|Don't know if this is a "best free" one, but I thought I'd share a free flow chart software that I found since posting.|
The program name is "Diagram Designer" and can be downloaded from:
It's pretty nice actually. The flowchart symbols are all shown on the right of the screen. Drag the symbols desired to the work area and they snap-to the grid. At the top are the line, line-with-arrowhead, and other connector icons. Click the arrow icon for example and then click and drag from one symbol to the next and the connection is made. To move a group of icons, left click in a blank area and drag the selection box, then move everything in the selection box at once.
The one thing I wish it could do but it doesn't appear to do is to "automatically" move the following symbols forward one slot to allow inserting a symbol. Or move the symbols back one slot when a symbol is deleted. All of this must tediously be done manually but the selection box move technique helps.
Here's some tips I discovered. I live in the U.S. so I initially set the snap-to grid using inches. The snap-to did not work well at all. Since the default unit was initially millimeters, I went back to that. The initial setting of .04 millimeters is too fine to line up symbols. I found that a 5 millimeter grid setting is perfect for 8.5 x 11 inch paper. To place text on the screen (not inside of symbols), change the snap-to-grid setting to 1 millimeter. Press F9 to access the snap-to-grid setting.
Give it a try if you flowchart your programs before you start writing code. I think it's faster by using pencil and paper first but not trying to be neat or arrange the symbols nicely. IOW, just whip the flowchart together, crossing out rather than erasing, squeezing a symbol in an available space, etc. Then use Diagram Designer to arrange the flowchart nicely.
So far, I like this software a lot. Here's an excerpt from the README.TXT file that comes with the software.
Simple vector graphics editor for creating flowchart and diagrams.
Some of the features:
· Customizable template object palette.
· Slide show viewer.
· Import/export WMF, EMF, GIF, BMP, JPEG, PNG, MNG, and PCX images.
· Simple graph plotter to plot mathematical expressions.
· Advanced "pocket" calculator with equation solver.
· MeeSoft Image Analyzer integration for bitmap image editing and extended
file format support.
· Uses compressed file format for minimizing drawing file size.
Enjoy! (And maybe donate to the author if you like this software.)