Diagramming: 6 mins now will save you hours later


Diagramming:  6 mins now will save you hours later

Make sure you ALSO go on to review how to manage spaces after this article, which has another video and a Deep Dive on content

Scroll down for the basics and tips/hints to deliver better results

 (First tip : why not open this on another device, tab or another screen to refer to while you work through this in Elements).

When you first create a Map, Elements knows you are editing and will open the blank Diagram in edit mode. From then on, however, even as an editor, Elements assumes you are viewing content. So, if you want to edit, once you have opened a Diagram, change it to EDIT MODE by clicking on Click to switch to Edit Mode in the top-right of your screen.

(If you don’t edit anything for a few minutes, you will lose the edit lock on the diagram and have to click on Click to switch to Edit Mode again).


Drawing Diagrams and structuring Maps:

Keeping things simple makes your Maps much more powerful. Use the simple building block combined with hierarchical mapping to make your Maps easy to read, understand and navigate. The few key steps at each level of detail, linked to supporting information and or more detail. Click here for more detail on this topic.

Activity boxes:

Drag “Activity Box” from the left palette or if you prefer to close the left panel, Double click on the canvas to draw boxes. Double click on an activity box to edit the text.

To Link activity boxes or draw lines:

Rollover an Activity Box (don’t click) and blue ‘x’ line handles appear outside the edge of the box.

        What box with handles   click and drag a line from the highlighted handle ….

What - Output with right menu

Select ‘Add Activity’, terminator or connector as appropriate, or click on the canvas to leave a floating line.

To link existing boxes, drag the end of line into the center of another activity box or to a specific anchor point to link.


Another way to drag lines out, add boxes or link boxes, is first to select  an existing box:

Select Activity and then click on the '+'Click on the ‘+’, then drag and let go and then select “Add activity”What box adding another activity

Useful Tip: Hold Ctrl down (cmd on Mac) when you click and drag from an activity box handle or ‘+’ to reverse the direction of the line.


Screen Shot 2016-02-28 at 12.19.32


Line text:

Double click on the line text (or orange dot) to edit. Select the text and then click and drag (the text or orange dot), to move.

double click on line text to edit            When adding long line text put in manual line returns

Note that line text does NOT auto-wrap and cannot be sized by dragging. You need to put in (or remove) any returns manually.

Drill down:

Right click and select “Add drilldown”. This creates a new Diagram which is the ‘Child Diagram’ of this Activity box.

Right click on Activity box to create new drill-down

When you initially create a new Drilldown, any inputs and outputs to the parent activity are copied to the left and right of the screen as appropriate to guide you as to the scope you should be mapping between. But these are guides/reminders only – they do not stay in synch. Often a high-level input might be a summary, whereas in the child diagram, that one input becomes multiple detailed inputs.

If you want to delete a drill-down, you right-click on the ‘drill-down’ corner top-left on the box. Deleted drilldowns will be saved as a map in the Deleted Maps folder. You can get to them on the ‘Maps’ window under the Process menu option in the Elements Home browser tab.

Delete drill-down


You can add single or multiple resources to an Activity box.

Right-click on an activity and select “Add resource”. Start typing the name of the resource in the search box. The list of available resources will filter. If the resource does not exist select the type of resource [ human / facility / system ] and hit “CREATE”.

adding and managing Resources

To delete a resource, roll-over it and click on the ‘x’. To reorder the resources just click and drag.

To delete the resource - click on the 'x'

WARNING: Resources you create are visible to all users in your Space.

Manage resource details in the diagram right hand panel. You can [report] on resource allocation across your Map. For example; to highlight all the activities a given resource is involved in, or understand the relationships between activities, roles and (for example) the systems or facilities used. Combining with Data Structures you can expand the scope and value of those relationships. See [metadata structures] and [reporting].

In Process Knowledge Pro*, you will have the ability to add hidden resources to activities, and (in the right hand panel), control what is displayed on a diagram and attribute RASCI tags by resource (Responsible, Accountable, Supporting, Consulted, Informed). In the Pro version, reporting and working with a RACI or RASCI matrix adds another dimension of power to the knowledge you have captured.

*Process Knowledge Pro is planned for Fall 2016 release


Right click and select “Add attachment”. Attachment types are Notes, URL and Data Structures.

Data Tables are added, edited and managed in the Elements Home, under the Data Tables menu option.

Note: The fastest way to link URLs is to copy and paste the URL you want.

Free text:

Click and drag from the left panel onto the canvas.

If you prefer to close the left panel, you can Alt-double click in space.

Double click to edit.

Alt-double click to add free text

Alignment and Sizing

When you drag activities to move them, alignment guides will automatically appear in the canvas. Alternatively you can highlight multiple activities and use the ‘align and distribute’ icon on the top bar to quickly tidy up diagrams. See the Alignment and Sizing page if you need more detail

Diagram Scope and Intent:

There are huge benefits to being clear about WHAT you are mapping and WHY – ideally before you start. click for more detail You can enter the ‘Diagram Intent’ in the right-hand panel (click on highlighted icon)

Diagram Icon panel -Right panel highlighted

To edit the intent – click on the box under the Intent box and fill in why you’re mapping this:


Make sure you ALSO go on to review how to manage spaces after this article, which has another video and a Deep Dive on content

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