Learn tips and tricks for using the software more effectively. Join Visio MVP Scott Helmers as he explains why, and demonstrates how, to turn on the Developer tab in Visio.
- [Instructor] When you're ready to move from being a Visio user, to being a Visio power user, one of the first things you should do, is turn on the Developer tab. By the way, don't let the word developer turn you off, if you don't write software for a living, even though the tab contains many functions that are helpful for programmers, there are several features you can use regardless. If the Developer tab is not visible in your copy of Visio, right-click anywhere in the ribbon area, select Customize the Ribbon, and add a checkmark in front of the word Developer.
On the Developer tab, the code group on the left, is primarily for programmers. But the Macro Security button provides one-click access to the settings to enable and disable macros in your diagrams. The Add Ins and Controls groups are also primarily for developers, so now let's look at the Shape Design section. Here you'll find a set of tools that are valuable when you want to design your own shapes. Let's do just that, let's click Rectangle, and Ellipse, and I'm holding down the Shift key to draw a circle.
And I'm going to draw a second circle. Let's overlap the two circles. Let's color one of them yellow. Home tab for just a moment. Click the Fill button, and now we have a yellow circle. Now back on the Developer tab, we're going to take this pair of circles, and perform some operations on them. For convenience, let's duplicate this pair of circles several times. So, I'm just using Control D, and then dragging each new duplicated pair of circles further down the page.
Let's take this first pair, select Operations. And notice when I hover over Union, the popup says I can create a shape from the parameter of multiple overlapping shapes. Click that button, and there I have a new shape that I've just built from two overlapping circles. If I select the second pair of circles, back to Operations, the Combine operation creates a shape that cuts out any overlapping portions. So, now I've got a pair circles with the cutout in the middle.
Third pair of cirlces, let's use the Fragment operation, which divides multiple shapes into smaller parts. Click Fragment, and now I have two circles, one of which has piece missing, because that was where the overlap existed. Forth pair, forth operation is Intersect. Create a shape from the area where they overlap. So I get just the little shape in the center. And finally, the last pair, let's Subtract.
Which according to the popup, will create a shape by subtracting from the primary selected shapes. Now I have a circle, that is the upper circle with a part missing, that is where the overlap occurred with the second circle. There are a couple of additional operations that have to do with lines; Join, Trim and Offset. I'll leave those for your own exploration. Let's now go to page five, where I have previously added some shapes to the page. There is an ellipse, couple of rectangles and triangles that were dragged from the stencil on the left onto the drawing page.
You probably know that, you can create groups, by selecting two or more shapes, right-clicking, and creating the group. But on the Developer tab, you can actually create a group from a single shape. I've just selected the ellipse, I'm clicking the Group button, and choose Convert to Group. So that converts the shape, separating it from its master in the stencil, and turns it into a group. I'm now going to drag this rectangle and triangle up, and I will select both of them and the ellipse, that is now a group, use the Group dropdown, and Add to Group.
Which makes those two smaller shapes part of the same group. So now, it is a group shape. I can select the members of the group, the group itself, and use that new shape for whatever purpose I'd like. Also in the Shape Design group, is a very handy button called Shape Name. If you need to determine the name of a shape, and the master from which it was created, clicking Shape Name gives you all of that and more. The Behavior button applies to groups. If I select my new group, click Behavior, I can look at a variety of things including changing the behavior of the group.
I can also the Behavior button for individual shapes, and change some of the behavior settings for those shapes. And finally, in that group of functions, the Protection button allows me to do things like lock the width and height, or lock text editing, or lock a variety of other attributes of a shape or a group. The Stencil group includes two buttons for creating new stencil. The Show/Hide group includes check boxes for several of the windows that are very useful for developers and Visio power users.
The Developer tab opens a range of new possibilities for mastering the use of Visio. Some Developer tab functions are for serious techies, but many are useful for both aspiring and accomplished Visio power users.
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- 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