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Swimlane Phases Help!

Started by LynnMac2019, July 02, 2019, 02:16:12 PM

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I'm new to the Forum and to Visio.  I am using Visio Professional 2016.

I have set up what I think is a template that I am going to use often and have completed my first cross functional flowchart!  Cause for celebration, you would think.  Until I realised I missed a phase swimlane and went to insert a blank one.  It just won't let me do it!  I;ve tried a number of ways e.g. Dragging Swimlane from the Cross-Functional Flowchart Shapes, copy and pasting an existing swimlane and dragging it to where I want it.  I get a message about protect and have taken all protection off but still no joy...can anyone help?  Please!!!

Any advice welcome.


Lynn  :D

Paul Herber

When you drag a swimlane from the stencil onto the diagram the insertion point should change to brown. Does that happen?
Electronic and Electrical engineering, business and software stencils for Visio -


Hi, Paul

Thanks for quick response.

Yes, I can see an outline of insertion point but it adds it as a vertical swimlane and titles it Function.  I want a horizontal swimlane which will be a phase.

Does that makes sense?

Lynn  :)

Paul Herber

In that case you want to use the Separator shape
Electronic and Electrical engineering, business and software stencils for Visio -


Hi, Paul

Believe it or not, I tried that with no joy, so did a couple of my colleagues with no success.  I've tried it again after your advice and it worked!  Many thanks :-D

I have so much to learn as Visio will be a big part of my working day...I think, I will be a frequent user of your forum ;-)

Thanks again.


Visio Guy

Have a look at this video I made many years ago. I'm on a mobile connection right now, so I couldn't review it, but I'm pretty sure it covers most of the features for the swimlanes. Visio 2010's version shouldn't be too different from Visio 2016.

8.2 Using UI Enhancements for Cross-functional Flowcharts in Visio 2010
For articles, tips and free content, see the Visio Guy Website at
Get my Visio Book! Using Microsoft Visio 2010



I'm still having issues with adding a simple swimlane.  I watched the video which was really helpful but I'm not getting the insertion line horizontally.  I get in vertically and i can add a vertical swimlane no problem.

However, I want to add a horizontal swimlane at the very end of my Visio drawing and having all sorts of issues from it just not working to it resizing my drawing.

I set up a template from scratch hoping this would resolve the issue but unfortunately not.  Is it a setting that is needing tweaked or am I just being dense - feel free to say the latter cos that's certainly how I'm feeling as a newbie to Visio!

I've attached my template in case this helps.

My colleagues are just as puzzled and have suggested starting fresh but it's a huge process that I'm mapping and would hate to restart just because I want to add one last swimlane!

Any assistance gladly welcomed.



Paul Herber

Are all your other swimlanes vertical? If so then any new swimlane will also be added vertically. You can't mix and match swimlane alignment. The stencil may show separate vertical and horizontal swimlanes but what goes onto the drawing will always match what you already have.
To add a phase you need to add the Separator shape.
Electronic and Electrical engineering, business and software stencils for Visio -


Hi, Paul

No, I have a mix of vertical (function) and horizontal (phase).  I've created my first Visio detailing a process and it's quite big, spanning about 3 x A3 pages...I want to add a horizontal swimlane at the end as I missed the final step of the process and need to add this.

So basically, I have a mixed this where the issue lies, should I be sticking to one or the other?  The reason I have both is that the horizontal swimlanes depicts steps required within an certain tab of an IT system...once the steps have been completed, it flows into a different tab within the system and so on and so forth...the vertical swimlanes are the systems being used i.e. IT system, Excel, Word.

I'm maybe trying to be too complicated in this approach.

I've attached a sample that I hope shows what I'm trying to achieve.


Lynn :-)

Paul Herber

Hi Lynn, what you have in that drawing are 3 swimlanes (vertical) and some horizontal separators (which do look like horizontal swimlanes).
Electronic and Electrical engineering, business and software stencils for Visio -

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