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Friday
Feb152008

Visio Trick: One-Color and Two-Color Glows

In which shapes will receive a spotlight

Let's suppose you have the network diagram below.

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And what you'd like to to provide a little extra attention on server A. For example to emphasize it's importance or status. Perhaps we wish to indicate it's in a "warning" state.

You could try setting the fill color ...

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And that would work. But given the nice 3-point gradient used in the diagram, we want to go the extra mile and make highlight A in a more subtle manner. What we want is this:

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And now we'll learn how to make a "glow" shape that you can use to highlight other shapes.

First, draw a rectangle, and right-click and select Format / Fill

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The Fill dialog launches

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for Pattern select 40 ( a radial fill(

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Then for Color select Orange

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Then for Fill Pattern select Orange

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Then click OK.

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Enable the shapesheet by going to Tools/Options/Advanced and selecting run in developer mode

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Right click on Show Shapesheet and in the Fill Format section, change the FillBkgndTrans to 100%.

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The shape will now look like this:

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Get rid of the line ...

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And now the shape will look like this:

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Now place it above the background but underneath the server A shape and you get:

image

At this point, you've got a nice highlight effect. But we can do better. Leveraging the technique for the 3-point gradients, we are going to make a two color glow.

To help visualize the differences:

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In the 2-color glow, we have the same orange color, but toward the center it gets progressively brighter to white.

NOTE: the 2-color glow is still 1 shape.

How to achieve this?

First, draw a 1-color glow using the color white.

image

Select that shape and choose Format / Shadow

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In the Shadow dialog

  • Set Style to 13: Offset, custom
  • Set Color to orange (or whatever you want)
  • Set Pattern to 40
  • Set Pattern Color to orange (or whatever you selected for Color)
  • Set the X Offset & Y Offset to 0 and 0
  • Set Magnification to 170%

And close the Shadow dialog

You should see this:

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Right click on the shape and select Show Shapesheet

And in the Fill Format section set ShdwBkgndTrans to 100%

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And you will now have this

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Which you can then use as a more intense highlight for Server A

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Notice boundary of the shape.

Keep in mind that the orange glow is beyond the shape's selection area and is thus not selectable. You'll have to click on the "inner" glow. The picture below should make it clear.

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Also, you can have fun with the glows to make some nice backgrounds.

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A visio file with all the shapes is attached to this post.

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