Connections are used in many types of Microsoft Office Visio drawings. You create connections by attaching, or gluing (glue: A property of shapes that causes them to stay connected even when one of the shapes is moved. When you attach a connector to a shape, you glue the connector.), one-dimensional (1-D shape: Either a straight line you draw using Visio drawing tools or a shape that has a beginning point and ending point and can be glued between two shapes to connect them.) shapes called connectors (connector: Any one-dimensional (1-D) shape that can be glued between two shapes in a drawing to connect the shapes.) to two-dimensional (2-D shape: A shape that has four selection handles that you can use to resize the shape proportionally.) shapes.
Visio connectors stay glued when you move the shapes they're attached to. For example, when you move a flowchart shape that is connected to another shape, the connector adjusts to keep the two shapes connected. The type of connector you use and the type of connection, or glue, you use determine how the connection behaves.
Connectors show the relationships between shapes in a drawing. For example, in an organization chart, a manager shape has a connector between it and the shapes representing the manager's direct reports.
The easiest way to create a connection between two shapes is to draw it using the Connector tool . You can also use the connector shapes found on many Visio stencils. Connector shapes on stencils are often tailored to specific drawing types associated with those stencils. Some connector shapes don't necessarily look like lines.
Types of connectors
Visio provides different types of connectors: angled, straight, and curved. (A right-angle connector is the default style for connectors you draw with the Connector tool in new, blank drawings.)
A straight connector showing the begin point
and end point
Right-angled connectors include vertices
you can drag to change the path of the connector.
Curved connectors include control points
and eccentricity handles
for changing the shape of the curve.
Note If you ever need to reset the connector path, right-click the connector and click Reset Connector.
You can use the Connector tool to draw a connector shape from a stencil by selecting the tool and then selecting any 1-D shape (1-D shape: Either a straight line you draw using Visio drawing tools or a shape that has a beginning point and ending point and can be glued between two shapes to connect them.) on a stencil. While the Connector tool is selected, the connectors you draw on the page will match the 1-D shape that you selected.In many drawing types, you can connect shapes automatically as you drag them onto the page by selecting the Connector tool first, and then dragging a shape from the stencil. Then, with the first shape still selected, drag another shape onto the drawing page.
Dynamic connectors versus straight connectors
Right-angle and curved connectors are dynamic connectors (dynamic connector: A one-dimensional (1-D) connector shape that changes its path to avoid crossing through two-dimensional (2-D) placeable shapes that lie between the two shapes the connector connects. (Also called a "routable connector.")), which means they can automatically bend around shapes as you reposition shapes on the page.
Example of right-angle connectors routing around shapes and crossing over lines
A straight connector is not a dynamic connector; it's a regular 1-D shape with end points that can be glued to shapes. A straight connector does not automatically bend around shapes. It always connects in a straight line, which means that it overlaps other shapes in the path of that line.
Example of straight connectors connecting using straight paths
Types of connections, or glue
What you can connect to
You can control what types of objects connectors glue (glue: A property of shapes that causes them to stay connected even when one of the shapes is moved. When you attach a connector to a shape, you glue the connector.) to. For many drawing types, connectors are set to glue to connection points . You can also glue connectors to shape handles (handle: A control that appears when you select a shape. You can use handles to alter a shape. Handles vary with the type of shape and the tool you use to select it.), guides (guide, guide point: A reference line you can drag onto the drawing page to position shapes precisely. Drag guides from the rulers, and the guide point from the upper-left corner of the drawing window.), shape vertices (vertex, vertices: One of the diamond-shaped handles that appears between two segments on a multiple-segment shape, or at the end of a segment. You can reshape a shape or connector by dragging its vertices.), and any point on the visible edge of a shape (shape geometry) by changing the glue settings. You can also turn glue off by clearing the Glue check box under Currently active on the General tab in the Snap & Glue dialog box.
By default, you can connect to the whole shape, connection points, or guides. You can change the settings for connectors in the Snap & Glue dialog box available from the Tools menu. (You can also add new connection points to shapes if you need to.)
Glue To settings available on the General tab in the Snap & Glue dialog box.
A connector glued to shape geometry.
A shape glued to a guide.
A connector glued to a shape handle.
A connector glued to a vertex (shape vertices).
A connector glued to a connection point.