AWS Messaging Shapes Library

July 05, 2018

I totally forgot to post this library when I did the set of AWS shapes earlier. Here's a library of shapes for AWS messaging stuff. So download it and start keeping track of what all your chatty AWS services are saying to each other.

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SimpleD in the Field

June 27, 2018

Another example of SimpleD users taking it higher: Ray King and Amanda Woo created some slick diagrams with SimpleD for their new article on Medium, "A Sustainable, Stress-Free Product Development Model."

A few examples from the article:

...and a bunch more. Make sure to check out the article!

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Version 4.0.21 released : Time to make some blobs.

June 20, 2017

The latest release, v4.0.21, is for all of you that wanted to create amorphous blobs in your diagrams. Because what good is a diagram without an amorphous blob here and there? Blobs help group. Blobs help associate. Blobs unite your thoughts and convince your viewers that you actually know what you're talking about. Blobs are the answer to all your problems, big and small.

So, now you can create lots of blobs, which we've formally termed 'Polyshapes.'

Start with your line connector (not pencil or marker) tool. When you draw any multi-segmented connector line, you'll now notice a small circle next to your cursor when you hover over the start of the line while drawing. That means if you mouse-up you'll connect the end of your line to the beginning of your line and have a wonderful, blobby shape to color and texturize.

If you want to modify the blob, err Polyshape, just double-click it. You'll then enter blob-editing mode, and can move around the control points, add or remove those control points, or double-click a control point to toggle that segment between curved to straight.

So remember, when editing a Polyshape you can
  • Hold shift to remove control points
  • Double-click a control point to toggle segment between straight and curved.
  • Click a "+" circle to add a control point.
  • Double-click anywhere outside the shape to return to regular mode
As always let me know what you think. 

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Some new features in 4.0.23

May 09, 2017

SimpleDiagrams is great for doing simple diagrams, but I've always wanted SimpleD to have some more powerful drawing tools. So for v4.0.21 we're working on some ways to create arbitrary shapes.

Part of that feature set will include a better line tool. You can already draw complex connector lines: just down ALT when creating a new line to create multi-segment lines, and then use the green handles to modify the line further. But now in 4.0.21, you'll also be able to join the ends of the line to make a complete, filled shape which can then be styled.

What's that good for? Well things like floor plans, regions of interest, geographic feature or nameless blobs that have no real meaning but look just right.

Also, watch for some new, more complex shapes in 4.0.21 that help you do business dashboards. All coming soon...
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Latest AWS Library : Security / Identity / Compliance

May 03, 2017

We've got another shape library for those of you doing simple diagrams of Amazon Web Services architectures, processes and so on. These libraries are for all of you wrangling AWS : devops, systems architects, network engineers, etc. etc.

This is the fifth in our series of AWS shape libraries with that classic, you-know-you-love-it hand-drawn style. Like the other AWS libraries, you can download it free...

Remember that, as with all SimpleD shapes, you can get some neat hand-drawn styles by just changing the texture on your stroke and fill colors:

Here's the current set of all the AWS libraries we've done so far:
Stay tuned for the rest of the shapes from the AWS simple icon set. 

You can find Amazon's original set of icons is here: ... remember it's easy to use any SVG by simply dragging it into your document, or into a 'custom library' (use the Libraries > New custom library menu option).

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New "Transform" window

April 16, 2017

Often when doing simple diagrams, you'll want to change a shape's position or resize it quickly, yet exactly. In a new patch release for v4 users, v4.0.16, I've added in a Transform properties window to help you do that.

The Transform window gives you an easy way to set the width, height, x position and y position of a shape or a group of selected items. 

That button with the link icon let's you lock the shape's proportions when you change it's height or width. 

V4 users, update soon and give it a go and let me know if it works well for you. You can download the update here.

(Power users: hit ctrl-shift-T to show or hide this panel. That's cmd-shift-T if you're a Mac OS user.)

Say what? You're a SimpleD user and you haven't yet upgraded to  SimpleDiagrams v4? Upgrade today!

WHHAATTT?? You don't know jack about SimpleDiagrams? See what you've been missing. Download the 7-day trial today.

