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Tuesday
Feb162010

Visio – Creating Tapered Lines

Sometimes you may want to have a line with a tapered width. It’s another interesting choice in showing the relationships between shapes. For example …

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Unfortunately we seem stuck in a world where lines have constant width …

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However, this is possible and actually very easy to do with Visio, but it is not obvious. Unfortunately it even became a little less obvious with Visio 2010

 

IF YOU PREFER TO WATCH – A SCREENCAST IS AVAILABLE

http://vimeo.com/9496190

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PREPARATION #1: LINE PROPERTIES AND DASH TYPE

Before we jump into the solution it will help to like at the properties of a line.

Right click on a line and select Format >Line …

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The Line properties dialog will appear.

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As you can see there are many properties we can control.

Look at Dash Type

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Clearly this controls the dots and dashes in the line. What isn’t obvious is that it can control the overall shape of the line.

And this is how we will achieve the look of tapered lines. To summarize, we will create a new “dash type” that will have a tapered look and then apply that to the line.

PREPARATION #2: THE DRAWING EXPLORER

In order to create this new “dash type” we need use something called the Drawing Explorer. Below is what it looks like.

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The trick is in knowing how to turn it on. It was very easy to do this in Visio 2007 but it got a bit harder in Visio 2010. But do not worry, it is not that difficult.

The command to enable the Drawing Explorer is in the Developer tab in the Ribbon. And of course we need to first learn how to enable the developer tab.

ENABLE THE DEVELOPER TAB IN THE RIBBON

Click on File in the ribbon

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Then clock Options

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And in the Visio Options window, under Main Tabs, simply enable the Developer tab and click OK.

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And then you’ll see the Developer tab

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AN ALTERNATIVE WAY TO ENABLE THE DEVELOPER TAB IN THE RIBBON

This is the more “traditional” way of doing it.

Click on File in the ribbon

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Then click Options

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And in the Visio Options window, under Advanced , simply enable the Run in developer mode option and click OK.

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And then you’ll see the Developer tab

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ENABLE THE DRAWING EXPLORER

In the Developer tab, enable Drawing Explorer

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And the Drawing Explorer will now be visible

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CREATE A NEW LINE PATTERN

NOTE: The “Dash style” you saw in the Line properties dialog corresponds to a “Line Pattern”

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Give it a reasonable name, set the behavior to the third image (the half circle) and click OK

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And now the new pattern appears in the drawing explorer

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EDIT THE PATTERN’S SHAPE

Right click and select Edit Pattern Shape

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A new page will open – and shapes you draw here will be the pattern for the line

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For this example it’s useful to have a small perfectly square page.

Under the Design tab, select Size, then More Page Sizes…

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In the Page Setup window, under the Page Size tab, set Custom size to 4in x 4 in

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Now the page is a convenient size for this pattern

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Select the Line tool

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And draw 3 connected lines so that you have a triangle that looks like this

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Remove the line

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Change the fill to black

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Don’t worry – you can override the color when you use this pattern lines. Black is just a good default to start with.

Close the page.

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Click Yes to this message

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USE THE PATTERN

All the hard work is done. We can now just use the pattern.

Draw a line and give it a decent weight (like 6 pt or above) and zoom in so you can see what is going to happen

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Now open the line properties

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And for  Dash Type select Tapered line and click OK

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And now you have a tapered line …

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EXAMPLES

You can use this line pattern for normal lines and also for connectors.

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Reader Comments (1)

Also : Go > Line Patterns > tapered line > Pattern Properties > select continues green icon
( I had first a repeat of the taper shape in my lines)

January 25, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterkos

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