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Microsoft Visio 2013 : Creating a New Diagram - Resizing and repositioning shapes

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11/23/2014 8:20:43 PM

Once you’ve placed shapes onto the drawing page, you will probably need to move or resize some of them. Visio provides a variety of techniques for doing so. You can alter shapes using your mouse or keyboard, or a combination of the two. You can also use the Size & Position window.

Not all properties of all shapes can be modified through the user interface, and you may not know which attributes are locked until you attempt to make a change. You may even find that seemingly identical shapes have been designed with very different capabilities and, therefore, behave differently. Sometimes the locked attributes are very simple, like the examples that you will encounter in this exercise. Other times, shape attributes are locked in more complex ways. Regardless of which attributes are locked, the shape designer’s goal is typically the same: to ensure that shapes behave in particular ways for particular drawing types.

In this exercise, you will change the characteristics of several shapes by using the mouse, the keyboard, and the Size & Position window. Note that the Visio grid lines have been turned on for this diagram to make the actions in some steps more apparent.

Note

  1. Click once (don’t double-click) to select shape A.

    image with no caption

    The white squares that appear on a selected shape are referred to as selection handles, resize handles, or just handles, and allow you to alter the shape in the following ways:

    • Dragging the square handles in the center of each edge alters the width or height of the shape.

    • Dragging the square handles on the corners adjusts the width and height proportionally.

    You will use both types of handles in the exercise steps that follow.

  2. Drag the middle handle on the right edge of shape A to the right to increase the width of shape A. When you first begin to drag to the right, notice that green, double-headed arrows appear under shapes A and C. If fact, if you look at the lower part of the page, you’ll notice the same arrows under shapes D and E. Do not release the shape handle yet.

    Important

    The green, double-headed arrows are an important new dynamic feedback feature in Visio 2013. They call attention to the fact that the width of the shape you are modifying matches the width of other shapes on the page. Although this example compares shape widths, the same feedback is provided when shape heights match.

    image with no caption
  3. Continue to drag the right handle of shape A further to the right until the Dynamic Grid feedback informs you that shape A is now the same width as shape B.

    image with no caption
  4. Continue to drag the handle until shape A is wider than either B or C, and then release the resize handle.

    image with no caption
  5. Drag the upper-right handle of shape A away from the shape to increase the size of the shape proportionally in both dimensions.

    image with no caption
  6. Click once (don’t double-click) to select shape B, and then try to drag either of the height resize handles (top center and bottom center). You will not be able to adjust the height of the shape.

  7. With shape B still selected, drag the upper-right resize handle toward the upper right. Notice that the shape gets wider but the height doesn’t change.

    image with no caption

    You aren’t able to change the height of shape B because the designer of the shape chose to lock that shape property. You are allowed to adjust the width but not the height.

    Tip

    Previous versions of Visio displayed locked handles with a different color than unlocked handles. Visio 2013 does not make any visual distinction.

  8. With shape B still selected, point to the circular arrow above the shape.

    image with no caption

    The circular arrow is the rotation handle. When you point to it, the cursor changes to a curved arrow and an additional selection handle appears in the center of the shape (it’s on top of the letter B in the preceding graphic and is connected to the rotation handle by a thin, gray line). The new handle is the Center Of Rotation handle, commonly referred to in Visio as the pin.

    Tip

    When you rotate a shape, it rotates around the pin. To envision the purpose of the pin, imagine that shape B is a piece of paper you’ve stuck on your wall with a pin. If you rotate the piece of paper, it will rotate around the pin.

  9. Drag the rotation handle clockwise approximately 90 degrees.

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  10. Click once to select shape C and then try to rotate it.

    image with no caption

    You are not able to rotate it because that property has been locked for this shape.

  11. Select shape C and reposition it by dragging it up and down; it behaves quite normally. Then try dragging it side to side and you’ll discover that you can’t do it, because the horizontal position is locked.

