Not just a template
draw.io already offers the useful option of custom templates that can be reused over and over. These templates can also be shared with colleagues so that they don’t have to “reinvent the wheel” when creating their own diagrams. They’re a great way to save time if you often create new versions of the same type of diagram. And, as useful as templates are, background pages enable you to take things one step further.
Templates as background images in draw.io
A template allows you to define a premade set of shapes and/or connectors that you can then choose from the template manager. It saves time and improves consistency of the results of your diagrams.
Background images in draw.io let you define a template that you can then easily apply to multiple pages without having to copy the same structure to each individual page. Simply create your template once, enable backgrounds, and quickly apply that background to as many pages as you like.
Once created, changes to the basic structure of your background only have to be made to one master document. Those changes will then be pushed to all other pages using that background. What’s more, the basic structure of the background can’t be edited on the target pages, so it can’t get in your way or be inadvertently altered on any individual page.
Case in point
Assume, for instance, that you create a monthly report on the performance of the various departments of your business. The format of each report remains the same, but the information varies from department to department.
Using backgrounds, once the basic format of your document has been created, you can then save it as a master template. Each month, that template can be opened and easily applied as a consistent container (or background) into which each department’s relevant content can be dropped.
Where else can backgrounds be useful?
Suppose you’re designing a new corporate website. The site will, of course, contain multiple pages, but you want the basic layout of each page to be consistent. With draw.io backgrounds, you can simply create that basic layout, apply it as a consistent background, and then drop in the appropriate content to create a mockup of each section of your site.
Designing a new office? Create a background containing the basic floorplan, then create a variety of optional placements for furniture, cubicles, room dividers, and more.
And these are just a few examples. The possibilities of background images in draw.io are endless.