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How to view and update flow shape properties without using Visio


You can use the flow shape viewer feature in the Diagram tab on a flow rule to quickly review and modify rules and properties that comprise the flow without affecting the process diagram itself. In addition, team members who do not have Visio on their desktops can take advantage of this functionality.

This article describes how to use flow shape viewer.

Suggested Approach

The viewer enables you to:

  • Navigate to rules referenced by a shape
  • Edit the shape's flow properties

You can use the viewer with these flow shapes:

  • Assignment (flow action connectors are accessed in this shape)
  • AssignmentService
  • Decision
  • Integrator
  • Notify
  • Router
  • Spinoff
  • SplitForEach
  • Flow (subprocess)
  • Utility

Using the shape viewer

The following example illustrates how you use the viewer to open rules associated with a shape, and to open the shape's properties panel.

  1. Open a flow rule.
  2. On the Diagram tab, select and right-click a flow shape. The shape viewer appears. In addition, a golden arrow points to the selected shape as shown here:

You use the View tab to open referenced rules, and use the Edit tab to modify shape properties.
    1. To open a referenced rule instance, click its link on the View tab. For example, clicking on Perform opens the harness rule used in the assignment.

Note: You open flow action rules leaving an assignment by clicking the Flow Action links on the assignment shape viewer as shown above.

If you modify and save the rule, the shape uses the updated rule when you execute the flow. You do not have to save the flow rule for your updates to take effect.

  1. Return to the flow diagram. To open the shape's properties panel, click the Edit tab on the shape viewer. The panel, which is the same one used in the Visio editor, appears. Here is an example:

  1. Review the panel information and modify it if necessary. You cannot modify the shape name.
  2. Click Apply to keep your updates and leave the viewer open. Alternatively, click OKto apply your updates and close the viewer.

    You can only use the viewer with one shape at a time. That is, if the viewer is open and you right-click on another shape, the original viewer closes and a new one opens. The original updates are automatically applied.

  3. Save the flow rule when you are finished with your design session. When you save, any changes in an open viewer are applied.

    To cancel your changes, exit without saving. A warning message appears indicating that there is changed data (assuming that the Exit warning is set in General Preferences).

More about the shape viewer

As you work with the viewer, note the following:

  • You can move the viewer to any position on the flow diagram. Click the the pin icon () to anchor it. The viewer remains open in that position and updates are applied each time you right-click on another shape. To close the viewer, unpin it in order to display the OK button or use the exit icon ( ).
  • You can work concurrently with other flow rules using a viewer in each diagram. Switching between rules does not apply viewer updates.
  • You cannot open a viewer on an unconnected shape (grayed out).
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