I'm working on a product that visualizes and identifies path based relationships between nodes. However a new relationship showed up in which a node might have a relationship to itself.

Right now we use circles and arrows to visualize the relationship. However for this new relationship the arrow points back to itself. I don't think this is best representation. Any suggestions on how to represent that new relationship?

1 Answer 1


This is a common element in diagrams and it's known as "self loop". A self loop starts on a node and goes back to the same node.

This concept is often used in graph theory and diagrams to represent a situation where a node is connected to itself.

Some examples:

enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here

  • This is it, part of the issue is that tags (text copy) are used in the arrows to identify the relationship. Any suggestion on best practices? I'm also considering what to do for scale in case there are larger amounts of "self loops"
    – merlin
    Jan 3 at 18:04
  • For short text, wrapping the text around the path is an option. If the text is of medium length and there's enough space inside the self-loop, you can follow the approach shown in the image where it reads 'Repeat I-step.' However, for longer or variable text, or if space inside the loop is limited, I'd recommend to use references and legends. For instance, place a number like (1) inside the self-loop, and then include a corresponding legend such as (1): This means something.
    – Devin
    Jan 3 at 18:16

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