Pros / It’s one of the most affordable programs we reviewed.
Cons / It lacks tools for real-time collaboration and file sharing.
Verdict / RFFlow feels dated, and the extra step it takes to add shapes to the canvas makes the program feel less intuitive and more time consuming than the other programs we reviewed.
RFFlow is flowcharting software from RFF Electronics, a Colorado company. It is available for purchase as a single-user license, with free upgrades within each version number. In addition to creating organizational and process flow charts, you can also use this diagramming software to create block, network, UML and Venn diagrams, office layouts, Gantt charts, technical drawings such as circuit diagrams and more.
RFFlow’s interface doesn’t look and feel as current as its competitors. Adding shapes to the diagram takes an extra step – instead of dragging the shape from the library directly onto the canvas, an “Edit Text” window with the shape in it pops up, and it’s there that you can add text to the shape. After clicking “OK” to close the window, you can then insert the shape onto your canvas, resize it and move it where you want it to go. If you need to edit or format your text, you double click on the shape to reopen the window. The extra step feels clunky, and this is the only program we reviewed that functions this way.
The program allows you to replace shapes without first deleting the existing shape, automatically resizes shapes to fit your text and has spell check. It doesn’t have containers to hold groups of shapes, and the lines don’t connect, so if you move a shape, you have to move or redraw the line.
This org chart software doesn’t support real-time collaboration with colleagues and also doesn’t allow you to add additional pages to your diagram. The canvas doesn’t automatically expand to fit your diagram, but you can resize it to fit up to 65,000 objects and span up to 64 pages. You can add layers to your charts and import CSV files to automatically create a telephone analysis chart; however, it doesn’t have an automatic org chart creator that uses imported data.
RFFlow offers a free viewer that your clients can download to view and print the diagrams that you create for them using this software. With it, they can also copy and paste the diagram into other programs, like Microsoft Word. The viewer doesn’t allow them to add comments or edit the chart. The software doesn’t have a presentation mode for in-person meeting and doesn’t give you the ability to password protect the diagrams that you create. It doesn’t export your diagram files to PDF, so if that’s something you need to do, you’ll have to use an outside program. You can add your diagrams to your website as the program exports to HTML.
There isn’t a revision history feature that automatically saves previous versions of the diagram, so if you want to be able to access different versions of your diagrams, you have to manually save them as you work. The software doesn’t give you the ability to expand and collapse groups of shapes within your diagram; however, it does allow you to link to other sections or shapes within your chart.
RFFlow works on Windows operating systems and can be downloaded from the company’s website. It doesn’t run natively on Macs but can be used with a Windows emulator. RFFlow is one of the few programs we reviewed that offers technical support via both phone and email. It doesn’t have a user forum or blog, but you can download a PDF of the user manual for free, and tutorial article are also available on the company’s website.
RFFlow is inexpensive and can be used to make many different types of charts and diagrams. However, it feels dated and lacks many of the tools that facilitate collaborating with colleagues and file sharing with clients.