Diagrams, charts, maps, and other types of graphics are visual representations of information. They are useful for countless purposes such as documenting facts, drawing plans, and capturing ideas.

Using diagrams for business, education, and personal endeavors is an effective way to enhance communication, learning, and productivity. Studies show that the use of diagrams and other visuals offers many benefits.

  • Comprehension - information presented visually is easier to understand than that which is presented only in oral or written form.
  • Retention and recall - people remember information longer and access it more readily after seeing it presented in a visual format.
  • Achievement - people in all walks of life, from students to professionals, produce better results in less time by both consuming and presenting visual information.
  • Critical thinking - examining information presented in diagrams, graphs, and other visual forms promotes higher-level thinking and analysis.

Categories and Types of Diagrams

Graph-based diagrams. These visuals show relationships or connections between entities. Some show a directional flow of steps or information, as we see in flowcharts and network diagrams. Others display hierarchies, as in organizational charts, genograms, and cause-and-effect diagrams. A Venn diagram is a graph-based diagram that illustrates differences and commonalities among sets of data.

Chart-based diagrams. These diagrams present statistical data graphically. The most common among these are the bar graph, line graph, histogram, and pie chart. An advantage of using chart-based diagrams is that they can show changes over time or a comparison of numbers much more clearly than a data table can do.

Schematic diagrams. These types of diagrams show the elements in a system. Many schematic diagrams use standard symbol sets. They may be representational and drawn to scale, such as in a floor plan, where they must convey precise measurements and placement of elements. Some schematics are more abstract, such as a circuit diagram, in which the drawing shows the layout of a system, but not how it will actually appear in the physical circuit.

Find the Right Diagram for Your Purposes

There are many instances in business where you can replace a list of bullets with a diagram and improve communication with your audience.

Here are fifteen of the most useful:

    4. Project Management
  • a. Presenting a project timeline
  • b. Project roadmaps with a Gantt chart
    5. Engineering and Software Development
  • a. Model the dynamic nature of a system using activity diagrams
  • b. Show the design of an electric circuit using a circuit diagram

Put the Power of Diagrams to Work for You

We experience the power of visual learning and thinking many times every day: online, in news media, and via social networks. But we may not put this power to work for us, because it's easy to think that creating diagrams is too difficult, too time-consuming, or too expensive.

SmartDraw changes all of that. It makes diagrams easy to create in very little time. Smart formatting lets anyone create visuals easily—even first-time users. It's as fast as typing a text document, but with a vastly better result: a diagram with a professional-quality finish. Try it for yourself. Download SmartDraw now, absolutely free.