Lucidchart Basics: Work with Shapes on the Canvas

Lucidchart's drag and drop interface and simple styling tools make it easy for you to build beautiful diagrams from scratch. Whether you are looking for shape styling basics or more advanced tips and tricks, this article will teach you how to work with shapes in the Lucidchart editor so that you can build beautiful visuals to match your specific needs.  

For information on how to use shape libraries to organize your shapes, please see the Create and Manage Shape Libraries article.

How do I change the style of a shape?
You can customize a shape's style by selecting it and modifying the settings in the properties bar at the top of the editor. See the "Shape Styling Basics" section below for more information about shape styling.

How do I change the default style for new shapes added to my canvas?
If you would like to change the default properties applied to new shapes added to your canvas, un-select any selected objects by clicking anywhere on your canvas and then change the style settings. Any new shapes added to the document will display this custom style.

Can I change a shape on my canvas to a different shape while retaining its style properties?
Yes! You can change a shape on your canvas to another shape in the same shape library. To do this, right-click on the shape and select "Change Shape." Choose the new shape from the menu that appears.

Can I apply the style properties of one shape to another shape on the canvas?
Yup! To apply the style of one shape to anohter, right-click the first shape and select "Copy Style." Then right-click the second shape and select "Paste Style."

How do I lock down a shape's properties to prevent further modification?
To lock down a shape's position, size, and style, select the shape and click the lock Screen_Shot_2019-03-25_at_3.46.05_PM.png icon in the properties bar OR right-click on the shape and select "Lock" from the dropdown menu.

How can I remove a border from a shape?
You can remove a shape's border by making it transparent. To do so, select the shape, click the Line Color Screen_Shot_2019-03-25_at_2.27.52_PM.png icon in the Properties bar, and click on the top left color swatch.
There are several ways you can add a shape to your canvas.
  • Drag a shape from one of the shape libraries in your toolbox and drop it onto the canvas.

    add_a_shape.gif
  • Drag a line from a shape that is already on your canvas and select a new shape from the auto-prompt menu.

    drag_a_line_from_a_shape.gif
  • Upload a shape from your device.
After adding a shape to your diagram, you can move, resize and rotate it directly on the canvas or in the Shape Options menu Screen_Shot_2019-03-25_at_10.41.02_AM.png of the properties bar.

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To move a shape, simply drag it with your cursor or select it and move it using your arrow keys. Hold down "Shift" while using your arrow keys to move your shape in smaller increments.

To resize a shape, select it and drag one of the blue squares along its border. Hold down "shift" to maintain the shape's dimensions while resizing.

resize_shape.gif

To rotate a shape, select it and drag it clockwise or counter-clockwise using the handle in the top left corner of its border.

rotate_a_shape.gif
Shape Fill
To add a fill color to a shape, select the shape, click the Fill Color Screen_Shot_2019-03-25_at_2.23.17_PM.png icon, and select one of the color swatches.

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If you do not see a color that you want, you can click the color wheel Screen_Shot_2019-03-22_at_4.43.18_PM.png and manually pick a color by adjusting the HSB and RGBA values in your color space, or by typing the hexidecimal code of the color you desire into the text box next to the # symbol.

To match your shape's color to an exisitng color on your canvas, click the wand Screen_Shot_2019-03-22_at_4.41.10_PM.png and then click the object to which you want to match. Adjust the opacity of the shape fill by sliding the blue dot along the opacity bar or adjusting the value to its right.

Border Color, Style, and Thickness
To modify a shape's border color, select the shape, click the Line Color Screen_Shot_2019-03-25_at_2.27.52_PM.png icon, and select one of the color swatches.

Use the Line Style Screen_Shot_2019-03-25_at_4.37.47_PM.png and Line Width Screen_Shot_2019-03-25_at_4.37.53_PM.png menus to the right to modify the border style and thickness.

Screen_Shot_2019-03-25_at_4.33.00_PM.pngScreen_Shot_2019-03-25_at_4.40.09_PM.png

Shadow
To add a shadow to a shape, select the shape and and then click the Shape Options Screen_Shot_2019-03-25_at_10.41.02_AM.png icon. Click "Shadow" at the bottom and then toggle the shadow option from off to on. You can then adjust the shadow's distance from the object, blur, color, and angle with the surrounding settings.

Screen_Shot_2019-03-25_at_3.37.29_PM.pngScreen_Shot_2019-03-25_at_3.36.48_PM.png

Roundedness
To round the corners of a shape, select the shape and then click the Shape Options Screen_Shot_2019-03-25_at_10.41.02_AM.png icon. Toggle the arrows or type a pixel value in the "rounded" box at the bottom.

Screen_Shot_2019-03-25_at_3.38.50_PM.png
In addition to solid colors, you can fill a shape with a color gradient or an image. You can find these options by clicking "More" at the bottom of the Fill Color Screen_Shot_2019-03-25_at_2.23.17_PM.png window.

You can add more color stops to your gradient by clicking on the color bar. You can move these stops by dragging them and change their color by clicking on them and selecting a new color swatch. You can also adjust the angle and radius of the gradient with the options below the color bar.

Adjust the scale of an image with the "image scale" menu. You can also adjust the saturation, contrast, and brightness of the image by clicking the "effects" icon. Click the "crop" icon to crop the image.
In addition to the basic shape styling options described above, here are some advanced ways to use Lucidchart to create custom shapes.

Group Multiple Shapes into One
You can combine two or more shapes into one by selecting them, right-clicking on the selection box, and then selecting "Group."

Link Data to Custom Shapes
Want to link data to custom shapes? You can find instructions on how to create custom shapes in the Link Lucidchart Diagrams to Spreadsheet Data article.

Modify the Flex Polygon You can create a custom shape using the Flex Polygon, which you can find under "Shapes" in your toolbox.

FlexPolygonShapeLibrary.pngFlexPolygonShape.png

You can adjust the shape of your Flex Polygon by dragging the purple squares along the edge of the shape.

ResizeFlexPolygon.png
The new Dynamic Shapes shape library allows you use data to dictate the display of your shapes. Please see the Visualize Data with Dynamic Shapes article for more informaiton!

Dynamic_Shapes_2.jpg

There are many creative ways to customize shapes in Lucidchart. April, a medical student, modifies Lucidchart shapes to make representations of cells and other medical concepts to learn her course material.

Here is a cluster of antibodies that she created.

antibody-clusters-made-in-lucidchart.png

To make it yourself, follow these steps:
  1. Drag out a basic circle and resize it to form an oval
  2. Increase the border thickness and add a fill color
  3. Duplicate the shape by holding down alt which clicking and dragging
  4. Group the duplicated shapes together
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 as many times as needed
See this blog post to learn more about April's story!

Related Articles
Access More Shapes
Style a Shape
Import and Manage Images
Collaborate and Share