Robins's Visual Chart Form Tips

Editing Lines and Connections

This page created 1 Sep 2014

Hosted by Terry's TMG Tips

This article discusses the art of editing elastic connection lines in VCF.

An elastic line is a line whose length and path automatically changes as the anchor points at the end of the line are moved.

Connection Ports on the Person Box

A person box is shown with its 12 anchor points around its boundary. These lines always join the box perpendicular the box side and are placed at 25%, 50% and 75% of that side.


The elastic lines join between boxes using a route defined by which 2 sides are being joined and a knowledge of the size of the two boxes so that the line does not cross the inside of each box. These are orthogonal joining lines. Each segment may only be vertical or horizontal. A TMG chart in VCF is constructed from these elastic lines. Unfortunately the line routing algorithm does not take in to account any other boxes in the space along the route.

Parent - Child Connections

Many users are surprised when they try to move boxes. The connecting lines don’t compensate for the change. Without the knowledge of another level of complexity such editing will not always be successful.


In this chart, the colored lines show that there is a separate line from the center top of each child’s box to a position below the Mother’s box. There is a short black line from this point to the center bottom of the Mother’s box. What happens where the 4 lines meet?

In this next diagram, the Father and Mother boxes have been moved to the right. Secondly the Child1 box has been moved down and to the right. Note that junction point of all 4 lines has NOT moved.


A hidden connection point is revealed in this magnified view of the junction.



This is a connection point. It is a cluster of 4 anchor points, one each for connecting, vertically up or down, and one each for connecting horizontally to the left or right.

This connection point is available on the menu as the Button_Way-point.jpg button. VCF uses connection points whenever more than one line may join to a person box for the same reason. They increase the control over the path that elastic lines will take.


The chart lines can be repaired:

  1. Select the connection point object below the mother box (shown here as a thin circle). This can be hard so use Zoom > 200% or higher. Once only it is selected use the arrow keys to nudge it to the right until the lines don’t have the unwanted bend.
  2. Select the Button_Way-point.jpg button and then click above the center of Child1’s box (shown above as a thin circle). Now select the red line, then its end at the connection point under the Mother’s box and drag that end to the new way-point object.
  3. Select the Button_Elastic_Orthogonal.jpg button (elastic orthogonal connection line) and draw a line start at the new connection point object top and to end at the other connection point object bottom. It takes a bit of skill to make that connection to the right element of the 4 anchor points. It is a trial and error process, but try to approach the connection point from the direction you want the line to follow.
  4. Probably the vertical location of new connection point will need nudging (after selection use the up and down arrows) to get all the children horizontal lines to coincide.

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