Saturday, February 5, 2011 “Cool Websites and Tools [February 4th]” plus 8 more “Cool Websites and Tools [February 4th]” plus 8 more

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Cool Websites and Tools [February 4th]

Posted: 04 Feb 2011 07:31 PM PST

Check out some of the latest MakeUseOf discoveries. All listed websites are FREE or come with a decent free account option. You can make use of them without spending a dime. If you want to have similar cool websites round-ups delivered to your email daily email subscribe here.

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Plagiarisma – Plagiarism is a serious offence – it can get a writer fired and a student expelled. Teachers and editors often have to check work submitted to them for plagiarism. To give them a hand in this, Plagiarisma was created. Plagiarisma is a simple and free to use website that tests a given text for plagiarism. It does so by breaking down the text into various pieces and checking if those pieces can be found online. Read more: Plagiarisma: Easily Check Any Text For Plagiarism Online


GradColor – If you are a web designer who works with CSS3, then you must come across CSS3 color gradient codes often. To quickly generate such codes for your desired CSS3 gradients, check out GradColor's CSS3 Gradient Tool, a simple and free to use web app that lets you create CSS3 gradients and then obtain their CSS3 and HTML code. Read more: GradColor's CSS3 Gradient Tool: Generate CSS3 Gradients & Obtain Their Code



Smart Diagram – Smartphones are no less than a fully fledged computer when it comes to functionality and apps like SmartDiagram are proof of that. SmartDiagram lets you create diagrams on your Android phone including flow charts, mind maps, tree diagrams and much more. A simple gesture lets you create different shapes and even edit them manually. Read more: SmartDiagram: Android Diagramming App



Keepsy – Creating a photo album for your friend's next birthday can be a great way to pleasantly surprise them. With the help of Keepsy, you can team up with other friends and create a great photo album for somebody's upcoming birthday. Keepsy is a free online service that lets you create birthday albums for friends. You start by connecting your Facebook account with Keepsy. Read more: Keepsy: Create Birthday Photo Albums With Friends



Bargain Book Mole – Book prices greatly vary from one online retailer to the next. Therefore it is best to compare book prices before you buy them online. With Bargain Book Mole, you can do this quickly and easily. Bargain Book Mole is a quick price check add-on for Mozilla Firefox and Internet Explorer. Read more: Bargain Book Mole: Quick Price Check Addon For Books Sold Online


These are just half of the websites that we discovered in the last couple of days. If you want us to send you daily round-ups of all cool websites we come across, leave your email here. Or follow us via RSS feed.

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The 9 Best Questions From You [MakeUseOf Answers]

Posted: 04 Feb 2011 05:31 PM PST

best questionsMakeUseOf Answers is not just a place where you can ask questions. It’s also a place where you can learn from answers given to other people’s questions. And because answers are so important, we reward them!

It doesn’t happen very often that the same person wins Best Answer of the Week twice in a row. However, it does happen and the deserved winner this week is FIDELIS for his two very thorough answers to the following question: How can I stream videos, watch video attached to emails and online TV? Way to go and thank you so much for your terrific answers!

Are you in dire need of some tech education? Have a look at the best questions.

On MakeUseOf Answers you can thousands of questions and solutions! Browse by Latest Questions, Most Popular Questions, or Unanswered Questions. For regular updates subscribe to the Answers RSS Feed.

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How To Print From Your Phone With Gmail For Mobile & Google Cloud Print

Posted: 04 Feb 2011 01:31 PM PST

print from your cell phoneHave you ever had a situation where you needed to print something and you couldn’t find a way to get it done? Printing can be hard sometimes, especially if your printer is broken, out of ink/paper, or just giving you fits. Or sometimes, you just run out of time, like when you’re running late for work in the morning. It would be nice to have a quick, easy way to print from, say, your phone while on the way to your office.

Google has just made this possible with Gmail for Mobile and Google Cloud Print. It allows printing from any device, OS, or browser without the need to install drivers, and it’s a life saver. In this article, I’ll show you how to set this up so you can take advantage of this easy-to-use print service.

What Is Google Cloud Print?

