Using Diagramming Software to Create Flowcharts, ERDs, and Networking Diagrams


For this example, we are going to use Gliffy which can be found at http://www.gliffy.com. This is a web based application and thus is available for any PC or Mac to access. There are two versions of Gliffy: Basic and Premium. The Basic version is more than adequate for completion of the assignments in the Computer Concepts classes. It will allow you to save 5 public diagrams (these are saved in the Gliffy system, not your PC) and export diagrams as JPEG or PNG images to your PC. Premium (annual subscription of $30) allows for unlimited diagrams, larger file uploads and addition of shapes.

Note: Gliffy is going to work much better if you use a standard browser such as Firefox or Internet Explorer. I could not get all of the tools to work in Safari.

Getting Started

  1. Go to the Gliffy site by clicking this Gliffy link.

    Gliffy1

  2. Click on the Pricing & Sign Up button.
  3. Review the Basic and Premium offerings and click on a Sign Up button of choice (the Basic option is adequate for this class and is free; if you sign up for the Premium plan, be prepared to pay $30).

    Gliffy2

  4. Click the Sign up tab.

    Gliffy3

  5. Type in your email address twice and a password twice, click the box that you agree to the Terms of Service, if you agree, then click the sign up button. The next time that you access Gliffy, you would click the Log in tab and log into it.

    Gliffy4
  6. Type in a name for your first document and click the OK button.

    Gliffy5

  7. You are now ready to create your first diagram.

Creating a Flowchart

  1. In the left-hand pane, click the Flow Chart button.

    Gliffy6

  2. This will cause the Flow Chart shapes to appear as presented below:

    Gliffy7

    Use the scroll bar to see all shapes.

  3. To start the flowchart shown below,


    a4flow

    click on the Start/End shape, hold down the mouse button, and drag it to the work area (you will need to scroll down to locate this shape).

    Gliffy8

  4. Click on and drag the Input/Output shape to the workarea.

    Gliffy9

  5. Click on and drag the Decision shape to the workarea.
    Gliffy10

  6. NOTE: When you first drag a shape to the work area, it will have handles around it. Use these handles to re-size and re-shape the shape.

    Gliffy11

  7. To create connectors, either use the line tool at the top of the screen in the Create area or click on the UML button in the left-hand pane and click the Message shape. Drag it onto your workarea. Use the shape handles to rotate and resize the shape.

    Gliffy12

  8. Click on the Text Tool in the Create area to add text to your diagram. Click the Text tool, then click where you want to type text. Move the text by selecting it and moving with mouse.

    Gliffy13

  9. You should be able to do the rest of the flowchart.
  10. Click File and Save or Save As to save your diagram. It will be saved in Gliffy, not to your PC.
  11. Click File and Export as PNG to Export your diagram image to your PC.

    Gliffy17

  12. Select Save to Disk, then click OK. Your image will automatically be downloaded to your desktop.

    Gliffy18

    Gliffy28 You should see an ICON like this on your desktop.

Creating an ERD

Go to the Gliffy site and logon. Start a New document. The following ERD will be made.

erd14a

  1. In the left-hand pane, click on the Entity-Relationship button
  2. Click on the Entity shape, hold down the mouse and drag it to the workarea.

    Gliffy19

  3. Drag a Relation shape to the workarea, then drag another Entity to the workarea.
  4. Drag the One Mandatory shape onto the workarea. Click the mouse on the handle at the open end of the shape, hold down the mouse and drag to the left-connector on the Relationship shape.
  5. Click the mouse on the handle of the One Mandatory end of the shape, hold down the mouse and drag to the right-connector of the Entity shape. If the other end does not follow to the left connector on the Relation shape, click on the open end of the connector and drag it to the left connector of the Relation shape.

    Gliffy21

  6. Drag the 1 to Many shape to the workarea. Line up the shape between the relation shape and the entity shape and use the handles to re-size it.

    Gliffy23
  7. Use the Text Tool to type text onto the diagram. Click the Text Tool, then click where you want to type the text. Use the Pointer tool to select the text and move it, rotate it or resize it.

    Gliffy24

    Gliffy25

  8. Click File and select Export as PNG.
  9. Select Save to Disk, then click OK.
  10. The image will be downloaded to your desktop.

    Gliffy29

Creating a Network Diagram

Go to the Gliffy web site and log on. We will make the following Network diagram.

network4

  1. In the left-hand pane, click on the Network button, then select Home Network from the pull-down.
  2. Drag the following shapes onto the workarea:

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  1. Select each and re-size and move to a desired location.
  2. Click the Connector Tool to select it then create the needed connectors in the workarea.
  3. Use the Text Tool to type text onto the diagram. Click the Text Tool, then click where you want to type the text. Use the Pointer tool to select the text and move it, rotate it or resize it.
  4. Click File and select Export as PNG.
  5. Select Save to Disk, then click OK.
  6. The image will be downloaded to your desktop.

    Gliffy31

Now that you have used the Gliffy diagramming program to create flowcharts, ERDs and network diagrams, you should be able to use any diagramming program. They are all very similar and have the same concepts. Some might have more or fewer functions or more or fewer shapes, but they all work pretty much the same way.


Susan Norris ©, Last Updated 2008-5-30