Become a Lucidchart Expert

Bear Shelton
Bear Shelton
Lucidchart Product Pro

How to Use Lucidchart Like an Expert

Ready to learn how to use Lucidchart like an expert? If you’ve been a frequent user of Lucidchart but still wonder how else you can streamline your diagram making process, or have wanted to find ways to fully optimize the way you visualize complex data, then tune into this Lucidchart tutorial. This webinar on demand is intended to share additional tips, tricks, and shortcuts that users with basic Lucidchart experience can utilize to work and collaborate even more efficiently than before. Check out this webinar and we’ll prep you on how to use Lucidchart and all its magic for a more intuitive approach to diagramming.


Become a Lucidchart Expert from Lucidchart

Full Video Transcript:

How to Use Lucidchart Like an Expert

Hello everybody. My name's Angie. I'm a Product Training Specialist here at Lucidchart. Thank you so much for taking some time out of your day to join us and learn a little bit more about those expert tips for using Lucidchart. I've been so surprised as I've gone out and visited with some of our customers, there are some things that even veteran users aren't aware of that really save a lot of time, and can make your diagrams a lot more powerful. So those will be really the two themes of our time together today is:

  • How to be more efficient; how do you save time in Lucidchart? How can you do the things that you do over and over again faster. What are some key tips?
  • And then also, how do you make more powerful data visualizations using Lucidchart?

Update default settings in Lucidchart

One thing that I find saves me, personally, a lot of time in Lucidchart when I'm starting on any new diagram is setting the defaults for how I want my diagram to look. There are certain fonts that I like to use because they're on brand here at Lucidchart, there are also certain colors that I use over and over again in certain basic flow charts. So instead of having to retroactively apply all those styles to my diagrams, I just do them right from the beginning with the tip I'm about to show you.

Manage font settings in the Lucidchart editor

Now, I want to show you, first, how to adjust this property so they apply to everything on our canvas. If you've got anything selected in your diagram make sure to unselect it by clicking on a blank space and then start adjusting the properties here in the properties bar. So, the first thing I'm going to do is I'm going to select a new font. One thing I will point out as well you can see Lucidchart comes stocked with some fonts, but if you click on “Manage Fonts,” Lucidchart actually has hundreds of fonts that you can use. So you can browse through these, if there are certain fonts you're going to be using, all you need to do is toggle them on and they will appear in that main setting.

For the sake of the presentation I'll choose this handwriting font. One thing I do like to do is I'll make the font bigger in a lot of my diagrams, that way it's a little bit easier to read. So we'll bump that up, make it bold. I'm going to change the fill color here to grey. You can see I'm doing all of this without having selected anything in the diagram. I'm also going to change my line styles here to curved. So now, when I start pulling shapes out from my tool box, you can see all the styles I just set have been applied. That way I don't have to go back and change those things later, very handy.

Customize preferences before you begin

Now, another question I get asked a lot when we're looking at settings and how you've set up your document to begin with, is for customers who are not in the United States it can be helpful to have Lucidchart use centimeters instead of inches, or default to printing on A4 paper size instead of letter-size paper. So if you want to change any of those settings or just want to customize your experience in Lucidchart, I want to show you how to do that. I'm going to come up here to the top right of my screen, click on the dropdown next to my account name, and come in here to Account settings. Alright, from here I'm going to navigate on the left down to “Preferences” and this gives me a whole bunch of options for how to customize my Lucidchart experience.

lucidchart preferences screen

One that people sometimes like is this “After Drawing Lines” option. If you like to diagram really quickly and you're just clicking on those red nodes to quickly get the next shape that you want to use, that can be great. But if that's driving you crazy if you have custom shapes that you're using all the time, maybe you want to just draw a line and have nothing happen. You can easily make that happen by clicking “Do Nothing” here.

