Identifying Parts of a Shape

When a shape is selected, Visio 2007 provides visual feedback with green squares and circles, yellow diamonds, and blue X's, as Figure 2-1 shows.

image from book
Figure 2-1: The types of handles on a shape indicate how the shape can be used. Drop and connect indicators are new to Microsoft Office Visio 2007.

  • Selection Handles (the green squares) Clicking a shape selects it, which means the next action that you take applies to the shape. Selection handles indicate that the shape is selected. Drag a selection handle to size a shape. Dragging a corner selection handle will size the shape proportionally. Lines don't have corner selection handles.

  • Rotation Handles (the green handles above most shapes) You can change the angle of most Visio 2007 shapes by rotating them. To do so. select the shape, place your cursor over the rotation handle, and drag the handle to reposition the angle of the shape.

    Inside Out 

    Changing the center of rotation

    Shapes rotate around their rotation center, which is denoted by a small green circle within the shape. You can, however, change the location of the center of rotation. To do so, click and drag the circle to a new location.

  • Connection Points (the blue X's) When you connect shapes, connection points tell you where to glue connectors and lines. Glue keeps shapes together so that they stay attached when moved. You can add connection points to the inside, outside, or perimeter of a shape, and you can hide them from view (View, Connection Points).

  • Control Handles (the yellow diamonds) Some shapes have built-in intelligence in the form of control handles that you can drag to alter the shape's appearance. Control handles vary in what they do. For details, see "Control Handles" later in this chapter.

  • Drop and Connect Indicators (the blue triangles) Clicking on a drop and connect indicator drops a duplicate shape on the page and connects it to the currently selected shape.

Differentiating Between 1-D and 2-D Shapes

Two broad categories define Visio 2007 shapes (shown in Figure 2-2).

image from book
Figure 2-2: When you select a shape, the types of handles that appear indicate whether it is a 1-D or 2-D shape.

  • 1-D shapes have endpoints and are often used as connectors between two 2-D shapes. They sometimes, but not always, look like lines. You can drag an endpoint in any direction to rotate and stretch the shape.

  • 2-D shapes have up to eight selection handles, including corner handles, that you can use to resize the shape.

Control Handles

Some shapes have control handles that provide unique editing options and function differently depending on the design and purpose of a shape. For example, you can use a control handle to move the built-in lines on a Predefined Process Shape, pull a connector right out of a shape, or change the shadow depth on a 3-D box. One way to tell what a control handle does is to pause the pointer over the handle until Visio displays its Screen Tip, as Figure 2-3 shows.

image from book
Figure 2-3: You can pause the pointer over a control handle to display a Screen Tip.

Finding the Right Shape

Dragging shapes from stencils works well as long as you can find the shape that you want. Fortunately, it's easy to find shapes. As Figure 2-4 shows, the Shapes window includes a Search for Shapes text box at the top of the window. Type in your search request, press ENTER, and Visio 2007 searches all your installed stencils for shapes based on the keyword that you typed.

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Figure 2-4: The Search for Shapes text box lets you search for shapes among the stencils installed on your local hard drive as well as the Web if you're connected to the Internet.

The first time you search, Visio 2007 may ask if you would like to use the Indexing Service. If you agree, your searches will be faster, but the Indexing Service may periodically slow your computer as it searches your hard drive and indexes your files. If you're connected to the Internet, Visio 2007 can look for new Visio shapes on the Web, both from Microsoft and third-party venders.

Narrowing the scope of your search by typing as many applicable keywords as possible often produces more productive results. For example, if you type bus as the search word, you get dozens of results ranging from the School Bus shape to the Bus Network shape.

Inside Out 

How to search

The Search for Shapes text box searches for shapes based on keywords that are stored with the shapes. If you know a shape's name, it may not be relevant-the name is not necessarily a keyword. You're better off thinking of descriptive terms for the shape you want. In addition, Find Shapes is very literal and only matches whole keywords based on the exact text you type. So if the plural form of a word does not work, try its singular form. You cannot use wildcard characters.

When you click the green arrow adjacent to the Search for Shapes text box, Visio hunts through the stencils on your hard disk and, if you're connected, on the Web. If it finds shapes that contain the keywords you typed, they're displayed below the text box in the familiar template form (two columns of multiple shapes). The results include an icon and name, as Figure 2-5 shows. To use a shape, drag it from the Find Shapes pane onto your drawing page.

image from book
Figure 2-5: The Find Shapes command displays results in a template-like results pane.

You can alter how and where Visio 2007 searches for the shapes on your computer. Click Tools, Options, and then select the Shape Search tab. Modify your search and then click OK to save the changes and close the box.


A Web search locates only those shapes that are included with your Visio 2007 product. In other words, if you have Visio Standard, the Find Shapes command won't locate Visio Professional shapes.


Find Shapes doesn't locate a shape that's used in a diagram

The Find Shapes command looks only at the stencils installed with Visio 2007 and on the Web. If you want to locate a shape that's in your diagram somewhere, use the Find command on the Edit menu.

Microsoft Office Visio 2007 Inside Out
Microsoft Office Visio 2007 Inside Out
ISBN: 0735623295
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2007
Pages: 82

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