Getting from A to B: Waypoints in draw.io

Connectors play a pivotal role in creating the relationships between your shapes.  Without them, they’re just random shapes on your canvas.  But it’s not enough just to have connectors.  Especially in more complex diagrams, which may contain many intersecting connectors, you have to have a way to make sure that it all doesn’t look like a chaotic mess.  This is where waypoints in draw.io come in.

draw.io’s trail of breadcrumbs

Simply put, waypoints help you map a path from one shape to the next. What they do is allow your connectors to build a better relationship between their shapes.  For little dots on a line, they’re pretty important-sounding.  Then let’s jump right in and take a look at how to add waypoints to your diagram.

Adding waypoints to your connectors in draw.io

At some point, you may find yourself needing your connectors to take a different path.  But if you take the connector and drag it, it will start intersecting with the other shapes and connectors in a way that you didn’t intend.  To fix this, you need to give the connector another waypoint, so it knows it needs to “turn the corner” so to speak.

  1. right-click on one of your connectors at the location you want to add the waypoint
  2. select Add Waypoint 
  3. move your connector to its new location

Clear the waypoints

Oops!  Didn’t mean to add all those waypoints?  No problem, clear ’em out.

  1. right-click on the connector where you just added the waypoint
  2. select Clear Waypoints
  3. now you can drag your connector back to where it was

Remove a single waypoint

What if you don’t want to clear all the waypoints and just a single one? That’s easy too!

  1. right-click on the waypoint you want to remove
  2. select Remove Waypoint

Reverse waypoints

So, you’ve added a waypoint, cleared them, and then deleted a single one – what if you want to change your relationship between your two shapes?

  1. right-click and select Reverse (yes, in one step!)

You will see that the arrow that used to lead to your second shape is now pointing to your first shape.  Easy!

Learn more about connectors and waypoints

There are many more things that you can do with your shapes, connectors, and waypoints in draw.io.  Why don’t you start with an Interactive Tutorial?  You’ll find a link to download the.XML file.  Once you’ve downloaded it, learn how to import it and use the guide within your new draw.io diagram.  We also have a whole blog post dedicated to Floating & Fixed Connections – it can help you figure out how to create the right connectors for your needs.

We hope this gave you a little more insight into waypoints.  If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us.  No questions, but just want to say hi?  We love hearing from you, so why not drop by one of our social media accounts?  Until next time, happy diagramming.