BigPicture uses Excel shapes and connectors for its free-form maps. Those same shapes and connectors can be used to create maps and diagrams in Excel without BigPicture. So, you might ask, what’s the difference?
A lot, actually. In this series of blogs, we take you through some of the key benefits to using BigPicture vs “Excel-alone” for free-form diagramming in Excel:
Attributes such as Pictures, Markers, Notes and Hyperlinks
In BigPicture, supplementary attribute shapes (such as markers, notes and hyperlinks) can be attached to a shape. These attribute shapes move with the shape as it is repositioned in a map. In addition, the contents of these attributes can be easily edited in BigPicture. If attribute shapes are desired when using Excel-alone, they must be manually grouped with the shape, and ungrouped when they need to be changed or edited.
Navigating Free Form Maps
BigPicture has an Outline Pane where all shapes in a map are listed by their label. You can navigate through shapes by clicking on entries in the outline. In addition, you can search and replace label text throughout shapes in open maps. In Excel-alone, a Selection Pane can be shown which list shapes by their internal name, such as Rectangle1, not their label. No facility is available in Excel to search or replace text in shape labels.
BigPicture allows you to create slide shows where the map unfolds in any way you like. This is especially useful if you are presenting the map to an audience and you want to explain it in steps. These slide shows can include supporting text and images that are displayed by slide. Excel-alone has no facility for presenting shapes and diagrams step-by-step.