Best software for block diagrams?

In summary, the conversation is about finding the best software for creating professional block diagrams. The person is looking for a free option, but is willing to pay if the paid software is significantly better. They mention using MATLAB and being told that Simulink can be used for block diagrams, but they are not familiar with it and are wondering if there is something better. They also mention doing work with optics and transmission and needing to include various components in their diagrams. The conversation also touches on the importance of simulation in testing and the possibility of using Microsoft Visio. The person is a first-year PhD student and is not experienced with simulation, but is open to learning. They mention using a Macbook and needing a software that is compatible with their operating
  • #1
photonics
Hi - I need/want to create reasonably professional block diagrams and wondered if anyone knew of the best software to do this? Free is better than $$ unless the stuff you pay for is loads better.

We are not talking anything amazingly complicated here. I am doing some work with optics and transmission. So if I can stick in lasers, modulators, various types of amplifiers, different types of fiber and receivers etc that would be more than enough. Going forward

I have MATLAB and am told you can do this with simulink, but I have no idea how to do this and want to know if there is something better?

Thanks
 
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  • #2
are you trying to do anything with these block diagrams, or just present them?

Microsoft Visio is the perfect tool for presenting. Simulink is a computation/simulation tool that happens to present its data in a block diagram.
 
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  • #3
As things stand I have pretty much no interest in running simulations on a computer. My work is/should be done in a lab.

I'll have a look into Visio! Thanks.
 
  • #4
photonics said:
As things stand I have pretty much no interest in running simulations on a computer. My work is/should be done in a lab.

Simulation is often more important than actual lab testing...
 
  • #5
donpacino said:
Simulation is often more important than actual lab testing...

I get that. But I don't know how to do it. I'd love to know - but I have no idea.

However - I'll buy this: https://uk.mathworks.com/support/books/book120003.html and have a go at learning. I'm not sure I'm capable though.
 
  • #6
photonics said:
I get that. But I don't know how to do it. I'd love to know - but I have no idea.

However - I'll buy this: https://uk.mathworks.com/support/books/book120003.html and have a go at learning. I'm not sure I'm capable though.

Are you a student or a professional?
What type of work are you doing?
What level of education/experience do you have in the field?
 
  • #7
I'm doing some work related to photonics. I'm a first-year phd student - and have used MATLAB a fair bit, but have never used simulink.

There are people in my office who do a fair amount of simulation type stuff. But I am not one of them. My PhD is meant to be more experimental than theoretical.

I think what I'm trying to do would be hard to simulate. But I don't know unless I learn a bit more about it.
 
  • #8
Ok cool. So as a student hopefully your university should give you access to visio. If they do not, ask your professor to buy it for your department (or look for open source versions). baring that you can always use power point (for free with a college email! https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/education/students/default.aspx).

Simulation isn't theoretical, its actually very practical and can be crucial to actually do testing. You want to get a ballpark idea of what will happen, you don't want to just throw a switch and cross your fingers.

Matlab is a great tool for you to learn, although there may be software specific to what you are studying
 
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  • #9
Visio is generally the goto for process planning and block diagrams, but this is not included in the base Office packages - Review these options
 
  • #10
Cheers - I use a macbook pro for most of my work. And I've found visio won't work on that. I could get it to run windows - but i don't want to do that so I'll have to find something that is happy with Apple OS. I have a windows based computer in my office. But am really not a fan of it.

I'll look into the options - and do the smart thing and ask my colleagues what they use! Cheers.
 

Related to Best software for block diagrams?

1. What is the best software for creating block diagrams?

The best software for creating block diagrams depends on your specific needs and preferences. Some popular options include Microsoft Visio, Lucidchart, and SmartDraw.

2. Is there a free software for creating block diagrams?

Yes, there are several free software options for creating block diagrams such as Draw.io, Creately, and Gliffy. These programs often have limited features compared to paid software, but can still be useful for basic block diagram creation.

3. Can I collaborate with others when creating block diagrams?

Yes, many block diagram software programs offer collaboration features, allowing multiple users to work on the same diagram in real-time. This can be useful for team projects or when seeking feedback from colleagues.

4. Are there any specific software programs for creating specific types of block diagrams?

Yes, some software programs are designed specifically for creating certain types of block diagrams, such as electrical or process flow diagrams. It is important to consider your specific diagram needs when choosing a software program.

5. Can I import data into block diagram software?

Yes, many block diagram software programs allow you to import data from spreadsheets or databases, making it easier to create accurate and dynamic diagrams. This can be especially useful for large and complex diagrams.

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