March 20th, 2020
Visual Workflows are a graphical method for configuring and sequencing steps in a process. Visual workflows offer screens for displaying and collecting information from the user running the flow. This type of workflow can be easily configured and can include process steps, confirmations and approvals, connections, action batches, and multiple paths. An additional benefit of the visual workflow functionality is that it can be easily configured to stop and wait for confirmation prior to continuing to the next step in the sequence.
Modeling and visualizing workflows is typically done in a web-based interface that allows the visual workflow designer to drag and drop workflow elements and sequence the process. Business rules can be incorporated, where necessary, when confirmation points are reached in the process.
Visual Workflows Tips & Tricks
When you are configuring a Visual Workflow, there are a few tips that will help you in your configuration. Upon creation, the Start and End elements are automatically added to the design canvas and are part of every visual workflow. They can be moved on the canvas as you see fit but cannot be deleted. To begin configuring your visual workflow, you will want to begin by dragging elements on to the design canvas and adding connector lines.
To connect two elements on the canvas, hover over the first element and click on one of the small dots that will appear. When the dot appears, your mouse cursor will change from a pointer to a hand. While continuing to hold the mouse button down, drag to the element that logically will run next.
A connector line will automatically appear and once the mouse button is released, the two elements are connected with an arrow indicating the flow direction. This creates a sequential process order for the visual workflow to run, following these connector arrows.
To bring the connector line to the appropriate side of the element, the line can be dropped into the white space and then the end moved to the correct side of the element, or the connector line can be attached to the element, then moved to the correct side of the element.
When connector lines are drawn from the left side of an element, it is best practice that it establishes a Yes or Approved path.
When they are drawn from the right side on the element, it is best practice that it represents a Not Approved or Reject path.
To remove an element, simply select it and press the delete key or the trash can icon in the Commands & Properties box.
To move the end of a connector line to another point in an element select the connector line, hover over the red diamond at the end of the line, click and drag to the preferred point in the element.
To move a corner of a connector line select it, hover over any of the corners, click and drag. Corners can be moved vertically.
To move a corner horizontally, click and drag the end of the connector line.
To move an element and its ends of the connector lines simply click and drag on the element.
To move a group of elements, first begin by drawing a selection box around the elements. To do this, click and hold the mouse button, then drag to draw a box around the elements you want selected. You can also hold CTRL and click each element to select the group.
When the mouse button is released the elements will be selected and then they can be dragged to the desired location. When moving elements, you want to have the mouse arrow icon, not the hand icon.
It is also possible to copy and paste a workflow to save configuration time. When copying and pasting a workflow it must be done in the same browser tab. Select the group of elements, Copy or CTRL+C.
Open the workflow to be copied into. In the white space of the canvas, right-click and select Paste or CTRL+V.
Once the Paste has been done, all components of the copied workflow will be selected. From there you can move the selection by clicking and dragging (arrow, not hand) to the desired location.
Visual Workflows are a valuable tool for providing information visually for users. They can be challenging to configure, but with practice and some tips and tricks, they become a foundation for better information exchange, easier near- and long-term planning, and an overall more productive and effective team.