How to create more space on the canvas in Lucidchart

Another thing that I want to point out while we're here, while we're just getting started in our diagram, is as things build and grow, a lot of our customers have really complex diagrams. You might find that you want more space to be working on your diagram instead of constantly running into all of your settings and tools here in the editor. So you can get rid of all of these tools and find more space for working on the canvas by clicking on this arrow button in the top right corner of the screen.

lucidchart preferences screen

This is our full screen editor option. When I turn it on you can see that my entire browser window now gives me room to play on this canvas. So I can easily keep moving if I need to access things from the tool box or the properties bar. `All I have to do is hover over where those objects would be and I get the option to then drag out more pieces to the canvas or style. So that can be a super helpful way to have a lot more space to be working as you're building up your diagrams. So I'll turn that off just by clicking on the full screen button once again.

How to draw straight lines in Lucidchart with smart connections

One other thing that I want to mention while we're here is something that we call “Smart Connections.” So when you're starting on a new diagram, if you've got one that you know is going to be moving around a little bit, it's a fluid document, you may be just brainstorming and working with your team on how things need to look, I want to show you how to create “smart lines.” You may have noticed that Lucidchart sometimes gets a little creative with the way that it draws lines. Sometimes when I'm moving things around the lines can get a little bit wonky, right? So in order to avoid that you can change the way lines draw in the first place. That's creating a smart line, so let's go ahead and do that now.

What I'm going to do is I'm going to drag a line out from this shape and I'm going to drag it just past the borders of this next shape here. You'll notice that when I do that there's a blue halo loop here around the shape, the destination shape. When that halo is on the shape I want to drop my mouse, I want to unclick, and drop that line and that's going to create a “smart line.” So let's go ahead and do that together. I'm going to click here, drag out my line, get that halo and drop. Now, you can see when I move this shape around Lucidchart is creating the most efficient line for the object. So instead of creating all sorts of crazy lines that move around and are connecting from that point where you drew the line out, it's just giving you the most efficient line between the two shapes. So that can be helpful especially as you're moving objects around and you know that a process is going to be changing.

How to add Smart Fields in Lucidchart

One last tip and trick and then we'll move into some custom shapes and custom shape libraries, and one is adding what we call “Smart Fields” to your document. So I'm going to come up here into my Insert menu and I'm going to add one of these smart fields. There are all of these objects here beneath the line and what these are, let's go ahead and put in a Last Modified By smart field. This field is going to auto-update with information depending on what field we've put in there. So I've put last modified by, that means as I share this document and other people update it this field will update with that person's username. So my username is Lucidchart demo right now, but if a colleague were to get in and edit this diagram then their name would appear in this last modified by field. I can add more information here, so let's go ahead and go back up to insert and come down to last modified date and time, so I can add in this field here and that's going to update with the date and time when the diagram was last updated.

So if you have a living document that you want to be keeping track of who's been in it, when it was last updated, this can be a really helpful way to do that without having to check back in revision history, or do a lot of busy work. So I would invite you to explore all the different options if you want to to do page count and sometimes filling things with Lorem Ipsum can be helpful, if you know you need to add text to something later, you know, those can be very helpful things to add and just automate.

Create custom shape libraries for consistency

I'm going to open up this org chart and we're going to look now at how to create custom shapes and save those to custom shape libraries. So this is a sales mapping org chart that the sales team is using to help people hand off accounts and understand where we are in talking to different people inside an organization. So you'll notice there are lots of different colors, lots of notes happening here, and somebody has created this color key. Now, because this is a system that we're using with a lot of people in the sales org, this is a shape that really applies on all of these account mapping org charts. I want to make sure to include this key every time I'm working on one of these documents, and because so many people on my team are using them, I don't want everyone to have to recreate it every single time they're creating a new org chart.

So you'll probably be thinking, I hope, about some ways that you could apply this in your own world, maybe there are groups of shapes that you're using really frequently, maybe you've uploaded Visio stencils and those are shapes that you use a lot, you want to share them with your team. There are lots of different uses for this. So let's quickly look at how to make this work.

