Changing the Layout in Visio

Changing the Visio layoutChanging the layout of a flowchart that you have created in Visio may occasionally become necessary.  As long as you have used shape to shape connections throughout the diagram the process of realignment is very easy. The Configure Layout command from the Shape menu allows you to change the Visio layout by altering and re-routing connectors throughout the entire diagram.  If you need to include a new process shape in the diagram, the Configure Layout command can be used to re-align the diagram when you have finished.

Visio Layout changes are easily made

The spacing between three or more shapes can also be altered automatically by using the DistributeShapes command from the shape menu rather than messing about with shape connectors.  When changing the layout by distributing shapes vertically, the spacing is defined by the top and bottom shapes in the selection; when distributing horizontally these are changed to the left and rightmost shapes in the selection.

The Align Shapes command which can also be accessed from the Shape menu can be used to align two or more shapes: however the order in which the shapes are selected is critical because the secondary shapes will align with the first selected shape identified by the dark purple selection box. Consequently it is very important to make sure that the shape you select first is the one you want to be the primary shape.

 Using Configure Layout to change the Visio Layout

To use the Configure Layout command, open a flowchart and select Configure Layout from the shape menu. From the dialogue box in the placement area click the drop down arrow from the Direction box and click left to right to alter the direction that the shapes will be laid out in.

You can use the print preview screen to view the document prior to printing or use Ctrl and F2 to open the print preview dialogue box, and the Page Setup dialogue from the File menu to change the orientation of the page if necessary. It is sometimes useful to centre the drawing on the page and once again this can be easily achieved by using the Centre Drawing command from the Shape menu.

Distribute shapes to change the Visio layout

Visio 2007 makes it very easy to use the Distribute Shapes and Align Shapes commands when changing Visio layout and routing if the Action Toolbar is made visible by using the View menu and the Toolbars command to switch it on. This very useful toolbar also has buttons for changing the layout including ones to control order, grouping, connections, rotation and shape layout — well worth switching on to make life easier in any Visio diagram!

Shapes for Visio layout in network diagrams

Shapes for Visio layout in network diagrams

Connector shapes can also be rerouted by simply dragging their endpoints to a new shape or a new connection point, or by dragging a midpoint on a connector segment. Changing the layout orientation of a drawing is easy to do from the File menu and the Page Setup command in Visio 2007 and in the Design tab in Visio 2010, and deleting a connector is as easy as selecting it and pressing the delete key.

Microsoft has more information on changing the layout here, and to learn more about how Visio regards one dimensional and two dimensional shapes see our tutorial here.

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