Saturday 19 September 2015

Break Links - Separate a shape from its connectors

A Free Document Productivity Tool For Visio

This tool quickly separates a shape from its connectors allowing it to be moved without dragging the connectors to a new location.  You can then substitute a new shape in its place.

Using The Tool

In this simple example, Process 4 needs to be moved so that Process 5 can occupy the same place in the flow.

If you move Process 4, the connectors get dragged too.  

You could select the connectors and delete them and then reconnect to Process 5 once it is in place.

Instead, use Break Links

To Use the tool, select the Process 4 and then press the shortcut key to load the Smart Tool Menu (ctl+q)

Then select Break Links from the menu.

Process 4 can be moved but the connectors stay in place

If the replacement shape is the same size, it will automatically connect to the connectors left behind.

The tool allows more than one shape to be selected at a time, but I have yet to find a need for this kind of bulk use.  It might come in handy one day.


I use this tool when preparing process flows. I got tired of reconnecting all the time when I needed to insert shapes.  I don't use it that frequently, but it is saves a lot of time when I do need it.  As much as anything, the tool allows me to avoid distractions and focus on the development of the process model. 

I use the menu concept as a holder for tools I need from time to time. I will release the other items on the menu shortly.

Downloading the Tool

The tool can be downloaded from the Visio Downloads tab

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