What’s New in BigPicture? Attach Boundary Shapes

The BigPicture development team is always working to improve our software, which means regular updates.  Here’s a sample of what we’ve added to our latest deployment of BigPicture Beta on May 5, 2015:

Attach Boundary Shapes

BigPicture now has the ability to Attach Shapes to your existing topics. There are two commands that have been added under the “Attach Shape” category. The first is the Attach Shapes > Boundary command which will typically be attached to a group of related topics. The second is the Attach Shapes > Custom command that would be more applicable with a single topic. These new commands are incredibly flexible and will help you add some additional pizazz to your maps!

By utilizing the Boundary command a default shape will be placed behind the selected topics and will move and re-size with the topics. Simply select that topics that you would like to “group” together with a boundary and right click on a topic and choose the Attach Shapes > Boundary > Add New command. (NOTE: You can also access this command from the Topic Tools icon in the BigPicture ribbon.)

Here are some additional notes describing how this command works and how it can improve your maps:

(Note that the numbers correspond to the image below.)

  1. The default shape will appear behind the selected topics.
  2. You can customize your boundary shape by utilizing Excel’s standard capabilities of changing the color, shape effects, size, font, text, etc.
  3. If you decide to move one of the topics in the boundary shape, the shape will re-size automatically.
  4. A boundary can be placed around a single topic.
  5. Boundaries can overlap.
  6. Multiple boundary shapes can be added to the same topic, or group of topics. All of which can be moved and re-sized. (NOTE: To access any boundaries that may be hidden behind another one, simply right click and utilize the Send to Back and Bring to Front commands from the pop-up menu.)
  7. Boundaries can even be manipulated so that they do not surround the topics – yet will still collapse and open with the topics that they have been “bound” to!

You can change the topics included in an existing boundary:

  • Click on a Topic in the group that has the boundary that you would like to edit.
  • Right-click and choose Attach Shapes > Boundary > Edit Existing command. A dialog will come up that lists the topics that are currently included.
  • To add topics simply click on the topics that you would like included.
  • If you would like to remove a topic click on any of the white space in your spreadsheet to clear the listing and then select only the topics that you would like included in your boundary.

If you would like to use the same style boundary shape that already exists in your map:

  • Select the topics that you would like to add a boundary to FIRST.
  • Choose the Attach Shapes > Boundary > Copy Existing command. At this point a dialog will appear asking you to select the Shape that you would like to copy.
  • Click on the existing Boundary shape or attached custom shape that you would like to duplicate.
  • Click OK.

All in all, you will now be able to add a lot of other supporting shapes to a map and they will conveniently move and hide with the topics they are attached to.

NOTE: To remove a boundary, just delete the shape in Excel by clicking on it and hitting your Delete key on your keyboard

screensteps1Click here for a complete overview of BigPicture updates.

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