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Adding Structure to Your Diagrams in Microsoft Visio 2013

Key points

  • You can use containers and lists to achieve many of the same results that you can by creating a background shape and grouping it with a set of shapes. However, containers offer considerable advantages over grouped shapes:

    • When you move, copy, or delete a container or a list, the member shapes in the container or list are also moved, copied, or deleted.

    • Even though the previous statement is true, each shape in a container or list maintains its independence. It’s easy to select a container member with a single click and to access its shape data and other properties.

    • Shapes in containers and lists know they are contained and can derive data from the parent container. (Refer to the example at the end of the Swimlanes topic in Finding containers and lists in Visio, earlier in this chapter.)

  • Visio 2013 lists are a special type of container in which shapes are maintained in a specific sequence. Each shape knows its ordinal position in the list even when shapes are added, deleted, or rearranged.

  • Visio 2013 uses containers and lists for cross-functional flowcharts, wireframe diagrams, data graphic legends, and other purposes. Visio also provides generic containers that you can use for any purpose you would like.

  • Visio 2013 callouts are much more intelligent than the callouts provided with previous versions of Visio. In Visio 2013, each callout is associated with a specific target shape and is copied, moved, or deleted with that shape.