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Excalidraw+ (excalidraw.com)
174 points by amasad 14 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 31 comments

I'm excited about this. I've used Excalidraw as a simple, lo-fi interviewing tool at a few companies for when we want candidates to draw something without having too many tools to get bogged down in making a masterpiece. For me it really hits the sweet spot between being fast and flexible like a whiteboard while still working well for computer input (i.e. doesn't make you free draw with a mouse).

It might be worth adding a toggle to the marketing website alongside dark mode to switch the handwriting font to something more readable though

Excalidraw is horrible for this purpose! Don't use it!

There are at least 2 huge issues.

1. The biggest issue, it does not propagate selections so the interviewee selects something to highlight what they are talking about but doesn't realize that the indication the object is selected does not appear on the interviewer's version of the document. It makes talking about your diagram nearly impossible.

Google Slides doesn't have this problem


2. Excalidraw has this horrible design where placing a shape actually places 2 objects, a shape object and a text object. You type some text and then try to move the "labeled object" and only one of them moves. This is different than every drawing program in existence for the last ~35 years and is a bad UX

I'd even argue the whole concept is bad. You ask some dev to interview and expect them to use unfamiliar illustration software where while they're interviewing they get to struggle with learning new quirky software.

nice tool but I'm a fan of draw.io, opensource and can be downloaded to your machine to run locally if wanted.

This appears to be open source also, and runnable locally: https://github.com/excalidraw/excalidraw

There's a docker image also: https://hub.docker.com/r/excalidraw/excalidraw

It's hard to tell exactly, but it sounds like the "plus" version would just have more collaboration functionality.

I had no idea that draw.io had a desktop version. Cool.

Meh... I was once being interviewed and the company offered to use Excalidraw. My experience with the tool was subpar. If you want something truly amazing, check out Whimsical Flowcharts. It's an order of magnitude better than Excalidraw.

> Meh...

> tool was subpar

What were there actual issues that you faced?

Kind of rude to put it down with vague comments and recommend something else.

Wow. Downvotes. Sure. Here are just a few off the top of my head.

1. Excalidraw doesn't allow you to quickly connect components.

2. It doesn't _always_ allow you to double-click on a component and add a title to it, so you end up using a Text component, which is obviously not what you want because two of the components are not linked.

3. You can't title links/arrows between components.

4. It's cool that they have a components library, but it's barely useful (right now), so I would either make it really good or drop entirely.

We use excalidraw within our team at work. It's amazingly easy to produce diagrams to share business logic around. I might recommend this.

My biggest pain is that we need to manage and share the drawings ourselves. I normally share a screenshot and I have a collection of .excalidraw files saved locally

Draw.io [1] (now diagrams.net I guess?) lets you export a .png file with the diagram embedded in the image. So you don't need to keep the original file, and even an old image from a wiki can be opened up and edited by anybody on the team without having to get the "diagram file" from the original author.

Granted, I don't think it does collaboration so that may be a dealbreaker for you

1: https://app.diagrams.net

Perhaps a collection of links? If you click the link icon in export.

But yes, this sounds like what the paid feature will try and solve.

Tried it out. Really shows the power of sane defaults and minimal controls. I was able to quickly create a decent drawing without looking at any documentation.

One unexpected thing. If I select the pointer icon, and double click on a shape, it lets me add a text label. But the label isn't grouped with the shape by default. I might expect that had I started with the "A" text tool, but I started with the arrow pointer. In that case, I'd expect the label to be automatically grouped with the shape.

I think we have a couple issues opened for this, example:


Don't use it much but I love excalidraw. really has that oldschool freeware vibes. Must say it makes me a bit sad that it is being monetized. Understandable, but still sad.

Hope it doesn't lose it's spirit now money is involved. Honestly, excalidraw's advantages is it's simplicity with export and working locally, which makes me think a lot of the enterprisy stuff could be built with external tools or something like that. say an integration with Google Drive/Dropbox.

It's still free, I've been asking the creator for something like this from day one. I don't like downloading my sessions, I'd rather pay to have something managed with projects etc so this is very much welcome.

It’s still free and open source.

I’m not sad it’s being monetized, I’m delighted the creators have a revenue stream to keep them working on it.

yeah exactly, I would even say it's the only way because otherwise you will eventually need to make money somewhere else and the project will die or at least slow down considerably

I have seen that many times already :-/

I'm really enjoying this Excalidraw plug-in for Roam Research by Zsolt Viczian:


It let's you jump into diagramming within any block within Roam.

See also Miro[1] and Plectica[2]. We use both extensively for working out technical strategy, mapping system dependencies, etc.

[1]: https://miro.com

[2]: https://beta.plectica.com

Looking forward to Excalidraw switching to an “open core” license in 2023 to get rid of competition! /s

Jokes aside, congratulations to the team - it’s one of the best tools for “thinking in a group” ever invented. Thank you to all contributors!

I like Excalidraw very much. I even used it to create a game with the Godot game engine: https://curious-games.itch.io/flight13

I hope kinks have been worked out. z-index errors, sync not working for some participants and JavaScript alert windows about losing data, were issues the three times I've used it with my team, so i basically dont dare suggest my team using it again.

They've been very good at communicating in the GitHub issues I've filed, so hopefully it works for others, but I would advise you to test with a few co-workers before facilitating anything in a group

Hello, Excalidraw+ cofounder here. The z-index syncing should be fixed now in Excalidraw+. The fix should make its way to the base app soon, after we're confident it works correctly.

The performance of the collaboration servers is now taking the front seat and should improve in the coming weeks.

As for the window alerts — yes, that's a pain point in both apps but we're working on it. It should be better than last time you tried it, let us know what you think.

We'd be happy if you file an issue or drop a message on our Discord channels with any other feedback you have!

This page has a link to "Try Excalidraw+ for free", but I didn't find a way to try it when I clicked there.

I found I could try it at https://excalidraw.com/

This looks really good and I'm going to try it out at my work. I haven't found anything so far that comes close to a real whiteboard. If it works out maybe we'll get the + version.

You have to sign up to use the + version. There’s a “sign up” link in the top middle of the page that link takes you to. The whole point of it is the online account and sharing controls, so you have to make an account to try out the + features.

Sure, but I'm not going to sign up without trying the product first.

I love Excalidraw. I wish the team all the very best and I'll for sure be promoting this in my organisation.

I made an app with the purpose of drawing cloud backend architecture diagrams using apple pencil. I haven't used Excalidraw+ but I guess it's the same though. - https://cloudarchitect.app

Hope this works out for them. Brilliant little tool.

Was looking for a tool like this, thanks!

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