Grid is another one of those add-ons that is mainly utilized by healers (in conjunction with Clique), but has its uses apart from this. The thing I like most about this particular add-on is how minimalistic it appears to be. That’s not to say that it provides minimal information, because that is certainly not the case, but rather the way it displays the information is drastically simplified from how it would otherwise appear on the Blizzard UI. Grid, in essence, aims to break down the unit frames that you see on a regular basis — whether it’s while in a 5 man dungeon, a 10 or 25 man raid, or even solo play — into something that is more compact and easier to digest with the human eye, all the while not leaving out the important stuff, like debuffs and aggro. This add-on can be downloaded here: Grid.
***This post was last updated on May 22, 2011 to reflect the new menu configuration, as well as the options within them.***
Much like other add-ons, there will be something new on your screen when you next log in after downloading and installing it. In this case, it will be a colored box with the first few letters of your character’s name in the center, surrounded by a grey border with a tab that says “Grid” in the top left. These will be your new unit frames.
Your default party frames will still show up on your UI, in addition to the Grid unit frames, when grouped with others. Some people don’t mind this, but the rest of us — like me — really do. So how can I turn off the default party frames? I only need one set on my screen. While there is no possible way to turn off the party frames from within the game’s menu options, you can install an add-on called “Move Anything!” and hide them. By doing this, you ensure that the standard party frames will not appear on your screen, and Grid will be the only ones to show up.
The new UI raid frames that pop up on the left hand side of your screen can be turned off, however, without the need to download any extra add-ons. Simply click on the grey fly out bar and selecting the “Hide” check box in the lower right (which you can see is highlighted in blue, in the picture below). Again, by using the add-on “Move Anything!”, you can hide this gray fly-out bar as well.
So now that we have that out of the way, let’s take a look at how to make these frames look less … generic. You will first want to open up the Grid menu, either by right clicking on Grid’s mini map icon or by typing /grid. The first menu that pops up will be your Frame options, as shown below. There are a lot of options in this one menu alone, so please bear with me and the incoming wall of text that might critically one shot you. For your convenience, I put each option’s name in bold lettered text for quick reference if you do not need to read about each one.
- I will be working my way down these menus from left to right, starting in the upper left hand corner. Any options in Grid do not apply to an individual frame, but rather they encompass all the frames. Anything you add, remove, or change from within the menus will be reflected on each and every one of your squares. With that being said, let us continue!
The first slider bar here, “Frame Width“, let’s you choose how long/wide the unit frames are; the one next to it, “Frame Height“, grants you the ability to adjust how tall or squat they are.
On the next line down, the slider bar called “Border Size” controls how thick the border around the unit frame is. Also discussed in the “Indicators” section, this border can be used for things apart from simply highlighting who you are actively targeting. And now the corners come into play — these alone make Grid what it is: simple and awesome. The corners are a big part of your indicators and will show you most anything you want them to, in a variety of ways. After you set your corner indicators (discussed in the next section), you may want to come back to this next slider bar, titled “Corner Size“, which governs how large or small they are.
The first drop down menu on the third line, “Show Tooltip“, is referring to a tooltip that shows up in the lower right hand corner of your screen when you mouse over a player’s unit frame. There are three options here: “Never”, “Always”, and “OOC”. “OOC” stands for “Out of Combat”, and having this one checked off will prohibit the tooltip from popping up when you are in combat. The other two are self-explanatory in the fact that the tooltip will either always show up, or never show up, when you mouse over a unit frame.
The drop down menu beside it, “Orientation of Frame“, controls how the health bar in the frames will show a deficit — horizontally (going left to right) or vertically (going up and down). With the horizontal orientation, the health bar will decrease as damage is taken by moving down, and increase when heals are received by filling back up towards the top of the square. With the vertical orientation, the health bar will decrease by moving to the left side of the square, and increase by filling back up by moving to the right.
The drop down menu on the next line is “Orientation of Text“. If left at horizontal, the text will appear to stay smack dab in the middle of the square. If you switch to vertical, however, it will move to the left side of the frame. You will notice an even more drastic difference between these two settings if you have the “Center Text 2″ enabled (discussed shortly). How the text orientation works is that it divides the square into two halves, and on each half is one of the sets of text. If you choose to leave it at the horizontal setting, Grid is dividing the square in half by creating an invisible line straight through the middle by going from left to right, and one text will be on the top half and the other on the bottom. If you decide to change the orientation of the text to vertical, Grid is dividing the square in half by drawing this invisible line through middle going from the top to the bottom, and one set of text will be on the left hand side and the other on the right hand side. Keep in mind that with the text orientation set to vertical, depending on the length of your frames, your text may be cut off at just a few letters and have the dreaded “…” tagged on to the end of it.
