Add a professional touch to your brainstorming diagrams

Applies to
Microsoft Office Visio® 2003

You just made a brainstorming diagram, but now you need to publish it on the Web or present it in PowerPoint. How do you make it look polished, professional, and ready to share? In Visio, you can easily modify your brainstorming diagrams to fit your needs.

This article describes how to:

 Tip   Before you format your diagram, make sure that your connections are properly connected and your diagram fits on the drawing page. To work with the Brainstorming template's Layout and Auto-Arrange commands to change the layout of your diagram, your topic shapes must be connected using shape-to-shape (shape-to-shape: A method of connecting shapes. The actual point of connection might change when you move the connected shapes. You make shape-to-shape connections by dragging a connector from the center of one shape to the center of another shape.) connections. To make sure your connections are shape-to-shape, select a connector and see if the each endpoint appears as a solid red square without an x or + symbol in it. If your connections are not shape-to-shape, you can quickly change them by dragging an endpoint of a connector line to the center of the first topic shape until the shape is surrounded by a red box, and then dragging the other endpoint of the connector to the center of the second topic shape until it, too, is surrounded by a red box.

Add detailed information to your brainstorming diagram

If your brainstorming diagram only shows relationships between simple topics, you can convey more information by linking shapes to other resources and showing details of topics on a separate page. By moving some topics to another page, you can shift the focus of your audience from the overall diagram to the details of your topics.

You can bring out detail in your diagrams using these methods:

Add a hyperlink to a topic

A brainstorming diagram shows a graphical organization of your ideas, but you can expand your diagram by adding hyperlinks to a Web site, a Visio file, or other types of documents. These hyperlinks take your audience to supporting or explanatory documents that can help you convey your ideas in more detail.

To add a hyperlink to a topic

  1. Click the shape to which you want to add a link.
  2. On the Insert menu, click Hyperlinks.
  3. Do one of the following:
    • To link to a Web site, in the Address box, type the Web site's URL.

If you don't know the exact URL, click the Browse button next to the Address box, click Internet Address, and then navigate to the site in your Internet browser. When you've opened the site you want, close your Internet browser. Visio adds the URL to the Address box.

  • To link to a document, click the Browse button next to the Address box, and then click Local File. Navigate to the file on your computer or on a server, and then click Open.
  • To link to another page in the same diagram, leave the Address box blank. Click the Browse button next to the Sub-address box, and then select the page you want and click OK.
  1. In the Description box, type the name you want to use for the link.

This text appears when you pause over the link.

  1. To add another link to the same shape, click New, and then repeat steps 2 through 4.
  2. When you're finished adding links to the shape, click OK.

Add a hyperlinke to a topic in your brainstorming diagram

 Tip   You can also insert a hyperlink by clicking the Insert Hyperlink button on the Web toolbar. If you don't see the Web toolbar, on the View menu, point to Toolbars, and then click Web.

Move topics to another page or level

Your diagram might be large and complex, and extend beyond the boundaries of your drawing page. You can make your diagram easier to work with and share by moving some of the content to a separate page. You can also move your topics to different levels in the hierarchy.

To move a topic with its subtopics to another page

  1. Select the topic you want to move, and then on the Brainstorming menu, click Move Topic to New Page.

 Note   If the topic has any subtopics, you don't need to select them individually. All subtopics also move with the topic.

  1. In the Move Topics dialog box under Move to, click New page. Type the name you want for the page, and then click OK.

Move topics to a new page

The top-level topic stays on the original drawing page with an arrow shape to indicate that the topic and its subtopics appear on another page. A hyperlink is added to the top-level topic on both pages so you can move back and forth between pages in the brainstorming diagram.

When you move the mouse pointer over the topic, it changes appearance to indicate that the topic contains a hyperlink.

Topic with a hyperlink

To go to the new page from the original page, right-click the hyperlinked topic, and then click Go to sub page. To navigate back to the original page from the other page, right-click the hyperlinked topic, and then click Go to page containing parent.

