Create a Directional Map in Visio

What is a Directional Map For?

directional mapA Directional Map can be are very useful for explaining how to get somewhere in a visual manner.  Suppose you had to organize a conference or some other event and wanted to make sure that all the delegates could find the venue easily – creating a directional map and sending it to them before the event would help enormously.  Visio Standard and Professional versions have a Maps and Floor Plans category that makes creating a map a simple and straightforward exercise.

How to create Directional Map

To start a new directional map, open Visio and from the Getting Started screen choose Maps and Floor plans from the Templates category and then select Directional Map and click Create.  When the drawing opens you will see the Road Shapes stencil open in the Shapes window on the left.  Several other stencils open by default; the Landmark Shapes, the Metro Shapes, the Recreations Shapes and the Transportation Shapes.  These stencils contain all the shapes you are likely to need in order to create your map, but of course you can use shapes from any other stencil if you wish.

Set a Scale for your Directional Map

If you are just creating a simple directional map for someone to follow you won’t need to set a drawing scale, so this can be left as the default.  It is normal to get some sort of outline of the area established first, so you may need to begin by dragging a few Road Square or Road Round shapes from the Road Shape stencil and dropping them onto the page.  These default to 30mm, but of course they can be any size you want.

Sometimes it can save time if you duplicate a shape instead of dragging another onto the page.  To do this, select the shape, hold down the CTRL key and move your mouse pointer over the shape.  You should see a little plus sign appear above the pointer.  Now when you click and drag, a copy of the shape is created which you can position wherever you want.

You can even copy two shapes both at the same time – with the second shape still selected, hold down the SHIFT key this time and click back on the first shape to select them both.  Now, with both shapes selected right-click on either shape and choose Copy and then Paste to give you an identical copy of the two original shapes.  This can be a real time saver if you have a lot of roads or other features to add.

To connect these Road Shapes together, first add a 4-Way connector shape as an intersection then click on a Road Square shape and drag it so that on end connects with one spur of the first 4-Way connector.  The end point turns red to indicate that the join is glued.  You can continue building up the map in this way, adding Landscape features or other icons to give the reader a visual reference point.  It is also beneficial to add text labels to Shapes to make them easier to understand.

Watch a series of video tutorials on this topic starting here.

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