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Getting from One Glue Type to Another

Depending on your drawing requirements, you might want to switch from one type of glue to another. For example, if you've created your own connection points and always want to use them in particular shapes, you might want to switch away from the shape-to-shape glue that Visio uses as the default. On the other hand, you may want to switch to shape-to-shape glue if you're using point-to-point glue in drawings that change a lot, forcing you to move shapes around.

It turns out to be possible to switch from glue type to glue type, but it takes a little fancy work with the mouse. After you're familiar with the process, it goes faster.

Let's take a look at the process of switching between glue types now.

Going from Point-to-Point to Shape-to-Shape Glue

Your connectors might be set up to use point-to-point glue, and you would prefer shape-to-shape glue. How do you change from the one to the other?

You can switch connectors from using point-to-point glue to using shape-to-shape glue easily enough. Just follow these steps:

  1. Select the pointer tool in the Standard toolbar. This tool is the standard arrow mouse pointer.
  2. Select the connector you want to change. The connector's endpoints—small dark red boxes—appear.
  3. Drag an endpoint away from a shape and then drag the endpoint back toward the shape until a red box appears around the entire shape. This is how you select shape-to-shape glue.
  4. Release the mouse button. This changes the connector to shape-to-shape.
  5. Repeat the preceding steps for the other endpoint of the connector. Doing so converts the connector to using shape-to-shape glue.

It's also worth noting that shape-to-shape connections work only with dynamic connectors, because those connectors have "elbow" joints that allow the connector to bend as you move connected shapes. If you don't see elbow joints on a connector when you move shapes—if you're just dealing with a straight connector—you can't use shape-to-shape glue. More on dynamic connectors is coming up in this chapter.

Going from Shape-to-Shape to Point-to-Point Glue

Bear in mind that when you're using shape-to-shape glue, you don't get to choose which connection points Visio will connect—it automatically connects the nearest two on the two shapes you're connecting. If you want to maintain control over which connection points to connect, go with point-to-point glue instead.

How can you convert a connector from being shape-to-shape to being point-to-point? Follow these steps:

  1. Select the pointer tool in the Standard toolbar. This tool is the standard arrow mouse pointer.
  2. Select the connector you want to change. The connector's endpoints—small dark red boxes—appear.
  3. Drag an endpoint away from a shape and then drag the endpoint back toward the connection point you want to connect to. This is how you select point-to-point glue. A red box appears around the connection point only—not the whole shape.
  4. Release the mouse button. This changes the connector to point-to-point.
  5. Repeat the preceding steps for the other endpoint of the connector. Doing so converts the connector to using point-to-point glue.

So that's how you change the glue used by connectors. You just drag an endpoint away from the shape, and then drag it back. When a single connector is highlighted and you release the mouse button, the connector is converted to point-to-point. When the whole shape is surrounded by a red box and you release the mouse button, the connector is converted to shape-to-shape.

As you can see, heavy use of the mouse is indicated here—you have to drag connector endpoints away from shapes and then back to them. After you get used to this process, however, it's easy to do.

Setting Options for Glue

You can also set various glue options, such as where connectors can attach to shapes. Connectors can attach to shapes in places other than simply connection points—they can also attach to guides (guides are lines you can add to the drawing to help you position shapes where you want them—more on guides later), vertices of shapes, and even shape handles. You can even attach connectors, using glue, to a shape's very geometry—that is, the lines that make up the shape.

There are five options for glue that you can set.

To set glue options, you use the Snap & Glue dialog. What's the Snap part of Snap & Glue? That's coming up later, but the idea is that when you move shapes, they can "snap" to various positions, such as points on the drawing grid.

Here's how you use the Snap & Glue dialog to set glue options:

  1. Select Tools > Snap & Glue. This opens the Snap & Glue dialog, shown in Figure 3.10.
    Figure 3.10

    Figure 3.10 The Snap & Glue dialog.

  2. Select the check boxes in the Glue To area of the dialog. That lets you select the glue options you want.
  3. Click OK. This closes the Snap & Glue dialog.

Using the Snap & Glue dialog, you can connect connectors using glue to these items:

  • Shape geometry
  • Guides
  • Shape handles
  • Shape vertices
  • Connection points
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