To the right of this drop down menu are two check boxes. The first, “Enable Mouseover Highlight“, will make the border of the Grid unit frame you are currently hovering with your mouse turn a nice, but not overly ridiculous, golden color. This is excellent for healers in letting them know the target that will receive their heals at that moment in time. The second of these, right below the last, is “Enable Center Text 2“. This will enable a second line of text to be visible on your unit frames. By default, it will say your character’s name, but this can be changed to something else by using the “Indicators” section, which I will go over after we have finished discussing the different options listed in this menu.
Directly below the “Orientation of Text” drop down menu are two more check boxes. The first of these, called “Enable Health Bar Color Indicator“, will do exactly what it says: enables a new way of tracking things, via the color of the Health Bar, by adding this as a new indicator. This will change the entire color of the health bar in order to warn you of whatever it is you may have checked off for this (also to be discussed in the “Indicators” section). The check box below this one is called “Throttle Updates“. This allows Grid to kind of speed up the process, so to speak, of updating your frames’ composition when group changes are made. The tooltip for this particular option explains that this should only be used if you are experiencing freezes and/or lock ups when changes are made.
Just so you don’t have to keep scrolling up to the top of the page, we’ll go over the next couple of sections in the Frame Options menu in smaller portions. Next are the Bar Options, as shown below. These deal with the very basics of the health bar itself.
The first drop down menu, “Frame Texture“, let’s you choose a texture (or background, as some may call it) for your frames. There are many, many options for this, so play around with them and find one that you’ll love looking at all the time (literally all the time, if you’re a healer).
The slider bar, titled “Healing Bar Opacity“, directly corresponds with your Healing Bar. By default, you have your health color (which is a dark color) and you have a color that shows you a deficit in health (which is a very, very light color). What the Healing Bar does is show you the estimated amount of health you are going to receive when a heal is being cast on you, and this slider bar is what controls how opaque or transparent that color appears. Especially if you are a healer, you may not want to set this to be too opaque or too transparent. Going too far into Opaque Land will make it look exactly like the darker color (actual health) and going too far out to sea with transparency will make it look like the lighter color (health deficit) — or vica versa, depending if you’ve inverted the colors or not. You want to find a nice balance here so you can easily identify –by looking at the colors — how much health the player has, how much is missing, and approximately how much they are being healed for by other players. This is important so you can better assess which heal to cast on them to ensure you aren’t overhealing, wasting time and mana on spells that do not need to be cast, or going OOM too quickly.
The check box below these options, “Invert Bar Color“, will do exactly what it says it will do: invert the colors on your bar. As explained above, when you take damage, your bar will show the shortage of health (the deficit) by a much lighter color than the rest of your unit frame. Your actual health is represented by the darker color. When you check off this box, it will show the opposite: your remaining health will now be the much lighter color, and any shortage will show as the darker.
Here you will see two slider bars. Both of these refer to an icon that will/can appear in the middle of your unit frames to alert you of something that is on the player. This center icon will be discussed under the “Indicators” section, but the icon basically shows you what you want it to — whether it’s a debuff on a player, a buff, a HoT from a heal, a vital cool down … whatever you want! Upon reading more about it later, you may want to come back to this section and adjust your settings as needed.
The first of these slider bars, “Icon Size“, is how small or large the actual icon is. I do not like to have mine so small that I can’t really tell what it is that is afflicting (or aiding) the player, but not so large that I can’t see anything else on the unit frame. Again, it’s about finding a nice balance that works for you.
The second of these, “Icon Border Size“, relates to the border that appears around the actual icon and how noticeable it will be. A heal will generally show with a green border, a debuff will show with a red one, etc., and this slider bar dictates how thick or thin this border is.
On the next line down, there are two check boxes that relate to this infamous icon of which I speak. The first, “Enable Icon Cooldown Frame“, will enable a kind of timer to show how much time is left on whatever it is that’s affecting the player. This will appear the same way that your global cool down does on your spells after you have started casting something — that slightly brighter clock-like thing that rotates like radar around your abilities on your action bars.
The second check box, “Enable Icon Stack Text“, will allow a number to appear in the center of the icon that counts how many stacks of something the player has on them. This comes in handy for encounters such as Precious and Stinky, as well as Festergut, when the tanks need to taunt off of each other at certain stacks of the debuff they give to the player they are attacking.