How to make custom shape libraries in Lucidchart

So the first thing I want to do is I want to make this look a little bit more neat and tidy, so I could go in and individually drag out every shape to make it match, but there's a quicker way to do that. I'm going to go ahead and select all of these objects and then I'm going to come and use the tools here in the arrange menu. So if I scroll down I can use this match size button to go ahead and match the width and then the height. That makes all of these the same shape really quickly, I use that button a lot. The next thing that I want to do is align the objects, I want to center them. And then finally, I'm going to go ahead and distribute these objects vertically so that now I've got a really nice tidy key to how to read the colors of my org chart.

The next thing I want to do is I want to group these shapes all together, save them as a custom shape so that I can just drag them out onto future org charts. How I'm going to do that is I'm going to first scroll down here, all the way to the bottom. I've got lots of shapes up in here. I'm going to click on my shape manager button. From here I'm going to scroll down, down, down into this custom library area. You can see I've done this before, but let's call this demo library. So you can create and give a name, whatever name you'd like to your custom library, push the plus button that adds it to my custom shape libraries and it turns on the shape library for me. I'm actually going to go ahead and turn off some of these other shape libraries. Alright, so now, you can see I've got my demo library here. Something I'll show you quickly that you may not be aware of, if there're shape libraries that you're using a lot you can reorganize how your tool box works on the left by clicking the headings of these shape libraries and dragging them into whatever place that you like. So because I'm going to use this a lot I'm going to go ahead and drag it to the top.

Now, I'm going to select all the shapes that I want in my custom shape, I'm going to right click and I'm going to group these objects together. Now, I can click and select this grouped shape and drag it into this demo library shape library. And now, this is saved as its own shape.

So let's go ahead and open a whole new page of our diagram, you can imagine that I'm creating a whole new org chart here for a different account. I want to add in that shape key, instead of recreating it, I can just pull this out, and voila, there is the shape all ready to go.

Now, where this gets really powerful is being able to share this with the rest of my team, so let's look at how to do that next. I'm going to go ahead and click on my shape manager again, navigate back down to my custom library, select the library I want to share, and then here in the upper right corner is this team sharing option. When I toggle that on, this library is automatically going to be shared with everybody in my team. So if you have a team account or an enterprise account, turning this on will share it with the entire organization.

How to use the containers library

Alright, now, one other helpful tip, at least for me I think it's helpful, is using special types of shapes. You'll maybe notice that some shapes in Lucidchart have additional properties, things that kind of make them easier to use. So I want to show you one that I use a lot and that is the Containers library. So what I'm going to do for the sake of this illustration is I'm going to ungroup all of these objects and then I'm going to come over here I'm just going to search for containers. And I'm going to pin this library, come back over to my tool box, and you can see these libraries now here, in the bottom left. You have maybe used swim lanes before, these are a very popular container that we use, but for right now, I'm just going to use this simple rectangle shape. So I'm going to drag this out, I'm going to put the container around all of these shapes. What's nice about this is now when I click on this container shape all of the shapes inside of it are automatically anchored to the container shape.

I've seen a lot of people use this with network infrastructure, they've got groups of objects that need to stay together, project managers will use it in swim lanes a lot. They want those objects to stay together, but instead of having to carefully select every single one of those objects, just put a container around it and then move the container around. If at some point you want to adjust the objects inside the container you can select the container, come up to this magnetize button here in the top right. If I turn that off then my container is no longer linking those objects, I can easily select any one of these and they're not grouped together. Alternately, I can select all this again.Turn the magnetize and all these shapes are grouped.

Alright, so there is just some very, very quick basic tips, custom shapes that save me a lot of time, so hopefully you see some value in that for yourself.

