intelligent diagramming

What is intelligent diagramming?

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Intelligent diagramming does the heavy lifting of clearly communicating complex information for you. Through features like conditional formatting, data linking, commenting, presentation mode, and automation, diagrams are elevated from static documents to impactful, long-lived artifacts that empower teams to see, align, and act. Intelligent diagramming refers to both a more intelligent way to diagram, as well as to the diagrams themselves, which are more intelligent and interactive.

The value of intelligent diagramming 

Let’s break down the definition of intelligent diagramming further to better understand its value.

Elevates documents to impactful, long-lived artifacts

Static diagrams can help you visualize important information for a period of time, but intelligent diagrams can become impactful, long-lived artifacts that help your organization see where it’s been and where it’s going.  

Intelligent diagrams are linked to data and update in real time, which means you and your team members can regularly refresh them to reflect the most current information rather than having to start from scratch. Stakeholders will be able to reference an intelligent diagram as a single source of truth rather than have to sift through various versions of a diagram.   

A more intelligent way to diagram

Intelligent diagramming is a smarter way to diagram because, with automation and data linking functionality, it cuts out a lot of the need for manual work on your end. Diagramming should bring immediate value to your team—it shouldn’t become a time sink that puts off meaningful work. Teams that incorporate intelligent diagramming into their workflow save time and benefit from contextual clarity they wouldn’t have otherwise.

The diagrams are more intelligent 

Last but not least, the diagrams themselves are more intelligent. With data linking, real-time collaboration capabilities, conditional formatting functionality, and more, intelligent diagrams are smart tools that provide insight into much more than just the steps of a process. They become comprehensive sources of information that can be as simple or complex as you need. In many cases, they can be used to communicate the same information you would get from a meeting (or a couple of meetings).

Intelligent diagramming features

Intelligent diagramming features include: 

  • Conditional formatting
  • Data linking and automation
  • Presentation mode 
  • Smart containers
  • Comments and tasks 
  • Dynamic shapes
  • UML functionality 
  • ERD functionality 

Conditional formatting 

Conditional formatting allows you to highlight important information and visually alerts you to something that needs attention. Conditional formatting rules allow you to evaluate all the shapes in your diagram for certain criteria and mark those that fit. 

For example, if you were creating an org chart, you could set a condition to highlight employees whose locations are not filled out rather than manually checking each person’s information.   

Data linking and automation

One of the main ways intelligent diagramming is different from regular diagramming is the ability to link intelligent diagrams to data. In this way, intelligent diagrams become powerful, interactive tools.

For example, if you had a data set in Excel, you could link it to an intelligent diagram and that diagram could be refreshed as often as needed to reflect the current state of the data set—all without creating a new diagram or re-linking the data.

Beyond data linking and data refresh, the best intelligent diagramming solutions also offer:

  • Data overlay: The ability to merge and transfer data between diagrams 
  • Data replace: The ability to change out data sets that a diagram is linked to 

Presentation mode 

Presentation mode enables you to present your diagrams in a polished way to stakeholders right from the app you created them in instead of having to transfer information to a second software like Google Slides or Microsoft PowerPoint. Presentation mode falls under intelligent diagramming because it helps automate workflows and speeds up getting buy-in from stakeholders.

Smart containers

Smart containers allow you to group the data sets linked to your diagram by unique attributes rather than sifting through a spreadsheet to find the data you need.

For example, if you were using a spreadsheet to keep track of the progress of a project, you could import that data set into your diagram and set your smart containers to align with the “status” column of your spreadsheet. Within your diagram, your tasks would automatically be sorted into containers based on their statuses such as “Not started,” “In progress,” and “Completed.”

Comments and tasks 

Add comments and assign collaborators to tasks all within your diagram. Real-time comments and tasks allow you to keep collaboration progressing without ever leaving the diagram you’re working on. 

Similar to presentation mode, comments and tasks fall under intelligent diagramming because of the way they automate workflows and approval processes.

Dynamic shapes

Dynamic shapes allow you to add static values or formulas to calculate or display information such as total progress, percentages, or ratings directly within a diagram.

For example, you could create a dashboard with dynamic shapes to show a data set visually rather than in a spreadsheet. 

UML functionality 

A Unified Modeling Language (UML) shape library includes the components needed to create various types of structural and behavioral diagrams with UML markup—such as class, deployment, sequence, and use case diagrams—with just a few clicks.

ERD functionality 

Create Entity Relationship diagrams (ERDs) with customized text, styling, and relationships between fields. Automatically generate database tables and schemas using SQL import features.

What Lucidchart brings to the table

Our goal is to help organizations build the future by empowering teams to see, align, and act. Your diagramming application shouldn’t be a point solution for creating visuals—it should help your team see opportunities and then act on those opportunities in a meaningful way. 

Lucidchart includes all of the intelligent diagramming features we’ve outlined so far, plus offers more than 1,000 ready-to-use templates, integrations with industry-leading apps like Quickbase and Salesforce, and robust data linking and automation functionality.

Additionally, when combined with Lucidspark, our virtual whiteboard, you can experience the full power of visual collaboration. Discover your best ideas in Lucidspark and turn them into actionable plans in Lucidchart so innovation doesn’t skip a beat.

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About Lucidchart

Lucidchart is the intelligent diagramming application that empowers teams to clarify complexity, align their insights, and build the future—faster. With this intuitive, cloud-based solution, everyone can work visually and collaborate in real time while building flowcharts, mockups, UML diagrams, and more.

The most popular online Visio alternative, Lucidchart is utilized in over 180 countries by millions of users, from sales managers mapping out target organizations to IT directors visualizing their network infrastructure.

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