User Manual for Gliffy Online

Gliffy is designed to make it easy and intuitive for you to create professional quality flowcharts, diagrams, floor plans, technical drawings and more. While it’s easy to figure out Gliffy on your own, this guide addresses the basics of using Gliffy and will also help you use some of our more advanced features.


Table of Contents

Getting Started

Document Editor

Gliffy Basics

Working with Shapes and Lines

Working with Text

Working with Images

Document & Shape Shortcuts

Context Menu

Sharing and Exporting Documents

Account Settings


Getting Started

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Access the Gliffy Start Screen

You can access the Start Screen by logging into This screen will appear when you initially login. From here you can:

  1. Open a Recent Diagram
  2. Create a new Diagram
  3. Import a Diagram (.vdx, .gliffy, .gon, or .gxml files only)
  4. Create From a Template

You can dismiss the start screen by clicking the white "x" in the upper right corner or clicking off the screen.

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Opening Diagrams

Once a diagram has been created, it will appear in the Document Manager. You can access your Document Manager by clicking the "My Documents" button in the upper right of the Toolbar. 


A new tab will open in your browser which will contain your diagrams. Double-click to open a diagram. 


An alternative method of opening a diagram is to go to File->Open to access your diagram listings. Select a diagram and click Open or just double-click. 


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Creating Diagrams

From the Start Screen, you can Create a New Diagram and choose which type of diagram you'd like to start. Depending on what type of diagram you are going to create, it will load those appropriate shape libraries for you on the left side. 

For instance, if you were going to start a blank Flow Chart diagram, you would click on "Flow Chart" and it will load a blank canvas with Flow Chart shapes already loaded for you on the left side. 


You can also Create From a Template and choose from a variety of templates already loaded for you by Gliffy. 



You can also create a new diagram based off a diagram you previously created. Click into your diagrams at the top and select the one you'd like to build off of.  


If you are within your Document Manager, you can create a new diagram from here by clicking Create->New Diagram.


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Importing Diagrams

From the Start Screen, you can Import a Diagram. The available file formats you can import are:

  1. .vdx (Visio)
  2. .gliffy
  3. .gon
  4. .gxml

Click on the "Import a Diagram" box to locate the file on your computer and upload. 


If you are within your Document Manager, you can also import a diagram by clicking Import. 


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Document Manager

You can access your Document Manager by clicking the "My Documents" button in the upper right of the Toolbar. 


A new tab will open in your browser where all of your diagrams will be listed. 

On the left side you will see:

  • Recent Diagrams 
  • Starred Diagrams
  • Shared Diagrams
  • Your Account Diagrams

Recent Diagrams are the last 10 diagrams opened by the user in Gliffy.

Starred Diagrams are diagrams you have marked with the "star" symbol. When the star is marked it will turn yellow and be listed in this folder. 

Shared Diagrams are diagrams that have been shared with you via the Collaborate feature. This will list the creator of the diagram and who last edited it. You can open and edit these documents, but you cannot move, delete, or change the status of them. If you want to remove yourself as a collaborator on a shared document, you can do so by clicking on the diagram, then clicking the "x" to delete it. 

Your Account Diagrams will be listed last. This is the full list of all diagrams you have access to in the account. If you see a small arrow to the left of a folder, that means there are sub-folders contained within it. Click the arrow to expand the folders out. 


You can also sort your diagrams using the drop-down menu in the upper right corner of the Document Manager. You can sort your diagrams by:

  • Last Edited
  • Alphabetical A-Z
  • Alphabetical Z-A
  • Date Created

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Renaming Diagrams

You can Rename a diagram by opening the diagram up in the Editor, then go to File->Rename.


A new dialog box will open where you can enter the new diagram name, then click "Rename" to save your changes.


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Deleting Diagrams

You can Delete a diagram by opening up your Document Manager via the "My Documents" button. 

Once your Document Manager is open, click once on the diagram you want to delete. The lane with your diagram will highlight and a small "x" will appear in the upper right corner. 

Click on the "x" and a window dialog box will open asking you to confirm you want to delete the diagram. Click "Delete" to permanently delete the diagram. 

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Using Folders

Creating new folders for organizing your Gliffy diagrams can be done via the My Documents button and accessing your Document Manager. Once in the Document Manager, you can create a new folder by clicking Create->New Folder. A new dialog box will appear. Name your folder, then click Create


You can Delete a folder by clicking on the folder name and you'll see a small folder settings gear wheel appear. 

Click into folder settings, then click on Delete Folder. A dialog box will appear asking you to confirm the deletion. Click Delete again and the folder will be permanently deleted (Please note: you cannot delete a folder with nested diagrams in it. You would first need to Delete the Diagrams, then you can delete the folder)


You can Rename a folder by clicking into Rename Folder in the folder settings. 

 A modal will appear and you can enter in the new name of the folder. Click "Update" to save your changes. 


You can create sub-folders by clicking into an existing folder then Create->New Folder. If you see a folder has a small black arrow next to it, that means it has sub-folders within it. You would need to click the black arrow to expand all of the folders. 


You can move a diagram into another folder by dragging it from the Document Manager into the folder you want it in on the left side. 


Lastly, users with Admin rights can set folder Permissions from within the folder settings. Click on Permissions and a dialog box will appear. On the left side it will list all users that have access to that folder. If you want to remove access from a user for that folder, click on their email in the Users WITH Access column and then click the button to move their email to the Users WITHOUT Access column. Click Done to save your changes. 


