Workflow Designer Top Tip : Organisational Charts

Workflow Designer is a very powerful tool. By far it’s greatest strengths lie in its ability to take visual charting to a whole new level by adding procedural information, tasks, standards and a whole host of other information behind the visual chart. However, sometimes we have customers who just like to use Designer for it’s visual charting functions and find that as procedures are mostly one step after the other , that making something like an organisational chart where there are often many boxes or steps connected to one parent box is quite challenging. Well guess what? It’s really quite easy when you know how.

In this demonstration I will make a simple organisational chart, with one supervisor and 4 sub-ordinate reporting staff boxes. I will begin with a horizontal example, and then as the last step I will demonstrate how it can be made vertical if need be.

Step 1. Place the Shapes:

Using the shapes you wish place them on the workspace as shown below.

NB. You may use the Quick Draw facility if you like, then simply select the flow lines that the Quick Draw tool creates and delete them. Then move the shapes around until you have them oriented correctly.


Step 2. Create the flow lines manually

To create a flow line manually, first select the origin shape, in this case it is numbered 1. Now hover your mouse over the center of this shape, until the mouse cursor icon changes to a vertical arrow, from its regular oblique arrow. This tells you, that you are ready to create a flow line connector. Now hold down your left mouse button and drag your cursor to the center of the destination shape that the connector will connect to. Release your mouse button and the flow line will now be in place (in standard orientation, will talk more about this soon).

Do this for all 4 child shapes, and you should have a screen that looks like this:


Step 3. Let’s make it look right!

Often this is not what we want, these arrows are angular and they do not look the same as the connecting lines that we would see normally in an organisational chart or circuit style diagram. So let’s change them.

Firstly we want all 4 connecting lines to change so instead of making life hard for ourselves, lets select all four flow lines first. The easy way is to grab the select tool (the black arrow) and with the left mouse button held down, draw a box around the mid sections of all four lines, so that the box has nothing inside it, except segments of the lines you want to select. When you release the mouse button the four lines will be selected. Alternatively you can select one line with the left mouse button, then whilst holding down the CTRL key select the others.

Now let’s change these line’s  “LINE TYPE” from the “LINE PROPERTIES” tab in the properties tabs area. If we change the “LINE TYPE” to “Vertical-Horizontal-Vertical” you will see that now the lines look right, like below:


So there you have it, I told you it was easy. And there are plenty of options in the “LINE TYPE” selection box, for the most complicated of circumstances. You can even select the junction points and move them around until they look right.

For example sometimes we want the chart to be vertical in orientation. By using the “V-H-V-H” “LINE TYPE” which is shorthand for Vertical-Horizontal-Vertical-Horizontal, and by moving the junction points around a little until all four lines line up nicely, we can achieve this:


I have circled the selection tool, and a junction point so you know what i mean by this terminology. I have also circled the “V-H-V-H” “LINE TYPE” so you can see where i changed it.

So there you have it, I hope this provides for hours of fun visually mapping all sorts of things. And remember, If you name them correctly, and fill in the details, you can produce an Organisational Chart that has details of all the employees within it, using the inbuilt reports.

And all of this is FREE! – Are we crazy?.. maybe, but with Workflow Connect linked up to Workflow Designer where you can take your charts and processes is to a whole new level again.


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