Layers, Links, and Hotspots

Make your diagram more interactive with links, layers, and hotspots.

Layers separate elements in a diagram so you can show, hide, or lock those elements. Layers allow you to add complexity and interactivity to diagrams, whether you need to demonstrate how your application functions or finally prove to your supervisor that your recommendations could simplify a work process.

To add a layer, follow these steps:

  1. Click “Layers” in the Dock on the right-hand side of the editor.
  2. Choose “+ Layer.”
  3. Type a title for the layer. If you want to change the title at any time, right-click on the current title or click the pen icon, and select “Rename.”

To add existing shapes to a layer, right-click on a shape and choose “Move to Layer.” To add new shapes, double-click on a layer and drag shapes from your shape libraries onto the canvas.

From the Layers panel, double-click on a layer to edit it. The layer title will be highlighted, and you’ll also see a breadcrumb at the top of the editor that indicates which layer you’re in.

If you click on a layer on the canvas that you aren’t currently editing, you’ll see a bounding box around all objects on that layer (see image below), and you can only move objects in the layer as a whole. If you double-click that layer, you will enable editing abilities.

Layers Panel

To hide or view a layer, click the eye icon next to the layer of your choice. Remember, if you use the quick preview hotkey (Ctrl+Shift or Command+Shift) and click on a hotspot, the eye will be temporarily unsynced.

Hide and Show layers gif

Tired of collaborators editing your diagram when they shouldn’t be? We don’t blame you. Locking a layer will freeze all objects on the layer so users will no longer be able to edit the layer.

Simply click the lock icon next to the desired layer in the Layers panel. To lock individual objects within a layer, click the objects you would like to lock, right-click, and select “Lock.”

Duplicating a layer will create a copy in the same place as the original layer. To duplicate a layer, right-click or choose the pen icon, and select “Duplicate.”

Click and drag the layer titles in the Layers menu to reorder layers.

You can select objects from the document and move them to a specific layer of your choice. To move objects, right-click and select “Move to Layer.” Then choose the destination layer.

To copy objects to a layer of your choice, select the object(s) from the page or the layer you’re currently editing. Right-click, select “Copy to Layer,” and choose the destination layer.

This feature establishes the default view for users who access a published webpage version of the diagram.

Click the eye icon of each layer until the page looks the way it should appear when it’s published. Click the Sync Visibility icon. When the icon is grayed out, syncing is complete. When you update your diagram, the webpage will also be updated.

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.