Lucidchart shortcuts and hotkeys

I want to pepper in just a couple more quick tips and tricks right now, and one of them...I apologize if this is really basic for some of you, but it's just navigating around your canvas. And I bring it up because I've been doing a little bit...just as we've been going through this demonstration. As you get diagrams that get really, really big you want to be able to move around, zoom in, zoom out. A surprising number of people use the nav bars on the sides and on the bottom of the canvas, that's great, but there's a much faster way. My favorite keyboard shortcut in Lucidchart is just using space bar, so I can hold down spacebar on a Mac or PC and then use the scroll wheel on my mouse to either zoom out or zoom in. I can also hold the spacebar and then click and drag the canvas around to move to different areas on the canvas. So that's one that's really, really helpful. I also tend to use M a lot, that's a keyboard shortcut for opening up my shape manager so I can get to different shapes. F is another one for font, so as you play around, I invite you to go up to the help menu and just quickly look at this hotkey reference guide. Just spending like five minutes looking through those will likely help you identify which shortcuts are going to help you really move a lot faster inside of Lucidchart.

Lucidchart hotkeys and keyboard shortcuts

Advanced sharing techniques in Lucidchart

Alright, from here let's go ahead and move into looking at some advanced sharing and collaborating techniques. I'm sure you're all familiar with how to use comments and chat, how to share your document, how to share access links to your document, but there's one that I want to share with you today that's really handy if you're sharing your diagrams with people who don't have Lucidchart accounts. Of course, everyone should just get a Lucidchart account, but if you have folks who don't have a Lucidchart account this can be a really, really easy way to share documents with them. I want to show you how to connect data into your diagrams, and how to use conditional formatting to make that data change.

How to Share with non-Lucidchart Users with a URL

I want you to imagine that this is a visualization that I want to share with the rest of my team. Some of them don't have Lucidchart accounts and maybe there are even some contractors outside of the organization who I want to see this as well. What I'm going to do is I'm going to share this using a publish URL. This is going to create a unique URL for people to click on and see the information here without having to log into Lucidchart or have an account. So let's go ahead and get started by clicking on share. And now, I'm going to navigate down into this publish button. I have some options, I can either generate a full document URL or I can just export part of my diagram, and that's what I want to show you today.

how to share in Lucidchart

So we're going to just publish an area selection, I don't want people to see the whole diagram. There's just a piece of it that I want people to have access to. I'm going to go ahead and select PNG, I'm going to select this screen zoom so that it can be zoomed in a little bit. Now, when I push “Publish Selection,” you can see I get this prompt here in the top left, click and drag to select part of the page. So this is where I'm going to tell Lucidchart what I want to be published. And it's just going to be this part of my diagram here.

When I release my mouse then I will get my dialog box back. Alright, so I'm now going to click here on the link that's published into the published links icon, and voila, I can share this link with anybody. And when they click on it they're going to see this image of my diagram. So one thing I will point out with this is when you share this link, this is a live link, even though it's a PNG, to what's happening in your Lucidchart diagram. I'm going to go ahead and move this shape away entirely, and you'll notice when I come back and refresh this page, the changes that I made in Lucidchart happened here on the URL. So this is great for people who are maybe working as contractors for different organizations, or if you've got a live project that's got a lot of dispersed people. You can be working on things and in real time those changes are pushed out so everyone's got the most current version of the diagram at all times.

So yeah, you've probably noticed too as we were going through the share settings, if you want to require a password you can absolutely do that, that we can have a little bit more security as you're sharing these diagrams. But just remember, everyone's going to see the changes you're making on that diagram so don't share it before you're ready and be aware that people can see everything that's happening, as it's happening, when you're editing the diagram.

Create custom templates in Lucidchart to share

Where I find the value in master pages and templates is if you want to have certain branding applied to your diagrams, I had a client recently who was using certain colors and different fonts, so they wanted to create kind of a brand guideline for people, so they used this template option. So let's look at how you can do that yourself right now.

How to create master pages and templates to save time

I'm going to go ahead and just drag some items out on the page, let's imagine that we're using this as a standardized kind of branding for our companies' diagrams. Solid up the text here we can make this our brand color of gray. I'm also going to come over here to the search and look for my logo. So I'm going to select this images tab and Lucidchart does an image search that I can just drag and drop onto the screen. It makes it much easier than having to navigate two different browser window, download an image, import it back into Lucidchart, you can just do all from Lucidchart.