*Folder permissions will only appear for sub-folders. You cannot delete, rename, or set permissions on the main root diagram folder on the account. 

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Document Editor

The Gliffy Document Editor is the heart of the application and, with minor exceptions, works the same across all versions of Gliffy. The main areas of the Document Editor are: Menu Bar, Toolbar, Shape Library, and Drawing Stage.

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The Menu Bar

The Menu Bar provides access to the basic commands needed to share, save and print your documents.


The File Menu lets you Open, Save, Rename, Import, Export your diagram in SVG, Gliffy, JPG, or PNG format, view Revision History, access Document Properties, and Print. 


The Edit Menu contains standard copy and paste commands, all of which have keyboard shortcuts. Copy and paste are also accessible using the context menu by right-clicking or control+click. You should also take note of the Group and UnGroup commands found here. These commands allow you to combine text boxes, shapes and lines into clusters that can be manipulated as a single object.


The Share Menu allows you to Collaborate your diagram, or to change the Publish settings on it. 



The Help Menu gives you access to various help features for Gliffy, including the User Manual, Tips, Signup for Newsletter, About the Gliffy Team, Shape/Document Shortcuts, and our EULA. 


The My Documents button takes you to your Document Manager


The Profile/silhouette figure tells you information about your account. If you click on this from the main Drawing Editor, it will indicate the Account Name and Username/Email you are logged in under. This is also how you Logout. 


If you click on the Profile/silhouette figure from within your Document Manager, this will allow you to access your Account Settings, Switch Accounts (if you have multiple accounts), and Logout. 



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The Toolbar

The Toolbar lets you select tools to create lines, shapes, text and more. 


  1. Undo/Redo
  2. Group/Ungroup
  3. Bring to Front/Send to Back
  4. Hyperlink Tool
  5. Pop-up Notes Tool
  6. Free Text Tool
  7. Ellipse/Rectangle Tool
  8. Connector/Straight Line Tool
  9. Pointer
  10. Pan
  11. Zoom Level
  12. Zoom in/Zoom out
  13. Drawing Guides
  14. Show Grid
  15. Snap to Grid
  16. Diagram Themes 

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The Shape Library

Depending on the type of diagram you started, there will be different shape libraries loaded on the left hand side automatically. For example, if you start a Flow Chart diagram, it will load the Flow Chart shape library and other relevant libraries for you. You can always access all libraries at anytime in Gliffy by clicking on the More Shapes button at the bottom of the shape libraries.


 You can Expand/Collapse Libraries in the sidebar by clicking the Expand button. 


You can hide the shapes sidebar by clicking the Hide Sidebar button. 




If you hide the shape libraries, you can bring them back by clicking the "Show Sidebar" button. 

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Customizing and Managing the Shape Library

Clicking on More Shapes will open up the More Shapes dialog which will allow you to customize your shape library. 

Clicking on the individual shape library names expands that chosen section to allow browsing the shapes it contains. You can click and select or de-select libraries you want to add or remove.


You can also add your own shape libraries by clicking on the +Add Custom Library button at the top of the More Shapes area. 

*Please note: Only users on Trial, Standard, or Pro accounts can create Custom Shape Libraries


Once the Custom Library dialog appears you can add your own JPG, PNG, GIF, and SVG files to it. Please keep in mind there is currently a limit of 30 images per library and a limit of 1MB per image. 

You'll also need to name your custom library before you click Save Library. 

*Please note your library will not save without a name!


You can also choose to make your custom library available to edit by everyone in your account or you can set it to only allow you to edit it. 


To manage your custom shape library, click on the title of it in the sidebar then click on the gear wheel to show the Custom Library Options. Here you can:

  • Edit this Library
  • Remove from Favorites
  • Remove from Sidebar
  • Delete Permanently

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Search Shape Libraries

You can search the shape library for keywords to help locate shapes. The "Search Shapes" field is located in the upper left corner of the drawing canvas above the Shape Libraries. 

You can search for any shape in any of the Gliffy shape libraries in this field. The shape library does not have to be showing on the left side for results to pull up. 

To search, type in your search parameters and hit "Enter" on your keyboard. 

Any results that match your entry will appear below the search box. You can then drag and drop any of these shapes on to your canvas. 

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The Drawing Stage

The Drawing Stage allows for a blank slate where you build your diagrams. Use shapes pulled from the Library and elements you've drawn using the Toolbar to create flowcharts, diagrams, schematics, wireframes, floor plans or whatever else you desire.

The Toolbar lets you select tools to create lines, shapes, text and more. Take note of the Revision History in the File drop-down menu in the upper left corner. This is a quick way to revert to previous drafts. The more often you save, the more useful this feature will be! Also notice the bottom and side scroll bars, which help you move around in larger documents. If your mouse has a scroll wheel it will also work on the drawing stage.


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Document Properties

For Gliffy Online, you can find the properties to change the page or document under File->Document Properties, located in the Menu Bar at the top left of Gliffy.

From here you can control the basic setup of your diagram. Define your page size in pixels and you’ll see thin lines that define your document boundaries (5000x5000 is the default and the max). You can also select your diagram's background color from here.   






