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All About Glue

There's a concept you have to understand about connectors, and that concept is glue. In Visio, this is the concept that sticks connectors to connection points.

If there were no glue, you'd have to reshape connectors every time you moved a connected shape. You'd have to reconnect the connection points on the moved shape, and modify the connector to match. With glue, all of that is taken care of—the shapes you move still stay connected, saving you the bother of having to reconnect them. As you go on in Visio, this is a big help, because you'll move shapes around frequently until you get things the way you want them.

Without glue, adjusting a drawing would be a lot more work than you'd want to put up with.

There are two types of glue: point-to-point glue (also called static glue) and shape-to-shape glue (also called dynamic glue).

Point-to-Point Glue

Point-to-point glue is all about gluing connection points together. This kind of glue is also called static glue, and it sticks two connection points together. Those connection points are stuck with the same connector no matter how you move the two shapes around.

In other words, point-to-point glue is just what it sounds like—a means of making a connector stick from one point to another one.

That means that when you move shapes, you risk having a contorted connector if you use point-to-point glue. For example, take a look at Figure 3.6, in which the two shapes are connected by point-to-point static glue. When you move the shapes with respect to each other, as shown in the bottom of the figure, the same two points stay connected, which gives you the result shown in the figure.

Figure 3.6

Figure 3.6 Using a point-to-point glue.

That's what it means to use point-to-point glue: The connection points you connect this way are always connected.

Shape-to-Shape Glue

The other method of connecting connection points is with shape-to-shape glue. With this kind of glue, the two shapes are glued together, not just two points. That means the connector between two shapes will switch between connection points as you move the shapes. The connector will connect the two shapes using the most convenient connection points.

Because, when you use this type of glue, connectors can connect to any connection points on shapes, this type of glue is also called dynamic.

You can see shape-to-shape glue behavior in Figure 3.7, in which the two shapes are connected using shape-to-shape glue. When you move the two shapes with respect to each other, as shown in the bottom part of the figure, the connector reconnects to the most convenient connection points.

Figure 3.7

Figure 3.7 Using a shape-to-shape glue.

That's what shape-to-shape glue means—the connectors will be able to switch from connection point to connection point, as is the most convenient, and they make that switch automatically.

Because this is the type of glue that gets used most often in Visio, it's the default type of glue.

How Do You Know Which Type of Glue You've Got?

How can you tell what kind of glue a connector uses? Some connectors use shape-to-shape glue, and others point-to-point.

One way of making that determination, of course, is to see how shapes act as you move them around—point-to-point glue keeps two points connected no matter what; shape-to-shape glue lets the connector switch from connection point to connection point.

But there's a quicker way to check. Just select the connector, as shown in Figure 3.8. If the connector uses point-to-point glue, the endpoints will appear in dark red, and a tiny × and + will appear in them.

Figure 3.8

Figure 3.8 Point-to-point glue.

On the other hand, if the connector uses shape-to-shape glue, the endpoints will be larger, colored a lighter red, as shown (in glorious black-and-white) in Figure 3.9. And there is no × or + in either endpoint.

Figure 3.9

Figure 3.9 Shape-to-shape glue.

So that's the easy way to check which kind of glue you have—just select the connector, and the endpoints will tell you. Small dark red endpoints mean you have point-to-point glue; large lighter red endpoints mean you have shape-to-shape glue.

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