Design a diagram

Organize flowchart shapes in swimlanes

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Organize flowchart information into functional divisions with swimlanes.

Add swimlanes to a flowchart

  1. From the CROSS-FUNCTIONAL FLOWCHART shapes stencil, select More Shapes > Flowchart.

  2. Drag a Swimlane shape onto the drawing page.

    Drag another swimlane shape near the first one, releasing it when you see the connection indicator.

    Screenshot of swimlane interface with the separator line selected to adjust size

Change the title of a swimlane

  • Double-click the swimlane label and type a new one in.

Change the size or position of a swimlane

  • To change the width of a swimlane, drag a separator line.

  • To change the length of a swimlane, drag the end line.

  • To move a swimlane and the shapes it contains, select the label and drag the swimlane to another location, and then release it when you see the connection indicator.

  • To delete a swimlane, select it and press Delete.

Want more?

Add swimlanes to a flowchart

In flowcharts, swimlanes are often used to organize related shapes.

I’ll add swimlanes to this flowchart to organize steps by role.

Swimlanes are shapes found on the CROSS-FUNCTIONAL FLOWCHART shapes stencil. You’ll find it by going to More Shapes and selecting Flowchart.

I add the Swimlane shape to this diagram like I would add any other shape: by dragging it to an empty area of the diagram.

This swimlane will organize tasks performed by the Managing Editor.

I double-click the text at the left end of the swimlane, and then type Managing Editor to label it.

I need swimlanes for three other roles.

I drag each swimlane near the previous one until I see the heavy, orange connection indicator, which shows that they’ll be connected.

The title of this diagram will be “Article acceptance process,” so I’ll double-click the title at the top of the swimlanes and type my title.

My swimlanes aren’t tall enough for the shapes, so I’ll increase the height.

I point to the bottom line of each swimlane and drag it down until the shapes fit.

With the swimlanes in place, I’ll drag shapes representing related tasks to each lane.

A green outline around the swimlane shows me that the shapes will be connected to it.

To make the swimlanes wider, I point to the right edge of the swimlane and drag it to the right.

Because a swimlane is connected to the shapes it holds, moving it also moves the shapes.

I need to switch the second and third swimlanes.

I’ll select the third one by selecting the label on the left end.

A heavy outline appears.

Then I’ll drag it to its new location.

The heavy, orange connection indicator appears where I’m putting the swimlane.

To remove a swimlane, I select it the same way, and then press Delete.

With swimlanes, this diagram is better organized and related shapes are easier to move around.

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