Sonja Sucic, a PhD student at the School of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Queensland, was searching for a solution. She needed a simple but effective way to create science posters for medical conference presentations.
Previously, she relied on Microsoft Word® and GraphPad Prism, the statistical software used in her lab, to complete her projects. But the two programs clashed with each other, resulting in formatting problems and other headaches. "I couldn't match up the colors and borders," said Sucic. "It was also too difficult to make titles for large posters in Microsoft Word®."
She needed another program that would work better with Prism. "I wanted an easy way to combine text and diagrams with the lab results," said Sucic.
Finally, a representative from Prism suggested SmartDraw. Sucic decided to give it a try.
The experiment got off to a promising start. Sucic read some of SmartDraw's step-by-step web tutorials, and was quickly on her way.
"I really liked the intuitive nature of the program," she said. "SmartDraw is very easy to use."
And any fears she had about SmartDraw working with Prism were quickly alleviated. The two programs worked together seamlessly. "The similarity and compatibility between SmartDraw and Prism is very convenient," she said.
With thousands of built-in symbols, images, and templates, including several thousand for science, chemistry, and biology, SmartDraw made Sucic's diagramming projects a snap.
"SmartDraw even makes it easy to draw the chemical structures of amino acids," said Sucic. "It's a breeze!"
With features like automatic alignment and drag-and-drop drawing, she was soon creating diagrams she couldn't dream of attempting before.
For example, Sucic was finally able to create topological representations of transporter proteins. These diagrams contain more than 600 circles in different arrangements, each containing the name of an amino acid.
"Before I got SmartDraw, I wouldn't have even dared to try some of these diagrams," she said. "I've seen too many poor attempts in publications created using other programs. But with SmartDraw, the results look very professional!"
SmartDraw also saves Sucic time in creating posters.
"Being able to create all of my posters in one program saves me time in reprinting, and it yields more professional-looking results," she said. "I'm able to get the posters done in one-third the time!"
Sucic now uses SmartDraw regularly for her PhD work.
"I use it all the time for papers, theses, and projects," she said. "I've even recommended it to other students for biology and chemistry projects."
According to Sucic, diagrams created with SmartDraw look so great that she feels comfortable submitting them to professional medical journals. In fact, SmartDraw has even helped Sucic win recognition at a national conference.
"I won 'Best Presentation in Neuropharmacology' and was the runner-up for 'Best Presentation by a PhD student' at the Australian Health and Medical Research Congress in Melbourne," she said. "I'll definitely be using SmartDraw in the future!"