Learn tips and tricks for using the software more effectively. Join Visio MVP Scott Helmers as he demonstrates how to add, move, and delete connection points on Visio shapes. You’ll also learn how to change the style of the dynamic connectors in your diagram in this third of three videos about controlling the connections between shapes in your diagram.
- [Instructor] As you saw in the previous video, dynamic connectors adapt to changes in your Visio Diagram. Most of the time that's a really good thing, especially when you understand how they work. In this video we'll make adjustments to the line segments that comprise dynamic connectors, and we'll also adjust their style. Finally, because dynamic connectors are often glued to connection points, we'll examine how to create, move and delete connection points on Visio Shapes. We'll begin by using three different techniques to add additional dynamic connectors to this flow-chart in progress.
I'll start with the yellow shape in the center, we'll use the auto-connect arrow, that's the blue triangle, to shoot a connector across the gap to the green shape. For the upper rectangle, useful tip, you can use the auto-connect handle by clicking and dragging to add a connector between two shapes that are not aligned with each other, so click, drag, and I have a new connector attached to the green shape. Finally, for the rectangle at the bottom, I will right-click and use the one-time use connector tool, click, drag, and I've added three connectors.
Unfortunately the default line placement creates overlapping lines, but fortunately that's an easy problem to solve. Simply drag the control handle in the center of any line segment to adjust the position of the segment. I can do the same thing with the segment for the connector at the top, and now I have a good looking diagram. In addition to moving line segments, there are other interesting adjustments you can make by using a modifier key. For example, if I select the dynamic connector at the top and hold down the Shift key while I drag one of the control handles, I can add bump-outs into my line.
Holding the Control key gives you even more interesting results, I can add angled connections. If you decide you've gone too far, it's very useful to know that you can right-click on any dynamic connector, down at the bottom of the menu click Reset Connector, and it's right back to where Visio thinks it should be. In my case I still want to move it back, so I'll drag that control handle, and move it back to this configuration. In addition to adjusting line segments, you can also change the style of dynamic connectors.
I'm going to select the top-most connector here, right-click and choose Curved Connector. Now when I move the green process shape, the line is curved. If I move it far enough, the curve will develop an S-shaped bend. What's interesting about curved connectors is they have some extra control handles, not only the one in the middle that allows me to change curvature, but there's another control handle here that allows me to make some changes in the style of that curved connector as well. For the connector at the very bottom I'll right-click and choose Straight Connector.
Now I have what is still a dynamic connector, but because I've asked it to be straight, it will always be a straight line. Next let's talk about connection points. All of the shapes on this page are standard flow-chart shapes that have four connection points designed into them, one each on the top, bottom, left and right. To see all of the connection points in a diagram go to the Home tab, and in the Tools group, click the Connection Point tool. Let's zoom in on the upper part of this diagram to make some changes in the connection points on this yellow process shape.
With the connection point tool active, select the shape, and then hold down the Control key to click wherever you'd like to add a connection point. I'm going to add two more connection points on the right edge of this rectangle. There's one, there's the second one. If you want to move a connection point, simply click on it with the connection point tool active, and then drag it wherever you'd like it to be. I'll put this one in the center. Similarly click on the one on the bottom, press the Delete key, and it's gone.
At this point I want to press Control + 1 to revert to the pointer tool, and let's take advantage of those new connection points. For example, click this line and let's move it down to one of the new connection points. Let's right-click and choose the one-time connector tool and add a new connection to the rectangle in the top-right, and let's do the same thing, and add another line to the lower rectangle on the right. As a final note, it's possible to select all the dynamic connectors at once, in case you want to perform an operation on all of them.
I'm pressing Control + Shift + W to go back to whole page mode in the diagram. On the Home tab, all the way at the right is the Select tool, choose Select by Type, click Shape role, notice Connectors is the first choice. I'm going to deselect Containers and Callouts and click OK, and with just those couple of clicks I've selected every dynamic connector on this page. I might now change the color of all of 'em. In my case, what I want to do is right-click on any of the ones that's selected, and I'm going to choose Right-Angle Connector, 'cause I'm going to change all of 'em back to right-angle connectors.
And with that, my diagram is back to a reasonable point, all of the connectors are right-angles. Dynamic connectors really are your friends in Visio Diagrams, even if they sometimes seem to have a mind of their own. Using the information in this video and the preceding two should allow you to take control of the lines in your diagrams.
Lynda.com is a PMI Registered Education Provider. This course qualifies for professional development units (PDUs). To view the activity and PDU details for this course, click here.
The PMI Registered Education Provider logo is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.
- Decoding Visio versions and editions
- Setting Visio options
- Navigating like a pro
- Taking advantage of hyperlinks
- Managing text on shapes
- Annotating diagrams with comments and callouts
- Inserting text display fields
- Working more efficiently
- Mastering Visio keyboard shortcuts
- Aligning and sizing shapes on a page
- Managing connectors and connection points
- Copying, pasting, and duplicating shapes