Graphical Workflow Designer

You can use the graphical workflow designer in M-Files Admin to create and edit workflows. To use the designer in M-Files Admin, select the vault connection and then the vault in the left-side tree view. Finally, click Workflows.

Note: The designer requires Internet Explorer 9 or later to be installed on the computer.


The Workflows window has two sections:
  • The top section lists the available workflows and the task area commands New Workflow, Make Copy, Delete and Properties.
  • The bottom section displays the graphical workflow designer. The designer-related task area commands are explained in Using the designer and Task pane commands.
The graphical workflow designer in M-Files Admin.

The Save and Discard commands are located in the top-right corner of the workspace, on the title bar of the selected workflow. The Save command stores all the modifications to the workflow, including the layout of your graphical representation.

You can modify the workspace proportions by dragging the workflow title bar up or down.

Using the designer

The designer has been designed to work very intuitively. You can use the task area and/or interact with the graphical designer and context menus.

Creating new states

You can create new states with the task area or you can double-click an empty space on the canvas. This opens up the dialog for a new workflow state.

Note: If a class has a default workflow and a new object is created in the class, the first state is chosen automatically only if the first state is the first on the States list of the Workflow Properties dialog. The order of states on the list overrides the order of states in the graphical workflow designer.

Editing states

You can open the properties dialog for an existing state simply by double-clicking the state, by selecting it, and then clicking Edit State in the task area, or with the context menu for the state.

Deleting states

States can be deleted with the task area command Delete or with the context menu of the state. You can also select the state and press the Delete key.

Modifying the layout

The workflow states can be freely moved around on the canvas by dragging and dropping.

Connectors (state transitions)

You can add arrow connectors between the states by moving your cursor on the edge of a state rectangle and by using drag and drop. The state rectangle has green edges and the cursor changes into a cross (+) when a connector can be drawn. The connectors represent workflow state transitions.

A state transition being drawn from "Testing" to "Released".

Sometimes the connectors may overlap with each other or with the state rectangles. The connectors can also be modified to make the layout more readable. Just select a connector and use the two handles for re-shaping the connector.

The context menu for a connector allows you to Edit or Delete the state transition in question, as well as to Straighten the connector. Double-clicking the connector opens the properties dialog for the state transition.

Zooming and dragging the canvas

You can zoom in and out by scrolling, as well as drag the canvas around. The context menu for an empty space on the canvas allows you to reset the zoom level.

Task pane commands

In addition to context-specific task area commands, such as Edit State or Straighten, there are also a few actions that affect the designer or your workflow as a whole.


With the Re-layout command you can "clean up" the canvas. This basically makes M-Files suggest a default positioning for the workflow components.

Show Grid and Hide Grid

The Show Grid and Hide Grid commands toggle the grid shown on the background.


You can create a paper copy of the workflow by using the Print command in the task area.

Note: The print function uses the Page setup settings of Internet Explorer for the page header and footer. You can set the settings for the header and footer to empty if you want to remove them from the printout. For instance with Internet Explorer 10, you can open the Page setup dialog by clicking the tools button in the top-right corner of the browser and by selecting Print > Page setup.

Export as Image

In addition to creating a print-out, you can export the workflow as a PNG file. Clicking the Export as Image command opens the common Windows save dialog for the image file.


The state rectangles and connectors may display a tooltip while the cursor is hovered above them.

In addition to the title of the element, the tooltips may contain a description as well as information on the state transition conditions and special actions related to the transition or workflow state.