Because 3-D block diagrams are eye-catching, they're commonly used to emphasize key concepts in a presentation or report. Figure 11-8 provides an example. You can use 3-D block diagrams to organize ideas in a variety of manners, from a simple chronology or hierarchy to a complex object model. When you open the Block Diagrams With Perspective template, the drawing page includes a vanishing point in the lower right corner. The vanishing point is a locked shape that sets the 3-D orientation of the perspective block shapes. You can move the vanishing point to change the direction of shape shadows and perspective lines on the page. Although working with 3-D representation might be a bit rough at first, in very little time you can create a basic 3-D perspective diagram that looks as though you spent hours creating it.
Figure 11-8. A 3-D block diagram is a handsome way of depicting relationships and associations.
To create a 3-D block diagram, first decide what shape or shapes to use to represent the main idea you want to communicate. Then, add text to the shapes. Finally, play with the diagram's perspective, and add color to the shapes for emphasis.
Follow these steps to create a 3-D block diagram:
Visio adjusts the depth of the shape and its shadow to accommodate the vanishing point.
All perspective shapes are redirected toward the vanishing point.
Perspective shapes respond to the position of the V.P. shape on the page, yet you can adjust individual shapes to make them more or less prominent. When you move the V.P. shape, Visio reorients all the shapes. If a shape doesn't respond, it might not be designed to work with the vanishing point, or it might have become disconnected. To determine whether a shape is connected to the vanishing point, select the shape. If the shape's control handle is glued to the V.P. shape and displayed in red, it's connected to the vanishing point, as Figure 11-9 shows. Table 11-5 summarizes techniques for working with perspective shapes and the vanishing point.
Figure 11-9. Perspective shapes must be connected to the vanishing point (V.P. shape).
Table 11-5. Adjusting 3-D Perspective
Change the perspective for a specific shape
Select the shape, and then drag the red control handle on the V.P. shape to a new position. The control handle turns yellow to show that the shape is no longer connected to the vanishing point.
Associate a shape with the vanishing point
Select the shape and drag its control handle to the connection point of the V.P. shape. The shape's control handle turns red to show that it's connected.
Change the depth of a 3-D shape
Right-click the shape, choose Set Depth, and then select a percentage, as Figure 11-10 shows. The greater the percentage, the deeper the shadow.
Figure 11-10. You can change the shadow depth for a single shape to make it appear more or less prominently.
You can hide the V.P. shape on the drawing page while you work and when you print. The shape is assigned to a layer so that you can control its visibility, color, and other attrib-utes. To hide the V.P. shape, choose View, Layer Properties. (See Figure 11-11.) In the Vanishing Point row, clear the check mark in the Visible column to hide the shape. Clear the check mark in the Print column to prevent the shape from printing.
Figure 11-11. You can change attributes of the Vanishing Point layer to affect the V.P. shape on the drawing page.
Using a shape's shortcut menu, you can make changes to the shape's shadow color. Visio provides three options, as Figure 11-12 shows:
Figure 11-12. Right-click the shape to change the depth and color of its shadow.