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Transparent Background

You can change the background on your diagram to be transparent. You can set this under File->Document Properties and select the no fill option. By selecting the "no fill" option, this will give make the background transparent upon export. 


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If you want to disable the Autosave on a diagram, you can also do that from the Document Properties by checking the Disable Autosave box. This setting is per diagram and is not a general setting for the whole account. 

Autosave starts once you save and name your diagram the first time, so we always recommend saving/naming as soon as possible. Autosave occurs ~30 seconds. 

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Revision History

Every time you save a diagram, Gliffy keeps a record of that version. At any time, you can revert to an earlier saved version of your diagram:

  1. Go to File->Revision History.
  2. Select the version you would like to recover and click Okay.
  3. If you have not saved the currently active version of the diagram, you will be asked to confirm. You can choose to Continue Working on the current unsaved diagram, or you can Open Revision to discard the active diagram and restore the earlier version.

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Occasionally you may see a Draft message appear in the upper-right corner of your diagram. Draft messages appear when the system detects that it may have work that was left unsaved, or if there were any network or connectivity issues while working on a diagram. These ensure that no work is lost inadvertently.

You can Preview Draft to see if it is a version you want to keep, Load Draft (this will override current draft in the editor), or Discard the Draft

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Pop-up Notes

Please note this is an initial release for Pop-up Notes. Additional features and capabilities will be coming in the future. If you have feedback or additional requests for the notes feature, please add your comments here:

The Pop-Up Note command button can be found in the Toolbar. The pop-up note can only be selected if an applicable shape is selected/clicked (Please note this feature is currently limited to Basic and Flowchart shapes only. More shapes will be added in the future). The pop-up button will show as inactive if you do not have a shape selected first. 


Once you have selected the shape you want to add a note to and click on the pop-up button, the Add Note modal will appear. 

You can type your note/comment in and when finished, click Done to add your note. Click Cancel to back out and cancel the note. (there is a 250 character limit)


Once you have clicked Done, you will see a note icon in the corner of the shape. If you hover over the shape, the note will pop-up. 


If you publish your diagram as a public diagram, your notes will also show on the public view of it. Hovering over the shape will reveal the note if you have the "Show Notes" button selected. You can hide the notes by clicking "Hide Notes". The notes will still be viewable if you hover with your mouse if the "Hide Notes" is selected. 

To Delete a note, click on the shape with the pop-up note, click the pop-up note icon in the Toolbar, then delete the text and click "Done".  

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Gliffy Basics


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Adding Elements to the Drawing Stage

To begin, click the “Flow Chart” tab in the Library and click a “start/end” shape and drag it onto the Drawing Stage, now drop the shape on the drawing stage (Note how if you let your mouse hover over a Library shape you’ll see the shape’s title appear).

While that shape is still selected, type “Start”—the text should appear directly inside the shape. Now, click the  icon in the Toolbar. Use your mouse to draw a rectangle directly onto the drawing stage: click, drag and release. While the rectangle is still selected, type “End”. Finally, click the  icon in the Toolbar. To draw a connector between your “Start” and your “End”, click on the start shape and drag the end of the line to the end shape.

While we’re having fun, go ahead and click on the  icon then click on your new flowchart to zoom in. You can zoom back out using the  icon or by choosing your magnification level from the drop-down menu in the Toolbar. You can also right click on the drawing stage and select one of the zoom settings from the context menu.


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Moving and Manipulating Elements

Whether elements on the Drawing Stage come from the Shape Library or whether they're drawn using the Toolbar, you can move and manipulate them the same way. If you click on an element, you can drag and drop it where you choose on the Drawing Stage. Each shape (like the ‘start’ and the ‘rectangle’ in this example) will display its boundary box when selected. You can use the connection points (little squares in the boundary box’s corners and midpoints) to extend the dimensions of the shape. Just click and drag them. To rotate a shape, click and drag over the curled arrow that you’ll see above the shape.

Lines and connectors are slightly different. Instead of boundary boxes, lines and connectors have small circles defining each endpoint and, in the case of connectors with more than two segments, one to control each middle segment. If you click on the line or connector anywhere but on these circles, you’ll move the entire line without changing its shape. Clicking and dragging the circles will move only that portion of the line or connector.

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Setting Properties

The Properties Panel for Gliffy gives you the power to change properties on a shape, line or group, quickly and with little hassle. No more hunting around the application interface to change a simple property, now it’s right there with one easy click. When you add or select and object or group of objects on the stage, a small blue button will appear nearby. Click the  button on a shape to display different property options for that object or group.


From here you can change the color of your shape, border color, border thickness, line pattern, gradient, drop shadow, shape opacity, change the X,Y coordinates of your shape, change the width/height, rotate the shape a certain degree, Lock Aspect Ratio, and Lock Shape.

You can easily hit the TAB or ENTER key to quickly commit the values of X, Y, Width, Height or Rotation. 

If you click on a line or connector, your Properties Panel will look like this 

You can do the following quick manipulations within the Properties Panel:

  • you can change the arrows at the beginning and the end of the line independently, and we give you all arrow options based on the type of line you are drawing. For instance, if you are connecting UML shapes, we offer you the UML arrows in the selection options.
  • if you have a selection that contains line, shapes and text, you can now change properties of each object type independently via the Properties Panel, without having to select each object type separately.

