Using SDraw – Tips &Tricks

Your first Diagram

As you start a new drawing, the first step should be to define default values in the menu PREFERENCES.
These default values can be saved for your convenience so that they don´t have to be entered each time when a new flow diagram is created.
After this first step, the components – which can also be saved in catalogs – have to be defined and entered.
It is possible to define the components in different measures (e.g.: kg and tons), which can be scaled in order to compare the flows.
Drawing elements (nodes, streams, text,…) are inserted by using the menu command INSERT or its counterpart from the toolbar. The respective element is held active until you press the right mouse button or ESC. To change the properties of an element simply double click it! If it is a stream you can also add the components to it by the means of this dialog.

Everyday Time-Savers

This list of keyboard shortcuts aim to make the drawing process easier:

ALT + 2 Zoom: 20%
ALT + 4 Zoom: 40%
Ctrl + A Standard View
Ctrl + C Edit: Copy
Ctrl + D Edit: Redraw
Ctrl + F Zoom: Marked Window
Ctrl + K Combine to Compressed Node
Ctrl + L Combine to Compressed Node
Ctrl + N File: Open a new diagram
Ctrl + O File: Open
Ctrl + P File: Print
Ctrl + S File: Save As
Ctrl + V Insert
Ctrl + W View All
Ctrl + X Cut
Ctrl + Z Undo


Filter Functions

SDraw offers the ability to filter (display or hide) components or dimensions.
Sometimes it might be useful to create a Sankey diagram that holds all the flow values of every component in the process, but for analyzing purposes only key components should be visible.
With SDraw you do not have to draw a new diagram, you just choose the list of components to hide out of your component catalogue.
Remeber: A component can be anything you assign it to be – it can be matter, energy, money, network traffic (e.g. UDP), anything you want to display can be generated!
Another goodie is the ability to size components in relation to each other.

Align Shapes

Nodes: Just drag the shapes across the drawing area.
Streams: They are usually connected to the nodes – so if you change the position of the node, streams will get a new routing according to the options you set. To generate a different routing mark the stream and drag the corner-points to the new position.

Change node formats

You have several options to change the format of a node by choosing from a list of options. Just double click the node and enter the desired values.
These values can be the representation of the node (rectangle, arrow, circle) or the minimal values for those.

Change the Alignment of Text

Just drag the text to the new position – it will stay in this relative position even if you move its object ((node, stream).

Convert a Logo to a Reusable Shape

In order to use your logo (or any other picture) on your diagram you have to convert it into the BMP-format. Then import te bitmap under File:import:bitmap.

Create Flexible Diagrams

Flexible diagrams or templates are created the same way as normal diagrams. You enter your component information and position the nodes and streams across the drawing area.
Make sure components are assigned to streams and export the drawing as dbf-file.
You have several ways of entering flow values now. Either by the standard procedure in SDraw or by importing this dbf-file into another application and changing the flow values there. Those values can be reimported into SDraw and such draw a picture of your process as it is represented by the flow values.

Duplicate Object Formatting

You can duplicate the behavior of a stream or node. Mark the object and copy it. After inserting it, the new object holds all features of the copied object.
If you change the options for an object, SDraw will ask you wether or not you would like to transfor the changes over to other objects as well.

Group Shapes as One Unit

SDraw offers the ability to combine nodes and streams to compressed nodes and streams. This is used to shift from a higher detail level to a better overview in complicated processes.
Note: You can compress streams that flow between the same nodes (e.g. if you were drawing a single stream for every component between 2 nodes)

How to Export/Import Data

SDraw offers you the possibility to export flow values into dBase compatible files. These flow values can be changed by other applications and used to update a diagram by importing it back into SDraw.
NOTE: Only the flow values can be changed, it is not possible to create a new diagram or add new objects to a diagram using this function.

How to Export/Import Graphic Files

There are different ways to create graphic files. You can either copy the graphic to the clipboard and paste it into another application, or export files formatted as png, jpg, bmp and wmf direct from SDraw.

Picture Your Processes with SDraw Flowcharts

Create diagrams with result in mind. If you want to create a simple diagram it is enough to add one component to your component catalogue. If you want to perform component tracing, you have to add a list of components that are assigned to the various streams according to their occurence.
The next step would be to establish the interconnectivity of your process. Draw as many nodes as you need for your abstraction and connect those nodes with streams. Add components to the stream and assign flow values to these components. That is it – you are done.

Reposition Shape Text

You can reposition any text that is displayed with objects or shapes. Just drag the text to the new position, it will remain its relative coordinates to the object even if you move that object.

Resize a Drawing Page

Resize the drawing page to any standard paper size by choosing Preferences/Graphic/Paper size.
Paper sizes are ‘hardwired’ to standard paper sizes e.g.: A3 for European papers and letter, legal for US standards.
If you print the drawing will be automatically resized to the current printer settings.

Working with Data

You have the ability to change the flow rates of components used in your diagram by updating those with another application and importing the data set into SDraw. By this way you can generate quasi-templates of your process and feed live data into the diagram.
Of course we meet certain limitations on allowing that due to the complex structure of the data within a diagram. You can not add new objects or flow components to the diagram, every object you want to work on has to be already included in the template.
If you have certain requirements to the interface we would gladly hear from them.

Working with Graphics

SDraw exports diagrams as griphic files using several mechanisms:
One is to port the graphics over the Windows Clipboard and insert it into another application, the other is to export diagrams in certain graphic formats like JPG, BMP, PNG, WMF and EPS.
You can insert those graphic files into any application that supports any of these formats and so create your presentation.


When we speak of Sankey diagrams we use the following naming convention:

Are the sources and targets of of flows.

Sometimes referred to as edges, are the connections between nodes.

Are the carriers of the flows and can represent anything like, for example water, carbon dioxide, energy in any form, money, …

Anything can be a component in any form, In SDraw you can even apply factors that scale one component to the other. You can work on different units then, like 1 [g] of a substance would automatically translate to 1000 [mg], or 1 USD would automatically be calculated to EURO by simply multiplying with the provided factor.

Component filters:
Are used to selectively display certain flow components in a diagram. This is especially useful for component tracing, when only a certain component in the system might be interesting for a certain task (e.g. water distribution).

Unit filter:
The same system as used for filtering out components is used for units. This should help in building diagrams that hold material AND energy flows together in a single diagram instance. Although you might want to hold both types of flows in a single diagram it mostly is useful to display just a single instance (e.g. material flows, cost flows, energy flows).

Combined nodes/streams:
Are utilized to give a better overview of certain parts of a process. You are able to rebuild a process with all detail levels but break it up to overview diagrams by combining certain stages of the process into a single stage.