October 4, 2019

Shapes vs OmniGraffle

If you're looking for a quick way to create simple diagrams, Shapes might be the right tool for you. It's a good application that makes it easy to create diagrams and flow charts.

Product Description

Description from the shapesapp.com website:

Shapes is an elegant Diagramming app for Mac OS X, that is both simple and powerful. Shapes give you all of the most important features you need in a Diagramming tool without all the extra cruft, at an affordable price.

Shapes is great for Programmers and Web Designers looking for a simple tool for quickly designing Charts, laying out wireframes, or visualizing Model Relationships.

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Five Things I Learned about Shapes

  • I wasn't able to test how Shapes handled opening EPS files since you can't open files during the trial.
  • There's plenty of tools that I haven't seen anyplace else, such as a Dialog Window, Person and Double Tearaway. What is the purpose of the bracket tool?
  • It's very easy to connect objects. When an object is selected, simply click on the circle below and choose your line type: Line, Segmented Line, Smart Path, or Arc.
  • I discovered if you drag the main window edge, by the tools, you can see the tools names and the short cut keys to access them. I wasn't able to find the shortcut keys in any documentation.
  • There's a search box to search for tools, some good queries are 'box', 'house', and 'line.' It makes it easy to have like tools available as your working. However, there no documentation on available queries.

OmniGraffle vs Shapes

OmniGraffle has a lot more capabilities and certainly in't fair to compare the two apps. If your just creating basic chart diagrams and don't need a lot of flexibility, then Shapes is your tool.

Some differences between OmniGraffle and Shapes that I found while exploring:

  • OmniGraffle has large library of reusable objects, there's no library in Shapes.
  • OmniGraffle has the ability to control line hops. Which is nice when you have points that cross.
  • With OmniGraffle, I can control of how objects are connected. For example, I can add additional anchor points on an object.
  • OmniGraffle has nine fill types, while Shapes only has three.
  • Shapes doesn't offer any help pages to explain tips and tricks
  • Shapes is much cheaper than OmniGraffle $9.99 vs $149.99.

Trying Out Shapes

Shapes is available on the Apple Store for $9.99.

You down download a fully functional version of Shapes from their website and try it out. During the trial you can not import or save changes.

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