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Setting Up Grids, Rulers, Guides, Snap and Glue
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Thread: Setting Up Grids, Rulers, Guides, Snap and Glue

  1. #1
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    To help you draw accurately, Visio has a pair of rulers, a grid, and two types of guides, as well as the ability to snap and glue. You can change the ruler, grid, ruler, snap, and glue settings at any time without affecting objects already placed in the drawing. The settings apply globally to a single page; each page in a drawing can have different settings for the rulers, grid, snap, etc.

    The Grid
    The grid consists of the horizontal and vertical lines on the page. It helps you line up objects as you draw. The grid spacing matches the units you selected for the drawing scale.

    The Tools > Ruler & Grid command lets you specify the spacing between the grid lines: Normal, Fine, Coarse, and Fixed. For example, if your drawing is in inches and the zoom level is at 100%, then the Fine option displays 8 grid lines per inch; Normal displays 4 grid lines per inch; and Coarse displays 2 grid lines per inch. As you zoom into a drawing, the number of grid lines increases.

    To keep the grid from changing its spacing as you zoom in and out, Visio allows you to set a fixed spacing. This is how CAD users expect the grid to operate, but also give you a better sense of scale when zoomed in. In the Ruler & Grid dialog box, select Fixed for the horizontal and vertical grid spacing. Then enter a value for the Minimum Spacing, such as 0.1 in.

    The Ruler & Grid dialog box lets you move the grid origin (zero point) to any point in the page.

    Ruler settings illustrated
    Ruler settings are fairly rudimentary but combined with an appropriate units setting provides adequate control over ruler display.

    The Rulers
    The ruler is along the top and left edges of the drawing window. It helps you measure distances. The ruler's measurement system matches that of the units selected for the drawing scale.

    The Tools > Ruler & Grid command lets you specify the number of tick marks to display between Fine, Normal, and Coarse. For example, if your drawing is in inches and the zoom level is at 100%, then the Fine option displays 32 markings between inches; Normal displays 16 markings per inch; and Coarse displays 8 markings per inch. As you zoom into a drawing, the number of ruler markings increases. You can have a different setting for each ruler: for example, you could have the horizontal ruler display finely-spaced markings, while the vertical ruler displays coarsely-spaced marking; you cannot, however, mix and match different units, such as metric horizontal and imperial vertical.

    The Ruler & Grid dialog box lets you move the ruler's origin to any point in the page. The horizontal (x-direction) ruler's zero point is normally at the upper-left corner of the page; the vertical (y-direction) ruler's zero point is normally at the lower-left corner of the page. To dynamically position the ruler's origin, hold down the Ctrl key and drag the cursor from the ruler intersection (located at the upper-left corner of the drawing window) into the drawing.

    The Guide Line and Guide Point
    Related to the grids and rulers are the guide line and guide point. Guide lines and points help you align objects.

    The guide line is like a customizable grid line. You create a guide line by dragging from the ruler (horizontal or vertical) over onto the page. As you do, Visio creates a guide line. For CAD users, the guide line can be thought of as a construction line.

    A guide point is a large + sign, which marks a point. You create the guide point by dragging the cursor from the intersection of the two rulers (at the upper-left corner of the drawing window). A page can have many guide lines and guide points, although too many obscure the drawing.

    Snap and Glue
    Snap is the ability of Visio to force objects to line up. Snap makes it easier to create an accurate drawing. Visio's snap is identical to the snap feature found in CAD software.

    You can have Visio snap to the ruler's tick marks, to the grid, to guides, and to objects. You can adjust the snap's strength. For example, if the cursor is within 5 pixels of a grid line, then the snap takes place. Other default values are snapping within 3 pixels (called a weaker snap by Visio) of a ruler tick mark and 8 pixels of a guide line or point (called a stronger snap).

    Snapping to objects is akin to object snap in CAD software. Visio can snap to the shape's alignment box, shape's geometry, shape handles, shape vertices, and the shape's connection points. At first glance, this list sounds vague compared to CAD software's endpoint, midpoint, intersection, etc. Visio's approach, however, is more powerful in some ways since you don't have to explicitly specify "ENDpoint" before you can snap to the end of a line; you simply pick the endpoint. On the other hand, Visio lacks the ability to snap to geometric features, such as the intersection of two lines or the tangent of a curve.

    Glue is the ability of a group of shapes to stay together when one shape is moved. CAD users can think of glue as creating groups on-the-fly. Shapes are glued at their connection points; most often, connection lines are used to glue shapes together, but shapes can also be glued to the handles and vertices of other shapes and to guide lines. If a shape does not have a connection point where you need one, simply use the Connection Point Tool (icon looks like a small blue x on the Standard toolbar)

    To glue objects together, select all the objects you want glued, then select the Connect Shapes tool from the toolbar. To show that a shape is glued to another, Visio changes the color of the shape handle from green to red. A dynamic glue connection is shown as light red and slightly larger.

    Visio has two types of glue: (1) static; and (2) dynamic. Actually, Visio has too many different ways to use glue, so I won't cover them here; check the on-line documentation. Static glue means that shapes move as a group and the glue points do not change. Dynamic glue is specific to connecting lines; as you move them, these connectors change their glue point to the nearest available connection point.

    You can change glue points between static and dynamic, as you see best. While holding down the Ctrl key, move the connector away, then back to the connection point; the static glue changes to dynamic glue. To change from dynamic back to static, simply drag the connector away and back, without holding down the Ctrl key.

    Set Snap and Glue properties in the Snap and Glue dialog box
    Set Snap and Glue properties in the Snap and Glue dialog box

    The Ruler, Grid, and Guides selections of the View menu toggle the display of the rulers, grid lines, and guide lines. The term toggle comes from the light switch that turns the lights on and off.

    To remove a guide line or guide point, select it ( turns green), then press the Del key.
    Control Function Keys Menu Toolbar Icon
    Connection Point tool - - Connection point tool
    Glue toggle F9 - Glue toggle
    Grid toggle - View > Grid Grid toggle
    Guides toggle - View > Guides Guide toggle
    Ruler and Grid dialog box - Tools > Ruler and Grid
    Ruler toggle - View > Rulers
    Snap and Glue dialog box Alt+F9 Tools > Snap and Grid
    Snap toggle Shft+F9 Snap toggle

  2. #2
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    You certainly learnt something very good from regix, you amazed me with visio posts that you've been making. Excellent contribution, something regix was not able to do himself.

    Topic pinned.

  3. #3

  4. #4
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    Donald, keep up the good work man. You're definitely learning here.

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