A Force directed layout is a rendering of a physics simulation in which each node pushes away from other nodes while edges pull the nodes together. There is no intrinsic meaning to node position or edge length in the Force layout. Rather, it is designed to result in a graph that is visually pleasing and reasonably easy to navigate.

For more detailed information, see Force-directed Graph Drawing.

Open the Layout panel and Force tab to adjust the default layout. You can:

  • Adjust force layout parameters for the entire graph, and restore default settings.

  • Run and Stop a brief force layout simulation for the entire graph.

  • Randomize node positions for all or part of the graph.

  • Disable force layout for all or part the graph.

Adjusting Force layout parameters

The Force tab of the Layout panel provides the following sliders to adjust layout parameters for the entire graph:

  • Link Strength. Adjusts how strongly the links pull the nodes together.

  • Link Distance. Controls the edge length.

  • Gravity. Pulls the nodes toward the center of the graph space. This is the point the view rotates around when nothing is selected.

  • Charge. Adjusts how strongly the nodes push away from one another.

  • 3D. Compresses nodes on the Z axis to approach a flat 2D distribution.

Click Restore Default Settings to restore the sliders to their default positions and re-render the default force layout for the entire graph.

Using Run and Stop

With the Force Layout checkbox selected, you can click Run to run a brief (1- or 2- second) force layout simulation for the entire graph. Click Stop to freeze the layout when you see a rendering you like.

Randomizing node positions

In Force layout, nodes are rendered in randomized positions. Use the Randomize Node Positions button to render a different random arrangement either for selected data, or all data (except pinned nodes) if no data are selected.

To randomize a force-directed layout:

  1. Select nodes using any method.
    Note: If none are selected, all node positions are randomized, except for any pinned nodes.

  2. Make sure the Force Layout checkbox is selected.

  3. Click the Randomize Node Positions button to render a different random arrangement for your selection.

Disabling Force Layout

You can disable Force layout for all or part of the graph. This causes nodes to be rendered in a random, more compact arrangement that does not use a force layout simulation.

To disable force layout and randomize node positions:

  1. Select data using any method.

  2. De-select the Force Layout checkbox.

  3. Click the Randomize Node Positions button to display a different random order for your selection.
    The selected data are randomized, but not in a force layout, while the data that was not selected remains in a force layout.

    Note: If no data are selected, all node positions are randomized, except for any pinned nodes.

  4. Click the Force Layout checkbox at any time to reset the entire graph to the force-directed layout.