EDraw Max Review
For two-dimensional technical designing, Edraw Max houses many features which we are going to discuss in this review. It is a system-based application which requires at least 1 GB of RAM and GB Processor. It can be used on Windows, MacOS, and Linux. However, it is not available for Android and iOS, and hence, can’t be used on mobile phones.
- Contains Hundreds of templates: Considering all diagram types, hundreds of templates are added to the application whose benefit users can take by editing the designed layout instead of starting from the beginning.
- Lifetime Subscription Available: There are three plans available for Edraw Max, out of which lifetime subscription plan seems to be the best one. You need to pay $245 once, and after that, you can use it without getting concerned about the renewal.
- Vast Shape Library: For creating various diagrams, numerous elements are added. These elements are entirely dedicated to its diagram type and appear on the left side of the canvas when the dedicated diagram type is selected.
- Easy to Use: Although there are so many elements and features present, Edraw Max has successfully kept the user-interface simple. It is achieved by smartly placing the features under different sections.
- Additional Image Editing features: There are some basic image editing features which can help to enhance the images. You can also adjust the brightness, contrast, and transparency for the pictures.
- Requires Download and No instant updates: Edraw is not a web-based application, and one needs to download it and install it before using. It can’t be updated instantly as it is available offline. However, it is a benefit also as you don’t need the internet connection for using it.
- No integration: Edraw Max is an independent product that has no option to integrate with other applications. This narrows down the use of application.
- No user collaboration: Multiple users can’t work on Edraw at the same time. This drawback doesn’t allow users to have real-time discussions.
Edraw Max is a product by EdrawSoft which also offers multiple designing applications and a project management software. The software programs dedicated to infographics and mind mapping can be downloaded from the website.
In this review, we will focus on Edraw Max, but along with it, you will also get a brief idea about the other products that EdrawSoft offers.
The application’s highlighted characteristics are its template examples and shape library. Both are vast, and because of that, it widens the possibility of designs that it can create.
It can’t be used online, and users may take it a drawback. However, it can be a blessing in disguise when you do not have an internet connection, or you want to work offline.
But, in case you are not having the system on which Edraw Max was installed, you need to download it again on another system. For web-based applications, this won’t be a concern. However, when you go through various plans, you will find that the license allows you to install the software on upto two devices.
While going through the plan, you will also find a lifetime subscription plan which allows you to upgrade for a lifetime without paying a dime. If you wish to find various pros and cons of the product, go through every section of our review which delivers complete options about various features.
The Diagram Types and Available Templates
A diagramming software’s efficiency depends upon the variety of diagrams and designs that it lets the user create with the use of its tools and library. We will discuss the shape library and toolkit in the upcoming sections.
Our primary focus will be on the diagrams which you can generate using Edraw Max. There are around twenty different types mentioned on their website out of which we have chosen some.
The chosen diagram types are widely used, and hence, Edraw Max must provide a sufficient number of templates for them. The lack of templates may reduce the user experience as he will then need to create the diagram from the beginning which would require expending a lot of time.
When a template is readily available, much effort isn’t required. Perhaps, it will be helpful when you have strict deadlines. One by one, we will go through the diagrams and provide you with information about the Edraw’s capability of creating them.
There are multiple applications which claim to provide you the opportunity to create flowcharts with ease. Still, it would be better to find the one that owns prebuilt templates.
Generally, Flowcharts’ basic structure remains the same (start-> process -> stop). That’s why there is no need of providing a huge number of templates.
This is how one can get the required flowchart easily by making some alterations.
Edraw Max has, however, taken the flowchart design to the next level. While creating the flowchart templates, other applications such as Lucidchart focuses more on the process path.
On the other hand, Edraw Max equally focuses on the process path and the attractive capability of the templates. Look at the image added below, and you will know what we are talking about.
You may not find enough template options on the top, but when you look at the examples, there would be many.
The thumbnails under the title “Templates” define the type of a template, and below that, examples are shown which are created using the above template type.
On many occasions, you may not even need to edit the template. You can just choose the template and fill it with content. Save it by selecting the format type, and work is done.
After going through the flowchart templates, we were confident that there would be a satisfactory number of organizational chart templates.
When you have a look at the templates, there are only ten, but scroll down to the example, and you will find seventy examples of organizational charts.
