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mars 27
Network Diagram and Visio Layers (1/2)

In this first article, we show you how to take advantage of Visio layers to display different network informations (L1, L2/L3, routing configuration) on the same sheet without overload the network diagram.

Software used in this scenario : Microsoft Visio 2013 (15.0.4420.107) MSO (15.0.4420.107) 64 bits

At the end of this article, you would be able to draw a network diagram like this one :


Network nodes without any information…


…with physical interfaces…


…with VLANs and IP addresses…


…with routing protocols

Creating the primary layer : network nodes

First, we start to draw our network diagram with routers and MPLS cloud but without any link :


Then we select all shapes and add them to a new layer « none » which will be displayed with secondary layers (L1, L2/L3, routing).



Now we can add secondary layers to display on the same network diagram different informations following the OSI model.

Creating secondary layers : physical interfaces (OSI layer 1)


We want to add new shapes (links and labels) to a new layer « L1 ». The tip to select only these new shapes quickly is to hide the previous layer « none » and then select all shapes displayed.


Open the « Layer Properties » box and uncheck the « Visible » box for the layer « none » :


As you can see, a default layer « Lien » (link in english) is created when you add links on a Visio drawing. Just ignore it for the use case we describe in this article.


Now you can easily select all shapes and create a new layer « L1 » :


Uncheck the layer « Lien » in the « Layer » box and create a new one :




To display back the primary layer « none », open the « Layer Properties » box and check the « Visible » box for the layer « none » :




Creating secondary layers : VLANs and IP addresses (OSI layer 2&3)

To add a third layer with VLANs and IP addresses, we begin to hide layer « L1 » :




 We start to add OSI layer 2&3 informations :


You may notice line jumps on the drawing. We found two ways to remove them. The easiest way is to deactivate the option « Afficher les déviations de trait » (« Show Line Jumps » in the english version) in the « Design » tab :


And the tedious way…

First enable the « Developper » tab which is not displayed in the ribbon by default (click right on the ribbon) :



Then select links on which you observe a jump and open the « Behavior » box in the « Developper » tab :


In « Connector » tab, after « Line jumps » section select « Never » : 


Tadda ! Same result as with the first method :


Now, we create a third layer « L2/L3 » the same way we created the layer « L1 » (don't forget to uncheck the layer « Lien » in the « Layer » box if necessary) :


You should notice a little bug when displaying back the primary layer. Routers are not on top of links :


To correct this, select routers and bring them to front :



Creating secondary layers : routing protocols (OSI layer 3)

Finally we create our last layer with routing information like AS number, dynamic routing protocols used, loopbacks :



Adding a shape to an existing Visio layer

We found three ways to add a new shape to an existing layer in a Visio drawing.

Copying an exisiting shape

It's the easiest way but it's not always possible if the shape is not already present on the sheet.


As you can see, the copied shape belong to Layer « none ».

Insert a new shape

If the shape you want to add is not already present on the sheet, insert it and add it to the correct layer :


Activate the layer

You can also automatically assigned shapes when you add them to the sheet. To add « PROVIDER » text box and so on we open the « Layer Properties » box and check the « Active » box for the layer « none » :


And new shapes are automatically added to the layer « none » :



To print specific combination of layers, open the « Layer Properties » box and check the « Print » boxes for the layers you want to print :




With Visio layers you can aggregate many information without overloading the network diagram. In the next article, we proposed you a quick way to switch from a layer to another without having to open the « Layer Properties » box.







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