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Saving Documents

The only thing left to do now is to save your document. You can save using the button at the top right of the Drawing Stage or through the “File” menu in the Menu Bar. Each time you save a document, it gets logged as a new revision. At any time you can use the “Revision History” in the File drop-down menu in the upper left corner of the Drawing Stage to revert back to any previously saved version. 

Through the File Menu, you’ll also have the option to “Save As”. Many customers use this to create template diagrams or another diagram very similar.

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Evenly Distributed Shapes and Alignment

You can align and evenly distribute a group of shapes on your diagram. To do so, select the shapes you’re working with, click the blue properties menu that appears next to your shapes, and then use the various Align and Distribute buttons to make them distributed the way you want. 


 Align Options

  1. Align left
  2. Align center
  3. Align right
  4. Align top
  5. Align middle
  6. Align bottom

Aligning takes all the selected shapes and aligns them with the shape that is furthest to the left, center, right, etc. depending on what you select. 


Distribute Options

  1. Distribute vertical center
  2. Distribute horizontal center

Distributing takes all the selected shapes and distrubtes them evenly either vertically or horizontally depending on what you select. 

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Language Preference

Gliffy Online currently supports the following languages: 

  • English
  • French
  • German
  • Russian
  • Spanish

You can set your language preference in the Language Settings area of the browser you are using. 

Chrome (recommended):

Firefox (recommended):

Internet Explorer:


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Working with Shapes and Lines

You can add shapes to the Drawing Stage in two ways:

  • Draw them with the Ellipse or Rectangle Tool or
  • Drag them in from the Shape Library.

You can draw connectors and lines using the Connector Tool and the Line Tool.

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Using the Ellipse and Rectangle Tools

The most basic way to draw shapes is using the Ellipse and Rectangle Tools in the Toolbar . These tools work identically; one draws a shape with rounded corners and the other draws a shape with right angle corners.

There’s no trick to using either tool. Just select the tool you want from the Toolbar and draw by clicking, dragging and releasing. The first place on the Drawing Stage that you click defines the first corner of the shape’s boundary box. As you drag your mouse with the button depressed, the box grows. When you release the mouse button, the ellipse or rectangle is created to fill the boundary box you’ve drawn.

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Using the Shape Library

If you’re using shapes from the Shape Library, it’s even easier. First find the shape you want. Next click it then drag it onto the Drawing Stage and drop it at the destination.


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Moving and Manipulating Shapes

As explained in Gliffy Basics, any shape can be resized, rotated or moved once it’s been placed upon the Drawing Stage. You can use the little squares that appear in any selected shape’s boundary box’s corners or midpoints to extend the dimensions of the shape. Just click and drag them. To rotate a shape, click and drag the curled arrow that you’ll see above the selected shape.

Also worth noting is the ability to lock a shape to its current dimensions. To do this mark the “Lock Shape” box in the shape’s Properties Panel that appears to the right of the shape. (Using Gliffy Online, you can also right click on a shape and select “Lock Shape” from the context menu.)

When you lock a shape, the little squares around the boundary box turn red to indicate the shape is fixed. You will not be able to change the dimensions, or other properties, of the shape until you unlock the shape.

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Setting Shape Properties

When you select a shape, you can edit its properties using the Properties Panel . At the top of the shape properties section, you will see several icons that control the shape’s appearance.

  • Shape Color
  • Border Color
  • Border Thickness
  • Line Pattern
  • Gradient
  • Drop Shadow
  • Shape Opacity

The   icon lets you choose what color fill you want the selected shape to have.

The  icon controls the color of the shape’s border.

The  icon determines how thick the shape’s border is, or whether it has a border at all.

The  icon determines what type of pattern the border of the shape will have. 

The  icon allows you to turn the gradient on or off and the fill color will transition from lighter to darker from top to bottom.  

The  icon allows you to add shadows to your shapes that suggest depth. 

The  icon allows you to add opacity to Basic and Flowchart shapes

If you find your mouse isn’t giving you the level of control you want, you can also use the Size, Position and Rotation properties to specify the exact dimensions, location and angle of rotation of the selected shape. The position coordinates correspond to the position of the upper left corner of the shape’s boundary box.

On the right side of the Properties Panel, you’ll also see check boxes for “Aspect Ratio" and ”Lock Shape”. Marking the “Aspect Ratio” box forces the selected shape to retain its current shape, but not its size. You can still make an ellipse or rectangle larger or smaller, but it will hold its aspect ratio. “Lock Shape” not only secures the aspect ratio, but also secures the size, color and other properties of the selected shape. 


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Shape Opacity

You can control the opacity of Basic and Flowchart shapes. Click into the blue shape properties box that appears next to the shape and you will see a Shape Opacity icon. 


You can manually type in a value or use the scroll bar to adjust the opacity on your shape. 

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Line Pattern

In Gliffy Online, you can set the shape properties of some shapes to be dashed or dotted. You can access this from the blue shape propeties box and then click into Line Patterns. 

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Linking Shapes

You can hyperlink entire shapes instead of just text. *please note, this feature is not available on multi-part shapes, such as swimlanes, certain UML shapes, tables, etc. More linkable shapes will be coming in the future 

To link a shape, click once on it so it is highlighted, then click the "Create Link" button in the Toolbar. 


After clicking the "Create Link" button, a modal will open to allow you to enter a URL.


After entering the link to the URL you want, click "Insert" to add it.  


