I’m here at the Wayland Literacy Institute, and I’m presenting at 1.30. I was preparing the PowerPoint last night, and wanted to include a couple of flow charts. My first thought was Inspiration; does it even exist anymore? Certainly not on my current computer. Then I wondered if I could do it right there in PowerPoint. But it didn’t seem too efficient. So I hit the iPad. There has to be an app for that, yes? A search on the App Store yielded inFlowChartLite, the only free option. I downloaded it and, short of being overwhelmed by the language of flowchart shapes and symbols, it looked great. The problem is that the free version limits you to 10 elements in your flowcharts. What I didn’t realize (stupidly) was that the arrows were part of that 10 (I had assumed the elements were the actual shapes). And $5.99 just didn’t seem worth it for something I probably wouldn’t use frequently.

Next. I had read in a recent MacWorld a review of productivity suites (and pleased to see that Office2HD scored very well), of which Pages was one. Pages did not fare well in general, largely because of Apple’s limiting of its accessibility and compatibility. But it did score very high as a stand-alone iPad creator, especially for not-just-text documents. So I figured I’d try it to make my flowcharts in Pages.

I started with a blank sheet. The + sign at upper right let me add shapes (not quite the variety of the iPad app but enough for a beginner like me); I didn’t realize until my second that I had options for color, shading, etc. And so off I went. In the end, Pages did the job. If I made a lot flowcharts, though, Pages would not be my go to app (I’d spring the $5.99). The most glaring issue was the lack of snap-to grids (ClarisWorks / AppleWorks fans, that one’s for you), i.e. it was difficult to align lines and shapes with each other to the extent that I want. Pages provides coordinates to assist, but to assume that I would remember the coordinates from a previous shape’s location seems a bit ambitious. A function that would automatically link proximal objects would be helpful. Otherwise, Pages provided a good stopgap. As I said, I wouldn’t use it frequently, but for what I needed it (mostly) did the job.

And here are the flowcharts (and I do realize that to call them flowcharts might be a bit insulting to real flowcharts), for better or worse:

Typology of IF

IF in Classroom Chart