Google Cloud Print makes printing more intuitive, accessible and useful, by allowing you to print to your printers from Google Cloud Print enabled apps on any computer or smart phone.

print from your cell phone

By ‘enabled apps’, they mean Google Chrome. In order to connect your printer to Google Cloud Print, you will need to install the latest beta version of Google Chrome on a computer that’s connected to a printer. If you’re already using a version of Google Chrome and you’re not sure if it’s the right one, don’t worry. Just proceed with the next steps and if you run into a problem you’ll know you need to update.

How Can I Start Using This Print Service?

To get started, the first thing you need to do is connect your printer to Google Cloud Print. Right now this step requires that you have a Windows PC (XP, Vista, or 7), but Linux and Mac support are supposedly coming soon.

print from your phone

To connect your local printers with Google Cloud Print, you need to enable the connector in Chrome. In order to do this, open up your Chrome browser, click on the wrench icon in the upper right-hand corner, and select Options.

print from your phone

Next, visit the Under the Hood tab and scroll to the bottom where it says ‘Google Cloud Print’. Click Sign in to Google Cloud Print and a dialog will appear asking you to sign in to your Google Account. Once you sign in, Google Cloud Print will be enabled.

print from your phone

After signing in, you will see a confirmation page which asks you to print a test page (if you like) or click OK to continue.

print from your cell phone

Your options pane in the Under the Hood tab should now have two new options, Disable Google Cloud Print and Manage Print Settings…

Now that you’re all set up, you can print from your cell phone. Just head to Gmail on your iPhone or Android browser, select the email you want to print, and choose Print from the drop-down menu in the top right corner to use it. You can print email attachments, like PDF’s or Doc’s, by clicking the Print link that appears next to them.


Google only recently announced that they were rolling out this feature in US English, so if you don’t see it right away they advise you to check back. There is also a Google Cloud Print help center that you can check out if you’re curious as to what exactly Google Cloud Print is or how you can connect to it. The page offers many resources, including help articles, basic information, and troubleshooting techniques in case you run into any number of various problems you may encounter while trying to print, or set up printing, on multiple printers.

I think this is a really useful workaround for trying to print something on the fly. If you enable this on a printer at your office or at home, you can effectively print something important from your phone and have it waiting for you when you get there. If you’re in a rush for time, this should certainly help.

What do you think of Google Cloud Print? Will you be printing from your phone?

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Hot Tech Deals [Feb 4th]

Posted: 04 Feb 2011 12:30 PM PST

If you’re in the market for a new computer, laptop, mobile phone, games and other accessories; don’t waste your time searching online. We’ve taken the liberty of locating the best tech deals and unifying them into a single post for your convenience.

For more fresh hot deals, visit our Hot Tech Deals page, which is constantly updated.

  1. Big Fish Games Adventures of Robinson Crusoe Game (PC) $2.39 Free Digital Download via code techb (Exp 2/7)
  2. Dell Latitude E5410 Intel Core i5-460M 2.53GHz Dual Core 15.6 1440×900 Laptop $619.38 Free Ship via code FQQNSVVJ3MFNM3
  3. $25 off Any Dell Refurb Monitor Coupon Code: $25Monitor$sale (Exp 2/7)
  4. $50 on any Dell Desktop priced $225+ Coupon Code: $50Desk$225up (Exp 2/15)
  5. 20% off any Dell Laptop priced $350+ Coupon Code: Lap$350up20P (Exp 2/15)
  6. 25% off any Dell E-Series Laptop Coupon Code: E-SeriesLap25P (Exp 2/7)

Image credit: Modified from Svengraph’s icon set

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10+ Google Chrome Extensions For The Newly Converted

Posted: 04 Feb 2011 11:31 AM PST

If you’ve been a Firefox user for a long time, you’ll know it’s hard to consider changing to Chrome. Yes, there’s no doubt that there’s some great Chrome features you’d love to try out, but how would I live without extension XYZ? It can’t be done!

I was right there with you until very recently. Finally, Chrome extensions have evolved enough to include certain things I find essential to my browsing experience. If you’re toying with the idea of changing to Chrome yourself, read on. You’ll probably like what you see.

There are plenty of reasons previously discussed on MakeUseOf as to why someone might move to Chrome.

Ad-Block Extension

Firstly, I can’t imagine how I would cope with most of the Internet without some sort of ad-blocking feature in my browser. Of course, I’m sure to allow ads for all my favourite sites, because I know the bills need to be paid somehow. But it’s nice to know I won’t see all the completely irrelevant ads thrown my way when I follow random links. Ad-blocking is essential for me, so here’s AdBlock Plus.

