Note: This review addresses v0.96.1 of the
For those who depend on organization charts to make sense of
life, Dia is a savior. A product of the Gnome Project, Dias’
nearest relative in the commercial software world is Visio. Dia
doesn’t try to take on Visio diagram to diagram, polyline to
polyline. But it provides more than enough of the usual
suspects—boxes, ellipses, polygons, and sticky connecting lines
and arrows—to create office diagrams, chains of authority, and
electrical circuits. If you need shapes not in Dia, there are
instructions on how to add custom objects.
If those tools aren’t enough to for you to organize anything
from the office hierarchy to your kids’ Little League season, Dia
has a few other tricks to help you. A good one is layers. You can
create your diagram as a stack of subdiagrams, a virtual
representation of drawing the diagrams on pages of clear acetate.
The layers let you extend your diagram into the third dimension.
(Think of the layers as separate blueprints for each story of a
office building. You get to see not only how offices are laid out
on each floor, but how the floors are connected by wiring, pipes
The best trick, though, is Best Fit. Any diagram I have ever
drawn, on paper or on the screen, wound up running off the edges
because it was simply too big. Best Fit takes care of that in an
instant, reducing my rambling diagrams to whatever size they need
to be to fit where they’re supposed to be. Makes me look as it my
own thinking were organized.
Note: This download takes you to the developer’s site,
where you can download the software. The Windows download is at the
top of the first page; links to the Mac and Linux downloads are
further down the page.