Custom Symbols

yEd supports the following file formats as custom node symbols:

  • images, for example PNG, JPG and some more
  • Scalable Vector Graphics (*.svg)
  • Microsoft Visio XML (*.vsx, *.vdx)

To create nodes with such symbols, you can either import your file(s) to the palette or drag and drop them to the canvas. When importing images and SVG files, a single node is created for each file. For a Visio XML file, a separate node is created for every shape in the stencil of the file.

Importing to the Palette

The ‘Import Symbols…’ command which is available in the context menu of the palette and in the palette manager dialog lets you add several files of any supported format to a user-defined palette section at once.

To import the stencil of a Visio XML file into a new palette section, you can use the ‘Import Section…’ command which can be found at the same places.

More information on working with the palette is found in ‘Palette’ Tool Window.

Using Drag and Drop to the Canvas

Adding several image files or SVG files as custom node shapes at once is also possible directly to the canvas using drag and drop from a Windows Explorer window or a Mac OS Finder window, respectively. When dragged directly to the canvas, the representations can be added to the user-defined palette section by means of the ‘Add to Palette’ menu entry from the editor’s context menu, if they shall be used in other diagrams, too.

Working with Custom Symbols

Please note that images and SVG files will be used for the representation of nodes “as is.” Thus, unlike predefined shapes and symbols, changing visual properties like, for example background color or line type, has no effect on these nodes. Visio shapes support changing some of these properties, for example fill and line color.

Currently, the support for Visio shapes is in an early stage. Several cells and functions are not yet supported. When a shape contains such an unsupported feature, yEd checks whether it can be safely ignored or not. In the latter case, yEd discards the original shape and shows an error symbol instead, a red ‘X’ in a rounded rectangle. One of the most noticeable missing features is support for 1-D shapes.