I'm using the latest Visio (2003 sp2), ON THE DYNAMIC CONNECTORS, I'D
LIKE TO HAVE THE ARROW HEAD TRIANGLE BE IN THE MID-WAY *CENTER* OF THE
CONNECTOR'S (POSSIBLY CURVY) LINE, not at either (or both) ends. BUT
HOW PS: I'll pay $10 for for a solution! Below are more details if
you need them....
HOW ABOUT USING A NON-DYNAMIC VISIO SHAPE (as the "Control Transfer.83"
shape which I've been using, which looks like a digital electronics
Inverter with the arrow-head triangle in the center), and set it's
right-click->Format->Behavior->Behavior to "Line (1-dimensional) so it
kind of acts like a connector, but this still ISN'T A *DYNAMIC*
- looses the right-click->"Right-Angle" and "Curved" connection
options (just can do "straight"), and
- looses the very powerful Right-click->Format->Behavior->Connector
routing and flow options, making complex diagrams much more readable.
WHY HAVE THE ARROW HEAD (OR OTHER SYMBOL) IN THE *CENTER* OF THE
CONNECTOR, instead of at the ends?
* It is easier to see should object being pointed to (or from) have a
lot of connection lines into it (or from it), where the arrow heads
could get cluttered.
* The arrow designates the relationship, and it makes sense to center
it (balance it). (Indeed, if we did place the arrow head at the
beginning, or end -- which to place it? The choice is arbitrary, so
best to place it center.)
* In some cases I want to specialize the relationship (signified by
the arrow head) so I want to place text in the center of the connection
(which is fortunately supported) OR A CONNECTION to the center of the
connection (and that "link to a link" better connect to the center of
the connection it's describing, not ends, else it be confused with
another connection at the same level). This futher description (text
or graphic link) is the center, and describes the meaning of the arrow,
so it would be best if the arrow head were there too, or nearby, not at
* With symbols on the ends of a connector, when connecting to the
center (orinternals) of a shape as is common, it's trickier to draw in
Visio: you have to be careful that the connector ends are still visible
(and not covered by the shape); fortunately Visio seems to have a
feature for this (so it displays the end of the connector on the edge
of the shape whereever the two intersect, instead one symbol obscuring
the other), but you have to take care to invoke this.
* The only disadvantage I can see of an arrow head in the center is
that such a connector is a hair slower to be drawn by hand (takes two
strokes, a 2nd to go back and draw the arrow head is at the end)
however Visio draws things, so it usually doesn't matter. However,
since hand drawing came first, that might explain we are in the habbit
of of putting the arrow head at the end (easier to draw, and looks like
an physical arrow/spear), even though for knowledge diagrams it would
make more sense to put it in the middle and computers (should Visio
correct this) could make it easy.
HOW ABOUT ENHANCING A DYNAMIC CONNECTOR? (As simply the default shape
for it, "Dynamic connector")
- It immediately does text in the center - yes.
- And fortunately CAN add a connection point to its center (using the
Connection Point Tool), which sticks to the center when the connector
is straight or right-angled, but when the connector is curved the
little point can go way-off the line (unlike text, which stays on the
line regardless of shape
- And there is even a nice hollow arrowhead option (called
"Generalization", and enables the UML "Generalization" shape which is
such a dynamic connector).
- BUT arrow heads can only be at the ends, not center. And I can't
get get a triangle / arrow-head shape to stick there, without grouping
the two shapes (Dynamic Connector and Triangle). When I do, the
triangle sticks to straight line center, is okay if the connector is
straight, but if it is curved or right-angled then the triangle and so
seemingly loose the "Dynamic connector"'s properties in the process)
Nonetheless, the last is still my best solution so far. That is:
- using a dynamic connector grouped with a triangle in the center (and
having to keep the connector straight, not right-angled or curved)
- and/or using a dynamic connector with the connection point in the
center (so having to keep the connector straight or right angled, not
curved) and having normal arrows annoyingly at the end(s), not centered
(well, at least Visio offers some "tail" ends (end #23 thru 29), so
then you can have symmetrically an arrow "head" at one end and arrow
"tail" at the other, but I'd still prefer just ONE arrow-head in the
middle for reasons mentioned).
A GENERAL FIX would be if Microsoft or a Visio shape guru created a
dynamic connector which could have not just text but one (or more)
triangles or ANY Visio shapes (with 1D (line) behavior) along the span
of the dynamic connector's path line. Most notably, one arbitrary
shape midway in the center, but most generally allow each shape to be
placed at specified percentage along the connector's path (0% is at the
beginning, 50% midway, 100% at the end, and so forth, thus allowing
this general dynamic connector to put arrow heads (now of any shape) at
the beginning and end, too); plus optionally also place each shape a
specified distance to the "left" or "right" of the line (as the current
yellow control for positioning text appears to do), not just on it.
Perhaps a Visio shape guru could create one?
The tough part is to
get the attached shapes to follow the dynamic connector's path, which
could be hard to predict with the right-angles, curves, and bridges it
THANKS for your help. PS: I'LL PAY $10 via paypal for a solution!
-Mike Parker, www.Cytex.com