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Lesson 10. Creating Web Pages > Using the Connector Tool

Using the Connector Tool

The Connector tool creates connector lines that dynamically link objects together. Connector lines adjust themselves when you move the connected objects. You can use the tool to create organization charts, labels for diagrams, and site maps, as you will do in this task. Once you create the connector lines, you can use the Object panel to modify the stroke properties of the lines.

Create a new file and name it site_map.fh11. Change the page orientation to Landscape and then save the file in your Projects folder.

You will draw several rectangles to represent each page of the site and then use the Connector tool to draw lines that represent the links between the pages.

Draw a rectangle at the top of the page to represent the home page of your site.

Although the size of the rectangle is not critical, you want it large enough to contain some descriptive text. For example, draw your rectangle 120 pixels by 50 pixels.

You will use the Align panel in the next step to center the rectangle horizontally on the page.

On the Align panel, select Align to Page, choose No Change from the horizontal alignment pop-up menu, and choose Align Center from the vertical alignment pop-up menu; then click Apply (Windows) or Align (Mac OS).

Your rectangle is centered horizontally on the page.

Draw another rectangle about the same size as the first one. Place this rectangle below the first and on the left side of the page.

This rectangle represents a page of the site that the home page links to.

Use the Alt-drag or Option-drag method to create a copy of this rectangle and move the copy to the right side of the page. Hold down Shift as you drag to constrain the movement to a straight line.

Ultimately, you want five rectangles, all the same size and equally distant from one another, spaced across the page. You could have moved the copy of the rectangle slightly apart from the original rectangle and then used the Duplicate command to make the other three copies, spacing them similarly. If you use this method, it is difficult to determine how far to drag the copies to space them equally. In the next step, you will use the Blend tool to create and position the additional copies. The Blend tool calculates the distance between two objects and mathematically determines for you the spacing between any number of items that you want to place between the two objects.

Select the Blend tool and drag from the first rectangle to the second rectangle.

The Blend tool lets you easily create blends from one object to another by dragging the blend line from one object to another. Notice that you did not need to select either of the objects you wanted to blend together; you just need to drag from the boundary of one rectangle to the boundary of the other. When you drag from the first object, you see the blend line, which you then use to connect to the other object.


You could also have selected both objects and used the Blend command as you’ve done in previous lessons.

On the Object panel, change the number of steps in the blend to 3.

You now have five equally spaced rectangles across the page.


You already have two objects on the page. The number of steps in the blend, plus the two original objects, gives you a total of five objects.

Choose Modify > Ungroup. Then select the middle rectangle and choose Modify > Ungroup again.

Objects in blends are grouped by default. When you ungroup the blend, the objects created from the blend are still grouped, so you need to ungroup those objects as well. In the next step, you will use the Connector tool to draw lines between the rectangles. You can’t use the Connector tool between objects in a blend.

Use the Text tool and type Home as the label for the top rectangle. Move the text block to the center of the top rectangle. Add text blocks within the rectangles on the bottom row using the following labels: Services, About Us, Events, Gallery, and Contact Us. Group each rectangle with its text block.

Choose the Connector tool on the Tools panel and drag from the bottom of the Home rectangle to the top of the Services rectangle.

The pointer of the Connector tool contains a plus sign and a connector arrow. Position the plus sign on the bottom line of the first rectangle. Release the mouse button when you see the connecting line. Notice that you did not need to select the top rectangle to use the tool.

The Connector tool displays an arrow at the end of the line and a circle at the start of the line. You can use the Object panel to change the stroke properties of each line. Use the defaults for now. In the next task, you will change the connector style, and that will change all the connector lines on the page.

Repeat step 10 for the remaining four rectangles.

As you connect each rectangle to the Home rectangle, FreeHand merges the connecting lines, resulting in one line that branches to the five rectangles.

Drag one of the bottom rectangles down and to the left.

Notice that the connector line moves and changes shape as you move one of the connected objects.

Draw a smaller rectangle below the Gallery rectangle. Make two copies of this rectangle and move them below the first rectangle. Label these rectangles Cycling, Rock Climbing, and Rafting.

You can use the Alt-drag or Option-drag method to create the two copies of the rectangle. These rectangles represent pages linked from the Gallery page.

With the Connector tool, drag from the left side of the Gallery rectangle to the left side of each of the smaller rectangles.

The length of the connector lines from the rectangles is set by FreeHand, but you will adjust it in the next step.

With the Connector tool, select one of the connector lines and then drag the handle on the connector line to the left, away from the rectangle. Repeat this step for the other lines.

When you are over the handle on the line, the pointer changes to a left-and-right pointing arrow, indicating that you can now drag the line.


You can reshape the connector line only by dragging a handle with the Connector tool. If you use the Pointer tool, you’ll move the connector line along with the rectangle instead of reshaping the connector line.

Save your file.



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