Improvement Idea: Make it easier to explore connections between nodes in a workflow.

Many times it’s difficult to figure out which node is connected with another.

Let’s consider a large workflow with lots of nodes in it. The workflow overflows visible area and there can be nodes from different parts of workflow connected with each other. Let’s say there can occur pairs of nodes in the workflow where you can’t see both nodes of the pair unless you zoom out the workflow to 33% or even less. This is zoom you can hardly recognize the type of nodes or their names. Now you have got a node in a corner of the workflow with an inbound connection and you have to identify, locate and investigate its preceding node.

First, let’s get back to 67% zoom which is for me the last zoom-out that keeps me able to work with my workflow. Now let’s see the node which preceding one I’m going to locate.

Now I click the connection of my interest.

The viewport has moved so I can see my node in the right bottom corner of it. Honestly, I usually can’t get a point of this viewport movement which happens every time I click a connection between two nodes. Now, to get the node I’m looking for I have to either move the viewport slightly and slowly with my eyes sticked to the wire unless I can see the node the wire starts at. This is not always easy to achieve when this is what you can see in the middle of your tour through your workflow.

Now, where is the connection I need to follow?
Yes, there’s another way. I can search for the preceding nodes looking for its focused output port.

Well, here we go. We can find it when we know what to search for. The drawback is that it took time we could spend on something more productive.

My idea is, why not to colorize connection when it is focussed? How much convenient it would be if the connection got for example blue after I had clicked it?

Or even more, it’d be great if there was a context menu on an input port enabling to focus connected node. I know, input ports don’t have a context menu and it’d be difficult to handle multiple input ports here if we needed the node context menu to bring this functionality. Now, the colorization is enough.


We have a slightly experimental internal addition to KNIME at Vernalis which does something related which might help. We add some ‘selection modifiers’ to the contextual menu of a node (and to the toolbar/Node menu) as shown:


It doesnt do quite what you want, and what you want also sounds like a really useful idea, but it does remind me that we demo’d this at SIG Cheminf 7 ( and there was a lot of interest at the time, so maybe we should look at trying to release it (it will need a bit of work updating as it was written in KNIME 3.7 and a few things have changed internally in KNIME in the latest versions)



I like this idea, and the colorization seems like a cheap implementation. (Internal: created AP-13833)



just let me add one very important thing here.
With these workflows my first recommendation would be a major cleanup using metanodes. Making this many connections is very error prune. Cleaning the workflow will also help understand the structure of your workflow, which further improves your workflow design.

We just had a beautiful Blog Post about this:


Hi @Iris,

Thanks for your valuable input. We couldn’t forget metanodes concept here.

In order e to keep this topic focused on the connections between nodes I made a separate topic where I described an issue introducing metanodes can lead to. Imporvement Idea: Make it possible to give names input / output ports

This topic was automatically closed 7 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.

Hello @jan_lender,

in case you haven’t seen it colored connections are available with KNIME 4.2. (AP-13833)

To set colors go File --> Preferences --> KNIME --> KNIME GUI --> Workflow Editor