Some shapes include a connector built into the shape, such as the Ethernet shape in a network diagram and the tree shape shown in Figure 3-5. You can drag a control handle on the shape to pull a connector directly out of the shape and attach it to another shape. With these shapes, you can move only one end of the connector; the other end is already attached to the shape.
Figure 3-5: Some shapes, such as the Multi-Tree Sloped shape on the Blocks stencil, have control handles with connectors that you can attach to other shapes.
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Control handle tips
Control handles are your clue that a shape does something special, but you generally can't tell what that is just by the shape's appearance. A control handle might configure a curve, reposition a text block or other component, or associate a shape with another shape. When you see a control handle, pause your pointer over it to display a ScreenTip about what it does.
When you want to create shape-to-shape connections throughout a diagram, don't waste time doing it manually; let Visio 2007 connect the shapes for you. The following technique gives you enormous layout flexibility, because it works well with the automated tools described in the next section. To connect a series of shapes, select them one by one in the order you wish to connect them. For example, select shapes in order from top to bottom or from start to finish. Once the shapes are selected, choose Shapes, Connect Shapes.
Visio 2007 has a new type of auto-connect that makes creating diagrams even easier. Here's how it works. Numerous Visio 2007 shapes have blue auto-connect triangles that appear on each side of the shape when it is selected or when you pass your mouse over the shape. Simply click on the blue triangle to add a pre-connected, identical shape on the selected side. No fuss, superbly little muss.