This section allows you some extra customization in regards to the text that appears on your unit frames.
Assuming this is pretty self-explanatory, the drop down menu titled “Font” allows you to pick a font style for the text in your Grid unit frames. The slider bar next to this, called “Font Size“, let’s you choose how big or small your text will appear.
The drop down menu on the left hand side on the next line, labeled “Font Outline“, let’s you choose if you want an outline around the font and, if so, how noticeable it is. Do you want a thinner outline, a thicker one, or no outline at all? The check box immediately to the right of this drop down menu, “Font Shadow“, let’s you decide if you would also like a shadow affect to your text.
The slider bar on the very bottom, “Center Text Length“, limits how many letters of text will appear on your frames. I like to have this set to about 6 because it gives you enough of the toon’s name to quickly identify who’s unit frame you are selecting, but at the same time it doesn’t take up so much room that it is overwhelming your Grid square. Of course, the amount of letters you want showing drastically depends upon the size and shape you create for your Grid unit frames. I have my squares set to be a little shorter in height and wider in length, so it allows for 6 letters to show without obscurity and without the “…” appearing after a few letters because it doesn’t fit properly.
Alright, so now that we’re done talking about the basics of the frame options, let’s move on to these “Indicators” I mentioned. Indicators are pretty much what they sound like: they indicate to you, in a specific way that you’ve picked out in this menu, what is happening to the players in your group/raid at that moment in time. It can be heals, magical debuffs, aggro alerts … basically most anything you would need to worry about. These indicators come in a variety of forms, the most common being the little, colored boxes that appear in the corners of your unit frames.
If you are already aware of how to go about setting these up and what they do, but want a little more information on some different options, I highly recommend visiting Madrana’s Guides to Grid Config (mainly Parts 1 & 2) which talks about Grid Side Indicators, and some different ways that you can expand upon what is available for you to use. This was written before the new menu changes, so those will look a little bit different, and some of the information might be a little outdated, but it is still helpful nonetheless.
The above screen shot shows you two sections: the left hand side is a list of the various ways/places on your frame that an indicator can pop up, and the right hand side is a list of Buffs, Debuffs, warnings, and other things of the sort that you can assign to the indicators on the left. The list on the right hand side is the same across the board for every indicator that is listed on the left, but it is up to you to pick and choose which of these will be assigned to each one.
I will not go over what I personally have each of these set to, as I will leave that to your own discretion, but rather simply tell you where and/or how you can expect to see this indicator show itself on your frames. You do not need to have something marked off for each indicator, either. If you do not want one active, simply make sure that all of the boxes in the list on the right hand side are left unmarked for that particular indicator. All of the colors for these indicators can be altered to your liking from within another menu in Grid, which is discussed in this post: Grid – Part 2. For now, we’re getting the basics hammered out.
The first indicator is the Border, which is around the actual frame — the one that turns a golden color when mousing over it if you have the highlighting feature selected, which was discussed earlier. By default, heals show as green, aggro shows as red, etc..
The second indicator, the Healing Bar, is that in-betweener color you see when receiving a heal from another player (or yourself, if you’re a healer) if you are running low on health. Naturally, the check box labeled “Incoming Heals” on this list should be checked off if you indeed wish to see this on your frames. Nothing else is really going to work with this indicator.
Health Bar Color
As discussed in the Frame Options menu, you can enable this particular indicator, as it does not show by default. I do not have this one showing in the screen shot above, although it would be listed in this order, directly underneath the “Healing Bar” indicator. As mentioned before, this will change the entire color of the health bar in order to warn you of the particular circumstance(s) you have checked off.
Center Text & Center Text 2
The third indicator is your Center Text. If you have Center Text 2 enabled (also discussed in the Frame Options menu), you will see this option right below. The Center Text is what will appear on the top half (or left hand side, if you have the text orientation set to vertical) and the Center Text 2 is what will appear on the bottom half (or right hand side). More often than not, you want one of these to say the player’s name (listed as “Unit Name”) so you can tell who’s square is whose.
The next option down goes back to that nifty Center Icon. What this does is pops up an pictured icon in the middle of the unit frame with the respective buff or debuff that is on the player. For example’s sake, if I have my Riptide checked off for this indicator, a little picture of the spell will show up for as long as it is active on the target. You probably don’t want to go too gung-ho on checking off everything and its uncle for this indicator, but rather the abilities and afflictions you think are most critical to your particular role, otherwise your frames will be completely swamped with information that may not really pertain to you. For example, if you’re a healer and would like to know when a tank has a cooldown — such as Divine Protection — on themselves, you would want to check off these important abilities so that you can be aware of it and not accidentally toss a cooldown of your own on them that will just be overridden by the one that is already active.