After inserting the link, your shape will show an icon in the lower right corner. This indicates that the shape is linked. 


Clicking on the shape will show the URL it is linked to. You can Go to the link, Edit the link, or Unlink from this menu. 

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Drawing Guides

Gliffy provides guides to help you line up your shapes with other shapes. To turn on the Drawing Guides, click on the  button in the Toolbar. Now, when you drag a shape from somewhere on the stage or from the shape library, it will detect if another shape in it’s vicinity has a matching edge or center point. If there is a matching edge, the shape you are dragging will “snap” to the other shapes edge, and a green line will appear to show the alignment. The same goes with a center point, except the line will be red. See the image below as an example of a left edge and center point alignment on the X axis.

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If you have carefully positioned several elements in relation to each other, and you want to be able to move and manipulate them as if they were a single object, you can add them to a Group:

  1. Select the shapes.
  2. Click the Group button in the toolbar.

To break up the group and treat each element as an individual object again, select the group and click the Ungroup button.

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Using the Connector and Line Tools

The Connector and Line Tools work identically to each other.

The Connector Tool lets you draw a line forced to turn at right angles where necessary and the Line Tool draws a straight line between whichever endpoints you select, with no turns. To draw either a connector or a line, select the appropriate tool from the Toolbar, place your cursor where you want your connector or line to start and click and drag to your desired endpoint.

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Moving and Locking Lines and Connectors

Once you’ve drawn a line or connector you’ll notice a characteristic about each endpoint: if it’s a connector with more than two segments, each middle segment has a little circle. These circles work like the squares around the boundary boxes of shapes. If you click and drag on one of the circles, you’ll only adjust that segment of the line/connector. If you click anywhere else, you’ll move the whole line.

Frequently, you’ll want to connect the end of a line to a shape so that if the shape moves, the line will stick to the shape. When you select a line, you’ll see that all the shapes in your diagram become flanked with little ‘ + ‘ symbols. There should be one in the middle of each shape as well. These ‘ + ‘ symbols are standard connection points. If you drag the endpoint of a line or connector to one, you’ll see the little circle turn green. That indicates the line is locked to the connection point. From then on, if you move the shape, the line will remain connected.

When initially drawing a line or connector, you can start off on a connection point—if the connection point shows a green circle, your line will be locked to it.

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Infinite Connection Points

You can attach your connectors to any outside border of certain shapes within Gliffy. When you use the Connector Tool and scroll around the outside of certain square shapes, you'll see a green circle appear. The green circle indicated where you can attach it. If you scroll all the way around you will see you can place your connector anywhere and lock it to the shape.

*Please note: If you don't see this option on the shape you are selecting, is is not available yet but will be coming soon. 


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Setting Line and Connector Properties

When you select a line or connector, you can change its properties using the Properties Panel (just click the blue button next to the line end, see image below). You can change:

  • Line endings (arrow types)
  • Line Color
  • Line Weight
  • Line Style
  • Line Type

If you select any number of lines or connectors at one time, you can set properties for all of them at once.


Use the  or  icon to add directionality to your line (for most lines). For specific shapes, like UML, ERD, BPMN, etc., you will get a selection of line end types specific to that shape type. The direction the arrows in this menu point translates as ‘left = line start point’ and ‘right = line end point’. So if you drew your line from right to left, and select the arrow that points to the right, you’ll see your line will get an arrow pointing to the left! If you consistently draw your lines/connectors from start to end, this will make adding arrows much easier.

The  icon allow you to select a color for your connector or line. 

The  icon allow you to change how thick your lines are in pixels. 

The  icon lets you choose from a selection of different patterns for the selected line, from finely dotted to solid.

The   icon allows you to select a type of line or connector. The first choice is a straight line. The next three are connectors: right angle, rounded corner,and Bezier Curve. 

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UML Cardinality

In Gliffy Online and Gliffy for Confluence v6.0 and above, you can add cardinality to your UML lines. If you drag a UML connector line onto the canvas, you will notice some cardinality boxes appear on each side. You can then use these to add cardinality to your UML diagram. 

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Entity-Relationship arrows

In Gliffy Online and Gliffy for Confluence v6.0 and above, you can adjust your Entity-Relationship arrow ends to make the appropriate shape for your needs. 

If you don't see a pre-made ER arrow you would like to use, pull any of them onto the canvas then click into the blue, shape properties box. 


Click into the line properties and you will see a drop-down for both arrow ends. You can choose from here what type of shape you want to create. 

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Bring to Front / Send to Back

As your document becomes more complex, you may find you need to control which elements are in the foreground and which are in the background. You can do this by selecting the desired element *be it a shape, a line, or a text box) and using the  icon to bring the selected element to the front or the  icon to send it to the back. In Gliffy Online, you can also send elements to the front or back by selecting them and right clicking to select these options in the context menu. 

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You can choose to apply color themes to your diagram for quick and easy styling. Clicking the Diagram Themes button from the Toolbar will open up the Themes box on the right side of your diagram. 


 This moveable box can be moved anywhere on your canvas. 


Hovering over each theme creates a preview of it applied to the diagram on your drawing canvas. Clicking on the theme applies it to your diagram. To undo an applied theme, select Edit->Undo, or Ctrl+Z.

Completed diagram with no theme: 


Diagram Theme applied: 

Please note that themes only work on flowchart and basic shape types. 

