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Adding Structure to Your Diagrams in Microsoft Visio 2013

Organizing shapes with containers

Group shapes are still valuable for many purposes, including holding collections of subshapes that will never change. However, Visio 2013 containers offer numerous advantages for dynamically grouping, moving, and managing a set of related shapes.

In this exercise, you will continue working with containers to learn more about their unique properties.

  1. Draw a bounding box around the Branch Office 1 network shapes.

  2. On the Insert tab, in the Diagram Parts group, click the Container button, and then click Wire.

  3. Right-click the edge or heading of the container to select it. Notice that whenever you select a container, the Container Tools tool tab set appears and includes the Format tool tab, as shown in the following graphic.

  4. In the Container Tools tool tab set, click the Format tool tab to activate it.

  5. On the Format tab, in the Membership group, click the Select Contents button. All contained shapes are selected.

  6. Draw a bounding box to select the Branch Office 2 network segment and the PCs below it; do not select the server and printer above it.

  7. On the Insert tab, in the Diagram Parts group, click the Container button, and then click Wire. You have created a container around part of the Branch Office 2 network components.

    httpatomoreillycomsourcemspimages1697270.png
  8. Click the edge or heading of the container you just created and drag the top resize handle up until the container surrounds the server and printer.

  9. On the Format tab, in the Membership group, click the Select Contents button. Notice that the server and printer are not selected. Surrounding shapes with an existing container do not add them to the container.

    httpatomoreillycomsourcemspimages1697272.png
  10. Click once on the server shape to select it.

  11. Right-click the selected server, click Container, and then click Add to Underlying Container. The server shape is now a member of the container.

  12. Click once on the edge or heading of the Branch Office 2 container to select it, and then press the Delete key. The container and its contents are deleted.

    If you want to remove a container but leave its contents, the simplest method is to disband the container.

  13. Click once on the edge or heading of the Branch Office 1 container to select it.

  14. On the Format tab, in the Membership group, click the Disband Container button. The container is removed from the drawing but all of the previously contained shapes remain on the page.

In this exercise and the preceding one, you selected a set of existing objects and created a container around them. You can also create an empty container and later add objects to it. To do so, ensure that nothing on the drawing page is selected. On the Insert tab, in the Diagram Parts group, click the Container button, and then click a container style in the gallery. The new container will be added to the center of the drawing window. You can then drop in new or existing shapes, lists, or other containers.