I’ve built lots of variations of this shape over the years, but I thought I’d do a super-duper, ultra-mega version this time. And I even threw in auto-numbering!
We see divided box shapes all over the place. Data-base diagrams, UML and class-hierarchy diagrams. Heck, even our Post-Its take on this form: Big title at the top, smaller description below. Here’s another example you might recognize:
To edit the title, simply select the shape and start typing. To edit the description in the lower rectangle, sub-select it, then start typing. You can also use the F2 key to edit already-existing text, instead of overwriting it.
And here is the full anatomy of today’s Super-smart Divided Box Shape:
click to view larger image
As you can see from that diagram, this shape has a ton of features. Here’s a quick list of them in text form:
- Auto numbering on copy
- Specify current number via Shape Data field
- Format number to include leading place holders, like: 001, 002, 003
- Add a prefix to each number, like: step 01, step 02, step 03
- Turn off auto-numbering
- Hide the number sub-shape
- Change corner rounding with control handle
- Change height of title space using control handle
- Height of box and title space automatically change to accommodate all text if shape made narrower
Now let’s take a closer look at what you can do with this baby…
When you copy the shape, say via Ctrl + Drag, the number for the new shape increases by one, automatically!
You can set leading place holders for the number, so that you can display 001, 002, 003 for example. You can add a prefix to the number to get, say step 01, step 02, step 03 in the little number circle. You can explicitly set or reset the number for a shape, and you can turn off auto-numbering and even completely hide the numbering bubble.
You can set options for auto-numbering and other shape features using Shape Data fields…
Shape Data Field Options
A lot of the features can be controlled via the Shape Data window, which you can show and hide via Visio’s View menu.
Here we can see shape data fields that let you specify the number, indicate a prefix for the number, choose the digit place-holders, show and hide the number bubble, and turn auto-numbering on and off:
While Shape Data gives you control over all the intricacies of the shape, some features can be quickly accessed by right-clicking…
Context Menu Options
You can also quickly access some features by simply right-clicking the shape:
There are also other UI elements that let you directly manipulate this shape…
Control Handles for Corner Rounding, Number Position and Title Height
A little, yellow control handle lets you quickly adjust the roundness of your divided box. Just give it a tug to the left or the right:
Similarly, another control handle lets you reposition the number bubble:
Note the third control handle, sitting on the divider line between the title and description? If your box is tall enough, you can increase the height of the title box with this handle. If there isn’t enough space for the description, then the handle will not move.
One other bit of user-input controls the look of this shape: the amount of text you type…
This shape does its best to make sure your text is contained within neat little boxes. If you resize the shape, it will grow (if necessary) to accommodate your text. Here we can see that as we make a box narrower, the height increases.
Note how the Title tries to stay the same height, until it just can’t anymore, and grows in the third example: