# Shapes: Introductory basics you can't live without An introduction to shapes What is a shape? In Visio, the definition is much broader than you might think.

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Shapes: Introductory basics you can't live without An introduction to shapes What is a shape? In Visio, the definition is much broader than you might think. Yes, you can use basic shapes like rectangles and diamonds for a flowchart. But you can also use very detailed shapes. And Visio shapes don’t just sit there and look good. They have interactive behavior as well. Meaning that when you work with them, they react in a certain way.

Shapes: Introductory basics you can't live without Two types of shapes When you work with Visio shapes, you can resize, rotate, format, and move them. But how the shape behaves when you do those things depends on the type of shape. There are two types of shapes in Visio: one-dimensional shapes (1-D shapes) and two-dimensional shapes (2-D shapes). Each type of shape behaves a certain way. When you know what type of shape you’re dealing with, you’ll be able to work with it successfully.

Shapes: Introductory basics you can't live without 1-D shapes A 1-D shape is a shape that, when selected, has a beginning point and an ending point. How do 1-D shapes behave when you work with them? If you move the beginning point or ending point, only one dimension changes: the length. But the most powerful feature of 1-D shapes is their ability to connect two other shapes. 1-D shapes typically look like lines.

Shapes: Introductory basics you can't live without 1-D shapes You’re probably thinking, “Wait a minute, these lines don’t look like shapes to me.” It’s true, the word “shape” usually refers to a form or an object that has a distinct outline or boundary. But Visio considers these lines to be shapes and calls them shapes, so getting in that habit now will avoid confusion later.

Shapes: Introductory basics you can't live without 2-D shapes A 2-D shape is a shape that, when selected, does not have a beginning point or an ending point. How do 2-D shapes behave? When you click and drag a corner selection handle, you can change two dimensions: the length and the width. But you can’t use 2-D shapes to connect other shapes. That function is limited to 1-D shapes. Instead, a 2-D shape has eight selection handles.

Shapes: Introductory basics you can't live without 2-D shapes 2-D shapes are typically used to represent something, either a general concept such as a step in a flowchart or a specific object such as a factory or a piece of equipment. Like the laptop and the block shown here, some 2-D shapes are drawn to look three-dimensional. Even so, Visio considers these shapes to be 2-D shapes. You know that because of the eight selection handles.

Shapes: Introductory basics you can't live without 1-D or 2-D? How to be sure At first glance, some shapes that look 2-D are really 1-D. And vice versa. To avoid confusion, always select the shape. Visio will tell you what type it is. For example, the arrow shape at the top of this picture appears to be two dimensional because it has thickness. But when you select it, you see its beginning point and its ending point, so it is 1-D for sure. Instead of just representing a concept or an object, this arrow is used to connect other shapes.

Shapes: Introductory basics you can't live without 1-D or 2-D? How to be sure On the other hand, the curve shape appears to be 1-D. After all, it looks like just a line. But when you select it, you see the eight selection handles that tell you it’s 2-D. So this curve represents the concept of a bell-shaped curve of data—but the line that creates the curve cannot connect other shapes.

Shapes: Introductory basics you can't live without Shapes with special behavior All shapes in Visio are either 1-D or 2-D, depending on how they behave. However, some shapes have more behavior that is unique to them and that doesn’t depend on whether they’re 1-D or 2-D. This unique behavior makes these shapes especially handy.

Shapes: Introductory basics you can't live without Shapes with special behavior For example, some shapes have yellow control handles that let you interact with them. In this illustration, the door shape has a control handle that lets you swing the door open and closed. Will it clear the table nearby? It appears not. Better find a smaller table or make other adjustments to the furniture so that this problem doesn’t occur in the real world.

Shapes: Introductory basics you can’t live without Anything is a shape When working with Visio, you’ll probably want to add text, photos, or clip art. So keep in mind that anything is a shape in Visio, including pictures and text. If you type text on an empty part of the page, that text will be a 2-D shape, and it will have eight selection handles when selected. If you select an imported picture, it will have those handles too. Let’s face it: Anything on the page is a shape to Visio, anything. Even if the shape wasn’t created in Visio.

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