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The Swimlane shapes can have up to 12 lanes added to them. You can add additional swimlanes by dragging a swimlane shape out to the editor, then click the blue custom properties box: 

Once you click into the shape properties, you can select the "Number of swimlanes" drop-down menu and select how many lanes you want it to have up to 12. 

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In Gliffy Online, you can add tables to your diagram by going into More Shapes->Website and UI->Tables. This will open the tables section in your shape library. 


Once you have pulled a table on to the diagram, you can click on a cell to select it. Shift + Click to select multiple cells. A cell is highlighted orange if currently selected. 


Selected cell: 


Multiple Selected cells: 


If you want to Add/Remove columns or rows, click into the edit custom properties widget


If you have the entire table selected, you will see these options: 

  • Add Column
  • Remove Column
  • Add Row
  • Delete Row

This will insert or delete the column or row at the end.


If you have an individual cell selected, you will see these options: 

  • Add Column
  • Remove Column
  • Add Row
  • Delete Row
  • Insert Column
  • Remove Selected Column
  • Insert Row
  • Remove Selected Row

This will add/remove/insert/remove columns or rows from the cell selected. 


If you have a single cell or multiple cells selected, you can change the properties of these by clicking into the blue properties bar.


If you have the entire table selected and click into the shape properties, you can select the border color and thickness of your lines. 

Border Color: 


Border Thickness: 


If you click into the shape properties area, you can adjust the color of your selected cells. 


 *Please note: the X,Y coordinates and the Width/Height control the entire table, not an individual cell


You can adjust the width and height of individual colums or rows by scrolling your mouse on the border lines between them. The cursor will change and you can then move the colums or rows to make them smaller or larger. 


Using these features you should be able to create extensive, colorful tables in your diagrams. 




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Working with Text

There are two ways to add text to your document. Using the Text Tool lets you create text boxes, which can be moved and resized independently from other document elements. You can also enter text directly into elements which is easier, but offers less control.

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The Text Tool

Selecting the  icon from the Toolbar allows you to draw a text box so you can immediately start typing in text. Text will automatically wrap at the end of a line to remain within the box you’ve drawn. If you enter more lines than will fit in the box, the text will extend above and below the borders of the text box.

When you’re done entering text, you can move, resize or rotate a text box just as you would any other shape. If you want to edit the text inside the text box, just double-click on it, you’ll notice a flashing cursor indicating you can edit the text.

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Entering Text in Elements

Sometimes you’ll want to enter text directly into a shape or over a line. 

To enter text this way, just select the element you want, by double-clicking (or click once and hit F2 on our keyboard), and start typing. You can edit this text at any time by double clicking on the element. To completely remove text from an element, double click the element, highlight the text and click delete.

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Setting Text Properties

Regardless of how you’ve entered text, you can edit the properties of selected text in the Properties Panel . If you select a text box, an element with text typed over it, or any combination of the two, the text properties section will show up in the Properties Panel.

Here, you can choose between the 15 current available fonts (additional fonts available in Gliffy for Confluence v6.4 or above):

  • Arial
  • Verdana
  • Helvetica
  • Courier
  • Times
  • Roboto
  • Oswald
  • Open Sans Condensed
  • Roboto Slab
  • Droid Serif
  • Roboto Condensed
  • Raleway
  • Bangers
  • Permanent Marker
  • Droid Sans Mono

You also can change the font size and color, make text bold, italic and/or underlined, and change the alignment of the text. You can also add hyperlinks to text (not available in the Gliffy Plugin for JIRA).

You can set different sections of text to have different properties within the same text box or element. For example, one word in a sentence can be bold and in a larger font size. All that's needed is to select the words you want to change the properties for and make your changes.

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Text Position in a Shape

In Gliffy Online, you can move text in a shape to various areas in/around the shape. Clicking into the text properties area will show a Text Position button. 


Clicking on Text Position will give you 5 options:

  • Text Inside
  • Text Above
  • Text Below
  • Text Left
  • Text Right


Text Inside: 


Text Above: 


Text Below: 


Text Left: 


Text Right: 




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Vertical Alignment

When setting the text position in a shape, you can also use the Vertical Align tool to align the text. You can access this also from the text properties menu. 

Vertical Align Top: 

Vertical Align Middle: 

Vertical Align Bottom: 


 *currently available on Basic/Flowchart shapes


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Move Text On a Line

In Gliffy Online and Gliffy for Confluence v6.0 and above, you can move text on a line. 

If you add text to the middle of a connector and then click on it, you should see it highlighted green. This means it can be moved all around the line. 


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Multiple Text on a Line

In Gliffy Online and Gliffy for Confluence v6.0 and above, you can enter multiple text on a line. You can click anywhere on a connector line to add text and enter as many different boxes as you like. 

If you add text to a connector and then click on it, you should see it highlighted green. This means it can be moved all around the line. 

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Linking text

To add a hyperlink, double click on the text and highlight the words you want to turn into an active link. Click the  icon in the text properties box and enter the desired URL, then click "Insert Link". 


You can also highlight the text you want to hyperlink and click the "Create Link" button in the Toolbar: 


Clicking on the hyperlinked text will show a hyperlink editing box while in Edit mode. You can Go to the link, Edit the link, or Unlink from this menu. 


Hyperlinks will remain active if viewed as a full-size image on a Gliffy Plugin for Confluence wiki page, exported as SVG or a published URL Gliffy Diagram.


