Software for technical diagrams?

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Software for technical diagrams?

Postposted on Sun Apr 22, 2012 12:45 pm

I am looking for a good software for making diagrams for scientific and technical publications. I have tried using xfig but it makes my brain hurt. Any alternatives?
Requirements:

1. Output should be in a print-friendly format, preferably something that can be used easily in LaTeX documents.
2. Ability to do block diagrams and schematics etc
3. Ability to use greek letters and mathematical symbols
4. Should run on either Linux or Windows.
5. Should cost less than, say, $100.
codedivine
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Re: Software for technical diagrams?

Postposted on Sun Apr 22, 2012 2:04 pm

Have you looked at Microsoft Visio?

Or for a free alternative StarUML.
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Re: Software for technical diagrams?

Postposted on Sun Apr 22, 2012 3:05 pm

Dia? It's free.
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Re: Software for technical diagrams?

Postposted on Sun Apr 22, 2012 3:38 pm

Have you looked into Inkscape? It's cross-platform (Linux/Windows/Mac), uses SVG as its native document format, and can render directly to EPS and PDF. It's also free.
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Re: Software for technical diagrams?

Postposted on Sun Apr 22, 2012 7:41 pm

I've used Dia for things like block diagrams. It has its quirks but it works fine.

Recently I've been getting into TikZ which is a TeX package for generating diagrams. It gets you the most professional results but the learning curve is steep.
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Re: Software for technical diagrams?

Postposted on Sun Apr 22, 2012 8:45 pm

Thanks everyone! Will check out the recommendations!
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Re: Software for technical diagrams?

Postposted on Sun Apr 22, 2012 10:40 pm

BobbinThreadbare wrote:Have you looked at Microsoft Visio?

Not sure that meets the second part of requirement #1; and whether it meets requirement #4 depends on what he actually meant -- I initially interpreted it as "we use Linux and Windows so it needs to be usable on both", but I suppose a strict parsing of the grammar actually leads to an interpretation of "as long as it works on at least one of Linux or Windows it's OK".
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Re: Software for technical diagrams?

Postposted on Mon Apr 23, 2012 3:13 am

just brew it! wrote:
BobbinThreadbare wrote:Have you looked at Microsoft Visio?

Not sure that meets the second part of requirement #1; and whether it meets requirement #4 depends on what he actually meant -- I initially interpreted it as "we use Linux and Windows so it needs to be usable on both", but I suppose a strict parsing of the grammar actually leads to an interpretation of "as long as it works on at least one of Linux or Windows it's OK".


Yeah sorry about that, I meant "as long as it works on at least one of Linux or Windows it's OK".
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Re: Software for technical diagrams?

Postposted on Mon Apr 23, 2012 4:37 am

Visio is great for making flowcharts. You can find the 03 version around for pretty cheap as well. It has pretty much everything you want in it already.
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Re: Software for technical diagrams?

Postposted on Mon Apr 23, 2012 6:57 am

Thanks everyone. I have settled on Inkscape for now.
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Re: Software for technical diagrams?

Postposted on Mon Apr 23, 2012 7:00 am

I use Visio for all this type of ****. Piping iso's, swim lane diagrams, block diagrams, PFDs, etc.
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Re: Software for technical diagrams?

Postposted on Mon Apr 23, 2012 7:53 am

Bensam123 wrote:Visio is great for making flowcharts. You can find the 03 version around for pretty cheap as well. It has pretty much everything you want in it already.

My main concern with Visio was whether its output is easily importable into LaTeX. It also costs more than $100 (Edit: well, maybe not the '03 version).

(For those who aren't familiar with it, LaTeX is a document formatting language based on TeX, which was invented by Donald Knuth. It has seen a fair bit of use in the technical/scientific publishing field.)

codedivine wrote:Thanks everyone. I have settled on Inkscape for now.

I'd be very interested to hear how that goes. I've dabbled with both Inkscape and LaTeX, but never tried using them together before.
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