These next four indicators are your corners. These will appear as little, colored boxes in the four corners of your Grid frames, and nothing more.
The last of these is the Frame Alpha, which controls what the whole frame will do given certain circumstances. Typically this will be used as a range checker; when someone is out of range, the frame itself will turn a more transparent color.
So there, in a nutshell, are your basic Grid Indicators. Most of these indicators have a corresponding “size adjuster” within the “Frames” menu, via the slider bars discussed earlier. Feel free to mess around with them, check off different boxes for each one and see what they do; keep what you like and discard what you don’t. As you may be able to tell by now, you can check off more than one thing for each indicator, and we will later discuss — in the next Grid post — how to go about prioritizing what shows before something else and what doesn’t.
Moving on to the Layout menu, the options here let you tweak the overall appearance and composition of the frames.
The Drop Down Menus
The six drop down menus at the top give you your options for how many unit frames will show up, and a couple options for in what order (vaguely) based on what type of group you are in. You can choose to have the frames order themselves by class or by group, ranging from a 5 man group to 40 man raids (pets optional).
The Check Box Options
Below these drop down menus are four check boxes. By default, the frames will fill in from top to bottom, in columns, and work their way to the right with groups. This first check box, titled “Horizontal Groups“, will alter this so that they instead fill in from the left to the right, in rows, and work their way down. The next two check boxes consider the frames as one unit that moves together. If you click on the grey border that surrounds all of your frames, you are able to move them around your screen as a group. There is no way to move the individual frames separately. So the check box right below the first, “Clamped to Screen“, makes sure that when you are moving them around the screen, they will not start to disappear from view and, essentially, go “outside” of the monitor; once the grey border gets to the edge of your screen, you will be unable to move it any further so that all the frames remain visible.
Once you have found an agreeable place to keep your frames (at least for a little while), you may not want them to move, not even by accident. You’re going around on your toon, you’re leveling up, killin’ stuff … and you accidentally click the edge of your Grid frames, they get moved to the middle of your screen, you can’t see the mobs beating on you, and you die a horrible, in-game death. That might be a slight over-exaggeration, but to healers in a raiding situation, that certainly could be life or death … for someone else. That’s what the top right check box is for! You can lock these frames in place so as to prevent such atrocities from happening by making sure the “Frame Lock” check box is marked off. You can also lock or unlock the frames by left clicking on Grid’s mini map icon.
The last of these, “Hide Tab“, is quite simple in that it hides that little tab on the border of your unit frames that says “Grid” on it. I hate looking at that thing, so I get rid of it from the get go.
There are two more drop down menus, and these are the “Anchor” options for your frames.
The first drop down menu here is the “Layout Anchor“. This basically tells Grid which point on the screen within the Grid “boundaries” to set an anchor position. So let’s try and picture this, because it can be a little confusing. The anchor is essentially your collapse point for the frames. Say you have your Layout Anchor set to “Bottom” and you are inviting guildies to join a five man group to go do an instance together. As you invite people, you will notice the frames move a little bit to the left and right simultaneously each time someone joins and they continue to do so until there are at least five people in the group, at which point they stop expanding. Now, when you are done with your instance and people start to leave the group, the frames slowly work their way back to the middle, moving in at an even distance from both sides.
As another example of the Layout Anchor being the collapsing point for your frames, if you were to choose “Top Right” for this, your frames would expand by filling in normally, starting from the top right and moving to the left. When people are leaving the group, the frames will disappear from the left hand side and slowly work their way back to the top right hand corner ’til it is just your frame remaining. Grid will only do rows as large as five people (or, in other words, the size of one group), so if you were to invite more than 5 people, after you filled your first row, Grid would start a second row for the second group, a third row for the third group, and so on and so forth.
The second drop down menu is for the “Group Anchor“. This will tell Grid how to fill in the unit frames for groups — do they fill in from the bottom, upwards; the top, downwards? Left to right, or right to left? My personal choice, “Bottom Left”, is telling Grid that my unit frames will fill in from the bottom, working their way upwards, and from left to right in (Keep in mind that not all combinations of these two drop down menus will work!)
