How to Create a Web Diagram

By David Weedmark

Web diagrams are useful tools when you need to step back and look at the broad picture. Whether you're planning a website, a Web app or any other complex system or set of ideas, a Web diagram illustrates the relationships between objects and can show shortcomings in your plan. Rather than investing in an expensive app, you can create a professional Web diagram using Microsoft Office 2013. Because a Web diagram is primarily a visual aid, limit the diagram labels to two or three words and use shapes and colors to identify components of the diagram.

Step 1

Open a blank document in Microsoft Word. Click the "Insert" tab and select "Shapes" from the Illustrations group. You can also draw Web diagrams in Excel or PowerPoint.

Step 2

Select a shape for the first object. You may want to use the same shape for every object or use different shapes for different types of objects. If your diagram is that of a website, for example, you could use rectangles for Web pages, rounded rectangles for sales pages and circles for different types of traffic sources, such as email links, social media or other websites.

Step 3

Drag the cursor on the page where you want the first object to appear. Hold the "Shift" key while dragging the cursor to create a perfect square or circle. For a website diagram, this should be the website home page, placed near the top of the page. If you're drawing a diagram to show some other process, you may prefer to put the main object in the center of the page so you can draw connecting objects around it.

Step 4

Modify the shape's color and border by clicking the options in the Shapes Style section of the toolbar. Right-click the shape to copy it and then right-click anywhere else on the page to paste a duplicate.

Step 5

Add additional shapes as needed. Drag the shapes to move them on the page. A website diagram normally looks like a pyramid with the home page on top. Place main category pages beneath the home page and content pages beneath each category. Place incoming traffic sources above the home page or on the right or left of it.

Step 6

Resize a shape by clicking it and dragging any of the anchor points on its edge. Hold down the "Shift" key while dragging if you want the shape to retain its aspect ratio.

Step 7

Right-click each shape, select "Add Text" and then type a name for the object. To change the text style, highlight the text, right-click it and use the formatting options that appear in the pop-up menu. Alternatively, use the styles that appear in the Styles section of the toolbar.

Step 8

Click the "Insert" menu, select "Shapes" and then choose a line from the Lines section. Click the first object you created and drag the cursor to any other object to create a connector line between them. If you choose a connector line -- the ones with right angles -- you can adjust the shape of the line by dragging the middle anchor point. Change the color of the line by clicking the "Shape Outline" menu in the Shape Styles section of the toolbar.

Step 9

Draw additional lines between the shapes on the page as needed. Any shapes or lines you recently used appear on the right side of the toolbar, so you can select from there rather than clicking the "Insert" menu every time you want to add a new line.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you are making a diagram of a finished website, use thumbnails of each page in the diagram rather than generic shapes. Open a page in your browser and then zoom out to 25 percent. Press "Alt-PrtScn" to copy an image of the browser window to the clipboard and paste it into any photo editor to crop it. Instead of inserting shapes, select "Picture" from the insert menu and insert these pictures. To add labels to each picture, insert a text box above the thumbnail.
  • You can also create basic Web diagrams using PowerPoint Online. Office Online versions of Word and Excel don't offer the option to create shapes.