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Hand-drawn AWS Icons for AWS architecture diagrams

April 14, 2017

Example of AWS shapes

AWS architects and devops people, you wanted hand-drawn shapes for your diagrams. So it's about time I made some hand-drawn versions of the AWS icons.

You were like "more shapes" and I said "ok ok" and you're like "MORE SHAPES GADANGIT" and now I can say "YES MORE SHAPES!"

I give you more shapes. Here are the first three in the series. The rest are coming soon:

Use these shapes when you're trying to explain your most recent AWS architecture in the simplest terms to somebody who's 80/ in 80% thinking about lunch and 20% politely smiling.

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Linking Generic SVGs to Color Pickers

March 13, 2017

Now, some SVG creators will create icons like this as strokes, and some as fills, so you'll have to figure out which color chip to link. In this case, the SVG is created with fill elements, so when I link the fill color chip, I'm able to update the color and even texture:

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SimpleD Users are Awesome

March 13, 2017

SimpleD users, you're all just very cool. Really. You're tolerant of bugs. Excited about new features. Helpful. Positive. Just thanks. You make being an indie software developer fun and rewarding.
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Online Libraries: Coming Soon

March 01, 2017

I was hoping to have a great new feature in v4 that gives you access to an online library of SVG icons. I've already got an API subscription with (the vendor I'm using for the icons) and everything is just about running smoothly (wait, what exactly does that mean?), buuuut it was just too much to release the new v4 and this new Simple Diagrams Online Libraries feature at the same time. 

This week I did finally get v4 out the door with a big shove. Now I'll be working on finishing up this new great feature. I hope to have Online Libraries ready for you to use in a month or two. Thanks for your patience...good things come to those who wait, etc. etc. ...
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V4 is here

February 27, 2017

It took a bit longer than I expected, but finally got v4 out the door. I hope you like it. There are a bunch of new features that should make things a bit easier for you -- I especially like the little eyedropper tool, which is kind of simple but may really speed things up for you when making changes to a group of shapes.

For a list of new features, you can check out the features page I'm in the process of creating :

If you do give v4 a spin, please let me know if you find any issues. I'm going to try to do a quick update release in a couple weeks with fixes for any smaller bugs or issues you find (larger stuff may take more time).

Now, I've been promising that v4 would give you access to lots of doesn't. Just yet. That's because the online side of this new "online libraries" feature I've been working on just isn't ready for you yet. It was too much for me to do a new v4 and the new online libraries, so I've postponed the latter for awhile until I can get it working better. Ahh, alas, life as an indie developer. Too many things to do and never enough time. 

Having said that, I'm working with a great Rails developer, Sam Peacey, to get that part of things working and released, so I'll hopefully be back on the blog here soon letting you know you can now access online libraries. 

Alright, have at it. Create some simple diagrams in a ridiculously short period of time. If I've made the app too complicated you have license to send me an email with "ARE YOU FRICKIN' OUT OF YOUR MIND MCQUILLEN?" in the subject title. Never let me forget the main purpose of SimpleD is to make it easy to make simple diagrams.

Oh and by the way, I'm also trying to write up better docs. So pardon the dust as I fill in some pages. Send me a note if there's something particular you want finished first. 

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SimpleDiagrams Version 4 coming very soon...

January 03, 2017

We've been working hard on the v4 release, which I'm hoping to release sometime in early 2017. It's going to be that much easier to create some great diagrams, network diagrams, business process flows, landscape plans, or whatever else you're trying to illustrate quickly. As always, the focus is on keeping things simple and quick.

Here's a short list of some great new features. 

(Don't forget to sign up to our newsletter. You'll get notified about special deals when v4 comes out! Form at the bottom of this page...)

  • Online Libraries: we're talking a huge number of shapes.
  • Presentation Mode: for when you're doing a video or skype or something like that.
  • Quick search: kind of like spotlight search on Mac OS.
  • Quick styles: apply some preset custom styles.
  • Style eyedropper: pick up and drop styles with ease.
  • Better SVG support
  • Rulers (why did this take so long?)
  • Custom palettes: some very nice palettes, just for you. And the ability to create your own.
  • Direct printing: Ha! Finally!
  • Sizing document in meters or feet: for those of you doing maps and stuff.
  • ...and lots of smaller fixes and updates.

