Every so often, someone asks me what tools I use to draw the diagrams. Years ago I was perfectly happy with Visio, but since Microsoft bought it, it became so bloated that I’ve been forced to drop it (it would take minutes to start on my laptop) and revert back to PowerPoint.
Cisco provides great icon libraries (including the visionary “space router” icon shown on the right) in Visio and PowerPoint format and I’m lucky enough to have an older version where the colors of the devices are not light blue but a darker shade of blue/green/gray. Drawing connections between the devices is obviously easier in Visio than in PowerPoint, but if you keep the diagrams simple, you can work around the limitations.
Export from PowerPoint to JPEG/PNG has always been a nightmare with dubious results (although it looks like the copy/paste from PowerPoint to Paint Shop Pro produces reasonable quality in some cases). To work around this, I’m using SnagIT from Techsmith to capture the screen (Paint Shop Pro also has a screen capture utility, but SnagIT is so much easier to use) and trim/resize the images.
After the image is trimmed and resized, I need to add the final touch: replace the white background with PNG transparency so the diagrams look good in our Wiki, where the images are shown in a light gray frame. I use Paint Shop Pro as I happen to have it installed (SnagIT does not have this functionality), but any other decent image manipulation tool or even a PERL script with ImageMagick (which I am too lazy to write) would do.