Model Diagramming

Insight Maker enables you to build models graphically and it supports a rich set of diagramming features. In fact, many Insight Maker models consist only of the diagram itself without a simulation component.

You can add elements to your model by selecting "Add Primitive" in the toolbar then choosing your desired primitive type.

Another way to create a primitive is to right-click on the model canvas. A contextual menu will open that lets you select a primitive to insert into the model.

There are many different types of primitives. Some — Stocks, Flows, Converters — have specific meaning and play roles in simulations. Others — Text, Pictures — are general primitives that you can use to illustrate your model but do not play a role in simulations. You can learn more about primitives here

Once you have added primitives to your model, you can connect them together using Flows, Transitions and Links. Flows and Transitions have a very specific simulation meaning and can only be used to connect certain types of primitives (Stocks for Flows and States for Transitions). Links on the other hand can be used to connect any primitives.

To create a Link, make sure "Links" is selected in the toolbar.

Then, hover your mouse over a primitive. A blue arrow will appear in the middle of the primitive that you can click and drag to another primitive. Let go of the mouse, and a Link will be created.

Insight Maker has many styling options you can use to configure the primitives in your model. You can adjust colors, fonts and more. You can also assign a picture to different primitives. Insight Maker has a large library of built-in pictures, but you can add your own by linking to the URL of a picture that has been uploaded to the internet.


As a model becomes more and more complex in Insight Maker, the number of connections between different components can start to become daunting. For complex models, Links and Flows may criss-cross each other in many places leading to a "spaghetti"-like model appearance that can be difficult to follow. Ghosting is one tool that can be used to combat this graphical complexity and to keep even the most complex models straightforward.

In short, ghosting allows you to make a reference to, or a Ghost of, a primitive in your model. The Ghost can be moved around in your model independently of the original primitive or its Source. This Ghost isn't a duplicate of the Source primitive (you don't now have two separate primitives) instead it is more of a mirror: it references the Source primitives value and state at all times. Any primitive that is connected to the Ghost primitive is automatically connect to the Ghost's Source and vice versa.

In Insight Maker, Ghosts of primitives are shown with a partially transparent graphical style. The above figure shows one example of a Ghosted primitive. If the Effect of EL LOS primitive had been connected directly to the EL LOS Product primitive, a Link would have to been made that cut across many other parts of the model. By using a Ghost of the primitive instead, we have achieved the same effect but the model diagram is now much cleaner.

Keyboard Shortcuts

There are a number of Shortcut Keys defined for Insight Maker.

  • Control/Command + B Bold the style of the currently selected primitives.
  • Control/Command + I Italicize the style of the currently selected primitives.
  • Control/Command + U Underline the style of the currently selected primitives.

  • Control/Command + C Copy the selected primitives. Note that Insight Maker does not actually have access to your system's clipboard so you can only Copy and Paste within the context of a single Insight.
  • Control/Command + V Paste whatever is on the local clipboard.
  • Control/Command + X Cut the currently selected primitives to the local clipboard.
  • Delete Deletes the currently selected Primitives.

  • Control/Command + Z Undo the previous command.
  • Control/Command + Y Redo the previous command.

  • Control/Command + F Opens the Find & Replace dialogue which will allow you to search for text in Primitive Labels, Notes and Values. You may specify if the search is to be case sensitive.
  • Control/Command + G Find Next instances of specified text.

  • Control/Command + ] Step forward when in Storytelling mode.
  • Control/Command + . Open the Note Editor dialogue.
  • Control/Command + L Open the Time Settings dialogue.
  • Control/Command + K Switch the canvas to Scratchpad mode so you can draw on it.
  • Control/Command + P Create a printer friendly image in a new window.
  • Control/Command + S Save the insight. Note that if it hasn't been saved at least once the description dialogue will open. You typically don't need the Save shortcut because Insight Maker does an automatic Save after each change you make.
  • Control/Command + Enter Run the simulation.

  • Right Click Open a drop down from which you can select primitives to be created at the current mouse pointer location.
  • Option Click on a Link Primitive Create a waypoint you can move to curve the link.