Change a basic flowchart into a cross-functional flowchart

Cross-functional flowcharts (also called swimlane diagrams) clarify the relationship between steps in a process and the functional units (such as departments) responsible for those steps.

To add the functional units to an existing process flowchart, drop swimlane shapes onto the page and then place the process steps in the lanes.

Add swimlane shapes to a process flowchart

  1. In the Shapes window, in the Cross-Functional Flowchart Shapes stencil, click a Swimlane shape (either horizontal or vertical) and drag it onto an empty area of the diagram.

    When you drop the first swimlane, a cross-functional flowchart is created with Title and Phase bars around the swimlane. Subsequent swimlanes can be added to this flowchart.

  2. Add more swimlane shapes, enough to represent all the functional units in the process. You can hold the pointer over the bottom left or right corner until you see a blue arrow appear, then click the arrow to add another swimlane shape.

    Or you can drag more swimlane shapes from the Shapes window and drop them when you see the orange connection indicator.

  3. Select all the flowchart shapes you want to include in the cross-functional flowchart.

  4. Drag the selected shapes onto the swimlanes.

  5. Move the process shapes into the correct swimlanes. When the shape is contained in the swimlane, the swimlane shows a light orange highlight.

You could drop the swimlane shapes directly onto the process shapes, but then the process shapes are not recognized as part of the swimlane – they just exist in the same space without being contained by the swimlane. If the shapes are not contained by the swimlane, they do not move with the lane.

You can make swimlanes recognize process shapes by moving each shape a little, if you drop swimlane shapes on top of process shapes. This makes the swimlane behave as though the shape has just been dropped on.

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