes and applications. FlowCharter 7's huge library of OLE automation application programming interfaces (APIs) and methods makes it easy to tailor any template or shape to custom specifications. Enterprise-wide deployment of custom templates, shapes and applications ensure the same look-and-feel of diagrams across a company.

What's Ahead for Micrografx FlowCharter

Micrografx plans significant enhancements to FlowCharter 7 over the coming year. Updates will include:

Visio 4.0 File Filter -- will allow previously created flow diagrams in Visio to be easily imported into FlowCharter -- increasing productivity and leveraging previous investments.

Micrografx FlowCharter 7 Viewer -- will allow Living FlowCharts to be accessed from any source and run on a local PC without requiring FlowCharter 7. The Viewer will be offered as a free download from the Micrografx website.

Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) -- will enable developers to add specialized behavior to their diagrams and integrate them with other applications like those in the new Microsoft Office 97.

Pricing and Availability

FlowCharter 7 carries a suggested retail price of $299.95, and an upgrade price of $129.95 for ABC FlowCharter customers and users of competing flowcharting products such as Visio, CorelFlow, and AllClear. The software is available direct from Micrografx or via distributors including Ingram Micro, Merisel, and Tech Data; retailers including CompUSA and Computer City; mail- order companies including Micro Warehouse; and corporate resellers including Stream International and Software Spectrum. For Windows 3.1, ABC FlowCharter 4.0 is also included, providing users with a cost-effective migration path to Windows 95 or Windows NT. For more information on Micrografx FlowCharter 7 call 1-800-676-3110.

About Micrografx

Micrografx is the global leader in developing and marketing graphics software which enhances visual communication and empowers creative expression. Founded in 1982, Micrografx has become a leading software publisher by responding quickly to customer and worldwide market needs. The company's U.S. operations are based in Richardson, Texas, with development offices located in San Francisco and Los Angeles. International subsidiaries are located in Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Australia and Japan. For more information on Micrografx, its award-winning graphics software and content for creative expression, visit the Micrografx home page at

All products mentioned are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies.
 Usability Study Summary


A usability study comparing Micrografx FlowCharter 7 and Visio 4.0 was conducted by Usability Sciences Corp., based in Irving, Texas, on November 13-26, 1996.


To determine the relative productivity, efficiency, and overall satisfaction of users after they worked on the two competing products in identical work situations.

Test Parameters

Five major tasks were identified by Usability Sciences and Micrografx to conduct the testing:

-- Create a one-page process flowchart

-- Modify a multi-page process diagram

-- Format a multi-page process diagram

-- Create an organization chart

-- Create a circle/spoke diagram

Participants were pre-qualified users of flowcharting applications for process diagrams with intermediate to advanced experience in Windows 95. They received ten minutes of training on both FlowCharter 7 and Visio 4.0 before testing began.

Key Findings

-- On average, users completed the tasks 43 percent faster in Micrografx

FlowCharter 7 than in Visio.

-- Micrografx FlowCharter 7 is more than 100 percent faster as compared to

Visio in modifying process flow charts.

-- Key features participants appreciated most about Micrografx FlowCharter

7 were multiple page support, automatic shape connection and automatic

line routing. Participants specifically cited the ability to view more

than one page at a time in FlowCharter 7 as a plus -- a feature not

available in Visio 4.0.

-- Upon finishing the test, all users completed a satisfaction survey

which indicated that FlowCharter was the overall application of choice

with Visio trailing behind considerably. Participants said they were

more productive and more satisfied using Micrografx FlowCharter 7, and

preferred it over Visio. According to Usability Sciences, it is rare

to see a product outperform a competitor as significantly as

FlowCharter 7 did in this study.

Task Comparison

Of the five tasks tested, three were performed faster with Micrografx FlowCharter 7 and two were performed faster with Visio. Task timings and relative percentage differences are indicated in the following table.
 Creating a process flowchart 9.99 8.50 -15%
 Modifying a process flowchart 22.50 46.21 105%
 Formatting a process flowchart 5.35 6.32 18%
 Creating an org chart 9.43 8.59 -9%
 Creating a circle/spoke diagram 7.03 8.27 18%
 Total Times 54.30 77.89 43%

SOURCE Micrografx, Inc.
 -0- 01/14/97

/CONTACT: Laura Sellers, Micrografx, 972-994-6569, e-mail:; or Heather Oliver, Alexander Communications, 404-897-2300, or e-mail:


CO: Micrografx, Inc. ST: Texas IN: CPR SU: PDT

CS -- ATTU016 -- 9680 01/14/97 09:29 EST
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No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
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Date:Jan 14, 1997
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