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Visio. Shapes basics. Overview: Shapes fulfill your Visio vision Lesson 1: An introduction to shapes Lesson 2: How to get shapes. Course contents. Overview: Shapes fulfill your Visio vision.

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Visio

Visio

Shapes basics


Course contents

Course contents

Shapes basics


Overview shapes fulfill your visio vision
Overview: Shapes fulfill your Visio vision

  • From flowcharts to office layouts, shapes form the essence of any Visio diagram. You can arrange and connect shapes to represent objects, actions, and ideas and then form visual relationships among them.

This course provides the fundamentals you need to be able to put shapes where you want, make them look right and do what you need them to do, and fulfill your overall vision.

Shapes basics


Course goals

Course goals

Shapes basics


Lesson 1

Lesson 1

An introduction to shapes


An introduction to shapes
An introduction to shapes

  • What is a shape? In Visio, the definition covers more than you might think. Yes, there are basic shapes like rectangles and diamonds for a flowchart. But there are also very detailed shapes.

  • And Visio shapes don't just sit there and look good. They have interactive behavior as well. Meaning that when you work with them, they react in a certain way.

Shapes range from simple to detailed.

Shapes basics


Two types of shapes
Two types of shapes

  • When you work with Visio shapes, you can resize them, rotate them, move them around, and so on.

  • But how the shape behaves when you do those things depends on the type of shape that it is.

1-D and 2-D shapes

Shapes basics


Two types of shapes1
Two types of shapes

  • There are two types of shapes in Visio:

  • One-dimensional (1-D)

  • Two-dimensional (2-D)

Each type of shape behaves a certain way. Once you know the type that a shape belongs to, you’ll be able to work with it successfully.

1-D and 2-D shapes

Shapes basics


1 d shapes
1-D shapes

  • A 1-D shape is a shape that, when selected, has a beginning point and an ending point . As the picture shows, 1-D shapes typically look like lines.

How do 1-D shapes behave when you work with them? If you move the beginning point or ending point, only one dimension changes: the length.

Examples of 1-D shapes

Shapes basics


1 d shapes1
1-D shapes

  • But the most powerful behavior of 1-D shapes is their ability to connect two other shapes.

For example, in a business process diagram, you might connect two departments with a line or an arrow.

Examples of 1-D shapes

Shapes basics


2 d shapes
2-D shapes

  • A 2-D shape is a shape that, when selected, does not have a beginning or an ending point. Instead, a 2-D shape has eight selection handles .

How do 2-D shapes behave? When you click and drag a corner selection handle, you can change two dimensions: the length and the width.

Examples of 2-D shapes

Shapes basics


2 d shapes1
2-D shapes

  • 2-D shapes are typically used to represent something: either a general concept or a specific object.

Like the laptop and the block shown here, some 2-D shapes are drawn to look three-dimensional. But they’re still 2-D shapes, which you know because of the eight selection handles.

Examples of 2-D shapes

Shapes basics


1 d or 2 d how to be sure
1-D or 2-D? How to be sure.

  • At first glance, some shapes look like 2-D shapes but are really 1-D shapes. And vice-versa.

  • To avoid any confusion, always select the shape, and Visio will tell you what it is.

Which is 1-D and which is 2-D? Don’t be fooled!

Shapes basics


1 d or 2 d how to be sure1
1-D or 2-D? How to be sure.

  • For example, the arrow shape at the top of this illustration appears to be two dimensional because of its thickness.

But if you selected it, you would see its beginning point and its ending point, so it is 1-D for sure.

Which is 1-D and which is 2-D? Don’t be fooled!

Shapes basics


1 d or 2 d how to be sure2
1-D or 2-D? How to be sure.

  • On the other hand, the curve shape appears to be 1-D. After all, it looks like just a line.

But if you selected it, you would see the eight selection handles that tell you it’s 2-D.

Which is 1-D and which is 2-D? Don’t be fooled!

Shapes basics


1 d or 2 d how to be sure3
1-D or 2-D? How to be sure.

  • To many people, “1-D” describes a shape with one dimension, and “2-D” describes a shape with two dimensions. These are familiar definitions of 1-D and 2-D.

However, as you can see from these examples, the Visio definitions depend on how the shapes behave, not on how they look.

Which is 1-D and which is 2-D? Don’t be fooled!

Shapes basics


Shapes with special behavior
Shapes with special behavior

  • All shapes in Visio are either 1-D or 2-D, depending on how they behave. But some shapes have other handy behavior that is unique to them and that doesn’t depend on whether they’re 1-D or 2-D.

For example, some shapes have yellow control handles that let you interact with them.

Drag the control handle to swing the door.

Shapes basics


Shapes with special behavior1
Shapes with special behavior

  • In this illustration, the door shape has a control handle that you can drag to swing the door open and closed. Will it clear the table nearby?

It appears not. Better find a smaller table or make other adjustments to the furniture so that this problem doesn’t occur in the real world.

Drag the control handle to swing the door.

Shapes basics


Anything is a shape
Anything is a shape

  • When working with Visio, you’ll probably want to add text, photos, or clip art.

  • Although these are not shapes created by Visio, in Visio all of these things are shapes nonetheless.

In Visio, anything is a shape.

Shapes basics


Anything is a shape1
Anything is a shape

  • If you type text on an empty part of the page, that text will be a 2-D shape, and it will have eight selection handles when selected. If you select an imported picture, it will have those handles too.

