Press Release

Monday, November 14, 1994 < Prev Next >

Shapeware Announces Visio Technical 3.0 for Emerging Technical Drawing Market

Easy-to-Use Windows Program Provides Technical Drawing Capabilities for Non-CAD Users

SEATTLE, Nov. 14 /PRNewswire/ — Shapeware Corporation, the leading business graphics software developer, today announced Visio® Technical 3.0, a drag and drop drawing package giving technical professionals who are not full-time computer-aided design (CAD) users access to CAD drawings, as well as the ability to create and develop their own technical drawings. With drag and drop ease, AutoCAD® drawing (DWG) file conversion and Shapeware's SmartShape® technology, computer users from the job site to the boardroom can create, review and modify scalable drawings of real-world objects, engineering schematics, networking diagrams, construction plans, technical documentation and much more.

"In a recent customer survey, we found that more than 30 percent of our current Visio customers are using Visio for technical drawing applications," said John Forbes, manager of technical drawing at Shapeware. "These customers are not full-time CAD designers, but their jobs require an easy way for them to develop and modify technical drawings. Visio Technical offers them an intuitive tool that can be used right out of the box. They can bypass three to six months of unnecessary and excessive CAD training to accomplish the type of work they do."

Fulfilling a Market Need

Visio Technical is not designed to replace full-featured CAD software used by full-time CAD engineers. Rather, it is an enterprisewide technical drawing solution designed to remove the "brick wall" between CAD specialists and the rest of a company's personnel who need access to technical drawings. An engineering design specification, for example, would typically be developed by an engineer on an AutoCAD workstation but then have to pass through many reviews, reports, presentations and approval cycles before it is finalized. Other professionals involved in that process could take the AutoCAD file, convert it to Visio Technical on their Windows™-based computers, see the original drawing, and then make modifications, recommendations and calculations — all without knowing how to use AutoCAD.

Easy-to-Use Windows Program

Many drawing programs in the CAD market are MS-DOS®-based or require specialized UNIX® software that most business professionals do not have access to or know how to use. Visio Technical completely conforms to the Windows user interface standard, providing familiar tool bars, functions and screens that appeal to a much wider audience. Unlike other products that have been ported to Windows from another platform, Visio Technical is completely designed from the ground up for Windows and is optimized for this environment. As a result, Visio Technical fits seamlessly into today's popular suite environments. A switchable user interface lets users choose the work environment they are most familiar with: Microsoft® Office, Lotus SmartSuite® or the Visio standard. With Visio Technical's extensive OLE 2.0 support, users can easily integrate Visio drawings into their reports, memos, mail documents, letters, presentations and spreadsheets created with other OLE-compliant Windows-based applications.

Supplement to Existing CAD Environment

A large number of Visio Technical users will own or need to interface with the AutoCAD product. AutoCAD has two drawing file formats: DWG, the native binary drawing file format, and DXF (Drawing Interchange Format), an ASCII file format designed for exporting drawing files from AutoCAD to other applications. Most competitive products targeting this category support DXF files, which require the user to go through a translation process that results in large and inefficient files. Visio Technical reads DWG files directly, maintaining the integrity of the AutoCAD drawing through the following:

  • Correct conversion of standard AutoCAD line types
  • Preservation of AutoCAD blocks and attributes by turning them into SmartShapes
  • Conversion of AutoCAD symbol libraries into drag and drop Visio stencils of SmartShapes
  • Conversion of vector text to TrueType® text for enhanced font selection and scalability

SmartShapes vs. "Dumb" Clip Art or Symbol Libraries

Unlike technical drawing programs that only use clip art, Visio Technical uses SmartShape technology, allowing drawing elements to behave in an intelligent and useful manner. This is often simply the way users expect shapes to behave. For example, if a user tries to shorten a clip-art arrow, the arrow will distort and lose its correct proportions. With a SmartShape arrow, the arrow will automatically resize with the right proportions.

