The Mini Toolbars in Visio 2010
Visio 2010 introduces some new visual aids to assist in the construction of diagrams. The Mini Toolbars comprise two different tools; the text Mini Toolbar, and the Shape Mini Toolbar.
The Visio 2010 text Mini Toolbar appears as a pop-up whenever a piece of text is selected for editing. This feature has been available for some time in other Office 2007 software, but it is the first time that Visio 2010 has benefited from it. The Mini Toolbar contains a number of formatting tools that are available from the Home tab of the Ribbon, but as they are contextual and only appear when the text is selected they can be a very useful formatting feature, particularly on a large or complicated diagram.
Editing with the Mini Toolbars in Visio 2010
The font face and point size are both editable from the Mini Toolbar, either by entering a value directly into the window or by using the drop down menu. Buttons for growing and shrinking font sizes are also available, as are the common formatting tools for making text bold or italic. Admittedly, these are also available as keyboard shortcuts, but for some users they will represent a significant time-saving.
Alignment buttons are easily accessed in Visio 2010
The mini Toolbar also contains alignment buttons for text alignment, although the justification command is missing, and the colour of the font can also be altered again from a drop down button that opens a gallery of colour options. The same applies to the fill colour and the line colour — both of these can be changed quickly by selecting colour from the palette, and there will options for choosing more colours, creating a custom colour, and in the case of film and line colours, for a variety of fill options.
Alignment Options in Visio 2010
Other extremely useful shortcut buttons that appear on the Mini Toolbar allow the stacking order to be altered with the Bring Forward and the Send Backwards commands. Possibly the most useful of all the mini Toolbar shortcuts in my opinion is the Format Painter button, although once again this can always be accessed by using the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Shift+P. I find this Format Painter button very useful for diagrams such as organisation charts where a specific format has been applied to a certain level of shapes; where new shapes are added or rearranged within the organisation chart formatting the new shape to match existing shapes can be extremely quick by using this button.
Occasionally the Mini Toolbar does not pop up readily; if this is the case, all you need to do is to click away from the text to deselect it, then select it again either by dragging the mouse over it all by multiple clicking. Sometimes the mouse cursor has to be pushed upwards slightly before the mini Toolbar appears, and it can be made to disappear by simply clicking the mouse away from the shape to deselect the text.
Disabling the Mini Toolbar in Visio 2010
Why many people new to Visio 2010 will find this a useful feature when formatting diagrams, there are a number who will regard it as an intrusive nuisance. Fortunately, Microsoft have made it very easy to disable this feature; simply go to the new File tab to open Backstage View, and then click the options link to open the dialogue box. The very first option that appears under the default General tab allows the Visio 2010 Mini Toolbar to be turned off.