Saturday, April 13, 2013

Diagramming trick: pointing at text in Omnigraffle

Irrelevant background rant: That very last post I spent half an hour too long making the diagram, because I wanted curved arrows pointing at text. Powerpoint wouldn't let me adjust curvature. Keynote wouldn't put an arrow on the end of a custom shape. So I freaking bought Omnigraffle (I love it at work) which is fabulous for connectors of custom shapes. Plus Omnigraffle has the fabulous features of "hold down T and click to make text" and "hold down C and draw a line to make a connector." But...

The otherwise lovely connectors in Omnigraffle insist on connecting to the edges of my text box.

Goal: get this red arrow to point directly at the black text "override."

Problem: The arrow insists on hooking itself to the side of the text box.
Step 1: Illuminate the problem. In the View menu, select Magnets to show that darn spot on the side of the text box that keeps sucking in my connector end.
Step 2: Fine, Mr. Connector, if you insist on hooking to a magnet, I'll just make my own! Hold down "m" and click on the spot where I want the arrow to point, and I get a new magnet:
Step 3: Move the connector end to the new magnet. Now everyone is happy.
Step 4: Turn off View -> Magnets and admire the result
Hurray! As a bonus, if I move my text box around, the connector will adjust too, and it will point right where I wanted it. Adjusting the font or changing the contents of the box will move the text. When you need to move the magnet, hold down "m" and then click and drag it to the new spot.

This may seem trivial people but this trick is already changing my life! I'm so much happier now that I can point at a piece of text without pain. I never knew how much this misery leaked into every corner of my existence until it was gone.

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