Swimlanes & container shapes

Learn how to use swimlane and container shapes to easily organize your diagrams.

Get a free Lucidchart account. All it takes is an email.

Sign up free


Swimlanes and containers enable you to easily organize the content in your diagram. Lucidchart provides additional functionality with swimlanes and containers, making it even easier to link shapes to swimlanes, move contained objects around the canvas, and ensure your diagram stays looking exactly the way you want it to look.

First, to access swimlanes and containers, navigate to your shape library by selecting the gear icon in the top left corner of your shapes toolbar.

Then, click on the dropdown next to flowchart shapes and select the containers option. Once you have selected that library, select "Save" to be taken back to your canvas. You will notice that the container shape library you just selected is now added to your shape toolbar. You will notice that you have both vertical and horizontal swim lanes as well as various other container shapes.

To start, let's drag a swimlane onto our diagram. You will notice that as we add this to the canvas a new toolbar appears at the top of the page. With this toolbar, you add additional swimlanes, toggle the orientation of the swimlane between vertical and horizontal, as well as change our label orientation from vertical to horizontal. You can also right-click on your swimlane to choose to add a lane by selecting one of the options at the top of the list.

As we mentioned in the first part of the video, one of the great features with swimlanes and containers is the ability to have shapes lock into place inside the swim lane so that as we move that particular container, our connections will remain constant. As you can see, by moving this swimlane, all of the shapes inside are moving with the swimlane.

If you want to disable the “magnetized” shape feature, you can do so by simply clicking on the swimlane or container and then clicking the blue magnet button towards the top right of the editing toolbar.

You can also use simple square containers to easily group objects. This can become very helpful in the case of network diagrams where, in this example, we want to maintain the correct paths and relationships in our network but may need to move or add components to our diagram.

We can simply add a container around the appropriate groups and this will enable us to group that particular flow so that we can move and adjust our diagram without affecting that particular process. Just make sure that the container covers the entire shape or it will not magnetize around it. It’s as simple as that!

So, we have shown how you add the containers library to your toolbar, use the formatting controls with your swimlanes, and how containers can interact with your diagram. Learn about other special shapes in Lucidchart by watching our tutorial on timelines.

Get started

  • Pricing
  • Individual
  • Team
  • Enterprise
  • Contact sales
Download on the Apple App StoreDownload on the Google Play Store
© 2022 Lucid Software Inc.