Add labels to any type of diagram 17 Nov 2022


With, you aren’t just limited to flows, org charts, network or UML diagrams. You can use braces, brackets, connectors and partial rectangles to add neat labels to any type of diagram.
Label any diagram with bracket shapes and connectors

In this example diagram, the horse is an image on a background layer, locked to prevent changes. All the labels are on a second layer. The different types of labels we used in this diagram are described below.

Use connectors and text shapes: Normal straight connectors with arrow heads are connected to text shapes to point to specific parts.

Search for shapes: Use the Search Shapes text box to find a shape by its keyword. For example, searching for brace will return the vertical and horizontal Curly Brace shapes. Alternatively, the Curly Bracket shapes are in the Misc shape library.
Search for shapes to use as a label

Change the direction of the bracket: Select a bracket shape on the drawing canvas, and expand the Properties section in the Style tab of the format panel. Change the Direction from East to West.
Change the direction of a bracket shape in the shape Properties in the Style tab of the format panel

Change the text position: Select a shape and type to add a label. In the Text tab of the format panel, select a different Position from the drop down list. Offset the label’s position relative to the shape perimeter by changing the Spacing values at the bottom of the Text tab of the format panel.
Change the position of the label text relative to the shape itself in the Text tab of the format panel

Rotate and resize the shapes: Select a shape and drag the rotate handle in the top right, or change the Angle in the Arrange tab of the format panel. Drag the blue round handles positioned around the shape to resize it.
Drag the rotate handle on the shape or change the Angle in the Arrange tab of the format panel

Make a curved label: Use the Arc shape in the Basic shape library. Grab the orange diamond start and end of the arc to change how far around the circle it curves.
Use an arc shape with a center text label to indicate a curved surface

Show distance: Search for distance or use the Dimension shapes in the Floorplans shape library to indicate distances.
Use a crossbar or a dimension shape to indicate distances

View the labelled diagram of a horse in

Brackets and right-angled callouts

Partial rectangle shapes are in the Misc shape library (a sub-library of the General shape library), or the Basic shape library.

  • Resize the partial rectangle shape that is missing one side to make square brackets or to show distance/time. Alternatively, use the Annotation shape in the Flowchart shape library.

  • Resize the two-sided partial rectangle shape to make neat right-angled call-outs. Rotate the shape by 90 degrees, or flip it horizontally on the Arrange tab of the format panel.
    Build a timeline and note which teams are involved in each project phase with partial rectangle shapes and the tools on the Arrange tab of the format panel
    View this project timeline in

More examples of labelled diagrams

The following examples were drawn quickly in and labelled using the shapes explained above. You’ll see these types of diagrams commonly in textbooks in schools, universities and research institutions.
Use arc shapes to label angles
Open this prism figure in

The lens in the second example is constructed with two arc shapes, positioned so they look like they join, then grouped so they can be moved together. The center line is drawn using Waypoint shapes for the focal lengths and plain straight connectors.
Use distance shapes to note distances or regions
Open this focal length figure in

Tip: To copy labels with formatting such as those that contain superscript or subscript text, enable the Formatted Text checkbox in the Text tab of the format panel before you paste the label text. If you don’t, you will paste the HTML code as the label text.
Make sure you enable the _Formatted Text checkbox in the Text tab of the format panel before pasting the label text

More examples: Our large gallery of template and example diagrams contain many more labelled diagrams, organised by diagram type.

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