Reading Time: 6 min

We like to talk about the power of visualization in the dissemination of information. And diagrams are a great way to do that.

But sometimes you’ve got a lot of information to impart. So how do you manage those big diagrams? How do you ensure that users get all of the information without losing sight of the overall scope of your diagram?

You do it with draw.io.

The price of complexity

When you’ve got a complex set of information to display or document, you’ll often bump up against the challenge of limited screen real estate. You can always scroll endlessly to and fro, but that’s a clumsy solution at best.

draw.io offers two powerful tools to help you keep everything easily accessible. They’ll also keep wandering attentions focussed where they need to be.

Containers

One great way to tame an overgrown diagram in draw.io is to confine sections of it within separate, collapsible containers. Any shape in draw.io can be turned into a container, which is simply a shape containing several other shapes. When you move a container around on the drawing area, the shapes located within will move with it.

Containers are useful for indicating groups of steps or sub-processes in a flow chart. They can hold collections of data and groups within a tree diagram. They can hold any other diagram with a hierarchical structure.

Even more useful, you can expand and collapse containers, making it easier to develop very complex diagrams. When container shapes are collapsed, you can see a much clearer overview of a busy diagram.

How’s it done? Simple:

  1. Just insert a shape, or select an existing shape, and resize it so that other shapes will fit inside of it.
  2. Select Arrange > Group from the menu to turn your shape into a container.
  3. And when you need to collapse or expand a shape, select Extras > Collapse/Expand from the menu.

Sub-pages

Still have too much information to control even with containers? Want to connect your diagram to other related diagrams? Let’s talk about making your diagrams even more interactive.

You can also add links to your diagrams. When a viewer clicks on a shape or a line of text, they’re taken directly to another page or diagram.

These sub-pages are useful (for example) for linking from departmental organization charts in an overview org chart to an entity relationship diagram to forms from business processes. The uses for links are endless!

Viewers can also see tooltips when they hover over a shape. These tooltips can help explain more complex stages in a diagram where a simple label isn’t descriptive enough.

We lay it all out for you on YouTube in the Sub-Page and Tooltips Videos you see beneath.

No limits

When you’ve got work to get done, you don’t have time to worry about the limitations of your diagramming solution. draw.io makes those limitations go away so you can create complete, effective diagrams and move on more quickly to that next important task.

Visit our YouTube Channel or book a free demo to learn more about the limitless possibilities of draw.io!