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Simple Flow Diagram for Umbraco

December 05, 2016

SimpleDiagrams user Steven McLintock emailed today with a screenshot of a flow diagram he made with SimpleDiagrams. The diagram is for a blog post Steven wrote about the Umbraco content management system. "This is something I wanted to explain easily in a blog article for colleagues of mine, " he wrote, "and the software made it really easy to do."

Umbraco Flow Diagram

Nice work, Steven!

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v3.3.15 published...yes Sierra users, you can drag and drop again!

October 06, 2016

Mac OS Sierra users were noticing that you couldn't drag and drop in SimpleD.  I've releaseda new version of SimpleD -- v3.3.15 -- with a fix.  Download it today.
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Creating SVGs for SimpleD with Affinity Designer

September 30, 2016

As you probably know by now, you can import SVG shapes into SimpleDiagrams, either directly into your diagram or into a custom library. I posted a video on YouTube awhile back with some hints on using Adobe Illustrator for this very purpose. Those of you using Affinity Designer might have tried something similar.

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V3.3.12 Small Patch

September 20, 2016

A few of you have experienced this nastly little bug that has an unfriendly  "#2038" error when you tried to save a document and then save it again as a different name. Ok, well that's gone now so be at peace.

Downloads in the usual place.
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New version 3.3.11 for your Diagrams

September 13, 2016

You thought I was off clowning around and not doing any work. So untrue. So untrue. Well maybe partially true. But I did fix a bunch of bugs and now you've got version 3.3.11 ready for you. It's made with love. It's made with patience. It's still made with Apache Flex and Adobe AIR captive runtime for both Mac OS and Windows.

What? Yes, Apache Flex and Adobe AIR captive runtime. It doesn't get the love or attention like AngularElectronReactsYourFace but I swear it is *still* the most productive cross-platform environment....ever....friggin'....made. If I could drop my keyboard without breaking it I'd do it now. All this is possible because the Apache Flex team keeps doing awesome stuff. Thanks Apache flex guys.

So download 3.3.11 today and get your diagrams on. I'm gotta some more work.

(By the way, happy to say that SimpleD is almost at 100k trial downloads. Gosh, just think if all those people who gave SimpleD a shot just all of a sudden got up and said 'danggit I'm going to buy that stupid program right now'...)

(Yes, yes. Ok so your next question is how many people have actually bought a license? To-date, it's just above 5,000 people, so I don't know what the heck's wrong with those other 95,000...)
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Product diagrams in Kickstarter

May 25, 2016

SimpleD really shines when you need to mark up your products with some visual annotations, explanations or just a bit of snaz. 

How so? Well, check out how Ganaël Basoul used SimpleD to help him successfully launch his Monsieur Barber product on Kickstarter.

Awesome stuff, Ganaël! Time for me to get my face sorted out.

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User Diagram: Microservices Architecture

February 17, 2016

Stephen Cresswell of GuideSmiths sent an email today saying hello and including an example of how he uses SimpleD. Nice work, Stephen!

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February 11, 2016

Ok, just pushed up v3.3.7. Have at it. Existing users: you should see an update message next time you launch SimpleD.

This version is a minor update...just a couple bugs fixes. Those of you who saw strange error messages with cryptic notes like "collectMissing()" should get some relief from that nonsense.

Ping me if you update and have any issues. Happy diagramming!

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8 Tips for Presentations.

January 20, 2016

Awesome presentation tips by  on Business Insider today. Check them out:

Those tips are applicable to many types of visual communication. 
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Good stuff coming...

January 06, 2016

Ok, enough dawdling. Time for me to get back to work and finish up a pretty cool feature I think you'll like. V3 users will soon have the option to directly access a paid service that provides a massive amount of shapes. I'm talking crazy numbers. You're not going to know what to do with all these shapes. 

Send me a note if you want to be a beta tester. 
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Using SimpleDiagrams in a YouTube video

November 23, 2015

Adam Fowler of MarkLogic uses SimpleDiagrams to great effect in his recent YouTube video:

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Creating SVG's for SimpleD

October 27, 2015

A quick note for those of you using Adobe Illustrator to create SVGs for SimpleDiagrams. When you're saving your illo as "SVG" remember to set the "CSS Properties" pulldown to "Presentation Attributes."

