Often it can be hard to cram all the details you want onto a topology drawing. We've discussed what details should be included on a topology drawing versus those which are better recorded on a spreadsheet in a previous post. Today we'll look at how we can use layers within Visio to illustrate separate layer two and layer three topologies using a single drawing.
Below is an example of a layer two drawing, with relevant labels (interface IDs and VLAN numbers).
In order to illustrate the corresponding layer three topology, we should create a second drawing (rather than attempt to squeeze in a bunch of IP addresses). We could copy and paste the shapes and connectors into a new worksheet, but instead we'll employ Visio layers to reuse the existing drawing.
First we need to assign the existing labels to a layer. To do this, we open the Layer Properties dialog from the toolbar. We'll create a new layer named "Layer 2."
Next, select all of the existing interface and VLAN labels and assign them to Layer 2. (If the menu option is disabled, ensure that you have selected at least one text box or shape first.)
We can now hide all of these labels by unchecking the "visible" option in layer properties. This leaves us plenty of room to add layer three labels.
After adding our layer three labels, we can assign them to a new Visio layer (Layer 3) and toggle them on and off as well. This allows us to easily switch between layer two and three views of a common topology.
Granted, this approach won't always work for complex topologies, but keep in mind that this works for shapes as well. For example, perhaps you'd like to show each access segment as a single block shape at layer three, but want to show every individual switch at layer two. This can easily be done by assigning different shapes to the appropriate layers. Give it a shot and share your results in the comments!