Flowchart Activity Designer


The Flowchart activity is used to create workflows that define and manage complex flow controls. A Flowchart can be authored either in code or by using Workflow Designer. This topic documents the Workflow Designer experience. The Windows Workflow Designer workflow activity designer enables developers to author workflows in a natural manner.

The Flowchart specifies a unique StartNode that is executed when the workflow starts and uses a network of linked Nodes to create arbitrary loops or to divert the flow of execution to anywhere else in the workflow at any given time.

Using the Flowchart Activity Designer

The Flowchart activity designer can be found in the Flowchart category of the Toolbox, which is accessed by clicking the Toolbox tab on the Workflow Designer (Alternatively, select Toolbar from the View menu or CTRL+ALT+X.)

The Flowchart activity designer can be dragged from the Toolbox and dropped on to the Workflow Designer surface wherever activity designers are normally placed, either as a root activity or as the child of another control flow activity. If the Flowchart activity designer is dropped onto a blank Workflow Designer surface, it creates a Flowchart activity, which by default presents itself in an expanded view in which the start node that initiates execution is represented as a green ball. If the Flowchart activity designer is dropped into another control flow activity, it presents itself in a minimized view that can be expanded by double-clicking the Flowchart activity designer. Any activity in the Toolbox can be dragged directly onto the Flowchart activity designer, including other control flow activities.

After dragging various activity designers onto the Workflow Designer canvas, the Activity objects they represent can be linked together to specify the order of execution. To create a link between a source activity and a destination activity, mouse over the designer of the source activity and square handles appear on each side of it. Click one of the square handles and drag it by holding down the mouse button to one of the handles that appears in a similar manner around the destination activity when hovering over it with the mouse. Release the mouse button and a link is created between these two activities that is represented as an arrow from the source designer to the destination designer.

Flowchart Activity Properties

The following table shows the Flowchart properties and describes how they are used in the designer. These properties can be edited in property grid or on the designer surface.

Property NameRequiredUsage
DisplayNameFalseSpecifies the display name of the activity designer in the header. The default value is Flowchart. The value can be edited in the Properties window or directly on the activity designer header.

Although the DisplayName is not strictly required, it is a best practice to use one.
VariablesFalseThe collection of variables that are scoped within this Flowchart to share state across its child activities.
StartNodeFalseThe FlowNode that is executed when the Flowchart starts.
NodesFalseContains the collection of FlowNode objects in the Flowchart.