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Working with Images

Depending on which version of Gliffy you’re using, there are alternate ways to insert full color images directly into your document via the Library. PLEASE NOTE: Adobe Flash allows a maximum size of an image to be 2880px x 2880px (applies to Gliffy for JIRA v3.9 and before).

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Uploading Images

In Gliffy Online, the My Images tab is where you can upload images directly into your Gliffy account, or search the internet for an image. Any image in this tab can be clicked, dragged and dropped to the Document Editor and manipulated like any other shape. Images must be in GIF, JPG or PNG format and cannot be larger than 1 MB. SVG files can be directly dragged on to the canvas. 

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Image Search

You can also search the internet for images through the Bing search engine. Enter a search term into the search field in the "My Images" tab and click the down arrow to select "Bing Images". This will then pull up any images of your search results in Bing. Gliffy will display images returned from your search, broken into pages of twenty.

You can scroll down through pages using the "Next" arrows at the bottom of the page. Click on an image to add it to your Gliffy Image Library. They are editable just like any other shape in Gliffy.

When you upload or add an image to your library, you have the option to "tag" the image with a certain keyword by right-clicking on the image and selecting "Tag".


Tags are descriptive words that will help you find your image when performing a search. i.e. if your image is a kitten, you can tag it "kitten, cute, animals".


If you tag a group of photos all as “kitten” for example, you can enter “kitten” into the search field in the My Images tab and click the down arrow to select "Search My Gliffy Account". This will then pull up any images you have tagged with that word. 


If you want to know the specs about the image, right-click on it and select "Get Image Info". 


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Delete Images

You can remove an image from your Image Library by right-clicking* on the image, then selecting "Delete". 

*For Mac users, use a two-finger tap while selecting the image 

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Document & Shape Shortcuts

As you get more proficient using Gliffy, you’ll find that the built in Document & Shape Shortcuts speed up your work. You can see a full list of keyboard shortcuts at any time by clicking the “Help” button in the Menu Bar. 

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Context Menu

Another way to work faster with Gliffy is to use the Context Menu. The Context Menu provides access to the most commonly used commands with the click of your mouse. To access the Context Menu, right-click your mouse (for Mac users, control+click will perform the same function). The Context Menu varies based on what shapes/lines you have selected:

No shapes selected or not mousing over a shape: Option to Paste Here, Select All Objects, and Zoom

One Shape selected and mouse is over a shape: Option to Cut, Copy, Paste, Delete, Lock Selection, Bring to Front, and Send to Back

If more than one shape is selected and mouse is over a shape: You will have the options above and the option to Group or Ungroup

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Sharing and Exporting Documents

Whether you plan to print your document, post it online as a live document, or invite other users to collaborate on it with you, sharing and exporting Gliffy documents is likely crucial to your work process. Because of the inherent differences between Gliffy Online, the Gliffy Plugin for Confluence and the Gliffy Plugin for JIRA, your options will be different depending on which application you’re using.

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Exporting and Printing Documents

In Gliffy, you have access to export and print options through the File menu in the Menu Bar. In this menu, you can Export Gliffy documents in SVG, Gliffy, JPG and PNG format and save them for off-line access. To export your diagram, go to File->Export

If you select PNG or JPG you will have the option to set the resolution up to 400%. 

The SVG and Gliffy file options have one standard. 

The Print option opens your browser's print settings menu. Printing is controlled through your browser print function and your printer. Here you have the ability to print your document to a single page, print in portrait or landscape, set the document to various page sizes (including: 8.5in x11 in (Letter), 8.5 in. x 14 in (Legal), 11 in x 17 (Ledger), 297 mm x 420 mm (A3) and 210 mm x 297 mm (A4), print gridlines, print to a PDF or print directly from Gliffy (options and layout differ depending on the browser you use).

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Collaborating on Gliffy Diagrams

If you’re on a Gliffy Online free trial, Standard, or Pro account you can control who has the ability to edit your document using the Collaborate feature. 

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Add & Remove Collaborators

To allow edit access to a Gliffy Online document, use the “Collaborate” command found in the Document Manager.

This will open the Add Collaborators window. Simply add the emails of those you wish to collaborate with to the “Add Collaborators” field, each email address separated by a comma, and click the "Invite" button. Gliffy will send each new collaborator an email including a link to your document and a temporary password (if the user already has a Gliffy account, they will enter in their normal password). When new users follow the link and enter the password, they will be automatically prompted to select a new password. Collaborators have full editing privileges on the diagram that has been shared with them. 

To remove a user from a diagram, click the "Remove" link to the right of their email. This will remove editing and viewing privileges for that particular diagram. 

You can also send the URL to your diagram to collaborators to remind them, 

Multi User Premium Account allows for even simpler collaboration.

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Access Collaborated Diagrams

To find diagrams you've been invited to collaborate on, click on the Shared Documents folder from the Document Manager. 


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Publishing Documents

While all documents created by Gliffy Online Basic users are public, meaning anyone on the Internet can access a read-only version of them, Gliffy Online Standard and Pro users will by default create private documents they can choose to make public. During your free trial, your account will operate as a "Pro" account, and all diagrams will default to private. If you edit and save a private diagram while on a free, Basic account, the diagram will revert to a public diagram. You would need to upgrade to a paid account to revert to to private. 

