Chapter at a Glance
Many types of Microsoft Office Visio diagrams depict related ideas, relationships, or sequences by showing shapes that are connected with lines. For example, a flowchart shows each of the steps in a process as a series of shapes connected by lines. Organization charts show employee relationships as a hierarchy of shapes connected by lines. Network diagrams use lines to show equipment connected to hubs.
Visio makes it easy to connect the shapes in these diagrams by using connectors1-D shapes (usually lines or arrows) that connect 2-D shapes, such as the process shapes in a flowchart. If you rearrange the connected 2-D shapes, the connectors stay attached to the shapes and reroute for you, so you don't waste time redrawing lines. In some diagrams, such as flowcharts, you can even drag a 2-D shape between two connected shapes, and Visio reroutes the connector and connects all three shapes.
Visio 2007 makes connecting shapes even easier by adding a new feature: AutoConnect. With AutoConnect, Visio does all the connection work for you. Just drag shapes onto the drawing page, and Visio connects, aligns, and evenly distributes the shapes for you.
This chapter shows you how to connect shapes and work with connectors in a flowchart. However, the techniques that you use to connect flowchart shapes apply to other types of diagrams as well. As you modify shape connections and arrange connected shapes, you can take advantage of several layout tools that help you evenly distribute, align, and position shapes. You can even change the orientation of all the connected shapes in a diagram; for example, you can change the layout in a flowchart from top to bottom and from left to right.
Do you need only a quick refresher on the topics in this chapter? See the Quick Reference entries on pages xxvxliii.