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Tips & Tricks



This is a list of tips and tricks for FreeTools.


Shape Data UI


All of the symbols heavily utilize the Visio Shape Data UI.  If you are not using the Shape Data UI you are not getting the most out of FreeTools.  The Shape Data UI looks like this in Visio 2013.  By default it will dock itself on the right side of the screen but can be easily torn off and moved anywhere you like.  You can change a lot a parameters of the symbol by using this UI.




You can get to the Shape Data UI by either right clicking on the shape and choosing Data>>Shape Data or by choosing View on the ribbon->Task Panes->Shape Data:


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Flip Horizontal


Most of the symbols that are included in FreeTools have mount and device option text attributers that can be adjusted by the user based on what type of symbol they are working with.  In general the mount type is on the upper right of and the device option is on the lower right of the symbol.  This works fine as long as the symbols are symmetrical.  However some symbols like the wall mount (W), stereo (ST) speaker below can have a direction that only works from the left.  If you were to rotate the shape 180 degrees then the text attributes will be backwards like in the yellow pair of speakers.


The correct way to represent these wall mount speakers is by using the Visio command Position (on the ribbon in the Home tab)>>Rotate Shapes>>Flip Horizontal.  This trick keeps the mount and device option text consistent throughout the project.




Use Layers to Simplify Drawings


The Visio Layer Command can be found on the Home tab, Layers section of the Ribbon.  Each object you put on the page will have a layer assigned automatically.  Most of these layer assignments follow the category of the stencil.  Take a look at the Layer Properties UI below.  You can see that each object that is assigned to a layer can be easily be modified.  Sometimes it is nice to be able to make certain layers invisible on complex drawings.




Use FreeTools as a Line Diagram/Signal Flow Layout Tool


All of the symbols that ship with FreeTools have a feature that can be accessed from the Shape Data UI called Resize Freely.  If set to True then you can use the control handles to resize the symbol as needed as opposed to having it a fixed size.  These symbols are now perfect for doing layout/signal flow drawings like the one below:



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