Tips for Working with Directory Services Templates in Visio 2002, Part 1
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Microsoft Visio Enterprise Network Tools 2002
Servers fail, users delete critical files, routers become congested, printers run out of toner, cables tangle themselves into matted knot—it can seem like your entire enterprise infrastructure is betraying you. But we aren't. Creating network diagrams should be easy, and with the features we've included in the directory services templates in Microsoft Visio 2002, it is.
You could search through the product to find these features on your own, but chances are you're not overburdened with spare time, so here's a head start—the first five of our top ten tips for painlessly diagramming your organization's directory. In Part 2, we'll describe the rest.
For the most part, these features exist in all three of Visio's directory services templates—LDAP, Novell Directory Services, and Active Directory. We've noted any exceptions.
On This Page
Rather than spend time fussing with your diagram, you can let Visio do the work for you. Open one of the directory services templates. When prompted to import from a directory, accept the default option to Work Offline, and then click OK. After the stencils open, select a shape from the stencils and drag it onto the drawing page. Drag another shape from the stencil and drop it directly on top of the first shape. The second shape becomes a child of the first, and is automatically connected on the drawing page and in the Directory Navigator.
There's no limit to the number of shapes you can connect. There's also no limit to the number of shapes of the same type that you can add as child shapes. For example, you can add as many User shapes as you want to an Organizational Unit shape. But if you're going to add multiple copies of the same shape as a child to another object, there's a much quicker way to do it. See the "Add Entries" section later in this article to find out how.
Note: If you're having problems dropping one shape onto another, you might want to zoom in a bit to improve your aim. The easiest way is to use the Pan & Zoom window, described below. You can also zoom by holding down CTRL+SHIFT. Then, while holding down your left mouse button, drag your cursor across the area you want to zoom in on. But try Pan & Zoom—it's faster.
Using Pan & Zoom
We're cheating a little—this feature, introduced in Visio 2000, is actually available throughout Microsoft Visio, not just in the directory services templates.
With a diagram open, click View on the main Visio menu, point to Windows, and then click Pan & Zoom window. In the Pan & Zoom window, simply drag a box around the area you want to enlarge. If you resize, move, or redraw the red rectangle inside the Pan & Zoom window, the diagram display changes accordingly. You can also drag the Pan & Zoom window out and place it wherever you like. Bump it up against the edge of the drawing page to dock it. Click the pushpin to automatically hide the window when you're not using it.
Note: On the View menu, you may notice a Custom Properties window item just below the Pan & Zoom option. Ignore it. The Visio directory properties viewer uses a custom control that isn't available in the Custom Properties window. To see the properties of a directory object, right-click the object, and then select Edit Properties.
Let's say that you have an object in either the Directory Navigator or your directory diagram to which you want to add multiple copies of a child object. Rather than search for that new child object on the stencils and drag it one at a time to the parent in the diagram (which automatically adds it to the parent in the Directory Navigator), you can quickly add multiple copies of a child to a parent in either location.
To do this, right-click an object in the Directory Navigator or in your diagram, and then click Add Entries. You'll see a list of the valid children for the parent object. Simply select the child object you want to add and the number of copies you want. After making your selection, either immediately name those new child objects or keep the default name. Once you've finished, click OK. The copies are added.
When you add child objects to a parent in the diagram, they're also automatically added to the parent in the Directory Navigator. When you add entries to an object in the Directory Navigator, however, they don't automatically appear in the diagram, so you'll need to add them.
We've built a number of safeguards into the directory services templates. One of them allows you to safely delete objects from a diagram without automatically deleting them from the Directory Navigator. This is especially handy if you've imported objects from a server, or have created an object and assigned values to its properties.
By not deleting an object automatically from both locations, you're able to reuse an object from the Directory Navigator even if you've removed it from a diagram. However, if you delete an object from the Directory Navigator, it's removed both there and from the diagram. If you accidentally delete an object from both locations, simply click Undo Entry on the Edit menu. The object reappears in both the navigator and the directory diagram.
If you're sure that when you delete objects from your diagram you want the option of automatically deleting them from the Directory Navigator as well, you can set the delete behavior to prompt you to delete them from both places. On the Directory Services menu, click Options. In the dialog box, select Prompt to delete all instances, and then click OK. The next time you delete an object from that diagram you'll be asked if you want to delete it from the Directory Navigator too. Click Yes to delete it in both places, or No to delete the object only from the diagram
Note: Changing the delete behavior affects only the open diagram; it does not set this option for every new diagram you create. Also, if you delete an object from the Directory Navigator first, the object is automatically deleted from the diagram. You cannot have an object on the drawing page if it's not also in the Directory Navigator.
Laying Out Objects
So now you've created your diagram, and frankly, things look messy. How do you clean it up? In each directory services template you can automatically arrange all of your child objects in your choice of layouts. In your directory diagram, right-click the parent whose children you want to arrange, and then click Lay Out Children. You'll be presented with a number of layouts. Click the one that best suits your needs, click OK, and view the results. If you're not happy with the layout, simply click Undo Layout on the Edit menu to return it to its original state. Keep playing with the layouts until you find one you like.
For more information, read Tips for Working with Directory Services Templates in Visio 2002, Part 2 on the TechNet Technology Center for Visio 2002.