Tutorial for Tools 015 and 021 – Connector Variations/Line Bridges
Using the connector variations and line bridges
These connectors are more stylish than the connectors available in PowerPoint. They are not the same as the brackets in the Shapes menu in looks or the way they can be formatted. As you can see in the series example, the two horizontal lines of the connectors can be edited to different lengths.
Here are a few ways you can use the connector variations:
- The points can be changed by right clicking on the connector and selecting Edit Points. The will immediately become visible. You can then select the point you wish to move horizontally to the left or right.
- A line can be connected to the PowerFrameworks connector.
- An elbow connector can be connected to the PowerFrameworks connector.
These line bridges are so useful to prevent a visual tangle of lines, especially when the lines are the same color. They are specifically formatted so that the lines can be extended on either side without distorting the shape of the bridge or introducing a curve to the line. They can also be connected to connectors (lines that hook onto objects so that you can move the objects and not lose the connections) – important feature! The bridges should be used in a particular way, especially when the process flows are animated.
Download the framework to a specific location on your computer so you'll be able to find it (the desktop is always a good choice).
Customizing Line Bridges
Connecting the line bridges to other connector lines or objects/fields
There are two ways of working with the line bridges. The first way is to connect these line bridges to connector lines. In both PowerPoint 2007 and 2003, draw a connector line and connect one end to a point on the line bridge. In PowerPoint 2003, there is a best way to connect the two lines that may not be apparent: connect the line bridge to the connector line as shown below.
You can see the line points if you look carefully. The reason that you connect to the second-in point and not the end point is so there is no small gap between the lines. If you connect to the end point, you will have a small visible gap. You should now be able to move your objects that are connected to the connector lines around where you want them if you choose.
With PowerPoint 2007 you can connect the connector line to the line bridge at the end point. There will be no visible gap at the point the two lines are joined. Thanks go to Ute Simon, Microsoft PowerPoint MVP, for helping to make the PowerPoint 2007 line bridges functional.
The second way is to move the last point (end point) of the line bridge where you want it and add additional points to the line bridge to create the elbows (see below).
It's better to select an appropriately sized line bridge from the PowerFrameworks series download instead of trying to resize even though you can select the line and resize. If you do just resize/rescale the line, the height of the line bridge will be different from others on the slide, creating an inconsistency. The rounded corners in the line bridge may also be affected, also creating an inconsistency.
The other way to resize is to edit the points in the line bridge, but this can be tricky: you are dealing with both straight and curved segments, which can be difficult to edit. It's best to just use the line bridges that have been provided so that your slide will appear consistent and professionally produced.
The line sizes line bridges can/should be the same size as the other connecting lines on your slide.
Select color from your document's color palette or a complimentary color so that the lines reflect the color scheme of the rest of your document. Line colors may be applied so that they connect to fields the same color, etc.
3D variations, shadows, gradients
No need to apply these formattings.
If you wish to animate the lines, you'll need to approach slide development in a very particular way. Download the animation scheme for this series and notice that every line is comprised of several line segments to connect each of the two fields. This is specifically for animation purposes.
Since animation cannot change directions, the lines need to be developed in segments. This is a best practice even if you are not using line bridges. If you have a left turn, a turn up and another left turn, then you need to have three line segments to represent the one line.
- Start by creating one whole line without connector lines (specific type of line that connects to other lines and objects). You will have one continuous line including a line bridge to connect the two objects on your slide.
- Copy the line twice and align all three lines (original and two copies) so that they are layered on top of each other.
- Begin removing the points on each of the lines until you have three segments as shown below.
You can now animate the line so that it flows perfectly (without gaps) as follows:
- Animate line 1 to wipe from left on click
- Animate line 2 to wipe from bottom after line 1
- Animate line 3 to wipe from left after line 2.