Select Blank Diagram from the Popular Templates category.
The blank diagram is unique among SmartDraw's offering. It has no diagram specific presets. Instead of using the intelligent formatting engine to help you build diagrams automatically, it offers a flexible drawing style similar to Visio and Lucidchart.
Even a Blank Diagram has a basic SmartPanel docked to the left of your drawing area.
Here, you'll have access to a basic set of symbols like rectangles used to make common process related diagrams.
To add a shape, simply drag it from the library. You'll notice that instead of the yellow arrow shaped SmartAction Buttons that appear in other templates like flowcharts, this shape has yellow circles around it. These are still called SmartAction buttons, but in this template they'll behave differently.
Move your cursor over one of the yellow circles and you'll see it turn into a pencil. You can now draw a line connected from that shape to any distance and direction. When you let go of the mouse, you'll see a pop up of common shapes you can choose to attach to the end of your line. This is flexible drawing that still gives you some automation to make creating a diagram easier without locking you into a rigid automatic connector line.
The SmartPanel for this diagram will also let you pick a line type, draw it and set the style of line hops you want to use when lines cross.
Here are what all the different line types look like:
You can learn more about line types in this article.
Set Line Hops
You can also define what your line hops should look like. Line hops occur when two lines cross each other in the drawing. You can turn them off or change how they look using this dialog:
Swim lanes can help divide process steps into categories to help distinguish which departments or employees are responsible for each set of actions.
These lanes are columns or rows that keep actions visually separated from others.
You can use the SmartPanel to add a column or row structure for swimlanes.
Lanes as columns:
Lanes as rows:
You can use the buttons below the column or row choices to add and remove lanes as necessary.
To add a lane to the right of or below the currently selected lane, click the "Add Lane" button.
To remove a lane, click in the lane you want to remove the click the "Remove Lane" button.
Turning the SmartAction Buttons Off
If you don't want to see the yellow circles to automatically draw lines and attach new shapes to existing shapes, you can turn them off at the bottom of the SmartPanel.