Know how: Modeling connectors

Connectors can be used to link different process graphics together. Connectors are information-objects (information arrows in the graphic) that are only connected to a process symbol on one side. The start or tip of the arrow points to nothing and indicates a connection that leads to a process or away from a process outside the graphic.

A connector represents the interpendency of processes. In other words, the horizontal connection between predecessor and successor processes.

We would like to show you here how you can create and activate connectors.


Input or output of a process in the form of a connector in viflow
Input or output of a process in the form of a connector in viflow

Advantages of Connectors

Connectors are of central importance in a process model. They can be used to navigate between predecessor and successor processes directly from the process graphic.

Connectors also make process responsibility more transparent and thus avoid double modeling.

Furthermore, Connectors fulfill the requirements of DIN EN ISO 9001 "4.4 Quality management system and its processes", point "4.4.1 The interpendency of processes":

"4.4.1 The organization shall [...] establish, [...] and continually improve a quality management system, including the required processes and their interpendencies.

The organization shall determine the processes, [...], and shall:

b) determine the sequence and interaction of these processes; [...]"


Requirements for a Connector:

The following conditions must be met for an information-object to be used as a Connector:

  • The Connector (information object) is used in at least two graphics and is connected to a process shape in each case.
  • The Connector represents the output of a process shape; there is no process within the process graphic as a successor.
  • The Connector represents the input of a process shape, there is no process within the process graphic as a predecessor.
  • The respective Connector (output/input) must be docked to a connection point.


Common errors

1. the Connector is not the same viflow object. A different/no object name is therefore assigned on a graphic.

2. Input/output are not modeled.

3. the Connector is not docked to a connection point of the respective process shape.


Create and activate Connectors

If the requirements for connecting processes with Connectors are met, the connection can be activated or deactivated.


Modeling Connectors

First, the Connectors must be modeled. If you need help with modeling information objects, read our article "How to: Connect shapes in viflow".

Give the Connector on a process graphic an object name via Global properties – General – Name. You have now created a new information object.

Assign this information object to the Connector on the second graphic via Global properties – General – Name – Assign information.


Activate Connectors

Attention: Connectors can only be activated if one of the two process graphics (input/output) is open.

1. activate Connectors via the ribbon menu

Select the corresponding Connector. The Connector can now be activated via the Insert tab – Connectors. Both Connectors are now active.

Activate Connectors in the viflow ribbon menu
Activate Connectors in the viflow ribbon menu


2. activate Connectors via the context menu

Right-click on the Connector in question and select To/From process name to process name in the context menu – Connectors to activate the Connectors.

Activate connectors in the viflow context menu
Activate connectors in the viflow context menu


3. activate connectors using the drag-and-drop function

You can also activate existing Connectors in one step via drag-and-drop. To do this, drag an existing Connector onto the next graphic and dock it to the corresponding process. Both connectors are automatically activated.

Activate connectors in viflow via drag-and-drop
Activate connectors in viflow via drag-and-drop


Deactivate a Connector

To deactivate the connection between two Connectors, select one of the two Connectors on a process graphic. Then select the corresponding Connector in the Connectors tab – Insert. A warning appears. Confirm this with Yes.

Note: You can check the use of the connector under Show references.


The Connectors can also be deactivated via the Global properties – General – References by right-clicking on the object and using Remove assignment.


Evaluations and reports

There are two important reports for connector management, both of which are included in the viflow Gold Edition.


1. the "Information – Usage" report

The "Information – Usage" report is perfect for troubleshooting and displaying open (not yet active) Connectors. In the Reports tab – Usage, create a list of the information objects available in the process model. Set the filter for Information type to Connectors. You can now check the connections.

viflow report Information – Usage
viflow report Information – Usage


2. the report "Processes – Matrices – All Processes - Interpendencies"

The Interpendencies report under the Report tab – Processes – Matrices – All Processes - Interpendencies is suitable for mapping your interpendencies in the process model.

viflow report Processes – Matrices – All processes - Interpendencies
viflow report Processes – Matrices – All processes - Interpendencies