Lay out shapes automatically

With certain types of connected drawings, such as flowcharts and network diagrams, you can use the Re-layout Shapes and Configure Layout commands on the Shape menu to move shapes into position quickly after you place them on the drawing page.

The Re-layout Shapes command is often faster than dragging each shape to a new location in the drawing. For example, if you are updating a large flowchart to include a new process, you can add and connect the shapes that make up the process, and then use the Re-layout Shapes command to layout the updated drawing again.

If the Re-layout Shapes command doesn't give the results that you want, you can use the Configure Layout command on the Shape menu to do the following:

  • Control the arrangement of shapes on the drawing page

  • Change the way that connectors are routed between shapes

  • Change the amount of space that you want between shapes

Re-layout shapes

  • On the Shape menu, click Re-layout Shapes.

The Re-layout Shapes command works best with connected drawings, such as flowcharts, network diagrams, organization charts, and tree diagrams.

The Re-layout Shapes command also works best when shapes are connected in the correct order. For example, in a top-to-bottom drawing, the connector's begin point Begin point image - green square with X inside should be connected to the top shape, and the connector's end point End point image, which is plus sign in a green square should be connected to the bottom shape.

Configure the shape layout

  1. Do one of the following:

    • To lay out an entire page, make sure that no shapes are selected.

    • To lay out part of a page, select those shapes.

  2. On the Shape menu, click Configure Layout.

  3. Under Apply settings to, click either Selection or Current page.

  4. Under Placement, click the placement options that you want:

    • Style     Click this option to set the style for how the shapes will be laid out. Look at the preview to see if what you select is what you want. Click Circular for drawings with no direction, such as network drawings.

    • Direction     Click this option to set the direction that is used to place shapes. Look at the preview to see if what you select is what you want.

    • Alignment     Click this option to set how the shapes are aligned. This option is enabled only if you select the Hierarchy placement style.

    • Spacing     Click this option to set the spacing between shapes.

  5. Under Connectors, click the connector options that you want:

    • Style     Click this option to set the type of drawing path, or route, that is used to connect shapes. Look at the preview to see if what you select is what you want.

    • Appearance     Click this option to specify whether the connectors are straight or curved. Look at the preview to see if what you select is what you want.

  6. To apply the connector options that you selected, select the Apply routing style to connectors check box.

  7. To enlarge the drawing page when shapes are laid out, select the Enlarge page to fit drawing check box.

  8. Click OK.

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