FlowBreeze Features

Core Flowcharting Features

FlowBreeze offers three ways to automate creating flowcharts - Interactive Flowcharting, the Flowchart Wizard, and the Add Shapes / Add Connectors task panes. Interactive flowcharting operates in direct text-to-flowchart mode, while the wizard is optimal for text that can be converted in bulk. The wizard is well suited for linear flows, while interactive flowcharting is more adaptable. For even more flexibility, the task panes are handy for creating shapes and lines whenever you need them.

Feature Description
Interactive Flowcharting Interactive flowcharting is the primary method of creating flowcharts with FlowBreeze. Available on demand, you can Start a flowchart session, have FlowBreeze convert your text into a flowchart as you type, then Stop the flowchart session to resume normal worksheet operations.
Flowchart Wizard You can pre-layout flowchart content on a spreadsheet and convert the text into a flowchart with the Flowchart Wizard in a few quick steps. Like interactive flowcharting, the wizard formats the shapes, applies styles, and automatically routes connector lines. It can also detect hyperlinks and insert a link to a URL, an external document, or location within the file.
Shape & Connector Panels FlowBreeze has two task panes (side panels) used for adding shapes and lines. The task panes are used primarily when editing a flowchart and are a convenient way to add formatted shapes and lines.

Value Stream Mapping Features

Feature Description
VSM Symbols Task Pane Like the shape and connectors side panels, the value stream mapping symbol panel clicks you add shapes and arrows at the click of a button.
VSM Template Generator Create re-usable Excel templates containing core VSM symbols and a title block to jump start your value stream mapping efforts. The template generator lets you select preset title block headers and footers, as well as add common symbols such as supplier, customer, production control, and a variable number of process blocks and time lines.

Smart Symbol Creation

When FlowBreeze generates a symbol from text, it goes one step further and applies a set of rules to automate flowchart creation even further. The rules can be configured in the FlowBreeze Settings screen, and most of them apply to both the Flowchart Wizard and Interactive Flowcharting.

Feature Description
Keywords Assign keywords to generate specific flowchart symbols (e.g., you can map the word "wait" to the Delay symbol).
Prefixes Create prefixes that generate specified symbol types (e.g., you can set "doc:" to generate a Document symbol). Prefixes are useful when the flowchart shape's text does not contain a keyword and you want to force FlowBreeze to create a symbol type.
Special entries:
  • "?" - FlowBreeze generates a Decision shape for entries containing question marks (?).
  • ALL CAPS - FlowBreeze generates labeled nodes for entries containing one or two ALL CAPS characters, e.g., A, B, AA, B1.
  • Numbers - FlowBreeze generates Off-Page Connector nodes for numeric entries.

Add Flowchart Elements Quickly

Feature Description
Template Designer The Template Generator lets you create re-usable cross-functional (swim lane) outlines and title blocks.
Decision Labels Flowchart Decisions usually have two branches (e.g., Yes / No). You can set FlowBreeze to create preset branch labels next to Decisions whenever they are generated.
Borderless Labels If you want to add a label to the diagram, you can just type "lbl:" followed by the label contents.
Connector Lines FlowBreeze automatically adds a connector line (arrow) from the last shape when you add a new shape.
Insert Branches Easily insert branching structures (i.e., tree or org chart-like arrangements) with the Insert Branches tool.
Insert Group Box You can surround a group of shapes with a labeled Group Box to show that they are part of a related set of steps.
Insert Decision Blocks The Decision Blocks tool allows you to quickly create a series of Decisions, useful for decision support layouts and binary logic flows.
Symbol Key Generator After creating the flowchart, you can make a symbol key to identify the meanings of each of the flowchart symbols used in your diagram.

Automate Many Other Flowcharting Steps

Feature Description
Autosizes Symbols Symbols are created with a fixed width and the height is autosized based on the amount of text.
Aligns & Spaces Symbols New shapes are aligned and centered on the last shape, horizontally or vertically as appropriate.
Detects Flow Direction After you add a shape, FlowBreeze positions the cursor on the next cell, ready for your next entry.
Export As Image Saves the flowchart and / or worksheet content to an image files. Supports PNG, BMP, JPG, GIF, and TIF formats.
Export As HTML Generates a striped down HTML file containing an image of the flowchart.
Split Connectors Splits a connector line (arrow) into two lines ending in labeled nodes. Useful for lines that go from one part of the flowchart to another.
Extracts Text from Flowchart The Extract Text Tool takes all the text contained in the flowchart shapes and outputs it to the worksheet. Useful for creating tables of process metrics.
Hyperlink To Documents You can use the hyperlink tool to link a flowchart shape to documents, email addresses, web pages, and other parts of the same Excel workbook.
Shared Settings You can import and export the settings to standardize them across computers.
Link Text to Shape You can extract the text from the flowchart shapes and optionally link the text to the shape, allowing you to update the flowchart automatically when you change a cell's content..

Apply Formats and Styles with Ease

Feature Description
Automatic Styles You can set FlowBreeze to format different symbol types with different styles, with 84 preset styles to choose from.
Flowchart Editor Loads all the shapes on a sheet into an editor form that allows you to change the text, font, individual shape types, and styles. Upon applying the changes, it resizes the shapes if needed.
Automatic Capitalization For faster entry, FlowBreeze will apply sentence case capitalization to text during interactive flowcharting and when using the Flowchart Wizard.
Dashed Lines for Alternate Processes Connector lines in to and out of Alternate Process shapes can be set as dashed to highlight that they are not part of the normal flow of operations.
Apply Styles The Apply Styles button will re-format the entire flowchart in a single click, based on the styles you have chosen in the FlowBreeze Settings form.

Selection Tools

Feature Description
Selection Tool (Filtered) The FlowBreeze Shape Selection Tool allows you to filter your selection by shape type or select shapes individually.
Select All Select all the shapes in a single click.
Select Flowchart Shapes Select only the flowchart shapes in a single click.
Select Connector Lines Select only the connector lines in a single click.
Select Labels Select only the labels in a single click.

Improvements to Built-In Excel Drawing Features

Excel has a number of built-in tools for working with shapes, but FlowBreeze improves upon many of them to make their usage even more convenient.

Feature Description
Group All Shapes Groups all shapes into a single shape in a single click.
Ungroup All Shapes Ungroups all shapes in a single click.
Create Grid Resizes all columns, matching the row height, to create a grid for the drawing area.
Re-Align Shapes Augments the Excel snap to grid feature by re-aligning all existing shapes to the grid.
Straighten Connectors If an Excel elbow connector lies in a straight line, it will appear jagged. This tool converts "almost straight" elbow connectors to straight connectors.
Remove Line Shadow By default, Excel will add a shadow to medium and thick lines, which appear fuzzy when printed and are known to cause rendering problems. FlowBreeze removes this shadow.
Change Shape Type The built-in Excel tool to change shape type has a flaw. Any lines that were connected to a shape become unconnected after changing the shape type. The Flowchart Editor fixes this by re-attaching the connectors after the change.
Font Setting FlowBreeze lets you configure the default font for shapes, whereas the built-in Excel shape gallery will always set the font to the default Excel workbook font.

Leverage the Capabilities of Excel

While FlowBreeze improves upon the diagramming features of Excel, you can also leverage many of the built-in features as well.

Feature Description
Standard Excel File Format FlowBreeze flowcharts are saved as standard .xls /.xlsx file formats.
Anyone Can Edit Because FlowBreeze uses native Excel shapes, anyone with Excel can open and edit the flowchart.

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