Harvard Graphics

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Harvard Graphics
Developer(s)Software Publishing Corporation
Initial release1986; 37 years ago (1986)
Operating systemMS-DOS, Microsoft Windows
TypePresentation program

Harvard Graphics was a graphics and presentation program for IBM PC compatibles. The first version, titled Harvard Presentation Graphics was released for MS-DOS in 1986 by Software Publishing Corporation (SPC) and achieved a high market share. It was taken off the market in 2017.


Harvard Graphics was one of the first desktop business application software programs that allowed users to incorporate text, information graphics, and charts into custom slideshow presentations. The original version could import data from Lotus 1-2-3 or Lotus Symphony, charts created in Symphony or PFS Graph, and ASCII text. It could export text and graphics to Computer Graphics Metafile and to pfs:Write, also manufactured by SPC.[1] Its use of vector graphics produced mixed results on the CGA and EGA displays common at the time, but output was usually sent to a slide printer or a color plotter.[2]

"Presentation" was dropped from the name for the second release, which came in 1987, developed by Mario Chaves, Carl Hu, Lenore Kirvay, and Dana Tom. Harvard Graphics 2.0 added the ability to import the latest Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheet data before generating graphics, as well as drawing and annotations for graphs.[3] Version 3.0 was not released until 1991, offering improved editing functions, but its graphics and export capabilities were being outperformed by competitors like Aldus Persuasion and Lotus Freelance.[4]

Harvard Graphics was used as bonus product with Windows 95 by Australian Retailer Harvey Norman.


The market leader through the late 1980s, Harvard Graphics struggled as the market shifted to Microsoft Windows. SPC released a version for Microsoft Windows 3.0 in 1991, but its market share never approached the 70% it had previously commanded.[5] The Windows market came to be dominated by Microsoft PowerPoint and then the bundle of PowerPoint into Microsoft Office.

In 1996, Serif purchased exclusive marketing rights to the product line of Harvard Graphics, Inc., and assumed product support responsibilities. Serif continued to market Harvard Graphics 98 for Windows and other software under the Harvard Graphics brand until mid-year 2017, when the product was taken off the market.[6]


  1. ^ Rufener, Sharon L. (May 26, 1986), "Harvard Graphics Is Easy to Learn and Use", InfoWorld, pp. 47–48
  2. ^ Harvard Graphics: Our Company, archived from the original on 2007-09-28, retrieved 2010-01-18
  3. ^ Miller, Michael J. (August 3, 1987), "Harvard Graphics 2.0: Simplicity Veils Powerful Program", InfoWorld, p. 47
  4. ^ Fridlund, Alan (July 8, 1991), "Version 3.0 of Harvard Graphics improves drawing, color features", InfoWorld, p. 72
  5. ^ Gibbons, Fred (August 9, 1993), "SPC's Gibbons: High-end Harvard Should Stand Alone", InfoWorld, p. 86
  6. ^ "Harvard Graphics is now closed". harvardgraphics.com. serif.com. Archived from the original on 14 August 2017. Retrieved 7 April 2018.

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