The Slider Bars
Here’s a smaller screenshot of the bottom half of this menu:
Getting to the three slider bars in this menu, the first of these, labeled “Padding“, controls the spacing between the individual frames — as you move the slider to the right, the gaps between the frames get larger. The “Spacing” slider bar adjusts how much space there is between the group of unit frames and the border that surrounds them. The spacing bar does not adjust the spacing between the unit frames in any way, shape or form; that is what the padding bar is for.
The last of these slider bars adjusts the overall size of everything. If you find that your frames are a little too small for your liking, but you really want to keep the settings you have and don’t want to go back and individually change each and every one of them (again!), you can change the scale by playing around with the “Scale” slider bar. This will enlarge or decrease the unit frames as a whole, as well as the text, corner indicators, etc. that are contained within the frames. If it’s easier to think of it this way, imagine you’re zooming in or zooming out on the frames.horizontal groups.
There are a few last options in this menu for added customization. The first of these, the drop down menu titled “Border Texture“, is for the border that encompasses your unit frames as a whole. I do not like having this visible, so I have mine selected to “None”, although there are a handful of different options to choose from for personal taste.
The “Border” and “Background” color picker boxes refer to the grey that you see around your unit frames. The first one is the Border, which is the seemingly solid line that contains the rest of the grey (which is the “Background”, the second option) in the large square area around the frames. Unfortunately, WoW does not allow me to take a screen shot when the “Color Picker” is up, but I think you are mighty smart to follow along via the written word. You’ve made it this far, right? So when you click on either of the boxes, a new, smaller window will pop up called the Color Picker. This lets you set the color you wish to see for the border and background. On the color wheel to the left, there is a little circle that you can move around to pick the new color. The vertical slider bar in the middle of this window allows you to set how bright or dark this color is, and the slider bar on the right hand side allows you to set the transparency/opacity.
Lastly, the red button underneath the all of this is the “Reset Position” button for when you wish to reset the position of your Grid frames. This will put them back in the middle of the screen (or close to it, at least), and can be extremely useful if you do not have the “Clamp to Screen” option marked off, pushed them out of view, and can’t grab a hold of the border to reel them back in.
In this next section, you will be able to swap between different profiles you have set up for different toons with Grid, or create and swap between two profiles for your characters based on primary and secondary specs.
The lovely red button here, “Reset Profile“, does not necessarily mean that it is going to wipe the slate clean for you. What this button does do, however, is reset your settings back to your Default profile. So, if you had a character all set up with Grid, but you didn’t create a separate profile for them, those settings will now become your defaults. I like to have a specific profile for each character so that in case I do ever need to start from scratch, I will be doing just that — not starting from the workings of another set up.
Below this is a script box with the word “New” above it, which allows you to create a new profile for a character. Simply enter the name of what you want to call it — more often than not, it’s just your character’s name — then hit the red “Okay” button that appears to save it. After doing so, it will show up in your “Existing Profiles” drop down menu for you to select.
Dual Profile Options
This next section is in regards to swapping Grid profiles based on which spec you currently are in. As with my shaman, I have one profile for my Restoration spec and a secondary profile for my Enhancement spec. The reason for this is that I do not need to see all the HoTs and heals active on players when I’m DPSing; I have other things that I can be tracking on my frames that pertain more to a DPS stand point. So, in order to be able to do this, you must first check off the box that says “Enable dual profile“. Next, you will need to create and save a new profile. Once you have done this, select the newly created profile from the drop down menu titled “Dual profile“, and then switch into your secondary spec to begin configuring.
Copying and Deleting Profiles
The last two drop down menus in this section are “Copy From” and “Delete a Profile“. The first one allows you to copy the settings from an already existing profile without actually using it. So if I like the vast majority of the settings I had for my Shaman’s Restoration spec and wanted to use most of these in my Enhancement profile, I can copy the settings, and then tweak what I don’t like to fit my needs for this new profile. What I change after copying it will not affect the original profile, only the new one that I will be saving once I am done. Lastly, to delete any particular profile from the Grid database, simply select the profile you wish to dispose of from the “Delete a Profile” drop down menu and hit the “Accept” button when the new window pops up on your screen.
This menu is mainly used by the creators and programmers of the add-on for debugging purposes, and does not need to cause you any concern.
As a side note, many people have been experiencing the same “staircase” effect with their Grid frames. As it stands right now, until the creators fix it, there is no way to correct this other than logging off of your character and logging back in. You do not need to exit the game! So with that ends the first part of my Grid overview. I left out the “Status” menus simply because this post could easily be twice the length if I were to write about all of the information contained in there, and I do not want to completely bore you. At least not all in one go! I hope this has helped, and please correct me (as always) if any of the above information is not.