Palisade DocumentationBigPicture 2016 Manual Tools for Modifying MapsWhat is Auto Arrange, and when should I use it?

What is Auto Arrange, and when should I use it?

Auto Arrange helps to maintain symmetry in your map.

Auto Arrange for a symmetric map

If you want topics to be arranged symmetrically, Auto Arrange is a big help. Instead of having to position topics manually, you can let BigPicture do it for you.

Auto Arrange for a symmetric map

Draw map with Auto Arrange off

Here is the start of a map with Auto Arrange turned off. The placement of topics isn't bad, but it isn't perfect.

Draw map with Auto Arrange off

Turn Auto Arrange on

Here is the result when Auto Arrange is turned on. Actually, you can turn it on before creating the map or after. Each has the same effect. Then when you add new topics, the current topics will rearrange automatically to retain the symmetric appearance. However, don't be surprised if the entire map moves to a slightly different location on the worksheet when you add topics. This occurs when the map requires more space for its new topics.

If you create the map in the previous step (with Auto Arrange off), then turn Auto Arrange on, and then turn it off again, the map will not revert to its previous non-symmetric layout; it will remain symmetric. However, you will then be able to position new topics as you like.

Turn Auto Arrange on

Auto Arrange for free-form maps

This is not the option you want if you want to decide on the placement of topics. This will enable you to build a symmetrically-organized free-form map. However, it will not allow you to choose where you would like to place your topics. Below is an example of what will happen when a free-form map is created with the Auto Arrange option turned off and then when it is turned on.

Create a free-form map with Auto Arrange off

Here is a typical free-form map for investment decisions. The topics have been positioned to tell the story best (and to avoid a lot of overlapping connectors).

Create a free-form map with Auto Arrange off

Save a version of your map prior to turning on Auto Arrange

We recommend saving a copy of your free-form map prior to choosing Auto Arrange. Turning Auto Arrange on may move your topics and connectors to positions that don't represent what you would like to see. You will typically want to avoid using this command on free-form maps. If you try to Auto Arrange your map and you don't like the layout, click Undo to get to your previous layout.