Visio Connectors Part 1 – Static vs. Dynamic

Unfortunately, one of the most basic components of a Visio diagram can be one of the most confusing. I'm talking about those pesky Visio shape connectors.

This series will help make sense of your connectors. Hopefully, you'll be able to use the Visio connectors series as a quick reference anytime your connector isn't doing what you want it to do.

Topics covered in this series:

  • Static vs dynamic connectors
  • Connecting shapes automatically
  • Formatting connectors
  • Label a connector

Let's start with Static vs Dynamic connectors

To understand static vs dynamic, it's helpful to know that connections can be glued to either connection points or to shapes. Here are the important concepts:

A static connectior glues to a connection point.

A dynamic connector glues to the entire shape.

Static connectors keep the link to the connection point in place even when the shapes are moved.

To create a static connection, select the connector tool from the ribbon and then simply drag from one connection point to the other. How do you know you're using a connection point? Look for the green highlighting around the point.

Dynamic connectors also glue shapes and/or connection points together. The difference is that a dynamic connector will use the shortest possible path. So when the shape moves, the attachment points between shapes might also change.

To create a dynamic connection, select the connector tool from the ribbon and drag from one shape to another. The entire shape gets highlighted when a green outline.

Why not have a separate tool for each?

Granted, it might be easier to choose between two different connector tools in order to specify which connector to use. But here's the thing. Sometimes the connector can be both static and dynamic. (I know. I just blew your mind.)

When you combine a static and dynamic connection, you can move the "decision" shape (the shape the connector is connecting to) and the connection is still glued to the same connection point to which it's initially connected.

(BTW, it's difficult enough keeping two Visio versions straight much less two different tools to connect shapes together.)

Sometimes it's easier just to see the whole dang thing in action, which is why I do vids.

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