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Visio 2007 - How do I manually re-route a connection line

Posted on 2008-06-10
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Last Modified: 2011-10-19
Visio insists on routing a connecting line across 3 other lines when there is a clear path from one shape to another (with only 1 right angle required).

How do I add corners and "re-route" this line and still keep it glued to both shapes?  Ideally, I'd like to control any connecting line  by adding corners and then sliding the segments and keep them glued to their chapes.

I have been able to do this a couple of times, but i can't seem to consistently get Visio to do this!

Thanks.
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Question by:snowdog_2112
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by:Scott Helmers
ID: 21759139
The key to doing what you describe in Visio is to use a "dynamic connector" instead of just a line. The dynamic connector shape has all of the attributes you indicate that you're looking for.

Some stencils, like the basic flowchart stencil, include a dynamic connector as one of the shapes you can drag onto the page (you may need to scroll down a bit in the stencil to see it).

But you can add a dynamic connector to any drawing by using the "Connector Tool" on the main Visio toolbar. It's the button with the picture shown below. Just click the button, then every time you click and drag on the page, a new dynamic connector will appear. To turn the cursor back to its normal behavior, click the "Pointer Tool" button -- the one to the left of the Connector Tool.
dynamic-connector.jpg
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by:snowdog_2112
ID: 21764455
I am familiar with the connector tool.  The problem is that it wants to do only one right angle when connecting 2 shapes.

I know at some point (or under some condition), I am able to "add" corners to the cynamic connector and then move the segments it creates.  So, if I start with a 2-segment dynamic connector, I can add a corner point, and then move the segments, while leaving the endpoints glued to the shapes -- thereby re-routing the connector as I want it to, rather than the automatic path Visio wants to take

(Visio, like most MS products, seems to choose exactly the opposite of my preferred choice -- I don't know if that's a poor reflection on MS, or that I am just contrary to the norm...)

In any case, I'd like to re-route the dynamic connector, leaving it glued to the shapes.

Thanks.
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Expert Comment

by:Scott Helmers
ID: 21766069
In addition to the mid-segment handles, the dynamic connector has a handle on the corner itself. If you drag it diagonally, it will create two new segments, which you can, in turn, move. Does this help?

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Author Comment

by:snowdog_2112
ID: 21790500
That's what I would expect to happen, but if I grab the line on a midpoint (in the default, this is simply one endpoint and the only right-angle corner) it detaches the point from the shape and moves the segment (.  If I grab the corner and move it, the entire line shrinks.

In the attachment, the first is 2 shapes with a connector, the second shows that is is a dynamic connector because I moved the shape without re-adjusting the connector.  In the 3rd, I grab one midpoint and move it - notice how the line detaches.  Finally, if I grab the corner, the whole line shrinks.

I assume it's something I've done - a setup option perhaps, but I can't find it.

Thanks!
visio-2007.jpg
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by:Scott Helmers
ID: 21795123
You're right that this is weird. Is the behavior the same if you delete one of the existing connectors and replace it with a brand new dynamic connector? Is it the same if you you create an entirely new drawing? If it is the same, can you upload the diagram -- I'm curious to see what the behavior is like on my system. Perhaps, that way I can figure out what options are causing this.

As you may know, vsd files are not supported for upload by EE so you have to change the file extension to .txt or something that is supported.
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Author Comment

by:snowdog_2112
ID: 21796430
Yeah..I just played with the page setup and did some experimenting -- all of which I think I've gone through before.  Here is a new file with 2 shapes and a connector.  I tried deleting the first connector and creating a new one, to no avail.  If I hover over one of the midpoints, it gives a tooltip about moving the midpoint and "hover over the shape for more options" (or something to that effect).

Here is the .vsd file, renamed to .txt.

I appreciate your time on this! I've fought with Visio on a number of other things as well -- not the least of which is the Cisco icon sets.
Drawing1.txt
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Scott Helmers earned 500 total points
ID: 21802456
Thanks for uploading the file.

I think the answer to your question has to do with glue. A connector can be glued to a shape or to a specific connection point on the shape -- the latter creates a more persistent connection.

Your connector is glued to the shape and behaves exactly the same on my system as it does on yours. However, both the router and switch in your diagram have a connection point -- if you click and drag both ends of the line so they are glued to the connection point, I think you'll find the line will behave as you want.

BTW, one way to tell that you're glued to the shape not a connection point is to select the connector and look at the red squares at each end. If they are solid red and slightly larger, you're glued to the shape; if they are a bit smaller and contain a black X, you're glued to the connection point.

You can also tell what type of glue you're going to get while you're still in the act of dragging the connector endpoint: If there is a red outline around the entire shape (or a substantial portion of it) when you hover over the shape, you're about to glue to the shape. OTOH, if you hover near a connection point, you'll see a small red square around just the connection point.
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Author Comment

by:snowdog_2112
ID: 21810834
In the file I sent you, I specifically attached the connector to the shape -- I had the red square around the shape, as opposed to the indicator on the connecting point.  

I connected to a connection point and the line behaves as I want.  Amazing!

Thanks!
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