Smarter Diagrams with Shape Data

You can use shape data to make your diagrams even smarter: add data to shapes, import data, export manifests, and create data rules to change dashboards that update with data.

Add Detailed Data for Richer Diagrams

Any shape in SmartDraw can be assigned a set of fields and values. These show in the data panel and in a tool tip on the shape itself.

This lets you or anyone you share your document with drill down into details about the information the shape represents without having to clutter the shape itself with the same information.

Shape data is a great way to simplify complexity for diagrams like organizational charts, sales maps, and network diagrams. The possibilities are endless.

Add detailed data to shape

Importing Data and Assigning It to Shapes

You can add data to shapes by simply typing into the tool tip or the data panel.

However, you may already have a table of desired data in a spreadsheet.

SmartDraw lets you import the data using the "Import Table from File" command and assign any row in that data to a shape.

Just drag a selected row from the Table view to the desired shape to assign a data record.

Importing Data

Updating Data

Once you include shape data in your diagram, you can update the values by re-importing the data anytime.

The "Update Table from File" command allows you to re-import a data table. For example, if you need to update a sales map that you created in March, you can import new data to show the April numbers on the same map.

Updating data from table

Exporting Data

There are two ways to export shape data from a document. You can simply export the data as a table in a CSV file (the reverse of the import command) or you can create a manifest that combines the data and counts the types of any item selected.

Generate a Manifest

A manifest is a report that combines data for all the shapes into a smaller number of rows.

This is really useful for office plans or exhibit hall designs to count the number of items like chairs, desks, computers, types of booths, and so on. You can also generate a list of all the components used in a network diagram.

Generate a manifest

Changing the Appearance of a Diagram Based on Shape Data

The values of shape data fields can be used to change the appearance of their shapes. This feature combined with the ability to update a shape with new data is a very powerful way to visualize data and create a dashboard.

Displaying the Value of a Field Inside a Shape

You can display the value of a shape data field as part of the text inside the shape.

You can use this to update:

  • A change in role on an organizational chart
  • Show who a specific task is assigned to
  • Show if a particular issue is "at risk"

For example, you can add the name field's value to a shape combined with the text already there. Updating the value of the Name field for this shape will update the text in the shape.

Display the value of data inside a shape

Changing Shape Colors or Add Icons Based on Data

You can make the colors and other attributes of a shape depend on the values of its data using Data Rules.

You may want to:

  • Show issues on schedule or falling behind
  • Show high utilization of a component on your AWS set up
  • Show if a particular issue is "at risk"

You can change the color of the text, border, glow, or fill, and more. You can even add an icon when appropriate.

Combining the ability to change the appearance of shapes with updating of data via import allows you to use a diagram as a dashboard that reflects the current state of your data.


Data rules