To change the public/private status of a document, use the “Publish” command found in the Document Manager. This will open the Publish window (as a reminder, Basic, free users will not have access to make a diagram private). 

At the top of this window, radio buttons allow you to switch between “Public” and “Private.” If a document is made public, the embed code and links that populate the window will work. These links let you embed the latest saved version of the document in a webpage, as a JavaScript, or as a PNG image. You can also share via Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. All links will always call the latest saved draft, so you won't need to update links if you edit the document in the future.

Please note, if you switch a previously public document to private, any links to this document (ex. on a blog) will fail.

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Account Settings

Gliffy offers you the ability to self-mange your account through the Account Settings menu. To access this menu, click into the profile silhoutette in the upper right corner of any Gliffy page, then Account Settings


You can also access this menu through "My Documents"


In the new tab that opens, click on the profile silhoutette, then Account Settings


At the Account Summary page, you can view your current account plan, expiration date, if you are linked to a Google Apps domain, and API information.

You can also Edit EmailEdit Password and change your Account Name.


Edit Email: 


Edit Password: 


Change Account Name: 


If you have a paid account with Gliffy, and you are an administrator, you also have menu options: Upgrade, Payment Info, Cancel Plan, Account History, Users

The Upgrade menu allows you to upgrade your plan to a higher, or lower, user count or plan.

The Payment Info menu allows you to update your credit card information for future billings from Gliffy.

The Cancel Plan menu allows you to end your Gliffy Online subscription. If you cancel your plan with Gliffy, your account will revert to basic, or close, at the end of the current subscription period.

The Account History menu allows you to view all previous transactions and print invoices directly from Gliffy. 



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Add/Remove Users

Gliffy also offers you the ability to Add or Remove users from the Account Settings menu if you are an administrator of the account and you have a multi-person plan. 



Users with Admin rights can add new users to the account by entering the email address of the personin the add box and clicking 'Add' button located on the right.  



Once a user is added they will be sent a welcome email to the email address entered. This welcome email will contain the account name, email address, and a temporary password (if the user is not already listed under another account).

Users with Admin rights can remove a user from the "Users" menu by clicking the "Remove" link and they will no longer have access to the account. 


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Admin Rights

Users with Admin rights can manage Admin rights for other users. From the Account Settings Menu, click on the Users area.  A box labeled 'Admin' will appear to the right of their name. By selecting the box, a checkmark will appear which indicates the user now has Admin rights. This can also be un-checked to remove Admin rights from a user. 

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Switch Accounts

Users who have multiple accounts under the same email can switch between accounts by clicking on My Documents then select the profile silhouette in the new tab to access the Switch Accounts menu. You can also change the default account you log into from this menu. 


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Google Drive

Gliffy is introducing the ability to save your diagram in a snap and take advantage of our new G-Drive integration by storing to your Google Drive account. Click on the Drive logo from your Document Manager


Once you click the Google Drive logo, another tab will open. If you are not logged in/don't have a Gmail account, it will ask you to either login or create an account. 


If you are logged in already to a Gmail account, it will ask you to allow Google and Gliffy Diagrams to access your information. Click on "Allow Access".

(Note: If you are logged into more than one Gmail account, it will ask you to choose which one you want to link it to) 


Once you click on "Allow access", you'll be taken to this screen: 


*Please note: Only users on Trial, Standard, or Pro accounts can link Gliffy up to Google Drive. If you are on a free, Basic plan, you will see the screen below. You would need to first upgrade your plan to link up Gliffy to Google Drive 


Clicking on "How to set up Gliffy with Google Drive" takes you to these instructions: 


  1. After installing Google Drive, go to
  2. On your Google Drive page, click the Settings icon (the one that looks like a gear) in the top right and then click "Manage Apps". 
  3. Scroll to Gliffy Diagrams in the popup that appears and make sure "Use by Default" is checked. That's it. You're all set to use Gliffy with Google Drive!


You can also link up Drive to your Gliffy Online account under Account Settings->Google Drive


If you are having trouble with your Drive integration, we would recommend coming here to verify you are linked up. You can also unlink then relink to reset the integration. 

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Using Google Drive with Gliffy

*Please note, if you are using the Google Drive integration you will need to use the Google Chrome Browser:

To create a new Gliffy diagram from Google Drive, click on the "Create" button in the sidebar of Google Drive and then click "Gliffy Diagram".


To open an existing diagram, just click on your Gliffy file listed in Google Drive. 

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Transferring diagrams between Gliffy Online and Drive

Any diagrams created in Gliffy Online will not automatically show up in Drive. Only diagrams created from Drive will appear in the Drive folder. You can start a diagram from by clicking Create->Gliffy Diagram:


From within Gliffy Online, you can start a Drive diagram by first clicking on the Drive folder, then Create->New Diagram:

If you do not click on the Drive folder first, it will not show in Drive. 


If you inadvertently created a diagram in Gliffy Online and want it to show in Drive, then you will need to transfer them by following these steps: 

1. Login to (not Drive)

2. Go to the diagram you want to move, then select File->Export as gliffy

3. File will download to your desktop. Make sure it has a .gliffy file extenstion and save it. 

4. Go to and click on Upload->Files

5. Select the .gliffy file from your desktop

6. Diagram should import and load. Be sure to name and save your diagram. Once saved, it will now show in Drive. 

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