Create IDEF0 diagrams

IDEF0 stands for Integration Definition for Process Modelling, a public-domain methodology used to model businesses and their processes so they can be understood and improved.

IDEF0 diagrams typically include the following components:

  • Context diagram—The topmost diagram in an IDEF0 model.
  • Parent/child diagram—An IDEF0 decomposition hierarchy using parent/child relationships.
  • Node trees—Tree-like structures of nodes rooted at a chosen node and used to represent a full IDEF0 decomposition in a single diagram.

IDEF0 diagram

What do you want to do?


Create a context diagram

  1. On the File menu, point to New, point to Flowchart, and then click IDEF0 Diagram.
  2. Add a title block to provide a node name, title, and number for the diagram.
    1. From IDEF0 Diagram Shapes, drag a Title block shape onto the drawing page.
    2. In the Shape Data dialog box, type a node name, such as A-0 (A minus zero), or a more complete name, such as QA/A-0, where QA is an abbreviation for the model name. You can also type a title and number for the diagram.

Select the distance you want the title block border offset from the outside edge of the page, and then click OK.

  1. Add activity boxes (also known as a function boxes) to the diagram.
  1. From IDEF0 Diagram Shapes, drag an Activity box shape inside of the title block.
  2. In the Shape Data dialog box, type a name for the process. For Process ID, use the default, A0, to represent the top-level process. For Sub-diagram ID, enter the ID of the decomposition diagram, if this process is a decomposition.
  1. Add external interface (or constraint) arrows.
  1. From IDEF0 Diagram Shapes, drag 1 legged connector shapes onto the drawing page and drag their endpoints to connection points on activity boxes.
  2. To add text that describes the connector, select the connector, and then type.
  1. Add purpose and viewpoint statements.
  1. From IDEF0 Diagram Shapes, drag a Text block 8pt shape onto the drawing page inside the title block.
  2. Drag a side selection handle Selection handle image to stretch the text block across the width of the title block.
  3. With the shape selected, type text to describe the viewpoint and purpose of the model you're creating.

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Create a parent/child diagram

  1. On the File menu, point to New, point to Flowchart, and then click IDEF0 Diagram.
  2. Add a title block to provide a node name, title, and number for the diagram.
    1. From IDEF0 Diagram Shapes, drag the Title block shape onto the drawing page.
    2. In the Shape Data dialog box, type a node name, such as A0 (for the top-most parent diagram), or type the node number of the parent function box (for example, A3 or A112) if this parent diagram is also a child diagram. You can also type a title and number.

Select the distance you want the title block border offset from the outside edge of the page, and then click OK.

  1. Add an activity box (also known as a function box) to the diagram.
  1. From IDEF0 Diagram Shapes, drag an Activity box shape into the title block.
  2. In the Shape Data dialog box, type a name for the process the box represents. (The name should be an active verb or verb phrase.)

Type the Process ID (a number between 1 and 6) and a Sub-diagram ID. The sub-diagram ID (also known as a Detail Reference Expression, or DRE) is the number of this activity box's child diagram, if it will have one. The sub-diagram ID can be a node number, such as A42, or the page number or name of the child diagram.

  1. Continue dragging, naming, and numbering activity boxes until you've placed between three and six boxes in the title block.
  1. Add constraint arrows and modify them the way you want. Use the IDEF0 connector shape to:

ShowCreate arrows that join

  1. From IDEF0 Diagram Shapes, drag an IDEF0 connector onto the drawing page, and then drag its endpoints to connection points Connection point image - blue X on activity boxes. When the endpoints turn red, the shapes are connected.
  2. Drag a second IDEF0 connector onto the page and drag its begin point Begin point image - green square with X inside to a connection point on another activity box.
  3. Place the arrowhead of the second connector directly on top of the arrowhead of the first connector, so that the two arrows appear joined together.

Arrows that join

ShowCreate arrows that fork

  1. From IDEF0 Diagram Shapes, drag an IDEF0 connector onto the drawing page, and then drag its endpoints to connection points Connection point image - blue X on activity boxes. When the endpoints turn red, the shapes are connected.
  2. Drag a second IDEF0 connector onto the page and align its begin point Begin point image - green square with X inside with the begin point of the first connector.
  3. Drag the end point End point image, which is plus sign in a green square up or down until the arrows fork the way you want.
  4. Repeat steps 1 to 3 until you have as many forks as you need.

Arrows that fork

ShowCreate arrows that fan out into branches

  1. Drag an IDEF0 connector onto the drawing page, and then drag the begin point Begin point image - green square with X inside to a connection point Connection point image - blue X on an activity box. When the begin point turns red, the shapes are connected.
  2. Drag the arrow until the connector bends the way you want.
  3. With the connector selected, hold down the CTRL key and drag a copy of the connector to the place where you want the first branch.
  4. Press the F4 key to create as many additional branches as you need.
  5. Connect the end points End point image, which is plus sign in a green square of the branches to the appropriate activity boxes.

 Tip   To better align fanned out branches, connect the begin points Begin point image - green square with X inside of the duplicate branches to the begin point of the original branch. If your branches have two bends, you can also use the control handle Control handle image - yellow diamond to reposition the center leg of the connector.

Arrow branches that fan out

ShowCreate arrows that tunnel in or out

  1. From IDEF0 Diagram Shapes, drag an IDEF0 connector onto the drawing page, and then drag its endpoints to connection points Connection point image - blue X on the appropriate activity boxes. When the endpoints turn red, the shapes are connected.
  2. To add a tunnel, right-click the connector, and then click Tunnel In or Tunnel Out.

To remove a tunnel, right-click the connector, and then click Tunnel In or Tunnel Out to clear the check box.

 Note   Use the 1 legged connector shape to add straight-line arrows to an IDEF0 diagram.

  1. To add text that describes the connector, select the connector, and then type.

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Create node trees

  1. On the File menu, point to New, point to Flowchart, and then click IDEF0 Diagram.
  2. Add a node to the diagram.
    1. Drag a Node shape onto the drawing page.
    2. In the Shape Data dialog box, type A0 or the node number or name of the node at which you want the tree rooted, and then click OK.
    3. To add a text label to a node, drag a Text block 8pt shape onto the drawing page. With the text block selected, type a label.
  3. Drag a Solid connector shape onto the drawing page. Glue one endpoint to the connection point Connection point image - blue X at the center of the node. Drag the other endpoint until the connector is the length you want and points in the direction you want.
  4. Repeat step 3 until you have added all the branches you need for nodes that will be connected to the top node.
  5. Drag other Node shapes onto the drawing page and glue their centers to the free ends of the connectors.
  6. Work your way down the tree, repeating steps 3, 4, and 5, until you have added all the nodes and connectors you need.
  7. Assign numbers to nodes.
  1. In an IDEF0 node tree diagram, right-click the node you want to change, and then click Set Node Number.
  2. In the Shape Data dialog box, type the number you want, and then click OK.
  3. To reposition the node number, drag the control handle Control handle image - yellow diamond associated with it.

 Tip   If you want to be able to jump directly from a node to the detailed diagram that describes it, add a hyperlink to the node, and then link it to the drawing page that contains the detailed diagram.

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Applies to:
Visio 2007