Visio Connectors Part 2 – Connect Shapes Automatically

Welcome to Part Two in our series that will hopefully help you wrangle those quirky little Visio connectors. (And if you haven't already, be sure to read through part one.)

In this second entry, we look at:

  • Connecting shapes automatically
  • Turn AutoConnect on or off
  • Selecting all connectors quickly
  • Changing the look of all connectors

Connect Shapes Automatically

Allowing Visio to connect shapes automatically is an easy way to get a flowchart or business process diagram drafted in a matter of seconds.

All you need to do is make sure the AutoConnect feature is active. What's more, AutoConnect can be enabled at either the document or application level. Here's what to do:

  1. From the View tab, look in the Visual Aids group, and verify that AutoCorrect is selected.
  2. Selecting the option from the View tab is the document-level setting.
  3. To toggle AutoConnect at the application level, use the backstage view: File | Options | Advanced.

Once enabled, just hover the mouse pointer over the shape you're connecting, in the direction you want the connection to go, and then wait for the AutoConnect arrows.

A mini toolbar with the first four shapes in the Quick Shape stencil appears. Select the shape you want to add. Boom - next shape added.

Select all connectors

Occasionally, you may want to select all connections on your page to apply a change - the color, the weight, and so on. To make this very easy, just select any or all connectors (by type) as detailed here:

From the Home tab, in the Editing group, choose Select | Select by Type...

From the dialog box, choose Select by Type, and then simply make sure Connectors is enabled.

Change connector formatting

Finally, you may want to modify how all connectors look. You can format connectors using the Home tab and then the Shape Styles group. Alternatively, you can use the right click menu and choose Format Shape. The format shape panel opens, and several additional options become available.

Obviously, you can use a combination of the two preceding techniques to change the look of all connectors at once.

Finally, you can even change the default connector used by Visio in just a few steps… but that's the subject of a separate entry in this series.

But hey... wanna see all of this AutoConnect stuff in action rather than just read about it? If yes, then brother, do I have a video for you!

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