Use smart fields and master pages in templates

The other thing that I'll do is I'll go ahead and just insert a Smart Field, so I'm going to put this last modified by smart field in here, I'm going to make it bold, and then drag this up. Now, whenever anybody uses this master page it'll automatically be tracking who the last person was in the diagram.

Alright, so once I've got my master page set up the way that I want it to work, I could even go ahead and set some default settings here. What I'm going to do is I'm going to come down to the bottom of the editor where my page is located. I'm going to click on this dropdown arrow and I'm going to click this “Convert to Master Page.”

You can see that changes the appearance now of my page, and now, when I add new pages to my document, I can click that dropdown arrow again and push “Apply master page,” and that automatically applies the same elements of the master page to this new page. So that can be really handy. Some people like to create like an even bigger...I want to be sharing this, you know, with lots of people so that every diagram that they make on their own reflects these same either, the standard heading or different default settings. If you want to do that I would recommend making a template. So let's go ahead and navigate back to our documents page.

Alright, so now you can see this master page diagram is here. Because I want people in the organization to be able to use this for their own diagrams, instead of just sharing this and risking it getting messed up by somebody who maybe accidentally changes the image or, you know, something goes wrong. Something inevitably goes wrong when you share that way. What I'm going to do is I'm going to create a template. That way every time somebody uses this diagram they're creating a brand new diagram from the template. The template remains perfect the way that I created it and the way that I wanted it.

How to create and share templates for teams in Lucidchart

So the way to create a template is to click on this more button here in the bottom right of this tile, and go ahead and click on convert to template. I can choose a category where I want this template to live so that my team can find it, I can also create a quick description of it here and then push “Save.”

Now, you can see this is a template, instead of getting the option to open this diagram it becomes I have the option just to create a new diagram from this template. When your team goes to create a diagram from a template, those templates will be saved here in personal and team templates. So that's where they can find them.

team templates in Lucidchart

Alternately, you can share from here. So I can click share, I can share with individual people, I can share with groups, I can create an access link and send it out to the org, so there are some options for that as well.

Use Lucidchart integrations with your favorite apps

I'll show you Confluence, Google Docs, and we'll also look at PowerPoint. That will give you a basic idea of how to do integrations inside of Atlassian products, Google products, and Microsoft products.

Lucidchart Integration for GSuite

So from this Google Doc, I'm going to go to the add-ons menu button, Lucidchart diagrams. Now, if you don't see this option here make sure you go to get add-ons first, find Lucidchart and add it. Once you've added it you can go ahead and just push insert diagram. We're going to get a panel that slides in from the right and give us the option of looking at all of our different diagrams in Lucidchart. From here I can navigate to any of my different diagrams, I get a nice kind of preview of that diagram here in the bottom right, I'm going to go ahead and insert this accounting diagram, and voila, my diagram is here inside my Google Doc.

Click for more on Google integrations

So if you have standard operating procedures or documentation that need diagrams, this is super, super helpful. Google Docs was not made to create diagrams, so if you've had to fight to make a diagram inside of Google Docs before, I'm so sorry, there is a better way and now you can use it. So here's my diagram, you can add multiple diagrams inside your Google Doc, everyone will be able to see them. If you share this with people who don't have Lucidchart accounts, the diagram will still be there, they can still see that. If you make changes to the diagram all you need to do is in your Google Doc, come back up to this add-ons button, come to Lucidchart diagrams, and then just say “Update Inserted Diagrams.” It'll ask me, which diagrams I want to update, so if you have multiple diagrams, you can update them all at the same time, click okay and then any changes you made in Lucidchart will push now into your Google Doc. So much, much faster than keeping track of different versions, or screenshots, and trying to track all of that.

Lucidchart Integration for Confluence or JIRA

Confluence is one of those add-ons that you need to be either a team or enterprise customer for, so if you're interested in that I'll go ahead and just quickly launch a poll. This can be really helpful if you're using things like Confluence or Jira. I'm in my Confluence page that I want to add a diagram to, so I'm just going to click at it here, upper right and then from here I'm going to use this plus button in the menu bar and then navigate down here to Lucidchart diagrams. If you don't see the option for Lucidchart diagrams talk to your team admin and they will be able to add that configuration for you. And when I push that I should get an option.