You can easily find the one that has a similar design to the organizational chart that you wish to design. In case, there is no comparable example available, you can use a template, and develop it using the shape library and toolkit.
There is one implementation that they have made in the user interface that we would like to mention here. As the examples appear small in size, it is not possible to understand the complete design without opening it on a blank page.
Alternately, you can use the handy thumbnail present on the right side of the template window. This would help you to find the relevant org chart and examples for other charts as well.
Although this feature is present, the better option is to add a zoom feature by which the user can go through the details of multiple examples without selecting them.
Wireframe delivers the idea of how a website or an application is going to appear after it comes to function. It also helps to test new designs and select the suitable one after experimenting.
The appearance of a website differs according to the device. Therefore, creating a template here would not be as useful as it is in other cases. They will need to create templates for every device when user needs to check the appearance. This is not a practical approach as there could be hundreds of devices.
That is why, even if they create multiple templates, there is a possibility that none of the templates resembles the screen for which you wish to create a wireframe. In short, it would be better not to rely on templates for this category.
Talking about Edraw Max, you will only find twenty template examples under this section. Hence, just basic application design can be recommended by using this program.
Businesses widely use visualization techniques which help them to communicate. In Edraw Max’s case, we are not sure how many subscribers are going to use it for expressing ideas with the team as it doesn’t have team management features.
Still, you can use it for creating business diagrams such as business matrix, fault tree analysis, six sigma matrix, process steps, etc.
On the template window, you will find various business-related designs under business diagram section. These designs are segmented into fourteen subcategories, and each contains devoted templates.
Some of the subcategories such as audit diagram, value chart, value streaming mapping only contain one or two examples. Hence, one may find that there’s a need for adding more designs in these sections.
Other than these, most of the subcategories offer a sufficient number of examples which can be directly used to add the data.
Moving to our favorite section, we would like the reader to tell that Edraw offers a specialized product just for creating infographics. So, if your necessity doesn’t lie beyond generating infographics, you can use Edraw Infographics. In a later section, we will discuss it in detail.
As Edraw has a dedicated application for infographics, therefore, we were expecting to find a vast number of templates under this section.
They have categorized the templates according to the related field. For instance, health-related infographics are placed under the medical category.
Unfortunately, you will only find a limited number of templates under every category. There are only three examples under the medical. And sections like architecture, news, and technology, only contain one example each.
It is strange that even after having a dedicated application for infographics, they do not have a satisfactory number of templates on Edraw Max.
Various other charts
We have only provided you with an extensive review of five selected categories. However, the discussion would remain incomplete if we do not make you familiar with the limitations and advantages of creating other diagram types using Edraw Max.
The first diagram type that is visible on the window is “Basic Diagrams” which contains the templates that can be used for general purpose; designs relate to the circular diagram, Venn diagram, pyramid chart, etc.
There are more than two hundred templates in this section. As they are not designed for any specific purpose, you can use them wherever they fit. However, you may need a little bit of editing, but then, it would add a charm to your presentations and other documents.
You can even design various types of cards such as business, invitation, greeting, etc. and add clipart to it from the clipart section. You can create a construction map on your own using the Floor Plan, and can even take care of the minute details such as wardrobes, elevations, plumbing, and piping, etc.,
For creating mind maps also, it can be a good alternative of MindMeister, as you get advanced level templates which are even absent in the software dedicated to mind maps. Perhaps, it is because MindMeister wishes to keep it simple. You can check the review for better comparison!
If we talk about the templates, it is tough to find a limitation while using Edraw Max. However, there is always a room for improvement, and for Edraw Max also, developments can be suggested.
They can add more infographic templates as there an only few available for each subcategory. Similarly, fashion designing only offers five templates which are obviously not enough.
There are certain diagram types which were present in Lucidchart: data flow, service management, entity relationship, etc., which we found missing here. However, one must not forget that many types are exclusive to Edraw Max, and you would not find them anywhere else.
The Shape Library
Shape library is categorized similar to how templates are distributed under different groups. Shape library contains elements by which the predefined templates were created.
There is no element outside the shape library that Edraw would have used to generate the templates. That means, by using the shape library, you can create a variety of diagrams in which you can even give very minute details.
The shape library appears on the left side of the Edraw Max’s editor. Let’s say, you have selected org charts and opened the editor. After that, the library that appears on the left will only contain items which are related to org charts.