Toolbar RSS feeds

If you’ve got all your favourite RSS feeds in your Firefox toolbar, you’ve probably already noticed that the basic Chrome functionality will never do what you want it to. Maybe you use RSS feeds to show you your Delicious bookmarks in your toolbar. Well, the Foxish Live RSS extension or RSS LiveLinks is exactly what you need to replicate that in Chrome.


There’s no shortage of Twitter extensions for Chrome, which is great. However, there are two in particular which blend perfectly to form the perfect Twitter client: Chromed Bird and Twitter Notifier. With Chromed Bird, you can be notified of any tweets from one of your Twitter lists. Plus, it can highlight to show you when you’ve been mentioned or sent a direct message.

With Twitter Notifier, you can choose to have sticky notifications of mentions or direct messages, plus you can choose to be notified of all or none of the tweets from people you follow. Between the two extensions, it lets you have the perfect combination of filtering and sticky notifications.


This is the extension which gets the most use from me. If there had been no Shareaholic for Chrome it would have been a deal-breaker for sure. All you do is tell Shareaholic which services you like to share links to and let it be your go-to point whenever you want to share the page you’re on. Easy and addictive!


I would be lost without Gmail and Google Calendar notifiers. Read more about the Google Services Chrome extensions here. Some other great notifiers I found as Chrome extensions are:


As a blogger with a small laptop I often need to take a screenshot of something I can’t see in one window without scrolling. Although there’s plenty of screenshot extensions out there, I really just need something which will quickly and accurately take a snapshot of an entire webpage. Awesome Screenshot does the trick perfectly.

Speed Dial

Speed Dial is by far the best thing to see when you open a new tab. Sadly, even if you’ve just synced your Firefox bookmarks with Chrome, you will still need to set up Speed Dial again as it works differently in Chrome.


Feedly takes your Google Reader subscriptions and shows them to you in a more browsable format with thumbnails and headlines from your favourite Google Reader folders. When you’ve browsed the page, you can mark all of the posts you saw as read, then refresh for another page of links to browse. This is awesome for people who don’t read every single post they get in Google Reader (who does?), but sometimes want to cherry-pick the most interesting posts for a while.

Other Useful Chrome Extensions

Without going into too much detail, here’s a few more ultra-useful extensions:

  • Rapportive – Lets you see social network information about your Gmail contacts when you read email from them.
  • StumbleUpon – Lets you find fun websites with one button.
  • – Free Online Radio in Chrome.
  • Meebo – Log in to Meebo or your favourite chat client.
  • Drag2Up – Lets you drag picture files into text boxes in order to upload and share a link to it in one move.

GreaseMonkey Scripts

Don’t forget that GreaseMonkey scripts work natively in Chrome, so all your favourite scripts can be used without any problems. The first one to add? Gmail Mailto script.

More of the Best Chrome Extensions

If you’ve just taken to Chrome, you’re probably keen for more Chrome extensions. So, here’s a few more lists you’ll love:

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8 Websites That Help Couch Potatoes Take Up Running For Fitness & Fun

Posted: 04 Feb 2011 10:31 AM PST

cool running websiteWe were all born to walk and run. Unfortunately we don't, except when we have to run after the bus. Running (or even jogging) is the simplest aerobic physical exercise one can think of. Why don't we take it up with gusto? Probably because it's effort; also it's slightly un-cooler than pumping iron in the gym. Running has a lot of things going for it. It is the cheapest exercise you can think of. The life changing benefits of running include everything from better cardiovascular fitness to fat loss. It also helps you to become an early riser and a better sleeper.

You might say that an article on running is better suited for a health site. That's what I would have thought if not for the response to the post on the 10 Bicycling Websites That Will Pedal You Into The World Of Cycling. We who sit in front of a computer are a sluggish bunch. So put on your jogging shoes and head for these eight websites for runners and joggers – and then the open air.

Cool Running

cool running website

Cool Running is one of the oldest websites on running and jogging. The site is geared towards all types of runners – from newbies to competitive runners. The site covers latest races, running news, and other interactive tools. The Training section is pretty well stocked and though the Couch-to-5K Running plan requires a payment, the free schedule that's given should be enough to put you on the track with a plan. Then there's a bunch of other training plans too.

