Visio Glue and Connector Exercise

Last column we learned about glue and glue types.  Today’s column is nice and short – we just work!  To refresh your minds, you may want to take a quick peek at the last column and remind yourself as to how to apply the glue types.

Where are we going today?

Two examples – a network diagram, where you’re stepped through the creation and glue types, and a challenge involving a flowchart and determining how to draw it.

Let’s go to work

We will create the diagram shown below by the end of this assignment:


1. Create a new blank diagram based on the Basic Network Shapes template.  (If presented with the option, it doesn’t matter which units you use.)

2. Reveal the Basic Network Shapes 3D stencil by clicking its title bar.  (It’s much cooler than the others.)

3. Drag the shapes in the above diagram onto the page, more or less in place.  Don’t worry about lining them up precisely.  (Personal computer, Printer, Router, Server, Firewall, WAN, Comm-link, Satellite)


4. Select the WAN cloud and type “Internet”.  Press ESC when done.

5. Select the Comm-link.  This is an example of a connector that cannot be dynamically glued.  Drag its endpoints to meet the blue connection points on the Satellite and the Firewall.  Remember – it’s not connected until you see the endpoint turn red.


6. Select the Satellite.  Its text is being blocked by the Comm-link, but can be moved by dragging the small yellow diamond.  Move the text above the Satellite.


7. Switch to the Dynamic Connector tool

8. You must now connect the computers and printer to the router.  Let’s assume the actual point of connection doesn’t matter on the computers and the printer, but we want all connections on the router to stick to the point on the top centre.  Therefore we use dynamic glue on the computers and printer end of the connector and static glue on the router end.

Hold the CTRL key down while hovering the mouse over the computer.  Click and drag towards the router.  Let go of the CTRL key before dragging the end point to the connection point on the router.

Note that the direction you’re dragging the line is meaningful; Visio remembers which was the beginning and which was the end point for purposes such as assigning arrowheads to lines.


9.  Repeat step 8 for each of the computers and the printer.  Important – don’t let go of the mouse until you’ve actually reached the connection point on the router.  If you do, your line isn’t connected.  (Remember, unconnected endpoints are green, connected are red.)  To correct this, just grab the green endpoint and drag it into place, in the same way you connected the endpoints of the Comm-link.  Because of the nature of the Dynamic Connector, and the fact you’re connecting to the same point, your lines will automatically align themselves.


10. Finally, use dynamic glue to connect the Router to the Server, the Server to the Firewall, and the Firewall to the Internet.  (Remember to hold the CTRL key down when connecting both ends of the line.)


You’re done!  Congratulations!

Now that you’ve mastered the art of gluing, see what happens if you move the router down, or the firewall up.  Visio does what it can to keep the lines flowing in a meaningful fashion.  Yes, you can mess up the drawing if you go beyond what it considers appropriate limits.  We’ll cover line routing in a future column.  In the meantime, carefully planning and managing your drawing allows you to sidestep that particular heartache.


Good with glue?  Know your flowcharting rules?  Figure out the correct way to glue the connectors in this diagram based on the Basic Flowchart template.  The answer is below, but try to think your way through it first.


Good luck, and see you soon!


Answer to Challenge


Dark red = static glue.  Bright red = dynamic glue.  The glue types of the endpoints are visible all at the same time because each of the line objects was selected using SHIFT-click.

Author: Neman Syed

Industrial Strength provides training, consulting, and development for Visio and other products. Please browse through our site to see a sampling of the services we offer and contact us to learn how we can help you become more productive with Microsoft and Crystal Decisions tools.