However, it is possible that you may require items from other categories also. You can quickly open those items by clicking on the home symbol and selecting the category from the drop-down list whose elements you need to use.
Here, when you compare it with other diagramming software, Edraw Max gets a winning point as it has one of the most potent shape libraries.
When you go through the library of any other diagramming software, you may find all the basic shapes. However, Edraw has more to offer. It combines to basic shapes and generates a new one. This reduces users’ tasks to a greater extent making Edraw a time saver.
There is one more advantage that users will have when they use Edraw Max’s shape library. Under every category, there is a subcategory which makes it easier to find out a particular element.
Furthermore, when you move your pointer to a subcategory, thumbnail of different items become visible by which you can rapidly go through all of them. Although there are hundreds of elements in Edraw, because of the advanced categorization, it requires minimal effort to find the desired.
The Edraw Editor
What you can’t create in Edraw Max is still a question to us that may not have an answer. Not just the possibilities of generating various designs, but also the ease of achieving them are remarkable.
You can start with a blank page or a template. Here, we would choose a blank page to provide you with a review of the editor.
You can drag various elements from the shape library that we have discussed in the previous section and drop them on the drawing area to make them a part of your diagram.
Now, have a look at the methodology that helps the Edraw Max to do the correct placement of the elements. When you drop an item, alignment lines appear on the drawing area that lets the user position elements adjacent to one another.
For instance, if you want two or more items having the same Y position (or Y coordinate), these alignment lines will help you to achieve it.
As we discussed in the shape library, you would find items which are made by combining two different items. When a combined item is dropped on the drawing area, you can choose to the whole item at once, or if you click on a specific portion, Edraw Max will only let you move the selected part.
That way, the editor also helps to generate more items by breaking one.
Besides the general features, you will also find some fantastic options present on the menu bar such as creating connecting points and connectors of various shapes. You can also add vector text and numerous symbols present under the insert section.
You can add effects to your design, place watermarks, set background or theme, and adjust the features of your page (orientation, size, etc.).
These all come along with the essential tools that you may find in other diagramming software also. Hence, it can be said that questioning the number of attributes that Edraw offers won’t be possible.
Edraw has advanced level tools which give more flexibility to the user while designing. These tools can edit any of the elements present on the Edraw.
Whether you choose the element from the library, or you face it while working on a template, anything can be customized here. However, we will keep an eye on the boundaries of customization in this section.
From basic shapes to complex clipart, you can alter the visual characteristics such as color, boundary, shadow, etc., by using the tools available on the right side of the drawing area.
We will examine all the options by moving from the top to bottom and provide you with comments regarding each section separately.
Clicking on the Topmost section- Fill, we found the options related to the color added to the body of an element. You can look at the image and check all the six types of fills provided by software which are present above the obvious “color” selection option.
As you can see, it is also possible to change the shade and transparency of a particular object. For implementing the same changes to multiple elements, you can select them all together by clicking on them while pressing Ctrl key along with it.
An option to add shadow is available as well. This option may look like a minor feature, but Edraw has given it high importance by adding customization options to it.
Before implementing the shadow, we were curious that in which direction, the default shadow appears. It appears just behind the selected element.
After that, you can adjust it with the X offset and Y offset feature. X offset helps to adjust the right and left position of the shadow, whereas Y offset allows to alter it from top to bottom.
You can also adjust the blur, transparency, and size of the shadow.
The flexibilities are limitless with the product. You can even choose the boundary thickness and style. These features are helpful for users who are going to create designs from the foundation. It would help them to tailor the appearance of each unit that they produce.
First of all, you can even choose whether you require a line or not. Selecting whether you need a solid line, or a gradient line will open a number of options. Such options were missing in Lucidchart, which is known as a prominent diagramming software.
As there is no room to discuss all the line related features, we can just provide you the surety that most of the basic, as well as advanced features, are placed here. Some of the features are Adjustable width, cap type, line type, presets selection, and transparency.
After you are done with shapes, you may need to add images also. Therefore, image editing features would surely make Edraw Max more attractive.
However, Edraw only has basic features for image editing. You can adjust the brightness, contrast, and transparency. But it is expected that they have functions such as changing saturation, blur, smoothing of images, etc. As it is not primarily for image editing, it can’t be considered as a limitation but only suggest improving the features.
Although the attributes were not many, surprisingly, Edraw Max has an image filter library of his own. By trying the filters, we discovered that they only change the color of the image and nothing else.
