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Hi,

I come to OmniGraffle as a Visio user and I'm just trying to do something very basic and can't figure out how.

I'm trying to create a set of magnetized rectangles and then connect them using orthogonal lines, exactly as you would do in Visio.

The important thing is that all my boxes should have magnet points at each of the four center parts of their perimeter and each orthogonal line should connect in the center.

The other important thing is that each orthogonal line should only switch directions a minimal number of times (ie - most lines should be either 1 straight line, or two straight lines... 2 at the most).

How can I do this easily? In Visio, I just put in boxes and start putting in connections and it all happens by itself...
 
This sounds pretty similar to what the Org Chart templates are set up to do. (You can bring the Template Chooser window up by selecting it under the File menu.) Does that help?

If you take a look at the help page on the Outline Sidebar, that may also be a big help - you can rough in the structure from the keyboard, then tweak details of the appearance as needed.
 
The controls you're looking for are in the Properties:Connections and Style:Lines and Shapes Inspectors. In Properties:Connections, select your rectangle and use the pull-down menu to choose the arrangement of the magnets (connection points). The one you describe is 4 Magnets: N,S,E,W. A line will snap to these points as you bring the end of the line near them; an open circle marking the point will turn red. For orthogonal lines, select the line and use the Style: Lines and Shapes Inspector. The control is the center one in the line-style panel (lower part of the inspector). It offers straight, curved, orthogonal, and Bezier line styles.
 
Thanks John - what you wrote below worked wonderfully. After I did what you suggested, I ran into some issues setting default styles (for rectangles and connector line arrows) but I think I'm starting to figure it out now. Thanks!
 
 


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