If you pick something like "Style Attributes," the style information will be placed in <style/> tags and SimpleD doesn't know how to handle that yet (should do soon).

Thanks to Allan Zieser for brining up the issue.
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Now featuring grids and snap-to-grid

October 06, 2015

Ok, I admit it. The new features in the latest release (v3.2.33) win the "late to the party" award. Many of you have been asking for a grid and a snap feature for awhile. Well, wait no longer. Download the new version today, get your grids and snapages, and spend the rest of the day being nice to your open plan colleagues.

Note that you can control the grid color, whether it shows on top or behind your diagram, and whether that grid is exported.

To control the properties, just select View > Grid Properties from the menu.

As always, let me know if this feature helps your work or doesn't do exactly what you want.
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New Free Library : Value Stream Mapping

July 23, 2015

Yes, it's time to get your Value Stream kanban-ed, clean-dried and ready-to-go. The new, free Value Stream SimpleDiagrams Library Plugin is just what you needed.

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Version 3.2.14 Released

July 22, 2015

This was a quick update to address some more small bugs, plus a couple small new features. Here's a quick rundown:

Library Background Colors

A number of you wrote in asking "Where's the shape I just dragged into my custom library?" Often the issue was that the shape was black and it couldn't be seen against the library's dark background. This will trouble you no more. Either right-click the library or use the dropdown menu at the top of the libraries panel and select "Library Properties." 

The Library Properties dialog will allow you to set the background color on any library. This is helpful when you have, for example, lots of black shapes and therefore want a lighter background.

So this image below doesn't make much sense, since the white shapes look best on a dark background, but you get the idea. And maybe you like rust colors.

Alt or Alt-Shift to Draw Connectors

Sometimes you just want to draw a connector. You say "dang, just let me draw a connector." Well now, no matter what tool you have selected, just hold down the alt key. Immediately shapes near your cursor will show their connector points and you can start dragging a line from any one of those points.

As an added bonus, hold down shift after you start your line if you want to do a multi-segment line.

Why did it take me so long to get that feature into SimpleDiagrams? 

Helpful Font Up/Down Buttons

Some great user feedback led to some nice font size up/down buttons being added on the properties panel. I hope they make working with your text easier.

Complex Shape Colorizing Rules
If you create a complex shape, sometimes you want the child shapes it contains to change to whatever colors are selected when you drag the shape out. Sometimes you don't. So you can now configure this via the "Colors" tab on your Shape Properties window. You can also set these when you first create a complex shape.

I'll post a video on complex shapes soon, because they're really quite cool. 

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Version 3.2.12 Released (and "Feedback is awesome").

July 08, 2015

Just posted version 3.2.12. For a list of features and fixes, please check out the Product History page.

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Version 3.2 Alpha

June 23, 2015

Horay! I've posted an alpha version for the upcoming 3.2 release. It's only .air right now but I'll probably release the .exe and .dmg installers by the end of the week.

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Some basic shapes for sailing.

May 22, 2015

Well I'm based in Melbourne now and sailing is a big deal here, so I thought I'd put together a quick, free shape library for racing.

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PKI-IO Uses SimpleDiagrams for Architecture Docs

May 17, 2015

Fraser Scott sent me a note recently to mention that he used SimpleDiagrams to post some architecture docs for his open source X.509 certificate management software.

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V3.1 is out....and we're already working on new features for V3.2

May 07, 2015

Writers get to say stuff like "the ink hasn't even dried and I'm already blah blah" after finishing something and move on to some other major project. What do we software geeks get to say when we're on a streak? How about "the friggin' bits for version 3.1 haven't even been sharded on S3, man, and we're already working on new v3.2 features, what's up?!!" That sounds terrible doesn't it. 

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Cooking shapes

April 08, 2015

I was messing around with some cooking shapes in preparation for a tutorial I was working on (the tut is live now in the tutorials section). I figured I'd package these up into a library in case somebody found them useful. 

