That make it easy to chart flow, people

KEEPING TRACK 2

December 23, 1991|By Harold Glicken and David Levinson | Harold Glicken and David Levinson,Knight-Ridder News Service

Keeping track of people in a small business involves peering over your bifocals and taking a head count at the desk next to you. But as your business grows, you'll need something a bit more sophisticated.

You could get some help from this software for Windows 3.0.

Instant ORGcharting may be the answer to a department manager's dreams. You can build tree structures of people in a company quickly and with a minimum of hassle, enhance charts with color and graphic touches, and even include photos of the people you're organizing.

Installation on a 386-class PC took less than a minute. A tutorial gets you started quickly, and the manual is friendly, thorough and designed for someone who wants to learn the essentials, build a chart, print it and have copies made before a 10 o'clock meeting. Should you need more help, technical support is a toll-free call away.

By clicking on icons representing managers, subordinates, assistants, co-workers and the like, you'll soon be building graphical representations of work groups in nine different styles (horizontal, vertical, staggered, and everything in between). These charts look as if they were created by draftsmen, when in fact lines are attached to boxes with computer precision.

While you could easily accept the program defaults, you have the choice of exercising your creativity. Boxes can be resized and moved manually and lines can be drawn at your whim.

The printed results are pretty impressive, especially if you're at the top of the chart. A very handy program for department managers and personnel types, Instant ORGcharting retails for $195 from Roykore, Inc. (415) 563-9175.

If you're into flow charts and if you've ever wondered how those amazing charts you see in self-help repair or medical manuals are drawn, wonder no more. Perhaps at one time draftsmen made sure the lines connected properly, and perhaps artists figured out proper shading for boxes. But these days the charts probably are being drawn by programs such as ABC Flowcharter.

This program, which works with Windows 2.11 and up, guides even novices through the intricacies of connecting boxes with circles, arrows to cylinders, and so on down the chart chain.

Its uses range from tutorials, such as the one that accompanies the program, to the kinds of flow charts you're called upon routinely to create in the business world. We'd say the learning curve on ABC Flowcharter is pretty moderate, meaning that if you know your way around Windows in particular and PCs in general, you'll be able to begin creating some pretty impressive flow charts an hour or so after breaking open the package.

ABC Flowcharter costs $295 from Roykore (415) 563-9175.

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