Connection Point Directions & Types
How many of you remember waaay back to Visio 2000, when you could manipulate the type and direction of connection points via nifty UI handles? Well, that functionality was removed from Visio, but I’ve created a free tool that will give it back to you! Using a custom master shape and Visual Basic for Applications code, you can quickly get your 2D connection points in order!
So those of you who have been around for awhile might remember those green arrow-handles. You could select a connection point and get something that looked like this:
Essentially, this allowed you to graphically manipulate the values of the cells: DirX/A, DirY/B and Type/C that live in Connection Point rows. If you have spent hours looking for this in Visio 2003, and thought you were crazy for imagining things, well, you’re not. This is yet another Disappearing Feature, courtesy of our friends: The Lawyers. The rumor is that this feature was yanked because it infringed on another product’s patent. Anyway, I’ve created a Visio Tool to help you relive the good old days. The downloadable .VSD file contains a special master shape and some Visual Basic for Applications code that lets you graphically manipulate your connections points. I tried to be cool, clever, nouveau, graphic-artsy, etc. and make the shapes 21st-century versions of the old green arrows. Hopefully you’ll find them pleasing to look at. Here’s what they look like:
After you download the document, you can run the VBA code to set up your editing session. Just select some shapes and click the big button at the top of the page. You will get a connection point shape dropped-on and linked-to every connection point for each shape you’ve selected.
You can then rotate the shapes to change the connection point’s angle, and right-click to cange the connection point’s type. Just like the old interface! When you’re done, just delete the blue shapes, and your connection points will retain your changes.
As an example, we have a circle and a spike. The spike shape should attach to the circle at any of eight points, and be normal to the circle upon gluing. When we run the VBA code, we get connection-point shapes attached to the eight connection points on the circle, plus the one on the spike. You can then rotate the connection-point shapes, and right-click to change the type. Below, we see all of the shapes rotated correctly, and the spike’s connection-point shape has been changed to “Outward” or “Attaches”, which is type 1.
Now, it’s literally a snap (and glue) to attach spike shapes properly to the circle:
Note: If you see red on a connection point shape, that means that there was a custom formula in the connection point cell. Below, we see that the arrow is red. That is because the DirX/A and DirY/B cells have formulas that match the slope of the triangle.
I figured you wouldn’t want my tool to mess up any smart formulas that you worked so hard to create!