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draw.io is the easiest, most powerful, and user-friendly way to visualize any and every aspect of your business in Confluence Cloud. With its endless selection of pre-made libraries of shapes and templates, it stands by, ready to serve, no matter the type of diagram you need. And if you happen to come up with a custom use case that we haven’t anticipated, draw.io’s got you covered there as well.

There are a couple of ways for you to easily customize your diagramming experience in draw.io: custom libraries and custom templates. Let’s talk first about what each of these are, exactly, and then we can discuss which one to use, depending upon your needs.

Custom libraries

It’s easy to say that draw.io comes with a wide array of pre-built libraries, but it’s quite another thing to show you. Here’s what you get right out of the box with draw.io for Confluence Cloud:

Open up one of those libraries, and you’ll see something like this:

The total number of shapes available is… a lot. So, why would you ever need a custom library?

The custom library contains elements that are used extensively or have a very individual meaning to your company. Whenever you’re dealing with a use-case in which you can’t just use a premade template, you can create your diagrams within minutes with the individual shapes or even shape-sets (yes, you can also add sets of shapes) of your custom libraries.

Need some help building your custom library? You’ll find it right here.

Custom templates

But when do you need a custom template? Draw.io also has plenty of those built in. Here’s just a sample:

So, you can choose from these built-in templates, but there will come a time when you want to adapt these basic templates to suit your needs. You might even create your own diagrams from scratch, and to allow a universal approach or maintain a uniform workflow for future diagrams, you might like to share those templates with your colleagues.

draw.io allows you to make those tweaks, create your own templates tailored to your specific needs, and to have those custom diagram templates stored in your company’s own resource library for all to share.

Working with custom templates enables you to set standards for the way diagramming is handled within your company. Better than that, it keeps you from having to create similar diagrams over and over, saving you and your colleagues lots of time.

When might a custom template come in handy?

Custom templates have the advantage that they’re visible from the template manager. They can guide you when you need guidance
When you need to be sure that the frameworks follow company standards
Custom templates don’t have to be complex. They can also be a more or less blank canvas that contains specific design elements that you require for certain documents

How exactly do you make them? Learn all about custom templates here

Decisions, decisions

We mentioned a few reasons for making use of both custom libraries and custom templates above. But it all pretty much boils down to the ability to do what you need to do the way you want or need to do it.

There’s also the considerable advantage, once you’ve created your libraries or templates, of saved time and effort when you use them in the future.

The fact is, there’s no need to choose. It’s not a binary decision.

You’re building a customized org chart with images of each employee? You’re going to want a template saved for when it needs to be updated. But you’re also going to want that custom library at the ready for any shapes/images you might need to add.

The bottom line is, if the diagrams you create consistently require modifications on the standard shapes or templates, then custom libraries and templates are what you need.

Here’s about a video showing just how easy it is to create them for yourself.

Visit our YouTube Channel, or book a free demo to learn more about the limitless ways in which draw.io can make life easier and more productive for you and everyone in (and outside) your company!