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With so many charting options available, one might wonder what advantage a stand-alone charting package could offer. After all, most spreadsheets and databases, and even some word processors, provide integrated charting. But these modules are clumsy and inflexible. Dedicated charting programs are easier to use, provide far more flexibility, offer a wider variety of charts, and produce more attractive output than their integrated counterparts.
Computer Associate's CA-Cricket Graph III and DeltaPoint's DeltaGraph Professional are two popular, general-purpose charting packages for the Macintosh. First introduced in 1986, Cricket Graph supplanted Microsoft's Chart to be the unquestioned leader for many years. But it nearly disappeared when Cricket, Inc., declared bankruptcy. Computer Associates purchased rights to all Cricket software in 1990 and released a revised version of CA-Cricket Graph III early this year. DeltaGraph Professional was originally introduced in 1989 and was updated in 1992. In the three years since the last Cricket upgrade, DeltaGraph Professional has become the leading Macintosh charting program. This review compares three areas of software performance: data import and export, data manipulation, and ease of creating and editing a chart.
DATA IMPORT AND EXPORT
One advantage of dedicated charting software is that it manages the charting of very large datasets gracefully. But data must somehow be input into the packages' data page. While keying a few numbers is fine, it is impractical to type the contents of a large spreadsheet or database. In addition, …