I was looking at an RSS icon the other day and thought it would make a good example of how to draw custom shapes in Visio. You can, of course, use bitmap based images and save yourself all of the drawing, but if you want to include any interaction within the shape and if you want it to scale without degrading then the vector route is the one to choose.
I’ll split this into two posts:- in the first I’ll look at a 2D icon and use the shape operations functionality and in the second, I look at a 3D icon and try and break down the shape in terms of its colours…
A 2D RSS Icon
So first off is the 2D icon. A standardised representation of the RSS icon is the orange square with a circle and two arc lines. Variations around this theme mean that there are all kinds of incarnations that have grown from this, but another common type is the reverse:– an orange circle and two orange arc lines. I’m going to start with the latter.
You could attack this in a number of ways, quartering a circle for example, but I’m just going to use the Arc and Line tools plus the Rectangle and Ellipse tools These tools are all found on the Drawing toolbar (View / Toolbars / Drawing).
Basic icon walkthrough
- Select the Ellipse tool (Ctrl + 9) and draw a circle (holding the Shift key to constrain the aspect ratio).
- The two arcs of the RSS icon are the same width as the diameter of the circle so, selecting the line tool (Ctrl + 6), draw the base and side of the first arc at the appropriate points
- Next, using the Arc tool (Ctrl + 7) draw the two side arc lines
- Now repeat steps 2 and 3 to produce the outer icon arc
- Selecting the Rectangle tool (Ctrl + 8), draw the background square, add rounded corners (Format / Corner rounding) and send the shape behind the circle and arc shapes via Shape / Order / Send to back
- At this stage, if you look in the Drawing Explorer (via the View menu) you’ll see that you’ve generated ten individual shapes. What you’re really after is a single shape and to you can achieve that using Shape / Operations / Join (have a look over here for more information on Shape operations). The result should look like this
The above six steps will produce a single static shape, but with a little ShapeSheet work you can add the reversed view. (If you’ve not come across the ShapeSheet before, you might want to read through the first half of this post: Just for starters.)
The result of the Join operation above created four Geometry sections in the shape’s ShapeSheet, one for the rectangle and one each for the circle and two arcs. The Geometries’ NoFill properties are set to False by default so to add a reversed icon view you just need to toggle this Boolean value for the rectangle section.
Adding interaction walkthrough
- Right click on the shape to display the context menu and select Show ShapeSheet
- From the menu bar click Insert / Section and add Shape Data and Actions sections
- Now you have your new ShapeSheet sections, you can populate them with the correct values. For the Shape Data section…
- … and for the Actions section…
- Finally locate the Geometry section that represents the outer rectangle (Geometry 4 in my case) and set its NoFill cell to the following formula
- The result of these final steps should give you a right click menu option to reverse the fill colours
So that’s it for the 2D version. If you’re interested in the 3D one then check out the next post.