One of Visio’s most helpful features is the ability to snap and glue objects together with Connection Points. These are the little blue “x” symbols that you can see on many pre-made Visio shapes that come with the product or from other sources such as www.ShapeSource.com. Here we’ll discuss how to insert additional connection points in Visio shapes that you have downloaded or created yourself. While the basic operation is quite simple, we’ll explain what to watch out for so that you get the results you expect. In addition, there are several types of connection points but we’ll explain those in another article.
Viewing Connection Points
Adding Connection Points
Are your Connection Points where you think they are?
It’s a common user mistake to add connection points to the wrong shape without realizing it. Remember that adding a connection point as described above places it into the selected shape, even if the point is not on or within the boundaries of the shape!
In the adjacent illustration, Shape A is highlighted and it looks like we have just placed a connection point on Shape B. Guess what… the connection point was actually inserted into Shape A. In order to place it in Shape B, you must select Shape B. Often, a user will select Shape A and then continue adding connection points where they want them, without remembering to select a different shape. In that case, when Shape A is moved, the connection point moves along with it and would no longer be on Shape B.
You can place connection points outside of the selected shape geometry which is often a very useful technique. Here, we’ve placed the points outside of the shapes so that when we glue connectors or lines to them, there is white space remaining outside of the object. As the objects are moved, the line will remain glued to the connection points outside of the shape’s geometry.
Visio 2010 and later Connection Points
In Visio 2010 and later, connection point viewing also defaults to “on”. However, you will only see the connection points when you are in the process of connecting to them. In the example above, the connection points on the figure of the teacher will appear as you move the line towards the shape. So don’t be concerned if the points are not visible when you first review a drawing. Visio also gives you the option to turn off the display of connection points entirely. In the Ribbon, select View and uncheck the Connection Points check box to always hide them.
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