Click for more on Atlassian integrations

Okay, so from here you can see I get this really rich view of all of my Lucidchart documents, I can navigate to different folders, I'm going to go ahead and select this accounting diagram again. So now, I've got this great diagram inside of my Confluence page, I can push “publish,” and everyone in our Confluence instance will be able to take a look at this diagram. From here, you can see that you get different options. This option is appearing because we have a presentation built into this diagram so I can click through the different slides, I can zoom in, zoom out, and see if I have any links. We'll look at how to add links and layers next. So if I have those I can make sure and turn those on and it can show hotspots so that people can click through interactive pieces of my diagram.

How to Update Inserted Diagrams

To update this diagram at any time, what you're going to do is you're going to click on your diagram, you're going to get a nice little dialog box that gives you the option to edit. When you push edit, then you've got an opportunity to update your diagram.

Lucidchart Integration for Microsoft

So I've got my PowerPoint presentation here, this will give you an idea of how to do the Lucidchart integration with any of the Microsoft products. But I'm going to go ahead and navigate to this Insert tab. Now, if you haven't used Lucidchart in PowerPoint or Word before, you're going to go to the store, you're going to find Lucidchart and then add it in.

Click for more on Microsoft integrations

Because I've done that I'm going to click on the dropdown next to my add-ins and then select Lucidchart. As you can see, once again, I get this really great rich viewer of Lucidchart, I can navigate to the folder and to the exact diagram that I want to add. And just like our other integrations once we're in here we have the opportunity to go through different slides, we can have a presentation inside of a presentation, hotlinks will work, people can zoom in and zoom out, so we can see notes, so it can be really, really handy, much easier than trying to create diagrams inside of PowerPoint itself.

Additional tips and FAQs

"How do you combine a few standard shapes from standard libraries into a custom library and make that your default?"

Luckily this is super, super simple. We'll go ahead and navigate back into this diagram that had our custom shape library. So let's imagine we're on this page and maybe there are shapes that I want to use a lot. We can imagine that this container shape is one of them, or if you have added shapes I go to VisioCafe a lot, they have great shape libraries there. So if there are things that Lucidchart is missing I can just go to VisioCafe and usually find what I'm looking for there. So let's go ahead and we'll just put server rack shapes in here. Let's imagine these are shapes that we're using, an awful lot. What I can do is I can just take these shapes and drag them into this custom library that I've created. Any shapes at all, and then as I mentioned before what you'll do is you'll just turn on that custom library, use this heading to drag it around wherever you'd like, and that way you've got all the shapes that you're using right at your fingertips.

How to add links in Lucidchart

We'll go back to this page, the easiest way to add links is if we're adding a link to an external web page, click on the shape that you want to become the hotlink, so for me it's this shape here, and then navigate up to this link or actions button in the properties bar. And from here, you can see I've already applied this external link button, but you have a bunch of different options here. Some of these we'll look at in more detail when we look at creating some layers, but here we can link to a page in our documents, so if we have lots of different pages this can be really handy. I've seen people use this when they have a really complex process, they'll create kind of a high-level overview of the process on the first page and then they'll make links to each of the sub processes beneath those, so that can be really handy. External link obviously, is great and that's what I've used here. You can also link to an email. So if you've got a process and, you know, if you have questions, contact this person. You can put the link right in the diagram that can be really handy. So external link I've just put the URL of the link here, I've chosen to open a new window, done.

Now, when I hover over this shape you'll see because I'm on a Mac, it's prompting me to push CMD+ SHIFT+ click in order to get that link. One thing that's really nice is when you share this with others, I push present and people see things in view only. You just have to click on that button instead of having to push CMD+SHIFT, and then click. So it makes it much easier for people who are viewing your diagram.

