Make Your Diagrams Dynamic with Data Linking [+Template]
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Imagine a world where clarity of thought and communication is no longer a barrier to the speed of innovation. What would humanity accomplish if innovators like yourself could instantly communicate their thoughts and get back to meaningful work rather than filling their days with semi-productive meetings and busy work? The possibilities are tantalizing.

At Lucidchart, we are committed to making that vision a reality. Users currently report that when they take advantage of Lucidchart, they innovate 40% faster at work, but in our minds, there’s always room for improvement. As you read this, our engineers are busy writing code to bring you new and exciting features that will take your professional communication and team innovation to the next level.

Features like data linking!

Our most recent development, data linking allows users to connect their shapes and diagrams to live data stored in spreadsheets. When changes are made to the source data, they are automatically reflected in Lucidchart so that diagrams are always up to date. With data linking, you can spend less time maintaining documentation and more time innovating with your team.  

Here’s a closer look at how it works.

Getting started with data linking

To try data linking for yourself, make sure you are registered for a Pro, Team, or Enterprise account. To upgrade from Free or Basic, click below.

Once you are in the editor, follow these three steps:

  1. Click File > Import Data, or access data linking from the right-side Dock and click “Link Data.”
  2. Follow the prompts to select a Google Sheet or CSV file for import.
  3. Drag and drop a row of data or an individual cell of data onto the blank canvas to create a new shape.

Congratulations! You’ve just made your first data-linked shape in Lucidchart. As you spend time building out a full data linked diagram, here are a few things to note.

  • You can add data to an existing shape. Just drag a line or cell of data onto the shape then add data as text using the “+T” icon that appears when you hover over a cell in the “Selected Shape Data” menu.
  • Because CSV files are static documents, only changes made to Google Sheets will automatically appear in Lucidchart after import. To refresh information from a CSV, re-upload the file.
  • To link more than one data set, click on the drop-down menu above the imported sheet in the Dock, and select “+ Data Set.” You can also use this drop-down menu to toggle between, refresh, replace, or delete linked data sets.
  • If your source data is color coded, you can choose to apply your color scheme to the diagram you create in Lucidchart. To do so, hover over a data cell in the “Selected Shape Data” menu. Select the menu icon (represented by three bullet points), and then press “Apply Imported Fill Color.”
  • When you update any data or color schemes on a Google Sheet that have been linked to a diagram, your changes will automatically appear every 30 seconds in Lucidchart. This includes any changes that are triggered by conditional formatting in Google Sheets. You can also manually refresh your data from the data linking panel.

Give data linking a whirl! Open the editor and follow along as you read through these tips and tricks again, or try this interactive tutorial template:

data linking template

We hope you enjoy your experience with data linking, and we’d love to hear from you! Tell us about the ways you use data linking in the comments below, or send us product feedback through our Help Center.