Forums/General Tutorials/Getting started

Get started with the Lucidchart editor

Brett B
posted this on May 24, 2013 03:08 PM

The editor is where the magic happens. This tutorial explains the basic components of what you see when you open a document -- the canvas, Menu bar, Properties bar, Toolbox, Dock, and Page controls.

 


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1. Canvas

The canvas is the heart of the editor. You can:

  • Resize the canvas to accommodate large and small diagrams

  • Format dimensions, orientation, and margins of each Page or the whole document

  • Toggle the grid on/off

  • Customize grid and content size settings for additional precision when placing small objects (think a child’s color by number v.s. a professional artist’s rendition)

  • Right click and hold to drag the canvas to the left or right.

2. Menu bar

Located at the top of the editor under the document title, the menu bar:

  • Provides access to common actions within the editor and options for importing, exporting, and sharing your work.

  • Displays keyboard shortcuts, known as hotkeys, for actions within each drop-down menu.

  • “Help” provides access to our in-editor Tutorials, and links to the Help Center (where you came for this tutorial!) where you can find Forums, Tutorials, Troubleshooting, and Feature Requests.

3. Properties bar

Located along the top of the editor under the Page tabs, the Properties bar allows you to quickly change the simpler characteristics of theme, text, and objects when selected appropriately:

  • Themes (contain predefined styles for your diagram, including fill and border color, line style, text style, font, drop shadow, and color palettes)

  • Text (font, size, color, styling, format, spacing)

  • Lines (thickness, color, linetype, curvature, arrow type)

  • Shapes (shape color, border color, border thickness)

4. Toolbox

Located to the left of the Canvas, the Toolbox stores all of your shapes libraries. The standard shape library stays pinned to the toolbox with a transparent text box, text block, note, and hotspot, but you can hide/show the Toolbox under “View” in the Menu bar, and load different categories of shapes with the 'More Shapes' button at the bottom of the Toolbox. You can also:

  • Upload your own images to include in your diagrams.

  • Customize advanced shapes (BPMN, swimlane, org chart, and so on) through a context panel that will appear on the canvas when the item is dragged.

  • Import Microsoft Visio Stencils to include in your diagrams (only available to Pro and Team accounts).

Note: Free accounts cannot access mindmap, wireframing, and mockup shapes. Basic paid accounts do have access to mindmap shapes.

5. Dock

On the right side of the editor, you'll see a dock with the following essential features:

  • Navigation panel - Move around your document with the thumbnail view, and zoom in or out (also see F1 for hotkeys)

  • Graphic panel - Style and color objects and lines, and fill shapes with gradient or image.  In contrast to the properties bar across the top of the editor, the graphics panel allows for a greater variety of edits over elements of the charts.

  • Metric panel - View and modify current position and size of objects with pixel-perfect control.

  • Text panel - Modify indentation and spacing within lines of text.

  • Page Settings panel - View and change size, margins and orientation of page. Change snap to grid preferences and the size of objects in relation to the page. Auto-paginate adds a page when objects move off the existing page.

  • Master Pages panel - Create master page to duplicate design across multiple pages. Master pages can create an effect similar to templates or headers/footers. Interactivity placed on Master pages will not apply to other pages.

  • History panel - See the history of your document and revert to a previous version.

  • Layers panel - Create layers to add interaction and responsive content. Use Demo Mode to view the document in its interactive state.

Click once to open a dock panel, and once more to close it. You can drag panels away from the dock and pin them around your workspace.

6. Page controls

On the top-right side of the editor, you will find Page controls where you can easily manage your pages.

  • Add pages with the + button and delete pages by clicking the X on each page tab.

  • Scroll through pages using the arrows or select a specific page with the drop-down arrow.

  • Drag and drop page tabs to change the order in which they appear.

Related Tutorials

Start drawing

Managing pages

Create a new document

 
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