Overview of the new and enhanced shapes that we will be shipping with the D-Tools SIX 2013 release.

New Elevation Shapes:

Rack Shape

Our new universal rack shape is now configurable for half rack and 23 inch racks as well as the standard 19 inch equipment racks.  Use the right click or Shape Data UI to adjust the Rack Style field.  The default is set to 19″.  Keep in mind that this shape will render just about any make/model of equipment rack by just throwing three dimensions at it from the database.  Overall height, overall width and number of rack units.


Master Equipment Elevation Shape

We made a few significant enhancements to the Master Elevation shape.  Most of the new electronic equipment elevation shapes are based on this shape.  All of the shapes below are the same shape with different options switched on/off and some internal work to make them look more product specific.


Right Click/Shape Data UI Enhancements – In the previous elevation shapes, we introduced some concepts that would allow the user to make changes to the shape by using the Shape Data UI or by Right Clicking on the shape.  All user adjustments are accessed through the Shape Data UI.  Most used adjustments can also be accessed by Right Clicking on a shape.

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  • Show  Text Blocks:  Same as the previous version, this will show or hide the text block in the middle of the shape.  This text block can be moved outside of the shape by moving the small yellow dot in the middle of the shape.  Default is set to True.
  • Merge Text Blocks:  You can break out the text block into separate Manufacturer, model and Component ID text blocks with separate movement options.  Default is set to True.
  • Snap Text Block Position:  You can have the text snap to specific areas on the shape or, if  you turn it off, you can free form the text.  Default is set to True
  • Show Text Callout:  A small line that connects the text to the shape.  Default is set to True.
  • Show Faceplate Text:  Faceplate text is smaller text that stays within the shape and is designed to mimic the look and feel of actual manufacturer equipment.  Usually used with the Text Blocks set to False.  This is handy for creating photo real shapes.  Default is set to False.
  • Hide Model:  This will hide the model on both the text block and faceplate text.  Good for hiding info on jobs that could get shopped.
  • Mount Type:   In the previous version we had separate options for show/hide feet and show/hide rack ears that the user needed to adjust as needed.  In this new version we programmed in four different mount types:
    • Rack: Show ears, no feet, hide feet.  If the Rack Mounted check box is checked in the specifications section of the Product Editor (double click on a shape) then the Mount Type will be set to “Rack” on drop.
    • Shelf: Hide ears, has feet, show feet
    • Faceplate: Hide ears, has feet, don’t show feet  (this setting is used for items that go in a rack with a custom cut faceplate)
    • None: Hide ears, no feet, hide feet  (this setting is generates a generic, scale box shape)
  • Color of Screws & Feet: Easily change the color of the screws and feet on the shape
  • Color of Rack Ears: Easily change the color of the rack ears
  • Feet Height:  The feet in these shapes automatically adjust based on the height and the width of the parent shape.  However there are edge cases where the shape just does not look right with too big or small feet.  It is kind of nit-picky but we decided to give the user the ability to fine tune the feet height to make the shape look better.  Default is set to 100%
  • Color of Faceplate:  Easily change between black, white and three shades of gray.  There is some code in the shape that will turn the text black or white automatically depending on the faceplate color.  Nice feature for creating photo real shapes.  Default is set to White.
  • Faceplate Pattern: Most of the current D-Tools shapes have a subtle shading that makes them look like they are lit from the top left.  This option allows you to turn it on or off.  Default is set to solid.
  • Rack Size:  While most electronics are made for 19″ racks there are some edge cases that use half rack and 23″ rack sizes.  Changing this will only affect shapes that have Mount Type set to Rack by changing the rack ear size based on the overall width of the device.    These match up with the new equipment rack shape detailed below.  Default is set to 19″

Rack Unit Tape Measure

Very useful shape, don’t know why it took so long to create.  Visio has always shipped a “Rack Unit Ruler” with their products but that shape just measured the total rack spaces overall.  I wanted a shape that would measure the incremental units as well as the overall units.  The shape is configured to work on both sides of a rack and we added connection points on the rack shape at the exterior corners so this tape measure shape will easily snap into place on the rack shape.


New Wire Shapes

Finish Wire

In SIX 2013 we enhanced the Finish Wire shape so that it can be programmed to display both graphic and textual line ends based on the Start and End Terminal database.  In addition to graphic line ends, we also added the text from the terminal database to show up on the respective ends of the line shape.  This can be adjusted in the Show Text section of the Shape Data UI.  If there is not a match in the terminal database then the default arrow will appear on just the line end.


Shape Data UI

Show Text – The user can choose which text they want to be displayed on the finish wire shape.  The default is Show All Text.  If this option is selected then the shape will show the connections in text on the ends and Component ID in the middle.  The rest of the options are self explanatory.  You can now place the middle text at any point along the wire using the yellow control handle and it will snap to the center of the wire.


Line Color – In the past we hard-coded the signal type to the wire color so the color would automatically change based on the signal type.  This worked OK but was very hard to customize and upgrade.  With SIX 2013 we have changed the way we store shape information – we now allow the user to select their own colors based on category, sub-category or type from the following color scale.  We have a new UI that will allow the user to store all the specific changes to the shape back to the database on a category, sub-category or product level.

Line Pattern – You can choose between solid or dashed.  The default is solid.
Line Weight – You can choose from 1/4 pt to 1 pt.  The default is 1/2 pt.  (pt = point)

Line Curve – I saw some schematics that had slightly curved wire shape that I thought looked cool.  The default is 0 in (inches) but you can change to 1.5 or 3 in.

List of Line ends and matching line end graphics


Rough Wire Shape

The new rough wire shape has the same options as the finish wire with respect to line color, line pattern, line weight.  For this release we added a Arrow style option.  Again, specific  Shape Data settings can be stored directly back to the database on a per product (Belden 6667), per category (Wire and Cable), Per Category and Sub-Category (Wire and Cable/Video).  This means the user can now set up SIX wires where Category = Wire and Cable and Sub-Category = Video to come out at a specific color, specific line weight, specific line pattern and specific line end.


Shape Mouseover Settings

In SIX 2013 we added a simple interface so the user could get relevant project and product information just by hovering the cursor over any D-Tools SIX shape in Visio.  This is very helpful with Location and System information

In order to use this feature you need to choose what specific information you want to show up during the mouseover.  To access the Shape Display Settings Click Add-Ins->D-Tools->Shape Display Settings in the Visio ribbon.


This will bring up the Shape Display Settings UI.  Select the text on the left side of the UI and use the arrows to move over to the right side.  Use the vertical arrows to re-arrange the order as needed.  The fields you select will show up on the shape during a mouseover.

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If a field is blank it will not show up on the shape.  The shape settings are specific to the current Windows user which means that each user can have their own settings.