More than 1,500 industry-specific SmartShapes are contained in Visio Technical for vertical markets, including mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, chemical engineering, network design, space planning and landscaping. And because the people who use Visio Technical are also business professionals, all 22 of the stencils in Visio 3.0 (over 750 SmartShapes) for flowcharts, total quality management, project management, organizational charts, and other general drawing and diagramming types are also included.

Other Features

  • Standard drawing sizes. Visio Technical supports all standard architectural and engineering drawing sizes, including ANSI A through E and ISO A4 through A0, as well as user-defined custom sizes.
  • Intelligent connectors. In most technical drawing packages, connectors are created by drawing lines between objects. If the user tries to move shapes around, the lines are no longer connected to the objects. In Visio Technical, lines automatically stay connected to objects — especially important when creating networking diagrams, engineering schematics and other technical drawings where critical linkage and flow information is designated by line connections.
  • Dimensioning. Visio Technical includes a full set of easy-to-use drag and drop dimensions, including horizontal, vertical, aligned, radial, diameter, angular, baseline and ordinate dimensions as well as a full set of labels and callouts.
  • Page layering. Users can create and edit "layered" drawings in Visio by linking multiple background pages to a single foreground page. This capability can be used to create standard backgrounds and title blocks or to manage technical drawings with multiple layers of information.
  • Workgroup support. Visio Technical has built-in support for Microsoft Mail and Lotus Notes®, which makes it easy to send your drawings via Microsoft Mail or to create sophisticated drawing distribution and management applications using Lotus Notes.
  • OLE Automation. Because Visio Technical exposes all of its functionality to the OLE Automation interface, corporate users and solution providers can readily customize Visio with their own shapes and add-ons to meet specialized technical drawing needs.
  • Documentation. The "Developing Visio Shapes" and "Programming Visio" books included with the program make it possible for technically inclined users to develop their own shapes or add-ons.

Pricing and Availability

Visio Technical 3.0 for Windows is scheduled to be available in early December 1994 from leading national distributors, software resellers, mail-order catalogs and directly from Shapeware. The U.S. suggested retail price is $349 (estimated street price $249), including both 3.5-inch disk and CD-ROM media, 90 days of no-charge technical support, and a 60-day money-back guarantee.

System Requirements

Visio Technical 3.0 requires Microsoft Windows 3.1 or higher; a PC with a 386-, 486-, or Pentium™-based microprocessor running at 25 MHz or faster; 4 MB of RAM or more; a VGA, Super VGA, XGA, or 8514/A graphics card and monitor; and a Microsoft Mouse or compatible pointing device.

About Shapeware

Shapeware was founded in October 1990 to develop and market business graphics software for mainstream computer users. The Seattle-based company pioneered the business drawing and diagramming market with the release of Visio 1.0 in November 1992. Since then, Shapeware has released additional drag and drop drawing products including Visio 3.0, Visio Express™ 3.0 for Microsoft Office, Visio Express 3.0 for Lotus SmartSuite, the International English version of Visio 3.0, French Visio 3.0, German Visio 3.0, Visio® Home 3.0 and 16 aftermarket Visio Shapes™ products. The company's co-founders include Jeremy Jaech and Dave Walter, two of the founders of Aldus Corporation, and Ted Johnson, the lead developer of Aldus® PageMaker® for Windows.

NOTE: Shapeware, Visio and SmartShapes are registered trademarks and Visio Express and Visio Shapes are trademarks of Shapeware Corporation. AutoCAD is a registered trademark of Autodesk Inc. Microsoft and MS-DOS are registered trademarks and Windows is a trademark of Microsoft Corporation. UNIX is a registered trademark of UNIX System Laboratories, a wholly owned subsidiary of Novell Inc. Lotus SmartSuite and Lotus Notes are registered trademarks of Lotus Development Corporation. TrueType is a registered trademark of Apple Computer Inc. Pentium is a trademark of Intel Corporation. Aldus and PageMaker are registered trademarks of Aldus Corporation.

/CONTACT: John Forbes of Shapeware Corporation, 206-521-4482; or Martin Middlewood of Waggener Edstrom, 503-245-0905/

CO: Shapeware Corp. ST: Washington IN: CPR SU: PDT

RB — SE006 — 4758 11/14/94 09:04 EST