1. How-tos
  2. Understanding diagrams, templates, and versions in Cacoo

Understanding diagrams, templates, and versions in Cacoo



July 12, 2016

From an early age, we are all taught to save. Save money. Save time. Save resources. Save your receipts. Save your files. Save your files again. Save your backup! SAVE SAVE SAVE! Saving has become an ingrained reflex we perform subconsciously, and for good reasons!

But there’s more you can do with saving than just preserving your current state. In Cacoo, there are lots of saving options for you to choose. And each one can save you time and effort in the long run.

Saving as an Ordinary Diagram, Stencil, or Template

Within the Cacoo interface, it is easy to save any diagram. Just click on Cacoo > File > Save Diagram, and a pop-up of saving options will appear. The default setting is to save the document as an “Ordinary diagram.”  But sitting next to this are two other options you may have never considered before: “Stencil” and “Template.”

Screen Shot 2016-07-12 at 3.51.42 PM


If you create a diagram that you think you might use again in the future, it’s time to consider these additional options. By saving as either a stencil or template, you’ll avoid the headache of doing the same work twice.

Stencils vs. Templates

So which option do you choose? Depends on how you would like to use the design in the future.

Stencils are individual components that you can put together to create a whole diagram. Templates can be thought of as the completed diagrams themselves.

In other words, you can have multiple stencils on a sheet, but you can’t have multiple templates on a sheet.

Saving as a Stencil

If you would like to use your diagram as a stencil in the future, select the “Stencil” document type. The diagram will then be accessible under the “User Defined Stencils” folder in the stencil box.

Screen Shot 2016-07-12 at 3.51.00 PM


Saving as a Template

If you build a diagram you would like to use in the future as a template, select “Template” document type. When you open a new document or import a new template, you can access this diagram in the “User Defined Templates” folder in the “Select a template” box.

Screen Shot 2016-07-12 at 3.52.47 PM


Any edits you save to the original document should automatically update the stencil or template.

**PLEASE NOTE: You cannot save one file as both a template and a stencil. If you would like to save a diagram as both, you’ll need to create a copy of the original document and save it as the second type.**

Play around with the save features, and you can make most anything possible. If there’s a will, there’s a save!

Keeping Track of Versions of Your Diagrams

In the days of paper and pencil, a simple erasure would mean that your writing was gone forever. There was no command/ctrl-Z to save the day. The digital world, too, is no stranger to deletion mistakes. Once a document is saved and closed, it can be impossible to recover any previous data or versions. People have attempted to find solutions to this conundrum, like “saving-as” multiple time or enabling auto-save features that leave behind mile-long lists of different iterations of the same file. Both solutions are messy and complicated to sift through.

Cacoo saves you from all this mess and stress. The app allows you to save multiple versions of your diagrams while keeping your document storage clean and organized. Each version that you save is stored in the history tab on your diagram viewer page, where you can always go back for reference.

Saving as a Version (*Special Feature for Paid Plans*)

Saving a version is simple. Click on Cacoo >File > Save diagram, and the saving options will pop up. Name your document, and select the type. For the “History” option, make sure that you slide the button over to the “Keep Ver” until the button bar appears in pink. This option is what saves the document as a version versus a regular save.

The “Version Description” box also gives you the opportunity to provide details about each version. The better the details you provide, the easier it will be to sift through versions later on. So leave as much detail as possible; Future You will thank you for it.

Screen Shot 2016-07-12 at 1.56.07 PM


**PLEASE NOTE: We recommend that you save your diagram as a version right from the start. Without doing this, you run the risk of overwriting your original before having the chance to save it in version form.**

As you continue working, you will save future versions in the same way. The only difference is that the “Keep Ver.” option will enumerate which version you are saving to next.

Screen Shot 2016-07-12 at 2.25.49 PM


Accessing Versions

To access the various versions of your diagram, head over to the diagram’s view page, and click on the analog clock icon to open up the history menu for that diagram. Versions are listed oldest at the bottom, latest at the top.

Under each version listed, you can see the details that you put for each. If you click and highlight one of these versions, it will appear in the main view area of the page.

Screen Shot 2016-07-12 at 2.34.51 PM

You can also update the version description on the diagram viewer page.

Screen Shot 2016-07-12 at 2.38.09 PM


If you try to edit the document, you are given the option to either “Edit latest diagram” or “Make a copy of this version then edit.” You can only edit the latest version of a document, so to access/edit directly on an older version, you’ll need to choose this second option.

Copying the version creates a new document of the version that you chose. This new document will now appear on your diagrams page as its own diagram.

Screen Shot 2016-07-12 at 2.36.02 PM

Comparing Versions

Detailed descriptions are great at a glance, but sometimes you want a visual representation of the differences between your versions. “Compare this version” is a feature that compares the different versions through a powerful visualization of the changes.

To utilize this feature, click and highlight in green the version that you’d like to view. This version will appear in the center of the screen. Select the “Compare this version” button on the version that you wish to examine, and the changes will appear in pink on the highlighted image in the center.

Screen Shot 2016-07-12 at 2.50.44 PM

With the ability to save different versions of your diagrams, access old ones, and compare their differences, you’ll always be able to get back to exactly what you need in Cacoo. Never suffer from the loss of an accidental deletion again.

Featured Image: Photo via Visual hunt


Subscribe to our newsletter

Learn with Nulab to bring your best ideas to life