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Microsoft Visio 2013 : Creating a New Diagram - Identifying 1-D shapes and types of glue, Using AutoConnect and Quick Shapes

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12/7/2014 8:03:44 PM

Identifying 1-D shapes and types of glue

In the preceding sections, you learned about several types of 1-D shapes and two forms of glue. This section summarizes the behavior of 1-D shapes and identifies the visual cues Visio uses to differentiate glued and unglued endpoints of 1-D shapes.

  • A 1-D shape drawn with any of the line tools (Line, Freeform, Arc, or Pencil) retains its original form when the shapes at the ends are moved.

  • A 1-D shape created with the Connector Tool adds or removes bends in the line to accommodate shape movements.

  • A line or dynamic connector attached to a connection point forms static glue; the 1-D shape remains attached at that fixed point on the 2-D shape no matter how the 2-D shape is moved.

  • A dynamic connector attached to a shape but not to a connection point forms dynamic glue; as the 2-D shape moves, the point at which the dynamic connector attaches to the shape moves.

  • A 1-D shape whose endpoints are not glued appears with square control handles that are white on the “from” end and are gray on the “to” end.

    image with no caption
  • A 1-D shape whose endpoints are glued appears with round control handles; the “from” end is a green circle and the “to” end shows a green dot inside a white circle.

    image with no caption

Important

In previous versions of Visio, the endpoints of 1-D shapes that were attached with static glue looked different than endpoints that were attached with dynamic glue. Visio 2013 no longer provides a visual distinction between the two.

Using AutoConnect and Quick Shapes

AutoConnect was introduced in Visio 2007 and provides a fast means to link shapes using dynamic connectors. Quick Shapes were introduced in Visio 2010 and build on AutoConnect to let you create drawings even more quickly.

In this exercise, you will create a new drawing using AutoConnect by itself in the first section, and AutoConnect with Quick Shapes in the second section.

Note

SET UP Click the File tab, and then click New. Click Categories, click Flowchart, and then double-click the Basic Flowchart thumbnail. Save the new drawing as Quick Draw.

  1. Drag a Start/End shape into the upper-left corner of the drawing page.

  2. Drag Process and Decision shapes onto the page to create a drawing like the one shown in the following graphic.

    image with no caption

    Notice that when you point to any shape on the page, blue AutoConnect arrows appear on the sides that are not yet connected to another shape.

    Tip

    AutoConnect arrows are smarter in Visio 2013 than they were in previous versions of Visio. When you are working on a diagram, if you’ve used AutoConnect recently, the arrows appear much more quickly when you rest the pointer over a shape. However, if you haven’t used them recently, there is a delay before they appear so they don’t get in your way.

    image with no caption

    Note

    TROUBLESHOOTING If the AutoConnect arrows don’t appear when you point to a shape, it’s probably because AutoConnect is turned off for this drawing. To activate AutoConnect, select the AutoConnect check box in the Visual Aids group on the View tab.

  3. Point to the AutoConnect arrow on the right side of the start/end shape. The Live Preview feature of Visio shows a dynamic connector linking the start/end to the process shape. A Mini Toolbar containing four shapes also appears; you will learn more about this toolbar later in this exercise.

    image with no caption
  4. Click the AutoConnect arrow to connect the shapes.

  5. Continue clicking the appropriate AutoConnect arrows until the diagram looks like the following graphic.

    image with no caption

    It’s clear that AutoConnect makes short work of adding dynamic connectors to existing shapes. Each AutoConnect arrow seeks out a neighboring shape in the direction that the arrow points. You can also use AutoConnect when the desired target shape is not directly in line with the AutoConnect arrow, as you’ll discover in the next step.

  6. Point to the Decision shape until the AutoConnect arrows appear, click the AutoConnect arrow on the right of the decision shape, and then drag it to the lower of the two rectangles on the right side of the page. As you drag, the screen will look like the following graphic on the left. When you release the mouse button, the shapes are connected, as shown on the right.

    image with no caption

    Now that you’ve used AutoConnect, you will work with a closely related feature to learn another way to create certain types of drawings quickly.

    Before moving to the next step, look back at the picture in step 3. In addition to the Live Preview image of a dynamic connector arrow, there are also four small shapes on a Mini Toolbar. These shapes are called Quick Shapes and you will use them to create a drawing that is similar to the one you just built.

  7. To the right of the Page-1 name tab below the drawing page, click the Insert Page button. Visio adds a new page called Page-2.

  8. Drag a Start/End shape into the upper-left corner of Page-2.

  9. Point to the AutoConnect arrow on the right side of the start/end shape. Live Preview shows two things in addition to the dynamic connector arrow: it displays a preview of the shape that is currently selected in the stencil, along with a Mini Toolbar containing four shapes.

    image with no caption

    If you want to add another start/end shape to the current drawing, a single click will accomplish that and the new shape will be automatically spaced at the default interval for this page.

    However, if you want to add a different shape, Quick Shapes provide an instant solution. Every open stencil in Visio 2013 includes a Quick Shapes section at the top of the stencil window pane, and most stencils include preselected Quick Shapes. If you look closely at the Basic Flowchart Shapes in the Shapes window, you’ll notice a fine gray line between the Document/Data shapes and the Database/External Data shapes.

    The shapes that appear in the Mini Toolbar are the first four shapes in the Quick Shapes section. If you want different shapes to appear in the Quick Shapes Mini Toolbar, simply drag them to be among the first four shapes in the Quick Shapes section of the stencil.

    Tip

    You can change the order of appearance of shapes in either the Quick Shapes section or the main part of a stencil merely by dragging them to a new location.

  10. Point to any of the shapes in the Quick Shapes Mini Toolbar and notice that the Live Preview image changes to reflect that shape.

    image with no caption
  11. Click the Process shape in the Mini Toolbar to drop it on the page

  12. Point to the process shape and use AutoConnect and the Quick Shapes Mini Toolbar to add a decision shape to its right.

  13. Point to the decision shape on the page and drop a process shape below it.

    image with no caption

    When you click a Quick Shape in the Mini Toolbar, Visio always adds a dynamic connector. Consequently, in order to place two unconnected shapes and finish reproducing the pattern you created on Page-1, it is necessary to place the final two shapes manually.

  14. Drag a Process shape from the stencil and drop it to the right of the decision shape already on the page. Then drop another Process shape below it. Be sure to use the Dynamic Grid to ensure that spacing of the new shapes is consistent with the existing shapes.

    image with no caption
  15. Right-click anywhere on the drawing page. On the Mini Toolbar, click the Connector Tool, and then use it to link the right end of the decision shape to the left end of the lower-right process shape.

    Tip

    You can also point to the Decision shape and drag a connector from the AutoConnect arrow to the Process shape as you did in step 6.

    image with no caption

Note

CLEAN UP Save your changes to the Quick Draw drawing but leave it open if you are continuing with the next exercise.

Tip

You can turn AutoConnect off for all drawings if you prefer to operate without it. On the File tab, click Options, and then click Advanced. In the Editing Options section, clear the Enable AutoConnect check box.

 
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