A better tool (for graphing)

by Linda Sharps on July 14, 2009

One of my pet peeves, aside from possessive apostrophes on plural nouns and the belief that the virus-afflicted in 28 Days/Weeks Later are zombies (helllo-ooo, they aren't dead), is when someone emails me an Excel document that contains information that has nothing to do with spreadsheet functionality. You use a spreadsheet as a text editor, really? What do you brush your teeth with, a CHAINSAW?

Nothing against spreadsheet programs, it's just that if you're not doing a bunch of number crunching, there are better tools for the job. Much as I enjoy the giddy thrill of a good pivot table, I'd rather not mess with one if I don't have to.

(Note: I so don't know what a pivot table is.)

This totally manufactured topic gives me a great segue into talking about OmniGraphSketcher, because—wait for the tie-in!—if you've ever found yourself embroiled in an epic battle with an illustration program in order to make a pretty graph and it's all dude, I don't know what you mean by “axes”, but I can help you draw a wicked awesome flaming alien skull; so you switch to a spreadsheet program but it's all, IT ENTERS THE DATA IN THE BUCKET OR IT GETS THE HOSE, and you're like what bucket, you know the annoyance of using the wrong tool. The chainsaw! It barely holds the toothpaste!

We think OmniGraphSketcher falls into the “better tool” category for any time you want to quickly draw a spiffy graph, but don't want to mess with all the bells and whistles of a program that does more than you need it to do. OmniGraphSketcher definitely isn't intended to replace a powerhouse data visualization tool; it's meant for quick, accurate, easy-on-the-eye graphmaking.

Behold these emailed kudos, sent it by actual users:

I just tried OmniGraph Sketcher. And wow. Seriously. I routinely use both Excel and Stata for charts, and… wow. You've created one mean tool here. I'm impressed. While I have oooooodles more options in Stata and can create more complicated graphs in that tool, OGS is easier to futz with by far. I'll be using it a lot in the future.


As a note of appreciation I would like to say how much this program has helped me. I do a lot of sketch-graphing for business assignments. […] my collegues have often asked what package I use to produce such 'beautiful' graphs. The most frequent question to me is 'how do you do that?' Email replies when I sent a graph via email often start out with 'very impressive', 'great graph' or 'this is very good'. And these are people who do a lot of scientific or business graphing using Excel and other packages.

If you're thinking, yeah, but I don't NEED to make graphs, please enjoy some of these images from Omni's Rejected WWDC 2009 T-Shirt Design Archives:

Nerdiness in GRAPH FORM, people. You don't need to be making a fancy P&L presentation to enjoy this app, is what I'm saying.

Download it for yourself here. You can demo OmniGraphSketcher for two weeks without anyone getting all up in your grill: no nags, no emails, nothing. Give it a try and let us know what you think!