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Microsoft Visio 2013 : Adding Sophistication to Your Drawings - Understanding and using layers

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2/25/2015 3:04:39 AM

You can organize objects in a Visio drawing into layers and control various properties of all layer members at once. For example, you can control whether layer members will print, be visible on the drawing page, or be selectable. In a town map, for instance, you might put roads on one layer, sewer lines on a second, water pipes on a third, and buildings on a fourth. Organized this way, you can lock certain layers to prevent accidentally moving or selecting that collection of objects while working with shapes on other layers. Similarly, you could print a map showing roads and buildings, but not water pipes.

Layers offer considerable flexibility in managing the parts of a sophisticated drawing. However, working with layers requires some planning, because things can get complex: a drawing page can have multiple layers; each layer has multiple properties; and any shape can be on zero, one, or multiple layers.

Tip

Every layer belongs to exactly one page. When you create a new layer, it is added to the current page. If you copy layer members to a different page, the layer is added to the destination page. (If a layer of the same name already exists on that page, the copied shapes are added to the existing layer.)

The Layer Properties dialog box that you will use in this exercise includes seven check boxes for setting layer properties. The y are described in the following paragraphs; default settings for each property are shown for the Flowchart layer in the graphic following step 7.

  • Visible Controls whether a layer’s shapes are visible on the drawing page.

  • Print Includes or excludes a layer’s members from printing.

    Tip

    Because the Visible and Print check boxes are separate, you can create a drawing in which members of a layer are visible in the drawing but do not print, and vice versa.

  • Active Causes all new shapes added to the page to be added to the layer. More than one layer can be active at once, in which case new shapes are added to all active layers.

  • Lock Prevents you from selecting, moving, or editing any shapes on the layer. In addition, you cannot add shapes to a locked layer.

  • Snap and Glue Allows and disallows snapping or gluing other shapes to the shapes on this layer.

  • Color Temporarily overrides the colors of all objects on a layer; clearing this option returns layer members to their original colors. When you select the Color property for a layer, the Layer Color and Transparency settings in the lower right of the dialog box are activated.

In this exercise, you’ll create layers and assign shapes to them. You’ll also change layer properties, which will show you the effects on the drawing.

  1. Click once on the photograph of the building at the bottom of the page to select it.

  2. On the Home tab, in the Editing group, click the Layers button, and then click Assign to Layer to open the Layer dialog box. When the Layer dialog box opens, notice that the Flowchart layer is already listed because the shapes that are used in the Work Flow Diagram template are pre-assigned to that layer.

  3. Click the New button.

    image with no caption
  4. In the New Layer dialog box, type Building Photo and then click OK. The Building Photo layer is added to the Layer dialog box, and the selected shape is added to the new layer.

    image with no caption
  5. Click OK.

  6. On the Home tab, in the Editing group, click the Layers button, and then click the Layer Properties button.

  7. In the Layer Properties dialog box, select the check box below Lock for the Building Photo layer.

    image with no caption
  8. Click OK. You have now created a new layer, added a shape to it, and locked the layer.

  9. Draw a bounding box around the International Division symbol, the EU flag, and the photograph of the building. Notice that you cannot select the building because it is on a locked layer.

    image with no caption
  10. On the Home tab, in the Editing group, click the Layer Properties button, and then click Assign to Layer to open the Layer dialog box. Notice that the Building Photo layer does not appear in the list, because you cannot assign shapes to a locked layer.

    image with no caption
  11. Click the New button, type International, and then click OK.

    image with no caption
  12. Click OK. The drawing doesn’t look any different at this point, but there is evidence of the new layer in subsequent steps.

  13. On the Home tab, in the Editing group, click the Layers button, and then click Layer Properties.

    image with no caption
  14. In the Layer Properties dialog box, clear the check box below Visible, for the International layer, and then click Apply.

    Tip

    The Apply button provides a preview of the intended change without closing the Layer Properties dialog box. If you make a change in the Layer Properties dialog box and want that change to affect your drawing immediately, it is not necessary to click Apply—just click OK.

    In the graphic on the right, the two shapes on the International layer are no longer visible. Compare this graphic to the one following step 13.

    image with no caption
  15. Click OK to close the Layer Properties dialog box.

Note

CLEAN UP Save your changes to the Corporate Diagram drawing, and then close it.

In this exercise, you saw that flowchart shapes are pre-assigned to a layer. The same thing is true for a number of other Visio templates. In addition, dynamic connectors are always on a layer, so dropping the first one onto any page creates a layer called Connector.

Tip

Although they both help you organize sets of shapes, groups and layers serve different purposes and have different behaviors. For example, you can select a group and then move it or resize it and the changes affect all of the shapes in the group; you can’t perform those actions with the shapes in a layer. On the other hand, you can lock, hide, and otherwise affect shapes in a layer in ways that you cannot with a group. Realize also that groups and layers are not mutually exclusive—you can use both in the same drawing.

 
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