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Whaddya think

April 01, 2015

I always like to hear what users think about SimpleD. Getting your feedback means I know what features to prioritize, what bugs I've missed, and where to go next with the app. So please don't hesistate to send me a note with your thoughts, complaints and wish lists. Drop me a line at

Also, I've started trying to collect reviews on my Capterra site, so if you have a moment, please add a review:

SimpleDiagrams on Capterra

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It's All About Confidence

March 31, 2015

Helen McCarthy over at Blog With Confidence just released a free guide to creating visual content for your blog.

She included SimpleDiagrams in her list of tools. Thanks Helen!

Get your free copy here:

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Guest Diagram : Predicting Gas Usage

February 15, 2015

This week I received an email from e-Learning expert Matt Grist of Junifer Systems. Matt had a few comments on the software (thanks Matt) and shared a SimpleDiagram he created for one of his online training courses.

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New free library

February 04, 2015

Here's a new library from Diana S. Just some basic shapes with a bit of a hatching on the side. We had to do arrows in each direction since the perspective would be off if you flipped them. 

Do you like this style? Let me know and I'll ask Diana if she can create some more.

Download the library here:

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Version 3.1 aka Roscoe

January 23, 2015

Christmas is past, New Year's is a faint echo, and now three weeks in January I'm here to tell you: Roscoe is coming.

Yes, Version 3.1 of SimpleD is coming and its codename is Roscoe. What does Roscoe mean to you? What could Roscoe possible promise to make your Friday better and more sweeter yet still so tragic after those three donuts you shouldn't have eaten, if only the iPhone wasn't eroding your self will...

Behold. Here's a shortlist of the stuff I'm almost promising. Almost promise. Isn't that obnoxious?

  1. Master tab (finally a way to have one element show up in the same place on all tabs)
  2. More marker styles
  3. Distribute buttons 
  4. Paste in place
  5. Export part of diagram
  6. Better SVG export 
  7. Preview shape on hover
  8. Middle button click to pan
  9. Better font preview
  10. Copy from clipboard
  11. Lotsa bug fixes....

And more. Stay tuned.

And of course more libraries.

And of course more documentation.

But I doubt I'll get to those tutorial videos. Somebody want to help?
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Modern teenager management.

November 15, 2014

An SD user (who wants to remain anonymous, although this could be her ticket to a speaking tour) sent me this example of modern teenager management. The diagram was distributed to all parties involved. Who can argue now that the rules weren't clear?

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Flipping shapes

November 13, 2014

Recently SD user Jon Cavanaugh asked why he couldn't flip a shape in order to get a word bubble to face the other direction.

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Upcoming feature in 3.1 : Marker Pen

November 10, 2014

Andriy and I are working on a simple marker pen tool for version 3.1. Here's the current implementation. I think it looks too much like a dry brush or crayon.

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Using Adobe Shape to Create Sketch Shapes, Part II

November 07, 2014

I'm having fun creating shapes with Adobe Shape, so I thought I'd capture in a bit more detail the steps I'm taking to draw a shape, capture it, and then bring it into SimpleDiagrams.

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Using Adobe Shape to create a shape for SimpleDiagrams

October 28, 2014

I was messing around with Adobe Shape today (only available for iOS right now), which basically allows you to sketch something, take a photo of it and have it instantly converted to a vector image.

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New Feature Sneak Peak: Font Preview

October 27, 2014

Recently a couple of SD users asked for a font preview on the font selector. You all asked kindly, but you could have shouted because, really, what good is a font selector without a preview?! Good news. The feature's been implemented and will be released in v3.1, due out sometime before the new year...

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Word bubbles

October 17, 2014

Two more free libraries are now available: Word Bubbles #2 and Word Bubbles #3, both by designer Diana Stanciulescu.

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Enter the Shape Libraries!

October 15, 2014

I was finally able to get a few of the libraries posted today! Peter Vlk is the first artist to have his shapes packaged for SimpleDiagrams v3. Petr, who did a great set of libraries for version 2 of SimpleDiagrams, is working to update all of his "Vector Doodlekit" shapes for use in SimpleDiagrams v3. Today I posted his entertainment and communication libraries.

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V3 is finally here!

October 01, 2014

OH YEAH! SimpleDiagrams v3 is finally here. I've just finished getting the new installers built and the new site up and running. Now it's finally ready for you to use.

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