Let’s face it: Anything on the page, whether pictures or text, is a shape to Visio. Anything.

In Visio, anything is a shape.

Shapes basics


Suggestions for practice

  • Open the exercise 1.

  • Observe 2-D behavior.

  • Observe 1-D behavior.

  • Look at more 1-D and 2-D shapes on the other diagrams.

  • Explore the special behavior some shapes have.

Suggestions for practice

Shapes basics


Lesson 2

Lesson 2

How to get shapes


How to get shapes
How to get shapes

  • In Visio, all the world’s…a shape. And there are hundreds of Visio shapes to choose from, more than you can memorize. So it’s good to know how to find them when you need them.

  • The ways to get shapes aren’t quite as numerous as the shapes themselves. But there are plenty of ways, each one good for different purposes.

Six ways to get shapes

Shapes basics


You must remember this
You must remember this

  • Before we talk about how to get shapes, we need to make sure you understand three terms:

  • Shapes window. This window contains stencils.

  • Stencils. Stencils aren’t shapes. That’s important. Stencils contain shapes.

Shapes window, stencils, and shapes

Shapes basics


You must remember this1
You must remember this

  • Before we talk about how to get shapes, we need to make sure you understand three terms:

  • Shapes. Shapes, in Visio, are everything. But shapes aren’t stencils. Stencils contain shapes.

Shapes window, stencils, and shapes

Shapes basics


You must remember this2
You must remember this

  • The illustration shows the Organization Chart Shapes stencil and its shapes.

Notice the two other stencils: Borders and Titles and Backgrounds. To see the shapes in either of those stencils, you’d just click the name of the stencil.

Shapes window, stencils, and shapes

Shapes basics


Get shapes with templates
Get shapes with templates

  • One way to get shapes is to choose a template. A template is one of the drawing type options you see when you start Visio.

  • The illustration shows how when you choose a template, the stencils and shapes for the template appear in the Shapes window, ready to work with.

Choosing a template brings you shapes automatically.

Shapes basics


Get shapes with templates1
Get shapes with templates

  • The advantage of using a template is that it provides you with lots of shapes organized for a specific purpose and related to each other.

In this example, the shapes are specific to flowcharts. If you chose another template, you’d get shapes designed and organized for that template’s purpose instead.

Choosing a template brings you shapes automatically.

Shapes basics


Get shapes by searching
Get shapes by searching

  • If you need more shapes than a template gives you, you can use the Search for Shapes box to search for them. To search for a shape:

  • Type one or two words in the Search for Shapes box, for example, “arrows.”

  • Visio creates a temporary stencil to hold the shapes it finds.

Shapes window and Search for Shapes box

Shapes basics


Get shapes by searching1
Get shapes by searching

  • In this example, that temporary stencil would have the name arrows. To use a shape, you would drag it from the arrows stencil onto your drawing.

Shapes window and Search for Shapes box

Shapes basics


Get shapes by searching2
Get shapes by searching

  • Search for Shapes searches the Visio stencils that are installed on your computer.

If you have an Internet connection, Search for Shapes also searches the Microsoft Web sites for new and updated Visio shapes.

Shapes window and Search for Shapes box

Shapes basics


Draw your own shapes
Draw your own shapes

  • If you can’t find the shape you need in Visio, you can always draw your own shape.

  • Your own shape can be simple or complex, from a wiggly line to a piece of custom office equipment.

Create your own shapes by using the Drawing toolbar.

Shapes basics


Draw your own shapes1
Draw your own shapes

  • While drawing your own shapes is beyond the scope of this course, the tip of the iceberg is the Drawing toolbar, shown here.

It lets you create shapes from scratch by using simple tools.

Create your own shapes by using the Drawing toolbar.

Shapes basics


Get shapes from other people
Get shapes from other people

  • Sometimes other people have made shapes that you want to use.

  • When you want to use shapes made by others, they could send you a copy of a Visio drawing with those shapes in it. Often, however, what you’ll get is a stencil of shapes.

ContosoShapes.vss on the My Shapes submenu

Shapes basics


Get shapes from other people1
Get shapes from other people

  • A stencil is a file with “.vss” or “.vsx” in the name. When you receive a stencil file, copy it to this location:

C:\Documents and Settings\username\My Documents\My Shapes

ContosoShapes.vss on the My Shapes submenu

After you do that, the stencil will be available through Visio menu commands.

Shapes basics


Get shapes from other people2
Get shapes from other people

For example, the picture illustrates that someone copied ContosoShapes.vss to My Documents\My Shapes.

Now the ContosoShapes command appears on the File menu, Shapes submenu, My Shapes submenu.

ContosoShapes.vss on the My Shapes submenu

Shapes basics


Insert pictures
Insert pictures

  • Suppose you’d like to insert a photograph into a diagram to show people’s pictures in an org chart.

  • To do that, on the Insert menu, you’d point to Picture and then click From File. Visio automatically makes the photograph a 2-D shape and puts the eight handles on it.

Inserting a picture as a Visio shape

Shapes basics


Insert pictures1
Insert pictures

  • Shapes made by inserting pictures aren’t as intelligent as the shapes that come from stencils. As far as interactive behavior goes, they’re not much more than a square on the page.

Nonetheless, they are shapes, which means you can connect them with 1-D shapes, resize them, position them, and so on.

Inserting a picture as a Visio shape

Shapes basics


Suggestions for practice1

Suggestions for practice

Shapes basics


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