Image Blog Layers
June 15, 2015

Using Layers in Diagrams and How to Make Interactive Diagrams

Diagrams for Businesses

The ability to add layers to your Gliffy diagram is a powerful and important feature. This guide will help you get the most of layers and even teach you how to use layers to create an interactive diagram. Read on or jump ahead to one of the following sections to get started:

If you're not in Gliffy yet, be sure to sign up for a free trial of Gliffy Online or check out our Atlassian apps to try these features for yourself.

Why Use Layers?

Layers are great for separating or grouping elements of your diagram. If you want to use your diagram to explain something in real time, being able to toggle layers on and off can help your viewer focus on the most important elements of your diagram, without getting overwhelmed by extra information.

The layer feature can also help you quickly draw and sketch your ideas without accidentally moving certain elements around the page. For example, using a locked base layer for the device or screen type while making a wireframe allows you to add your ideas without accidentally moving that base layer around.

Video Tutorial: Using Layers in Gliffy

To follow along with this tutorial, make sure you're signed up for Gliffy.

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Layer Feature: Tips and Tricks

Here are a few basics to get started using layers in Gliffy:

  • Click the layers button in the upper right of the diagramming toolbar to open the layers panel.
  • Double-click on the name of the layer to rename it. Just type and hit enter to save the new name.
  • Click the + icon at the bottom of the layers panel to add a new layer.
  • Just to the right of the + icon is the duplicate layer icon.
  • Rearrange layers by clicking just to the left of the layer's name, then dragging and dropping the layer into its preferred order.
  • Hover over a layer's name to make the layer lock and layer visibility icons appear.
  • Move items between layers by using cut and paste.

How to Make Interactive Diagrams

In addition to the basic layer functionality, Gliffy has a layer linking feature that allows diagram viewers to toggle the visibility of layers in the diagram viewer. Use the following steps to add interactivity to your diagrams.

1. Plan Your Whole Diagram in Advance

Before trying to make your diagram interactive, it's a good idea to get all the elements you'll need onto the screen. Name layers for their exact purpose, with titles like base layer, buttons layer, or numbered views.

2. Add Interactivity One Trigger at a Time

Click on the first object you'll use as a button or toggle. At the bottom of the layers panel, click the Link Layer icon on the far right. Then, select the layers that should be visible when a user clicks on this button. Make sure to include all layers that should be visible, not just the layer that you'd like to appear. 

3. Preview the Action

A small eye icon should appear next to the button or toggle you created. If this icon doesn't appear, click on the interactive object and open the Layer Linking panel again. Make sure the "Show Icon in Viewer" checkbox is selected.

Make sure the interactivity you designs works as expected. Click on an interactive object and click "Switch Layers" to see how it changes the layer visibility in your diagram.

4. Repeat for All Interactive Objects in Your Diagram

Add interactivity one object at a time until you've captured and tested all the dynamic elements of your diagram.

5. Save and Share Your Diagram

Click the save and share buttons in the upper right of the editor to save your diagram. When you share a link to your diagram, the viewer will be able to click through the layer views you designed, creating the experience of an interactive diagram.

For an in-depth explanation of use cases for this diagram, check out our on-demand webinar: How to Take Your Confluence Pages to the Next Level. Note: this feature is now available in Confluence, Jira, and Gliffy Online.

Make Interactive Diagrams with Gliffy

Get started diagramming with a free trial of Gliffy Online, Gliffy Diagrams for Confluence, or Gliffy Diagrams for Jira. Making interactive diagrams will keep your audience engaged and can help you capture complex processes.

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