Go to page containing parent

 Tip   If you you want to move topics to an existing sub page, in the Move Topics dialog box, click Existing Page, and then select the page you want.

To move only selected topics to another page

If you want some of your topics to appear on another page, you can cut and paste them to the other page. You can select several topics at once by pressing SHIFT while clicking the topics you want to move, and then cutting and pasting them to the other page.

 Tip   To add a new page to your existing drawing, on the Insert menu, click New Page. On the Page Properties tab in the Name box, type the name you want for the page, and then click OK.

To move a topic to another level

You can organize your topics and change the hierarchical structure of your diagram using the Outline Window. The Outline Window provides a way for you to change the relationships of your topics without manually moving a shape and its connectors.

For example, if you want to move a topic to a higher-level, in the Outline Window, drag the name of the subtopic on top of the name of the higher-level topic. The changes are reflected in your diagram.

Move a topic to another tevel using the Outline Window

 Tip   You can also move a topic to another level by dragging one end of the connector and connecting it to a different topic shape. The topic and any subtopic shapes stay in the same location on the drawing page, and changes to the hierarchical structure are reflected in the Outline Window.

Add visual impact to your brainstorming diagram

You can easily make your diagrams visually appealing by using simple formatting techniques, such as changing the layout and connector styles, or adding themes or color schemes to your diagram.

Here are several ways you can make your diagram visually appealing:

Change the layout style

By default, your brainstorming diagram positions the main topic shape in the center of the drawing page with subtopics radiating from it. When you are finished generating topics in your diagram, you can change the layout style using the Layout dialog box.

To change the layout style

  1. On the Brainstorming menu, click Layout.
  2. In the Layout dialog box under Select a Layout, click the layout style you want.

The right side of the dialog box changes to show what the layout looks like.

  1. Click Apply to view changes in your diagram without closing the dialog box, and then click OK when you are done.

Change the layout style of your brainstorming diagram

 Note   The layout style changes are made only to the current drawing page.

Change the connection style

You can set the style of your connectors to Straight or Curved; each conveys a different tone. A straight connector is best to show a rigid, structured, technical, or formal diagram. A curved connection works best for a diagram that is informal or non-technical.

Straight connectors versus Curved connectors

To change the connection style

  1. On the Brainstorming menu, click Layout.
  2. Under Connectors, click Curved or Straight.

 Tip   You can change the curvature of a curved connector by selecting it and then dragging the green circular handles.

Change the theme and color scheme

You can make your brainstorming diagram more visually appealing by changing its theme and color scheme. A theme is a collection of styles and shape geometries assigned to various levels of the hierarchy. For example, in the Simple theme (the default theme), the main topic is represented by a large elliptical shape and the lower level topics are represented by smaller rectangular bars.

The color scheme determines the set of colors used in your brainstorming diagram, including the color of shapes and text.

To change the theme

  1. On the Brainstorming menu, click Theme.
  2. In the Theme dialog box under Select a theme, click the theme you want.
  3. Click Apply to view the changes in your diagram without closing the dialog box, and then click OK when you are done.

Change the theme of your brainstorming diagram

 Note   The theme change is made only to the current drawing page.

To change the color scheme

  1. Make sure that nothing is selected, and then on the Shape menu, point to Actions, and click Color Schemes.
  2. Under Choose a color scheme, click the name of the color scheme you want.
  3. Click Apply to view the changes in your diagram without closing the dialog box, and then click OK when you are done.

Change the color scheme of your brainstorming diagram

Change the topic shape

You can change the shape type for a topic to help differentiate topic levels.

To change the topic shape

  1. Select the topics you want to change, and then on the Brainstorming menu, click Change Topic Shape.

You can select several topics at once by pressing SHIFT while clicking the topics you want to change.

  1. Under New shape, click the shape type you want, and then click OK.

Change the topic shape

 
 
Applies to:
Visio 2003