Graph-in-the-Box Executive. (presentation software) (Evaluation)
by Kevin Reichard
Creating simple charts and graphs with a personal computer doesn't necessarily prove to be as easy as it sounds. Hard-to-learn packages designed for creating presentation graphics--like Microsoft PowerPoint and Aldus Persuasion--are geared more toward the presentation professional and often come equipped with more power--and work--than most of us really need.
Those with more modest graphing needs will find Graph-in-the-Box Executive a good choice. A TSR (Terminate and Stay Resident) program that sits in RAM until you need it, Graph-in-the-Box Executive lets you pluck information from virtually any application and use that data in a chart or graph.
Say, for instance, while working in WordPerfect, that you want to convert a table of numbers into a bar chart. You summon Graph-in-the-Box Executive by typing Alt-G, and then highlight the WordPerfect table using either the cursor keys or your mouse. A copy of the information then moves into Graph-in-the-Box Executive's data table, and from there you can convert the data into 15 types of charts, including bar, pie, scatter, and line charts and various combination of those.
Graph-in-the-Box Executive's clear documentation simplifies virtually every task. Advanced users will really appreciate the program's technical reference documentation, which anticipates quite a number of problems you might expect to encounter with any type of graphics program, including this one--incompatibilities with other terminate-and-stay-resident programs and applications, for example.
Unfortunately, what you stand to gain in convenience with this program, you tend to lose in output quality. Graphs created with Graph-in-the-Box Executive lack the polished appeal of those created using more sophisticated software, even when you choose to print them on a laser printer. In addition, your output choices--printer and plotter--don't include creating slides.
If what you're after is mere down-and-dirty graph and chart creation, Graph-in-the-Box Executive should serve well as a useful--though somewhat limited--tool.