Some of the tools are for paid members, but there's enough on the site that you can do even with a free MyActive registered account.

Runner's World

running websites

This well designed site brings news, articles, and advice for runners. Read running equipment reviews and catch up on training techniques for races and marathons. The Tools section has a range of calculators and search tools for equipment and stores. Check out the interactive tool that helps you to prevent injury by pinpointing the source of pain.

The site has a neat Training Log that's helpful to keep track of your running. Another useful tool is the Smart Coach which can be used to design your personal training plan for a race. For motivation, don't forget to download the screensaver (for PC and Mac).

Run The Planet

running websites

A similar website for runners and joggers; it also comes with four other language versions. Check the Running Dictionaries and Translations section if you are planning to run in a non-English speaking country. There's also a movie review section on movies based on running. Running routes and maps via covers both U.S as well as a lot of international city specific routes. You can also create your own. Meet Phil The Frog and read some humor asides to get refreshed. A few pop-ups here and there are the only irks.

Complete Running

running websites

Quite simply, a blog on running by bloggers who run (or the other way around). If you are a beginner, you might want to check out the Learn to Run section or head to the posts filed under Inspiration.

websites about running

The dependable internet guide resource has an entire channel devoted to running. You can read all the topics there, but I would like to point you to the page on Running Music Playlist: Top 40 Songs. Get motivated to run with the cadence of your favorite songs and let these help you to discover more songs.

American Running Association

websites about running

The association's goal is to promote running and walking for a healthier lifestyle. The non-profit organization aims to do this through information and youth fitness programs. One of the useful resources on the site is the Clinic Advisory Board with 27 different specialists, who answer American Running Members’ training, nutrition, health, and sports medicine questions.

Walk Jog Run

websites about running

WalkJogRun’s Running Route Planner helps you to trace out running routes in your neighborhood on a Google Map or create your own and save it. Also included is a distance/speed calculator and calorie burn estimator. The web app has 912,680 routes for you to run through.

For options you can also check out MapMyRun and GMaps Pedometer. Running Map does the same job but on a Yahoo map.


cool running website

RunKeeper is an online app which tracks your fitness activity. Using RunKeeper you can create and save your routes and monitor your progress over the course of days. RunKeeper also gives you a free iPhone and Android app. The mobile apps come with unique features like heart rate monitoring, audio cues, and two-way sync. Though the web app has been updated, you can catch our earlier review and see How To Use RunKeeper To Set Exercise Goals.

Running is one of the best solutions for a healthy body and a clearer mind. If you want to get off the couch and start with an exercise, there's nothing as good or as free as running. Let us know if you are a runner and your favorite online destination that keeps you motivated for the long run.

Image credit: Shutterstock

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Test Your Technology Skills & Find A New Job With Gild

Posted: 04 Feb 2011 09:31 AM PST

show certificate informationOne problem I’ve found when attending job interviews in the past is demonstrating a range of technology skills, without having to show full projects to a client or take expensive specialised certifications. For most of us, we may know a little CSS / PHP / HTML, but how can you show this certificate information to a potential employer?

Meet the Gild, a free website with lots of technology-based certifications, for free, that are actually recognised by companies. If you’re really good, you can win prizes too!


At the core of Gild, there are over 30 core technology based tests on all the major programming languages as well as software and systems in top demand by major IT companies. Each certification is broken into 3 levels and takes between 20-60 minutes to complete. I’ll be honest and say most of them are quite challenging, even on the basic levels. I tried some last year and got mediocre results, but I spent a few hours again this morning and had improved greatly. Unfortunately, test scores take 3 days to be graded, but you’ll get an email when they’re done.

show certificate information


This is the really exciting bit that you can show to potential employers, where the results of your tests are shown. You can choose not to display individual results on the public transcript if they’re pretty bad. If you get above a certain score, you will receive a medal too. Unfortunately my British grammar school education only left me with a measly bronze in written English, but no matter. I took the advanced level while writing this article, and I’m fairly certain it pushed me higher! You can view my own public profile here, but promise not to laugh. You can even add a full CV, and use the URL as your professional web presence.

show skills interview

You even get achievements, where you can showcase your medals and such.

