View Full Version : OpenOffice Draw vs MS Visio

07-08-2008, 01:19 AM
Before downloading OpenOffice I read some reviews of the various components. Most of them faired well except for Draw. It really got hammered by several people. I was almost afraid to even use it.

So I open it up and...wow...it's a piece of cake to use. The connectors are far smarter than the ones in Visio and it's much easier to line items up. The grid spacing is actually reasonable as opposed to MS where at times you think there is a grid but often you are just not sure b/c the snap is terrible.

I created an entire static structure for my app in about an hour. The same would have taken 2 hours in Visio. I find I have to fight too many automatic 'features' in Visio just to get my diagrams to look right. Now to be fair Visio has far more symbols and UML support which is characteristic of a MS product. But OpenOffice Draw with more UML and symbol support would be very close to Visio.

Anyone used these two before? I'd like to hear what some of you have to say about these two products. I cannot figure out why Draw received such bad reviews from people.

Mario F.
07-08-2008, 02:31 AM
eh! I surely have to give it a try.

I've always used Visio, although I resume my diagrams to mostly DMDs and ERs, which I can't live without, with just an occasional DFD when I'm having trouble with my code.

For that effect I always found Visio to be an ideal tool to me. So much in fact that I never got beyond Visio 2000 Enterprise Edition (which I got from my MSDN subscription back then). And that is probably the problem Bubba. I confess I know very little of the "improvements" of more recent versions, but that one version I always considered a cornerstone of Visio development in which the right amount of tools were achieved (for my own specific use of course) and anything else would just be unnecessary fluff to me.

I do agree Visio lacks in the interface. But I do spend a lot of time on my diagrams, gaining new ideas, trying new approaches, studying other possibilities, so I always found my time isn't really that much affected by Visio, sometimes infuriating, snapping and aligning features. I never auto snap these days and I only re-arrange my diagrams to become readable. If I need a proper diagram, I export to vector graphics and rearrange the whole thing to my heart's content in FreeHand.

But will take a look at Open Office's Draw. Have it installed on Linux... but never felt the need to use this suit.

07-08-2008, 06:44 AM
It's also probably faster. I used visio before and it's pretty clunky trying to draw a proper diagram, Draw is much easier to use and the connectors are indeed nicer and easier to use than visios.

I like OpenOffice tools but they stink for formatting, especially Writer. They don't have the hide white-space from view feature, showing paragraph marks don't show the different kind of page/section breaks, page-by-page formatting changes is unnecessarily difficult, and worst of all margins and tab settings don't snap. I much prefer word to writer. thankfully I don't format much outside of work.

07-08-2008, 08:12 AM
I've never used Visio before, but I have used OpenOffice Draw and I like it a lot. I use it frequently when I need to draw charts or diagrams illustrating the structure of my apps. It's a nice program.

07-09-2008, 03:22 PM
I haven't used openoffice draw, only visio. I've been using visio for the past two months to draw piping diagrams. I agree with what you said about the connections being unclear, the grid and snap being difficult or impossible to see. The piping diagrams are pretty involved sometimes.