Text on Line
You can draw line, then double click and add some text to the line.
But what you really want is to have the text at right angles to the line so that get some meaning from it. Consider the following example where the interface names have been added to the lines for a physical / VLAN diagram.
Rotate the Text
SO what we really want is to be able to rotate the text so that it is perpendicular to the joining lines.
When the text box isn’t the right size or the right angle
One problem with this technique is that Once you put a dot or full stop on the line that text automatically wraps around or that the text boox is not quite the right size for the text you want to put there. This diagram shows the text wrapping when a full stop is added:
Using the Text Block Tool
Changing the font to a smaller size and using Arial Narrow is usually good enough but the best alternative is to use the Text Block tool. Select the line or object before you head to the menu, select the Text and click the drop arrow on the right of the button:
which will then put resize bars on the object – like so:
This text block tool not only allows you to resize the text width, but also to rotate it to non-standard angles. By grabbing the round green dot with your mouse, you can rotate the text box to any angle you want.
And you can change the width of the text box by grabbing the green squares:
There are some related tips to formatting the text background in this article which you might want to look at.
Suggestions on using this technique
I tend to use this a lot when drawing diagrams that need to capture the physical information such as switch port numbers and router/firewall interface names. The combination Layer 1/2 information is really useful for network diagrams.
Big thanks to Ray and Marko in the comments for the tip about the Text Block Tool which I didn’t know about. I have updated the post with this detail.
Other Posts in A Series On The Same Topic
- Network Diagrams: Choosing Better and Free Fonts (10th January 2014)
- My New Diagram Colour Scheme "Old Disco Style" (24th September 2013)
- On Diagrams and Information (10th September 2013)
- Colour Blindness, Network Diagrams and Reliability (3rd March 2011)
- Designer or Engineer, Artist or Painter (19th January 2010)
- Network Diagrams: Rotating Text on a Line (1st October 2009)
- Network Diagrams: Tips for Printing from Visio (22nd September 2009)
- Network Diagrams:Zones on a diagram with Visio shape union (31st July 2009)
- Network Diagrams: Drawing complex VLAN Networks with IP Addressing (7th July 2009)
- Network Diagrams: Drawing Freehand Curves (and then fixing them) (23rd March 2009)
- Network Diagrams:Aligning Shapes (12th March 2009)
- Network Diagrams:Locking the Background Shape (10th March 2009)
- Network Diagrams: Labelling an VLAN/IP Segment (9th March 2009)
- Network Diagrams: VLANs and IP Subnets (8th March 2009)
- Network Diagrams: Drawing the Background Shape (6th March 2009)
- On the Art of Network Diagrams and Presentation (4th March 2009)