Summary of Presentation Graphics Software Review.

J Preiss--Seq Anal preissj at CLVAX1.CL.MSU.EDU
Mon Feb 1 13:09:00 EST 1993


          After review of suggestions and software, the bottom line is...  
               I'm buying SlideWrite.

After receiving several responses, and trying out several packages, I have
decided to buy SlideWrite from Advanced Graphics Software Inc., 5825 Avenida
Encinas, Suit 105, Carlsbad, CA  92008-4404.  Phone (619) 931-1919.  The cost
is $445-, but they give good bulk discounts (5 copies at $244- each).  It is
a compact program that runs quickly and is very user friendly.  It has good
draw functions, standard text functions, and very good import filters, but
it's real strength is in data handling, statistics, and plotting.  It was
written with the scientific/academic market in mind, and it shows.  It has a
lot of functions that we (the scientific community) want, but buisiness folks
could care less about.  It also prints directly to the most popular slide
making devices.  I recomend the Windows version, 2.0 (which actually won't be
out till June, but if you buy enough copies they will give you a free
upgrade).  
       My criteria for software:
1.  It must be user friendly (how far can I get without the manual).
2.  It must interact well with other software (let me move files in and out
     of other programs for a "modular" approach to software).
3.  It must be versatile and powerful (let me choose options and directions).
4.  It should be compact (take up little space on the hard drive).
5.  It should run quickly on my computer
6.  It should be affordable.

     Score     -    Bad
               0    Average
               +    Ok
               ++   Good
               +++  Excellent


               User                Power/    Quick &
Program        Friendly  Modular   Options   Compact   Comments
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
SlideWrite WIN   +++       ++        +++       +++     My choice, ver 2.0
SlideWrite DOS   +         +         0         +++     Lots missing from Win
Designer         ++        +++       +++       ++      Top notch draw program
Correl Draw      0         +         ++        -       It's a monster
Freelance        +++       +++       +++       ++      Great, but no plots
WP Presenter     0         0         ++        ++      Program needs work
Powerpoint       +++       ++        +         +       Nice, but no power
Harvard Graph    -         -         +         +       Yuck, but 2 yr old ver
Sigma Plot       -         -         +         +       Yuck, but 2 yr old ver


In addition to general characteristics, I had specific functions in mind.  I
rated each program for the following:

1.   Import capabilities
2.   Draw functions
3.   Output clarity and ease
4.   Text management
5.   Data handling
6.   Plotting capabilities


Program        Import    Output    Draw      Text      Data      Plot
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
SlideWrite WIN   +++       +++       ++        ++        +++       +++
SlideWrite DOS   ++        +++       0         ++        +++       +++
Designer         +++       ++        +++       +++       -         -
Correl Draw      0         0         ++        +         -         -
Freelance        +++       +++       ++        ++        +         +
WP Presenter     +         +         ++        +++       +         +
Powerpoint       ++        ++        0         ++        +         +
Harvard Graph    -         -         -         -         +         ++
Sigma Plot       -         -         -         -         ++        +

What follows is a list of the correspondence that I sent and received on the
subject.  Thanks to all for the comments, and access to software to try out.

From:     CLVAX1::WINS%"<preissj at clvax1.cl.msu.edu>" 22-DEC-1992 23:12:14.47
     To: "bio-soft" <bio-soft at net.bio.net>
I am thinking of buying a presention graphics software package.  I currently
use microsoft powerpoint for making slides for presentations.  It is nice
for poping text and data in and out of other microsoft applications, but
it is a bugger to output.  It requires a heavily beefed up laser print ot
get printouts, and I can't get it to give me files that can be read by
a laser film etching device.  Microsoft is no help, they just tell me to 
convince the organizers of scientific meetings to switch to on screen 
presentations instead of journals and slide presentations.
     I once saw Aldus persuasion demonstrated on a mac, but I've heard
that it's hard to learn on IBM and not as powerful.
     Some of the computer rags are touting Lotus freelance as a better
alternative.
     Many other people in my lab use an old version of slidewrite for
it's great power for making graphs of enzyme data, but have no idea if it
is any good for presentation graphics.  They never use that part of the
program.  I have heard that there is a new version out that works on 
windows and is a competitor with powerpoint and persuasion and still has
all the great data graphing and computational power that we find so useful.
     Has anyone used the latest version of Slidwrite, does it run in 
windows, is it any good, is it really a competitor with persuasion?
     Does anyone have any recomendations regarding this question?
     For the record, we are a biochemistry lab with modest needs for 
fancy presentation styles, but we all want to look good for job interviews.
Most of us prefer to work in IBM mode.  Those still using Macs still prefer 
to hand draw all slides and graphs, they are not exactly the computer
concious side of the lab.  The program I need must be for IBM type machine.
               Thanks in advance.
               Dr. Leonard N. Bloksberg
               PreissJ at clvax1.cl.msu.edu
               Dept. of Biochemistry
               Michigan State University
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
     For the record, I found that any windows based program will have the
same difficulty printing as Powerpoint (with some rare exceptions like
SlideWrite).  I also found that there is now a printer driver to allow any
windows based program to print to the Polaroid CI3000 slidemaker (which our
department owns).  This program is called Super Print.
***************************************************************************
From:     CLVAX1::WINS%"<BOTSALT at vm.uoguelph.ca>" 23-DEC-1992 14:12:39.04
     From David Salt
Have you tried Designer by computer associates. It runs under windows
and is very good for importing graphs, drawing adding text almost every
thing you might want to do. I usually use a postscript laser printer
and then get slides made from the hard copy.
Good look, and seasons greetings.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Thanks Dave
     I just got a copy and tried Micrographix Designer.  I love it.  It is a
fast, compact program that is very easy to use.  I have had lots of fun with
it, and I havn't cracked a manual.  It has superlative draw functions, and 
a vast array of import filters.   I haven't tried to output yet, but it has
the same limitations as Powerpoint, from what I understand.

***************************************************************************
From:     CLVAX1::WINS%"karuzis at wccf.mit.edu" 23-DEC-1992 23:00:47.14
     From Glenn Holm



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