10 Lucidchart features to increase productivity
Reading time: about 6 min
Posted by: Lucid Content Team
Lucidchart can work wonders for increasing productivity—want to learn how? Check out these tips and tricks for making your work easier as you build, share, and present diagrams. If you'd like to dive deeper into these features or follow along with one of our product pros, watch our on-demand webinar.
1. Easily style shapes
When creating a diagram, chances are you’ve got specific fonts and colors in mind that you want used throughout. You could go back and update these preferences for every single shape—but that would a) decrease productivity and b) give you a royal headache.
Instead, before you drag any shapes onto the canvas, choose the font, font size, font color, and line style from the Properties bar at the top of the editor. After doing so, the styling you’ve chosen is automatically applied to every shape you drag and drop onto the canvas.
If you want to change formatting on a Lucidchart template or if you got halfway through your diagram before you decide that you hate the font, don't worry—Lucidchart makes mass formatting changes easy, too. Click Select > All Shapes, and then style your entire diagram the way you want.
2. Create clean diagrams
You may notice that as you drag shapes around, sometimes the connecting lines have a mind of their own. There's an easy hack for getting lines to make the most efficient (rather than the most creative) connections between shapes: smart lines.
To create a smart line, rather than dragging and dropping a line directly to the edge of the next shape, pull the line just past the edge until the shape gets the blue “halo” effect. Release your mouse, and you’ve got yourself a smart line that will make smart connections.
3. Work faster with keyboard shortcuts
Make life easier with our nifty keyboard shortcuts. We’ve got quite a few, and you can view them all in the editor by clicking F1 or selecting Help > Hotkey Reference. Here are two of our favorites:
- To easily zoom in and out of your diagram, hold down the space bar and scroll up and down with your mouse—this is especially helpful when you’re dealing with large diagrams.
- To make more precise adjustments to your shapes, select the desired shape, hold down the Shift key, and use the arrow key for subtle movements that get your shape just the way you want it.
Ready for more? Watch this quick video of our top 5 keyboard shortcuts.
4. Expand your canvas
You can make some pretty big diagrams in Lucidchart, and things can start to feel pretty cramped on your canvas. Good thing there’s a one-click solution for that. Select the full-screen button in the top right corner—all the panels in the editor will disappear, leaving you with an enlarged canvas for fleshing out all those ideas. Anytime you need to access the Toolbox, Properties bar, or any other feature, you can activate it by hovering over where it would normally appear in the editor.
5. Organize your diagrams with containers
Diagrams can get very complex as they involve more steps and people. An easy trick for keeping these diagrams organized and easy to read is to use containers or swimlanes. In the example below, each swimlane represents a different person and their responsibilities. Instead of making your diagram a color-coded rainbow to indicate who owns which step, you can simply place your shapes in the appropriate swimlane container.
To access containers, click "Shapes" on the left side of the editor, and check the containers shape library under "Flowchart Shapes." Containers are smart shapes, which means that when you drag and drop one onto the canvas, a gear icon appears in the top-right corner of the shape. Click the icon to increase the number of lanes or adjust the orientation of the shapes and labels.
6. Include links and layers for easy-to-read diagrams
There’s always additional detail you could add to a diagram. But what’s the point of creating a visual if you stuff it full of text? Provide all the necessary info while still keeping your diagram clean and easy to read using shape actions.
Select a shape, click the lightning icon in the Properties bar, and select an action for the shape. You can toggle, show, or hide layers, link to another page inside the document, link to an external page, or link to an email. For example, if you choose “External Link,” you can link the shape to a Google Doc containing additional context needed for that particular step.
7. Collaborate without leaving Lucidchart
Once you’ve got a diagram built, you’ll want to gather feedback from others. Avoid giant email threads that lose or construe information by having these conversations without ever leaving Lucidchart.
With our commenting feature, you can leave comments on specific shapes or the document as a whole. To make a shape-specific comment, select a shape, choose “Comment” from the right-hand Dock, and select the “+” symbol. You can even @mention in your comment to alert certain people that feedback or review is needed. To find the location of a comment, click the pin icon in the top left corner. You can also use our chat feature to hold conversations inside your document.
8. Add necessary context
When you have thoughts or feedback that needs to stay permanently attached to a particular shape, use the notes function in Lucidchart. Right-click a shape, choose “Add Note,” and include whatever information is needed. A grey icon indicates that a shape has a note.
9. Present your diagram
Once you’ve received feedback and finalized your beautiful diagram, it’s time to present the system or process and get the buy-in you need to move forward. Instead of presenting the diagram all at once, use presentation mode to break your diagram up into a polished slides presentation.
Click the slides icon from the right-hand Dock and click “+ Slide.” A yellow box will appear on the canvas—anything within that box will be included in that slide. Click “Present” to view your presentation. Presentation mode lets you craft the story around a diagram and leaves you in control of your presentation.
10. Publish your diagram
Make your diagrams public by clicking the share button and choosing “Publish.” If you choose full document URL, you can generate a URL that provides a view-only experience that anyone with the link can use. They can’t edit the diagram, which means you can make it available to as many people as you’d like while still controlling the state of your document.
And that’s a wrap. Ten ways to instantly make work easier. Give these features a try, and be sure to share them with your entire team so you can get the productivity level at your organization on a whole new level!
Ready to give these tips a try? Jump into Lucidchart.
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Lucidchart is the essential visual productivity platform that helps anyone understand and share ideas, information, and processes with clarity. With this intuitive, cloud-based solution, anyone can learn to work visually and collaborate in real time while building flowcharts, mockups, UML diagrams, and more.
The most popular online Visio alternative, Lucidchart is used in over 180 countries by more than 15 million users, from sales managers mapping out prospective organizations to IT directors visualizing their network infrastructure.