show skills interview

Job Search

If you score a perfect 800 on the advanced PHP test, you’d be wise to apply immediately for some of the high level IT jobs that are listed on the site. Another great feature is the “pre-qualified” jobs section, which extrapolates jobs you’re suited to depending on your test results so far. Don’t be sad if you see the following though, you just need to specialise a little more!

show skills interview


If you’ve got talent, you can easily get some great prizes that are sponsored by major IT corporations. The competitions are understandably high level and focus on either on programming or abstract cryptography or logic puzzles – but they’re open for anyone to try. The prizes on offer are usually some kind of tech gadget like an iPad or camera, but I haven’t been good enough to win anything yet.

show certificate information

Even if you’re not a programming master, I think this is a great way to gauge your skills overall and leave you with something you can actually show an employer – even if you’re not heading for an IT specific job. For non-tech jobs and smaller companies, employers are often grateful if you can demonstrate some tech knowledge such as HTML and CSS to fix the company site. Even if you’re not looking for a job, taking tests is fun!

Let us know what you think of Gild and what test scores you managed to achieve!

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Play & Create First Person Shooter Maps With Cube2

Posted: 04 Feb 2011 08:31 AM PST

first person shooter mapsIf there’s one thing I love to do to release stress after a hard day is to sit back with a good first person shooter game and just let loose with the mayhem. I’m talking about running across mine fields, blasting everything that moves to pieces, and creating chain reaction explosions. An hour or so of that and I’ve completely vented my frustrations.

The thing is, there are really only so many first person shooter games out there, and once you beat one it can get pretty old to play the same levels over and over. Wouldn’t it be cool to redesign levels, or create your own maps from scratch? Even better, wouldn’t it be cool if you could create the first person shooter map while you’re in the middle of playing it?

Here at MUO it’s pretty obvious that we love FPS games. You’ve got the five free first person shooters that Simon covered, and five cross platform FPS games Ross covered. It’s also fitting that I recently covered a Cube engine driven game called AssultCube, because the FPS I’m going to cover today is also based on the Cube engine, but it’s far more advanced. Best of all, it actually lets you modify the map while you’re in the middle of playing it!

Introducing Cube 2

Cube 2 is actually entitled Sauerbraten, and it’s described by the creators as a “major redesign” of the original Cube first person shooter. After playing AssaultCube, it’s pretty apparent that Sauerbraten really is one of the more advanced FPS shooters based on the Cube engine. Quite simply it loads faster and the graphics moves smoother (without skipping) than just about any other FPS I’ve played.

first person shooter maps

When you first launch Cube 2 you’ll see the main options available. There are a lot of different ways to play this game. Bot match is a quick game with goals like “capture the base” (like capture the flag), or you can launch a campaign which includes a series of sub-missions in order to accomplish an overall goal.

first person shooter map design

There are several campaigns that come preloaded with Cube 2, each with its own story line and unique graphics. These are pretty involved and detailed campaigns. It’s almost like having multiple FPS games in one package.

Once I launched one of them and started playing, I was surprised at the attention to detail. I wouldn’t say that the graphics are superior to all other FPS games, but what surprised me was some of the realism thrown in. For example, you can see below where the programmers included a flaring effect from the overhead lighting – sort of what would happen when you shine your camera toward a bright light. This sort of attention to detail deserves a mention and a thumbs up.

first person shooter map design

The default controls in Cube 2 are identical to most other FPS games out there, so the learning curve is pretty much non-existent if you’ve played these games before.  I was rusty from not playing in a while – I managed to take out the beast lying in a pool of blood off to the right, but that one charging toward me took me out pretty fast.

first person shooter map design

Bot matches are pretty fun, but make sure you practice a bit first because you have to be pretty good to compete with these guys. Some of these levels are truly impressive, like the one below where you essentially fight from astroid to astroid in order to take over the enemy base.

create fps maps

There is also a pretty heavy user base with Cube2, so when you go into multiplayer mode you’re bound to find an active game server with lots of players ready to take you on and take you out. As you can see below, there’s no shortage of action.

create fps maps

As a first person shooter, it’s a good game. However, in my opinion this one probably wouldn’t have stood out so much if it wasn’t for the awesome in-game map editing system that’s built right in. When you click on the “editing” option from the main menu. you’ll see all of the in-game editing controls available. Holding down “E” during game play will get you into edit mode (Cntrl-E during solo play).