    Tip

    A shape designer might lock a few simple attributes as you’ve observed in this exercise, or the designer might lock any of dozens of other attributes, in order to make shapes behave as required for a particular type of drawing.

  12. Click once to select shape D, which is a subprocess shape from the Basic Flowchart Shapes stencil. All of the usual handles are available, as shown on the left in the following graphic, but there is a new style of control handle in the lower-left corner of the shape. Drag the yellow control handle to the right and you’ll create the variation shown in the right-hand image. As you drag the control handle in either direction, notice that the shape was designed with movement limits for the lines: you can only drag them a certain distance.

    image with no caption

    In the subprocess shape, the yellow control handle moves the interior lines. If you drag the control handle far enough back to the left, the interior lines effectively disappear. Even though they aren’t visible, the continuing presence of the yellow square suggests that they still exist; if you drag the square back to the right, the lines will reappear.

    Tip

    You will find yellow control handles on a variety of the shapes in Visio stencils. Whenever you select a shape and notice a yellow handle, it’s worth experimenting with it to learn how you can use it to alter the shape’s appearance. If you make a change that you don’t like, simply press Ctrl+Z to undo the modification.

    In the remaining steps of this exercise, you will learn to use the Size & Position window as another method for altering shape appearance and location.

  13. Click once to select Shape E. Then on the View tab, in the Show group, click the Task Panes button, and then click Size & Position to open the Size & Position window. Position the new window to the left of Shape E.

    Tip

    Whenever you have selected one or more shapes, you can also open the Size & Position window by clicking Width, Height, or Angle in the status bar at the bottom of the Visio window.

    image with no caption

    The Size & Position window displays current values for six shape attributes, but it also allows you to change those attributes.

  14. Click in the Width cell, type 2, and then press Enter. The width of the cell changes to reflect the new value. Notice that you didn’t need to type a value for units, because Visio uses the units displayed in the cell as the default. By comparing the width of shape E with the ruler shown at the top of the following graphic, you can confirm that the shape is, indeed, 2 inches wide.

    image with no caption

    The X and Y cells in the Size & Position window reflect the location of the pin of the shape on the page with respect to the lower-left corner of the page. By comparing the values in the X and Y cells in the preceding graphic with the rulers at the edge of the drawing page, you can verify that the center of shape E is at X=7 inches and Y=3 inches.

  15. Click in the Y cell, type 4, and then press Enter. By changing the Y value from 3 inches to 4 inches, you have moved the shape higher on the page. You can confirm the new position of the shape on the page by looking at the ruler shown on the left side of the following graphic.

    image with no caption
  16. Click in the Pin Pos cell, click Center-Left, and then press Enter. Changing this setting moves the pin for the selected shape. The following graphic shows the result of changing the pin to Center-Left. Notice two things:

    • The rotation handle is now on the left edge of the shape.

    • The shape has shifted to the right on the page. This is because the X and Y coordinates of the shape specify the location of the pin. Because you have moved the pin within the shape, the location of the shape on the page changes.

      Tip

      Using the Pin Pos menu, you can relocate the pin based on a fixed set of pin positions. You can also make freeform changes to the pin location by dragging the Center Of Rotation handle described in step 8.

    image with no caption
  17. Click in the Angle cell, type -90, and then press Enter. Typing -90 degrees is equivalent to dragging the rotation handle clockwise 90 degrees. The following graphic shows that shape E rotated around the new pin.

    image with no caption

Note

CLEAN UP Close the Size & Position drawing. It is not necessary to save changes unless you want to.

Tip

If you select more than one shape before dragging a resize handle or making changes in the Size & Position window, the changes you make will affect all selected shapes.

In this exercise, you typed numbers into Size & Position window fields to change the physical characteristics of a shape. However, you can also use the Size & Position window in the opposite way—you can move or alter a shape by dragging the control handles and then use the window to observe the new dimensions or position values.

 
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