Some other basic features that you can discover here are adding hyperlinks to an image or object, putting a comment on it, and adjusting its dimensions and positions by manually adding the digits.
Import and Export
Whenever using a diagramming application, it is necessary to know what file types the application allow to import. Also, saving a diagram in multiple formats helps a user to access it through the various applications.
While using Edraw, you can easily import a Visio file. Microsoft Visio, which is a part of Microsoft Office, is widely used for diagramming. You can import the file through the import option present in the “File” menu.
The other type that Edraw permits to export is the SVG file. However, if you look at the below-added screenshot, you will know that it is not fully compatible.
You can still import these file types and remove the elements which are not compatible and replace them which the elements present on the Edraw’s shape library.
Still, the import options are limited. More options such as getting files from Omnigraffle and Gliffy can also be included.
When we talk about exporting, you can convert .eddx, which is Edraw Max’s file type, into a number of other files which are widely used.
Because of this, you get a reason to prefer Edraw above other diagramming applications. The application has categorized the export options into six categories.
When you select the Graphics options, it is saved as an image. You also get the luxury of choosing the image format. It is possible to save it as a tiff file by discovering the choice in the same graphics section.
If you want to make the Edraw file available for a PDF reader, you can choose .pdf, .ps, or .eps. It has become easier to find a suitable export option because of this smart categorization.
Many times, documents require adding diagrams. When you are using Edraw Max, you can save the file as an image and then add it to a document. However, a better way that Edraw Max offers is to make the diagram available with various Microsoft Office extensions.
You can save the Edraw Max’s file as .docx, .pptx, and .xlsx which allows us to use the diagram on Word, PowerPoint, and Excel respectively. You can also adjust the zoom size for each file type which exporting.
Other than these types, you can also export in HTML, SVG, and Visio. In comparison to other Diagramming software, Edraw has more options for exporting leaving no room for improvement.
More from EdrawSoft
Edraw Max is EdrawSoft’s prime product which they call “All-in-one Diagram Software.” Besides this, there are niche products which are focused towards particular diagram type.
Mind mapping is a prominent way by which people create & discuss ideas and conduct brainstorming. EdrawSoft’s MindMaster can be used for that purpose. However, you only need to buy it if you want a dedicated mind mapping software.
Edraw Max contains its templates and mind maps can be drawn through Edraw Max as well. Other than this, MindMeister could be a good alternative which provides dedicated mind mapping attributes. This option you’d only select if you’re specifically interested in building Mind Maps
Similarly, there is a standalone infographics software also which has a vast template library having templates for specific purposes. From business infographics to festive infographics, you can find everything there.
But, having Edraw Max can provide you with these benefits also. Edraw Max may not contain all the templates that Edraw Infographics provide, but with the help of its tools, you can create a wide range of infographics for sure.
For org charts also, you can find a dedicated product on their website. Again, Edraw Max acts as the best all in one kind of solution. The only significant benefit that you get here is the pricing. In case your requirement is just of org charts, you can get the dedicated software for a comparatively lower price.
There is an entirely different product that we found on its website: Edraw Office Viewer Component. The application deserves a separate review as it has no link with the diagramming, but it is developed to keep your documents safe and secure.
EdrawSoft also offers a project management software, Edraw Project that comes with a primary but powerful user interface. To keep it simple, they have used rows and columns to input the data and has added a timeline that runs along with it.
It is significantly different from the Project Management software such as MeisterTask and Trello which use cards and sections instead of rows and columns.
Edraw Max has amazing functionality when you need to create a diagram which is its primary job. It will not let you down when you search for a shape that you need to add to your design.
There are hundreds of shapes that you can check on their website also. As we have discussed the shapes, you already know that they belong to various categories. Probably, through the categories assigned to the shape, they have covered most of the elements that designers require.
There can be users who do not wish to design from the beginning. For them, a huge box full of templates is provided which contains the diagram types that we have discussed.
When it comes to image editing, a few more features are required to be added. Because of this, users won’t need third-party software to modify the images that they are going to add to their design.
You must remember that the product is desktop-based which is a benefit as well as a disadvantage at the same time. You can use it offline that means there is no internet requirement, but it will require installation and updates won’t be instant.
Keeping all these factors in mind, you have to decide whether Edraw Max can help you create your required diagrams and designs or not.