How to create layers in Lucidchart

Alright, so let's look at now how you can create layers inside of your diagram and then add buttons so that it's easy for people to turn those layers on and off. We're going to start by coming over here to the right and our dock, so I'm going to go ahead and open this up and I'm going to navigate down to the layers button, about five buttons down, and I'm going to add a new layer by pushing plus layer. I'm going to call this proposed additions.

Alright, you can see that now my diagram has this kind of translucent overlay. That tells me that I'm working on the layer not on the, you know, bottomless page of my diagram. So as I drag shapes out there on this new layer I'm going to go ahead and make this blue so they're easy to see. One thing that's nice about working with layers is you can still connect shapes to shapes existing on the page, so that way you can be interacting kind of with both versions of this diagram.

Now, if I want to get out of this layer and look at my entire page I can just double click anywhere on the canvas outside of the shapes I've just decided, and now, I see everything all at once. So this is my original document, this is the new layers that I have, all the lines. It's a little bit of a mess. So in order to make this a little bit cleaner, a little bit easier for people to read, what I'm going to do is I'm going to go ahead and hide this layer using this eye icon on the right, and then I'm going to push sync visibility. What this does is it ensures that when people open this diagram this is what they see, they see this beautiful clean original version of my diagram. Now, I want people to be able to turn on and off these layers to see what I'm suggesting without having to give them instructions about going to the layers button and turning this on or off, there's an easier way. So let's go ahead and create some buttons that will turn our layers on and off. I'm going to drag out a new shape, drop it on my canvas, and I usually use naming convention so that's really clear that people need to click here.

So click here to see the new addition. And now, I'm going to select this object and I'm going to tell it to turn my layer on and off by going up here to the actions button again. And this time instead of doing an external link I'm going to choose to toggle layers. Now, you can see I've got a lot of layers in my diagram, this is pulling in all the layers from each page of the diagram. So on page one, this is the proposed additions layer I just made, and that's the layer that I wanted to toggle. So I'm going to go ahead and just select that proposed additions layer. I'm going to go ahead and click done here. Now, when I hover over this I get that prompt again and I can click this to turn my layer on and off, so super, super slick way to kind of show how different versions of things can work, proposed suggestions, the way things were done in the past, the way they're done now.

How to use data linking in Lucidchart

Alright, so I'm going to go ahead and open a new data linking sheet. The examples that we're going to show you here are maybe a little bit silly, but people are using this from so many different ways that we just want to kind of spark your imagination about how this can be used and then you can think of the ways that you can use it yourself in your own diagramming.

Example: Data Linking a Floor Plan or Seating Chart

Alright, so here's our floor plan shape diagram that we've got going on, and what I want to do is I want to add people's names and titles to their desks, and I want to be able as people move around or we hire new individuals, I want to update that in a sheet and have it just automatically move into this diagram. So the way I'm going to get started is by adding data to my Lucidchart document. You can do that by going up your File, and then down to “Import Data.” You have options to add Google sheets, Excel, or CSV files. I'm going to go ahead and select Google sheets. Alright, so I'm going to add this floor plan sheet.

Now, yours may not look exactly like this because I have already added data to this diagram, but as you can see I've added five different spreadsheets. This is the Floor Plan sheet that I just added, but before that I added these four sheets. So this is great if you've got data that's being collected in different places, you can have it all come together to inform a single diagram. So let's go ahead and I'm going to click on this floor plan that I just added. Now, what I want to do is I want to add these different rows of information into these different shapes on my Lucidchart diagram. The way I'm going to do that is by selecting the row of this data and dragging it over on to this shape.

Now, you'll notice nothing happened, right? This shape is still empty. Lucidchart is conscious of the fact that a lot of times we have really complex data, we don't want all of that showing or else it might be a little bit overwhelming. So instead of showing the data in the shape, what Lucidchart has done is it's added all of the data up here in this top right panel we can see. This is all the data that's associated with this shape, and now, we can select what data we want to show. So for me I want to show the name of the individual, so I'm going to go ahead and click on this +T button and that's going to add that title here to my shape.

