The dots have two meanings. The most common use is to show that there is a large or unknown number of identical components in the system (in the example: B..C, human agent..human agent, D1..Dn). The other meaning is to express that other different components exist but that they are intentionally left out (in the example: S1, S2).

There are three kinds of dots: 2-dots diagonal, 3-dots horizontal and 3-dots diagonal.


Control Points

To achieve vertical Dots or diagonal Dots from top left to bottom right use Visio's Rotation Tool or click in the shape's context menu Shape -> Rotate Left.

Context Menu

The context menu allows to lock the size of the dots when resizing happens.

  Lock Dot Ratio - If enabled the size of the dots will stay the same if you resize the whole shape. Otherwise the dots will be resized corresponding to the size of the shape.


Easy Layouting

The 3-dots fit exactly in the standard 4 x 4 mm grid whereas the 2-dots only use a quarter of a grid's cell (2 x 2 mm). It is useful when you want to display the multiplicity of overlapping diagrams that have to be very close to one another. If space is not an isssue use the 3-dots because they are more significant.