Harvard Graphics. (Harvard Graphics 3.0 software package) (Evaluation)
by Robert Bixby
For serious business graphics, there's no name as well known or as respected as Harvard Graphics, the charting and graphics program from Software Publishing. Harvard Graphics 3.0 provides all kinds of graphs and requires little more from the user than the figures necessary to create the graph.
The program can use data files generated by the most popular products, including dBASE, 1-2-3, and Excel--formats most minority products can create as export files. Even if you rely only on Harvard Graphics' default settings when creating a chart or graph, you still come away with attractive, informative graphs on paper or in electronic form for metamorphosing into slides or transparencies. Or you can get into the options tables and alter the graphs almost endlessly.
The graphics area of the program provides powerful features. For example, you can capture bitmap screens courtesy of a Harvard Graphics feature. Or you can obtain pictures created by other graphics programs and import them into Harvard Graphics as backgrounds for your presentations and charts.
Harvard Graphics is now able to do very simple animation, as well as blends (gradual shifts from one shape to another and from one color to another through a series of program-generated objects) and gradient and bitmap fills. Although in the earlier versions of the product I didn't much care for its drawing capabilities, in this latest incarnation it completely lives up to its reputation as a premium graphics package.
A long list of features will make the product easier to use for beginners and for power users. Context-sensitive help arrives at the press of the F1 function key. Harvard Graphics now supports macros internally, which means that if you go through a series of formatting procedures each time you create a graph, you can record a macro and let Harvard Graphics take care of the busywork for you.
Furthermore, this most recent version contains all the conveniences users have grown to love in Harvard Graphics over the years, like the built-in palettes that allow you to use professionally selected colors for you presentation (too much choice can be as much of headache as too little). Perfect for creating charts, Harvard Graphics is a better-than-fair graphics package as well.