In game editing takes a little while to get used to. It’s fairly intuitive, but it’s a good idea to read through the controls in the Editing menu in order to really do a good job altering the levels to your liking. You can modify the game however you like, making it as intricate or as wacky as you like.

create fps maps

In editing mode, you can just grab objects and move them to new locations or delete them. Here I’m moving some armor from the stand it was originally on to just in front of a large open doorway.

It’s really fun to create your own levels – almost an entirely different hobby in and of itself. But if you don’t really have time for that and want to just play around within maps that other people have created, then select “Load Map” from the main menu and pick one of the many premade maps that come loaded with the game. You can also alter any of these to your liking as well.

first person shooter maps

As a first person shooter, I think Cube 2 is an excellent choice. It’s better than most and not quite as good as a few, but where it takes the cake is in the in-game editing feature, without a doubt.

Give Cube 2 a try and test your skill at creating a new map of your own while you’re inside the first person shooter map itself. Did you find that it was easy or hard? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

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Create Impressive Looking Graphs & Diagrams In A Flash With yEd

Posted: 04 Feb 2011 07:31 AM PST

create diagram freeDiagrams are a very useful way of explaining certain concepts surrounding computer hardware, such as how networks work. Actually creating a new diagram, however, can be a real pain in the butt. Image editing programs are okay for it, but often they feel rather clunky, and it’s hard to make the results look professional.

Fortunately, there is a solution. The oddly named program yEd is focused solely on creating graphs and diagrams for free, quickly and easily. The results that come out of yEd look professional, but the actual process of putting together a new project takes only minutes.

Creating A Basic Diagram

Jumping into yEd and throwing together a project isn’t difficult. To demonstrate this, I’m going to walk through putting together a graph about a computer network. When you first open the program you should see a blank diagram open. On the right side of the main window you’ll see the Palette. This is where you’ll find the nodes you can put down to form your graph.

Although there are a lot of basic nodes, yEd has also been kind enough to throw in some graphical icons, including computers! So I’m going to place one of those icons on my diagram. Just drag-and-drop the node into the main project window. If you want to add a label to your node, right-click on it and then click Edit Label from the menu. You can add multiple labels to a node.

create diagram free

Now I want to add another node and create a connection between the Home Computer and the new node. So I’m going to select another node icon and drag it over, and then label it Cable Modem. However, I need to make a connection between the two nodes. The tools for this can be found in the Edge Types section of the palette. Once an edge type is selected, it can be dragged between two nodes to form a connection, as below.

create graph free

Presto! We have a basic diagram showing a connection between a computer and a cable modem. While this diagram isn’t the most informative, it’s a fine example, as adding additional nodes doesn’t require any techniques besides what was used here. The simplicity of yEd is wonderful, and what you don’t see in these photos are the little things yEd does to make things easier for you, such as the lines that appear when you move nodes as a means of letting you know if they’re perfectly aligned.

Advanced Features

Beyond the basic ability to make graphs and diagrams, yEd includes some more advanced functionality. To demonstrate, I’ve slightly expanded the basic diagram I just made into what you see below.

create graph free

Using the Layout menu, it’s possible to automatically change a diagram such as this into any number of formats. For example, let’s say that I want to change the structure of this diagram into something that is more circular. All I need to do is click on the Circular option in the Layout menu, and yEd handles the rest.

create graph free

Or let’s say that I decided I need to make the diagram larger in order to fit some more nodes that I hadn’t anticipated needing. Rather than methodically dragging and dropping each individual node away from the center, which could become a big hassle on a complex diagram, the Graph Transformer in the Tools menu can handle it automatically. Just punch in a scale factor (I picked 2) and you have what you see below. You can also rotate and mirror graphs with this same tool.

create diagram free


I like yEd a lot. I’ve been having trouble finding a freeware solution to this problem, and I hadn’t really even tried to find one within the last few months because I’d effectively given up, relying instead on GIMP to form diagrams. That’s not an optimal solution however, so I often simply decided not to make diagrams that might have been nice because making the diagram was too awkward. Hopefully you’ll find yEd as useful as I did. Oh, and yEd is one of those rare programs that is free for both personal and enterprise use, so feel free to use at work as well as home.

Let us know what you think of the program and if you know of any other alternative programs.

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