How do I add Boundaries around my topics?

BigPicture has the ability to Attach Shapes to your existing topics. The first is the Attach Shapes > Boundary command which allows the user to "group" related topics together by adding a Boundary shape. This command will help you add some additional pizazz to your maps!

Select Topics and choose Boundary Command

To add a Boundary shape to a selection of topics:

  • Select the topics that you would like to "group" together
  • Right click on one of the selected topics
  • Choose the Attach Shapes > Boundary > Add New command * (See #1)

By utilizing the Boundary command a default shape will be placed behind the selected topics (See #2) and will move and re-size with the topics.

* You can also access this command from the Topic Tools icon in the BigPicture ribbon.

NOTE: To remove a boundary, just delete the shape in Excel by clicking on it and press your Delete key on your keyboard.

Boundary Options

After you have added your boundary, there are a variety of options at your disposal.

  • Customize your boundary shape by utilizing Excel's standard capabilities of changing the color, shape effects, size, font, text, etc. - Right click on the shape and choose Fill from the Excel popup menu. (See #1)
  • If you decide to move one of the topics in the boundary shape, the shape will re-size automatically. (See #2)
  • A boundary can be placed around a single topic. (See #3)
  • Boundaries can overlap. (See #4)
  • Multiple boundary shapes can be added to the same topic, or group of topics. All of which can be moved and re-sized. (NOTE: To access any boundaries that may be hidden behind another one, right click and utilize the Send to Back and Bring to Front commands from the pop-up menu.)
  • Boundaries can be manipulated so that they do not surround the topics - yet will still collapse and open with the topics that they have been "bound" to. (See #5)

Edit which topics are included in a Boundary

  • Click on a Topic in the group that has the boundary that you would like to edit.
  • Right-click and choose Attach Shapes > Boundary > Edit Existing command. A dialog will come up that lists the topics that are currently included.
  • To add topics click on the topics that you would like included in the boundary shape.  NOTE: You must select ALL of the topics that you would like included in that boundary, not just the new ones.
  • If you would like to remove a topic click on any of the white space in your spreadsheet to clear the listing and then select only the topics that you would like included in your boundary.

Reuse the style of a particular Boundary shape

If you would like to use the same style boundary shape that already exists in your map:

  • Select the topics that you would like to add a boundary to FIRST.
  • Choose the Attach Shapes > Boundary > Copy Existing command. At this point a dialog will appear asking you to select the Shape that you would like to copy.
  • Click on the existing Boundary shape or attached custom shape that you would like to duplicate.
  • Click OK.