Chartist Professional Edition v4.2

Reviewed by: Thomas V. Kappel, send e-mail
Published by: Novagraph, go to the web site
Requires: Windows 98 or later or Windows NT 4.0 or later, VGA graphics or better, mouse is required, any Windows supported printer with graphics capability
MSRP: $89.95

It always seems to me that in the world of technology, especially hardware and software, you pay for what you get. You definitely should understand your needs and expectations and thoroughly know what you must have before you examine and try Chartist Professional Edition. And examine and try it I certainly recommend you do.

Don't misunderstand me right off. The program works and does create charts, flowcharts, and diagrams of all kinds. Are they initially fancy? No. Do they take work to make fancy, presentation presentable? Absolutely. Novagraph makes no bones about it. Their goal for Chartist is “ give you an easy way to create charts quickly, while taking advantage of the advanced features of your printer and providing data interchange with other windows applications.” Now the key work there is, “quickly.” This software program is not a lightweight or heavyweight contender. It’s more a middleweight. It is most definitely not in the same class as Microsoft Visio 2003. Then again it doesn't cost the $499.00 for the Visio professional version or $199.00 for the Visio standard version either.

Chartist accomplishes data interchange with other Windows programs by means of file export. You can save Chartist files as graphics in PNG, WMF, EMF, VML and SVG formats. That range of formats is broad enough for import by a large selection of software. Chartist can also be used to create a complete web page of your diagram for you in one step. Understanding how it does this, how you can control the output, and image formatting takes a while longer. But, again, the key word here is quick so recognize that the web page Chartist creates is not going to go on display at an art gallery any time soon.

Finally, there is the very modern feature of XML support. This is machine readable and human readable formatting and is quickly becoming a business standard for information standardization and exchange. This is a very nice thing to have.

Now as to my personal opinion, I find the program like writing on a sidewalk with chalk or on a bar napkin with a short stubby pencil. It gets the job done quickly, but the visual aspect ranks right up there with the chalk and the pencil. It does have spell checking, word wrapping, drag & drop, copy and other Windows features, but it feels to me like a vehicle stuck in first gear. I keep waiting for the speed shift, power and flash that Windows programs are capable of producing.

Now I'll admit, I grew up (in the world of charting, at least) using Visio before Microsoft bought it, and there were also a couple of other long-gone charting programs I used from time to time. So, my experience, wants and desires are way past quick and easy line drawings of charts.

Be that as it may, this program is useful for those of you who only need an occasional chart of some sort, when you need it in a hurry and when you don't necessarily need it pretty looking right off. Oh, and there is a learning curve to this program as well. It seems that you have to learn more when a software package is inexpensive. It’s not only learning what it can do, but what it can't as well. Sometimes this last thing takes the most time as you usually experiment to try to make it do something and then you have to go back to the book because you can't figure it out.

The standard edition of Chartist 4.2 costs only $49.00 and the Pro edition is only $89.00. So, if the price and features of the program attract you, by all means download the demo from the web site and try before you buy. It may be perfect for you - it may not. Sometimes compromises are needed to just get the job done. I myself would take a pass on this product and save my money up to purchase the entry-level package from the other manufacturer I mentioned above, but that’s me. Novagraph Chartist is free to try if you have the time, the need and the interest.

Letters to the Editor are welcome and occasionally abused in public. Send e-mail to:




© Copyright 2000-2006 All rights reserved. legal notice
home | previous reviews | forums | about us | search | store | subscribe


Forums Search Home Previous Reviews About Us Store Subscribe