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Microsoft Visio 2013 : Creating a New Diagram - Using basic shapes and the Dynamic Grid

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11/18/2014 8:10:49 PM

Visio 2013 provides an enhanced Dynamic Grid. The purpose of the Dynamic Grid is to help you position a shape with greater accuracy as you drop it on the page or when you relocate it, thereby eliminating much of the need to drag and nudge the shape into alignment after you’ve placed it.

Though the Dynamic Grid was helpful in Visio 2010 and 2007, it’s even more useful in Visio 2013 because it reacts more quickly to pointer movement and shape locations, and because it provides a greater variety of visual feedback. In addition, the Dynamic Grid is more valuable for aligning shapes in Visio 2013 because the background page grid is turned off by default.

In this exercise, you will create a drawing from a stencil containing basic Visio shapes. In the process of doing so, you will use several types of Dynamic Grid feedback. You will also create several shapes using Visio’s drawing tools.

Note

SET UP If Visio is already running, click File, and then click New. If Visio is not running, start it. On either the New or startup page, double-click the Basic Diagram thumbnail. Save the drawing as Basic Shapes.

  1. Drag a Rectangle shape onto the drawing page and position it toward the upper-left corner of the page.

  2. Drag a Circle shape onto the drawing page and position it to the right of the rectangle. Before you release the mouse button to drop the circle, move it up and down on the page. As you move the circle, a green, horizontal Dynamic Grid line appears when the circle is in certain positions relative to the rectangle.

    From left to right in the following graphics, the Dynamic Grid line indicates when the circle is aligned with the top, center, and bottom of the existing rectangle.

    image with no caption

    Note

    TROUBLESHOOTING If the Dynamic Grid lines don’t appear as you move shapes near others already on the page, it is probably because the feature is turned off for this drawing. To activate the Dynamic Grid, click the Dynamic Grid button in the Visual Aids group on the View tab.

  3. Use the Dynamic Grid to align the circle with the middle of the rectangle and drop it so the space between the shapes is approximately 1 inch (2.5 cm).

    Tip

    Use of the Dynamic Grid lines is not restricted to positioning new shapes as you drop them from the stencil. The Dynamic Grid lines also appear when you use the pointer to reposition existing shapes on the page.

  4. Click on the circle and drag it closer to the rectangle. The Dynamic Grid centerline appears, and if you’ve located the circle at a certain distance from the rectangle, a second Dynamic Grid element appears. When the distance between the two shapes matches the default spacing interval for this page, a double-headed arrow appears.

    image with no caption

    Tip

    You can change the default inter-shape spacing interval for a page: on the Home tab, in the Arrange group, click Position, and then click Spacing Options. The Spacing Options dialog box that appears enables you to change the horizontal and vertical spacing intervals.

    image with no caption
  5. Press Ctrl+Z to undo the shape movement and position the circle back where you originally dropped it.

  6. Drag a Square shape onto the page and position it on the right side of the circle but don’t release the mouse button yet.

  7. Use the Dynamic Grid to align the square with the center of the circle and then move the square left and right until the green double-headed arrow appears.

    Notice that the double-headed arrow shown in the following graphic is longer than the double-headed arrow shown in the graphic after step 4 and that there are two of them, not one. In step 4, the double-headed arrow shows that the interval between your shapes matches the drawing’s default spacing. In this example, the pair of double-headed arrows indicates that your new shape is the same distance from the circle that the circle is from the rectangle.

    image with no caption

    Tip

    To show you that the circle and square are the same height, Visio displays Dynamic Grid lines at the top, middle, and bottom of the pair of shapes.

  8. Release the left mouse button to drop the square.

  9. Continue to experiment with the Dynamic Grid by dragging an Octagon shape below the rectangle on the drawing page. As shown in the following graphic, the Dynamic Grid can provide guidance in two directions at once: the vertical lines indicate alignment with the rectangle; the pair of longer double-headed arrows show horizontal spacing; the short double-headed arrow highlights vertical spacing.

    image with no caption
  10. Release the left mouse button to drop the shape.

  11. Drag a Triangle shape to the right of the octagon and below the circle. Once again, notice that the Dynamic Grid operates in two directions simultaneously. The Dynamic Grid also informs you that the triangle and circle are the same width (three vertical lines) but that the triangle and octagon are different heights (one horizontal line).

    image with no caption

    Now that you’ve added five shapes to the page by using a Visio stencil, it’s time to create some shapes of your own using the Visio drawing tools.

  12. On the Home tab, in the Tools group, click the Rectangle Tool . Notice that the cursor changes to a plus sign with a rectangle to the lower right.

    Important

    The Rectangle Tool is one of six drawing tools that are located on a menu behind a button in the Tools group on the Home tab. The button is located to the right of the Pointer Tool and the image on the button and the accompanying tooltip text show the most recently used of the six tools. Each time you start Visio, however, the button function reverts to the Rectangle Tool.

  13. Click anywhere on the drawing page and drag down and to the right to draw a rectangle.

    Tip

    You can constrain the Rectangle Tool so it only draws squares by holding down the Shift key while dragging the mouse.

  14. On the Home tab, in the Tools group, click the Ellipse Tool , and then drag to create an ellipse to the right of your rectangle.

    Tip

    You can constrain the Ellipse Tool so it draws only circles by holding down the Shift key while dragging the mouse.

    image with no caption

    Tip

    To return Visio to normal operating mode after using one of the drawing tools, click the Pointer Tool in the Tools group on the Home tab or use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+1.

Note

CLEAN UP Save your changes to the Basic Shapes drawing and close it.

Although you have used the Dynamic Grid in this exercise while working with simple, geometric shapes, it is also useful with more complex shapes. However, if at any time you prefer to work without the Dynamic Grid, you can turn it off: on the View tab, in the Visual Aids group, click the Dynamic Grid button.

 
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