Layers let you organize objects by letting you separate related objects from other objects. A common use of layers is with background and foreground objects and adding comments. You can place background objects on one layer, and then you can place foreground objects on a different layer, and manipulate them without disturbing the background. This also allows you to add comments on different layers for help with an audit.
Another use of layers is to organize model notes on layers that can help you during model development but be made invisible during the presentation.
The Layer Manager lets you add, delete, and set layer options.
Layers are important for 4 main reasons
- Organize graphic elements to emphasize the most important things, yet not interfere with model access. This is different than ordering things on the same layer which will cause difficulty in selecting the desired element.
- Save time and effort by documenting during the build process. You can keep track of important project information such as notes, questions, assumptions, timings or anything else, yet keep your model clean and ready for presentation.
- Improve your presentation by revealing information as it is needed, rather than dumping information on the audience. This gives you control over how much and when to release information.
- Take the headache out of tracking of all your project data. All of your information — notes, assumptions, word documents, data sets, powerpoint presentations, etc., can be attached to the model. When you create a model package, all the files attached are also included.
How To – Add layers
- To access the Layer Manager, go to the Arrange menu and click on Layers. Then select Layer Manager.
- To change the layer name, click Rename, type Notes, and then click OK. Notice that the layer name changes in the list.
- To add a layer called Chart, click Add, type Chart, and then click OK. Notice that the Chart layer now appears in the list.
- The layers appear in the list in the same order in which you added them to the model. Layers at the top of your list appear behind items at the bottom of your list.
- On the Layer Manager screen, review the options (Visible, Printable, or Locked) for each layer.
- You can set the visible, printable, and locked layer options by selecting the appropriate box for each layer. Visible and Printable let you see and print a layer, respectively. When a layer is locked, you cannot access it without unlocking it.
- You must select the Visible option for a particular layer on the Layer Manager before you can access that layer to make additions or changes.
- Click OK. Notice the tabs at the bottom left of the chart area . These are the layer tabs. The tab contains the name of the layer. To activate the layer, click the tab. The active tab becomes highlighted.
- When you have more than two layers, the arrow buttons to the left of the tabs let you scroll through the layer tabs.
- You can also access the options for a particular layer by clicking the right mouse button on that layer tab and selecting from the menu. This menu also allows you to access the full Layer Manager menu.
User comments can be added to a layer or multiple layers can be created with user names for an audit trail. The comments layer or the user name layer can be shown or hidden when needed.
1. Go to the Arrange menu and click on Layers. Then select Layer Manager.
2. Add a new layer called Comments.
- If you wish to create a separate layer for each user, add multiple layers with usernames.
3. Click on the relevant comments or username layer to go to that layer.
4. Select the Text Tool from the left toolbar, click anywhere in the model and start typing the comments.
5. To hide the comments or username layer(s) move back to the main layer by clicking on it. Open the Layer Manager and uncheck Visible for the relevant layer(s).
- In order to not print comments from the comments or username layer(s) uncheck the Printable checkbox.
Working with Objects on Different Layers
Layers allow you 1) to place a background behind your model, 2) to create notes that will help you during development but be invisible during the presentation, or 3) to organize different elements of your model.
How To – Work with Objects on Different Layers
- Click the Chart layer tab to activate the Chart layer, if necessary.
- On the Gallery palette, select the first item and place it on the screen.
- Go down to the bottom tabs and select the Notes tab.
- Select the Text tool. Then click on the model layout wherever you wish to place these notes. Type Notes for the entity.
- Any new items placed on the screen will be placed on the active layer. You can only access and change an item when you have activated the layer on which the item was originally created.
- To access a layer, you must first select the option “Visible” for that layer on the Layer Manager.
- To temporarily make the text of the notes invisible, click on the Chart layer, then right-mouse click on any tab (Chart or Notes in this case).
- When a layer is activated, you cannot de-select the Visible option for text on that layer.
- Select Layer Manager.
- To hide the Notes, deselect the box Visible. Click OK. The item/object remains visible, but the text of the notes now becomes invisible.
- When a layer is selected, you can edit only the objects and text from that layer. You can see objects or text from any other layers for which you have selected the option Visible on the Layer Manager, but you cannot access them (unless you have selected Edit All Layers).
- To make the Notes visible again, right mouse click on the tab Notes again at the bottom of the screen. Click Layer Manager. Select the box Visible. Click OK.
- On the File menu, click Close. When prompted to save the chart, click No.
- It is possible to edit all layers at once. You can reach the Edit All Layers option by going to the pop-up menu for Tabs or to the Layer Manager. It is also possible to edit objects on all layers at once by clicking the right mouse button on a layer tab, and then clicking Edit All Layers.
- If you are going to connect elements from different layers, you must be in Edit All Layers mode.