Layers, Links, and Hotspots

With its page views and tiling options, Lucidchart provides a flexible workspace that accommodates a variety of creation styles and needs. Layers provide an additional way for users to build out and organize the contents of their documents.

Read on to learn how to use layers to optimize your Lucidchart creations.

The Layers Panel
You can create and manage layers in the layers panel to the right of your canvas, which you can access by clicking layers_button.png in the right bar. The layers of your document will appear as stacked tiles. Even if you have not created any layers in your document, you will see a tile representing your page layer.

layers_panel_1.png

Note: Layers do not carry over from one page view to another. When you switch between page views of your document, the contents of your layers panel will change.

Enter and Edit Layers
Enter a layer’s editing mode by selecting the corresponding tile or double clicking on an object in the layer. The tile will turn blue and a blue rectangle will appear around the layer’s contents. You can only edit the contents of one layer at a time, so when you enter a layer, the contents of all other layers will be greyed out.

enter_and_edit_layers.gif

To exit editing mode of a layer and return to the page layer, click on the page layer tile or double click anywhere on the canvas outside of the layer you are editing.

When you are in the page layer, the contents of other layers will act like grouped shapes that you can edit holistically. When you click once on an object in another layer, a blue rectangle will appear around all of that layer’s contents and the edge of the layer’s tile will turn blue. You can then move, resize, or apply stylistic changes to the group.

edit_layers_as_grouped_shapes.gif

Move/Copy Objects to Layer
To move or copy objects from one layer to another, right click on the object(s), navigate to “move to layer” or “copy to layer,” and select the layer to which you would like to add the objects to.

move_or_copy_to_layer.png

Create Layers
To create a layer, click add_a_layer.png at the top of the layers panel. Provide a name for the layer by typing over the default New Layer text.

create_a_layer.gif

Rename, Duplicate, and Delete Layers
Hover over a layer’s tile and click pen_icon.png to pull up options to rename, duplicate, or delete the layer.

rename__duplicate__or_delete_a_layer.png

Deleting a layer will delete all of that layer’s contents from your document, and duplicating a layer will copy all of its contents into the new layer.

Reorder Layers
The order of the stacked tiles in the layers panel corresponds to how content is stacked on the canvas. The contents of the page layer will always be at the base of your document, but you can easily rearrange the order of the other layers’ content by dragging and dropping their corresponding tiles to new positions in the stack.

reorder_layers.gif

Lock and Hide Layers
The buttons to the left of a layer’s name allow you to control the visibility and editability of the layer.

lock_and_hide_buttons.png

By default, every new layer you create will be unlocked and visible, and these icons will be grey. When you click eye_icon.png to hide a layer or lock_icon.png to lock a layer, the corresponding icon will turn blue.

Note: You cannot edit a locked layer. If you are in editing mode of a layer and click lock_icon.png, you will automatically be pushed into the page layer, which is not lockable.

Sync Visibility
Notice the words “sync visibility” at the top right of your layers panel.

sync_visibility_grey.png

If you alter the visibility of a layer, these words will turn blue, indicating that the visibility settings of your layers have not been pushed to published or future printed/downloaded versions of your document. Click sync_visibility_blue.png to apply your visibility settings to all document versions. The button will turn grey when the settings are synced.
In the PDF download dialog, notice the option to “include layers.”

include_layers.png

Selecting this option will break up your document into different pages that each correspond with a different layer. The first page of the PDF will contain any content that is on the page layer of the document. This page level content will also be visible on every subsequent layer page.

Note: Your visibility settings will not affect a layered PDF. If you do not opt to include layers, Lucidchart will generate a PDF that is based on the last synced visibility settings.
Add interactivity to your documents by using layers in conjunction with hotspots. To link an object to a layer with a hotspot, follow these steps:
  1. Add a hotspot to an object by dragging it from the shape library or by selecting “add hotspot” from the right-click menu.

    hotspot_in_shape_library.png

    right-click_to_add_hotspot.png

  2. Click gear_icon.png to the top right of the hotspot to open the actions popup.
  3. Click choose_an_action.png and select one of the following:

    • Toggle Layers (hide/show layer content like a light switch)
    • Show Layers (make layer content visible)
    • Hide Layers (make layer content invisibile)
  4. Select the layer(s) to which you would like to link your object.

    pick_layers_to_link.png

  5. Click done_button.png. Your layer is now linked!
After linking an object to a layer, you can perform the hotspot’s corresponding action (hide, show, or toggle) in the editor by pressing command + shift and then clicking on the object. If you are in present mode or the published document viewer, you can trigger the action by simply clicking the linked object.

Links can connect to another page within the document, an external page, or an email prompt. Follow these steps to create a simple link:

  1. Highlight the text or select the object you want to turn into a link.
  2. Click on the link icon in the Options bar. Chain Link Symbol
  3. A window will appear with the option to select a link action. Choose “Link to Page,” “External Link,” or “Link to Email.” Follow the prompt and add the URL or email address you want to link to.
  4. Click “Done.”

If you hover over the linked object or text, a tool tip appears, suggesting that you hold Shift+Ctrl (Shift+Command for Mac). When you follow that suggestion, you’ll notice that linked objects glow green. Click the object to initiate the action.

Once a link is connected to an object, just right-click the object to change the link. You can also click the link icon again to edit it.

A hotspot is a designated area of the canvas that performs an action when selected in presentation mode or a published diagram. In advanced diagrams like mockups and wireframes, hotspots are used to create interaction; for example, clicking a button can hide or show the specified layers.

Hotspots offer three simple linking actions (the same as the links in the Properties bar) and three premium actions that work with layers.

Follow these simple steps to create a hotspot and assign an action to it:

  1. Drag and drop the green hotspot shape from the standard shape library onto the selected object, OR right-click on an object and select “Add Hotspot.”

    Add a Hotspot
  2. Click on the drop-down menu.
  3. Select one of the six actions. Decide what you want the hotspot to do. Do you want it to show a layer all the time? Hide a layer like an “off” button? Toggle a layer like a light switch?

    Hotspot Menu
  4. If you’ve chosen a link option, enter the required information and click “Done.” If you’ve chosen an action that works with layers, you’ll need to select a layer on which the hotspot will act.
  5. If you have not created a layer yet…
    • Type a title for the layer into the “Create New Layer” field.
    • Click the [+] sign to create the layer.
    • Select the layer from the list, and click “Done.”

Note: You can select multiple layers for a single action by holding the Ctrl key (Command for Mac). To change an action, just double-click on the hotspot, which will open the action box.