Why I Like This: Excalidraw
Hi all! Back again with another edition of “Why I Like This”, a personal blog dedicated to problems I’ve needed to solve & the products I’ve used to solve them!
Often as a Product Manager, you need to present complex topics in a simple format, and visual representations can help drive the point home. I’m not a graphical designer, and using the standard PowerPoint/Slides drawing & shapes features was leaving my presentations looking a bit stale.
The Product That Solved It
Excalidraw, a virtual whiteboard with a hand-drawn style.
Why I Like This
- Starts simple, gets complex. I found Excalidraw really straightforward to use out-of-the-box. I didn’t need to go through any tutorials or anything, and it was really intuitive to create simple diagrams. When others on the dev team wanted to create diagrams detailing complex system architecture, they were able to add a bunch of new shapes & icons from the library, create linked objects for easier editing, and so on. It’s got other “hidden” features as well, like being able to paste in a table & have a simple graph auto-created.
- It’s collaborative. As with any useful tool these days, it’s great to be able to work with others on the same project simultaneously, and Excalidraw easily allows for this.
- Looks “rough around the edges”. There’s something about the hand-drawn look that I really like. It has a bit more personality than a typical boring set of shapes & shadows. Makes it look home-made, which makes presentations stand out.
I’ve been using Excalidraw for diagrams for about six months now, and I’ve been really pleased with the results. It has allowed me to create visuals that are noticeable and easy to understand, which is just what I want!