Office design software acts similarly to many interior design software products, in that it facilitates the easy creation of advanced office designs and diagrams, as well as permitting basic functions relevant to common office tasks. Instead of users relying on their inherent artistic abilities and rulers, office design software contains the ability to work from preexisting templates. It also usually has the ability to incorporate common design icons and elements with only a few steps.
For example, a highly-respected and critically acclaimed piece of office design software is SmartDraw 2009. Templates exist for all manner of office-related activities, such as flowcharts, charts and graphs, floor plans, and landscape plans. Within all these templates, the program grants the capability to customize each template to the exact specifications of the user.
Good software typically contains a deep library of commonly-recognized symbols and icons that appear in office environments, and the ability to connect those icons in a simple, intuitive way. To create a floor plan, for example, users choose a symbol, then place it in the appropriate place on the document. After choosing a second symbol and placing it in the correct location, the software creates applicable lines, or "connectors," that demonstrate the interoperability between to the two icons.
To permit the easier creation and objective understanding of floor plans, the software usually displays the parameters and dimensions of each section of the plan. The dimensions are usually customizable to reflect different types of measurements. The software does not only measure walls, however, but also area and volume. This feature supports designers who wish to plan for carpet installation, for instance.
More expensive programs usually add options to insert furniture into a plan, which allows for more meticulously-organized layouts and diagrams. Offices contain more than floor plans, so the best design software usually contains the ability to handle other tasks, like diagramming network operations. Parsed even further, office design software can even allow for the creation of computer software diagrams.
Some programs also present options relevant to frequently-encountered office tasks. This may include creating an inventory spreadsheet or diagramming a project timeline. These features are not inherent within all programs, but the higher-end ones typically accommodate such advancements.
Office design software can be minimalistic in nature, only involving simplistic tasks required by novice designers, or the software can be extensive, allowing designs for multitudes of office-related projects and tasks. Usually, the difference can be seen by the price. Choosing the best product, however, depends largely on the users’ intentions. Simple office layouts exist in most software, but the accommodation of additional tasks only exists in the more elaborate products.