Now, another thing that I want to go ahead and add is the title, so when I hover over this title and push +T, then I can add that as well. So let's go ahead and layer some of the skills that we've launched today. Instead of doing that for every single shape I'm going to go ahead and translate this into a custom shape, save it and then drag it out and replace the data. That will save me a lot of time. So let's go ahead and create our custom shape library, we'll call this “Data Linking.” Okay, I can customize this, so maybe I want the name to be bold or a different size, now I'm going to take this shape, drag it into my custom library, and when I drag it back out you can see as I'm dragging it that the shapes are linking to something. When I drop it, it's linked the data that I had previously, but what I can do is I can now drag out line number four onto this shape, drop it and replace the data there. And so then it just easily replaces.

Now, what's great about this is as things change what I can do is I can just open my Google sheet. I won't do that now because it's linked with my personal accounts instead of my demo account, but when I go back to my Google sheet and make changes I can come back to Lucidchart and every 30 seconds, Lucidchart is checking back in with that sheet and making changes and updates. So if Pradeep decided to leave the company and we replaced him with somebody else that I could put that person's name in my sheet and it would automatically push over here into this shape, and so on and so forth for everyone else. So we do have a lot of manufacturing clients who use this as data is being pushed in about what's happening on the manufacturing floor. They can see that data change kind of in real time, and that's a really cool usage.

How to Use Conditional Formatting in Lucidchart

The other thing that we have manufacturing clients do that I want to show you next is use conditional formatting to make an even faster job of seeing how data is changing and what's being updated. You'll recognize this is the piece that we were working on a little bit earlier. What I want to do is I want it to be really easy for people to see how quickly things are moving. So this Ethernet shape, when I click on it, you can see this shape data here in the top right. Just to make things less confusing, I'm going to go ahead and open that datasheet down here. So this is the Google sheet with all my information and this is the shape data. Now, I've already got data that's being visualized down here in the label, what I want to do is I want to apply this conditional formatting so that as the speed changes it turns red, yellow, or green depending on how quickly things are moving. That way people can really, really quickly see the speed. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to click on these three buttons, these actions. I'm going to come down here and push, apply imported fill color, and voila! Now, as my Google sheet gets new information as that conditional formatting changes, and hopefully we can see that happening over here, but this will change to either red or green as that information changes on my Google sheet. So that can be a really great way to just quickly visualize how things are happening and where blocks are occurring or if things are good to go.

One thing you'll notice, this new menu item here in the dock, this is our latest venture into even more conditional formatting. So if you want to be visualizing things like this and creating new rules, instead of doing all that conditional formatting in Excel or in Sheets, you can now do it directly from Lucidchart. So this is a feature we're still working on, we just released it, so if you are interested in doing a lot of conditional formatting in your diagrams, if data is updating in real-time and you want to be able to see that better, you can definitely play around with how this conditional formatting works and make your diagrams works of art, very functional works of art.

conditional formatting in Lucidchart

Alright, so that's everything that I had to share with you today. Thank you so much for spending time, it's been longer than I expected, but hopefully, you've gotten something out of our session. Let me know if you have any more questions in the Q&A, I'll take a look through those and get to as many as I can, and thanks again for joining us. If you have anything that you want to see on these webinars, please let us know in the chat, we're always looking for new ideas. We will also be providing a recording of this session and sending it out to everyone tomorrow or the next day. Thanks.

Related Resources

Explore all Lucidchart webinars
Review the basics of using Lucidchart

Check back soon for on demand content from this webinar!

Master Lucidchart to communicate complex ideas, information, and processes like a pro. In this course, Lucidchart Product Pro Bear Shelton will cover strategies and tools for making you more powerful in Lucidchart, while sharing tips and tricks for maximizing your efficiency in the editor.

Join Bear to learn how to:

  1. Design custom shapes and custom libraries
  2. Build multi-layered documents and link to external pages
  3. Create master pages and templates to standardize documents
  4. Present your work with slides and presentation mode
  5. Integrate Lucidchart with other applications for maximum efficiency (Google Docs, Google Slides, Powerpoint, etc)