1. SmartDraw: Create professional-quality flowcharts and diagrams with this utility. SmartDraw comes with 750 symbols and templates, along with loads of clip art. One of its handy features: Once you connect a line to a graphic, it will stay connected to that graphic even when you change its size and position--a big help for creating flowcharts. The utility works with Lotus SmartSuite, Microsoft Office, WordPerfect, and other programs that support Object Linking and Embedding functions.
2. Edge Diagrammer: Create flowcharts, organization charts, and logic diagrams. Paste boxes and arrows and connect them with lines to represent flows, control paths, or procedures. The program lets you choose symbols from a gallery or add clip-art images, so long as they are GIF or JPG files. This tool includes more than 100 shapes, and you can create your own too. Add text anywhere and save your styles in templates; you get several flowchart templates for starters.
3. PowerShow Pro: Create multimedia slide shows using a wide variety of image files. You can add audio by syncing .wav and MIDI files with your images; you can also select from more than 70 transition effects to keep your audience's attention from flagging. The program lets you tile, stretch, and overlay your images. You can also embed active URL links in your images and create custom "flying text" overlays.
4. Illuminatus: This professional multimedia software from England isn't cheap, but it's in the range of its Adobe competitors, and it certainly gives you a lot for its price tag. Similar to Adobe After Effects, Illuminatus lets you create sophisticated multimedia presentations combining text, sound, graphics, animation, and video. You can show them on your PC, publish them on the Internet, or port them to a CD-ROM.
The program includes drawing tools, along with animation effects, a hot-spot editor, and multiple sound channels. You can create a time line with expense projections, or make more-artistic, ethereal creations with textures and color gradients.
5. Business Plan Pro Demo: Prepare your business plan kit and then share it with investors through the Web, as a password-protected document. The kit includes sample pages, editable templates, and budget templates. It includes over 50 sample plans that give you an idea of what your plan should contain, what it can look like, and how extensive it might be. The plans included in this program are serious--they aren't the type of thing you'd see in a cheesy, introductory manual on the topic.
Business Plan Pro features management tools that let you track milestones and analyze your planned versus actual expenditures. Its graphic forecasting tool helps you project the future of your sales or expenses. When you finish your plan, you can print a color version that merges text, tables, and charts, and includes a table of contents, a cover page, and appendices.