We are going to break Grid down into 3 sections: Look, Layout, and Information. But first you need to access the options. There's 3 ways to get into Grid's config. One is /grid for the command line menus (in your chat window), but the other two are accessed by right clicking Grid's mini map button. From here you can either use the standard waterfall menu or click Configure for a window of options. They're all identical except for their appearance, so what I'm about to cover works for any access method. Also, for everything I'm about to cover, I've made an easy-to-read graphic menu. Wall of text crit resisted!
Changing the Look
The biggest complaint about Grid is people hate the tiny boxes (called Frames). Today we're going to lift the fuggly veil and see what can be done.
Make the Boxes Easier to See/Click On:
1) While you can just make everything proportionally bigger (Layout->Scale), you'll soon see that at some sizes everything is all fuzzy. Instead, just make the frames longer and wider. Go to Frame->Advanced and pick Frame Width or Frame Height. Don't feel like you have to keep them squares, either. Plenty of people love them some rectangles.
2) While you're there, click on Frame->Advanced->Font Size and make it something you can actually read.
Fixing the Text:
1) Most people want to read full names, instead of 3-4 characters. Go to Frame->Center Text Length. Think about who has the longest name in your guild and go with that many letters. Feel free to change the frame sizes until things look right.
2) You can also add a second line of text by clicking on Frame->Center Text 2. This is a good idea if you want everyone's name to stay visible all the time. The default is the names change into missing hp when people take damage. Go down to the Information: Standard Indicators 6) section of this post to complete the name-all-the-time setup.
Playing with Color/Style:
1) You can change or eliminate the border around the entire raid frame (Frame->Border). Want it gone? Slide the opacity to 0%.
2) The background (color behind the frames) can also be altered or nixed the same way as the frame (Frame->Background). Opacity 0% = can't see it; Opacity 100% = can't see though it.
3) The default is dark frames that reveal bright areas as the player takes damage. If you prefer the more traditional light area being the current health and the dark area being the health deficiency, try Frame->Invert Bar Color
4) You can also pick whether the health bar moves from top to bottom (vertical) or right to left (horizontal, like the picture at the top). Go to Frame -> Advanced -> Orientation of Frame.
This is where you decide what order you want the player frames to be in, when they're shown, and how many are visible.
1) You can pick between raid size sorted by group, sorting by class, or "Onyxia" (dunno, either) by going to Layout -> Raid Layout.
2) If you only want Grid to be visible during raids or while you're in party, select the appropriate option from Layout -> Show Frame
1) Grid oRa2: If your guild uses oRa2 to indicate tanks and assists, you can use this addon to sort grid by raid size and oRa2 tanks. Grab the updated version listed in the link's comments, not from the download button. Once installed, the options are found under Layout -> Raid Layout
2) GridLayoutForHealers: This additional addon will provide expanded grid sorting options such as by tanks/healers/dps. After installing the addon, you can find the options under Layout -> Raid Layout
3) Dynamic Layout: This gives you more options to arranging players by tanks, healers, ranged dps, melee dps, and even pets. For any hybrid/alt spec class, you can input the names of who's doing what. For example, you can enter the name of a resto druid under Forced Heals. For this and more, have it up and running then check Layout -> Dynamic Layout.
1) Because Grid (like just about every addon) can also be configured via the command line (chat window), you can set up macros for common Grid commands. I use them to switch between 40-man, 25-man, and 10-man raids sizes, for example. Here's the macro I use for 25-mans:
/grid gridlayout layout by group 25
2) To see the all options for Layout macros, type /grid gridlayout
This is by far both the most important and the most complex of all Grid's functions. This section covers all of the information Grid can monitor (Status) and how you can choose to view it (Indicators).
Status Defaults - Pick what you want Grid to monitor
1) Auras refers to all buffs and debuffs in the game, and has nothing to do with Paladin Auras. There are standard debuff types included, like poisons, curses, magics, and diseases. HoT's and PW:Shield are considered buffs. You can find a list of buffs/debuffs at Status -> Auras. For any not listed that you need, you have the option of adding your own (Status -> Auras ->Add New Buff/Debuff). Just type in the exact spell name and hit the Enter key. It will now show up in the list above. For a comprehensive list of custom debuffs for every boss from Gruul to Illidan, check out Pinchet's Debuffs. Note: For Illidari Council, I watch for Judgment of Blood on the pally tank (it's not on that list). You can also use GridStatusRaidDebuff to auto-load the most common raid mob debuffs.
2) Other information that Grid can collect includes who has aggro, low hp (based on a %), low mana (based on a %), who's in range/offline/dead/feigning death. Likewise Grid also can watch for incoming heals on a target, how much health a player's missing, and their current health. You can find all of these under Status.
3) For each item under Status and Status -> Aura, you can select the individual options by mousing over them. This includes things like color indicator, priority, and when to display the item. See 2) under Indicators below for more info on priority.
4) Each default Status item will have a standard color, like green for poison. Any buffs/debuffs you custom add will default as grey in color. Be sure you change the color to something meaningful.
Indicators Defaults - Choose how you want to view items from Status
1) Grid has a set way to display information. The picture to the right outlines the standard places (called Indicators) you can choose to display your Status info. You can also find them listed in Frame, under the yellow heading of Indicators.
3) Priority refers to which item is seen or appears over top another. The priority for each individual item can be changed by going to Status or Status -> Auras, mousing over the one you want, and selecting Priority. The higher the number (0-99), the higher the priority and the more "on top" it will be.
4) To change how a piece of info is displayed, select the indicator you want to use and pick the info from the list. Be sure to find the original Indicator that info was using and remove it from that list. For example, if you want in-coming heals to be a border, got to Frame ->Border and click Incoming heals. Then go to Frame -> Bottom Left Corner (Incoming heal's default) and remove it from the list.
5) Custom added buffs/debuffs won't be automatically set up with an Indicator. Be sure you pick an appropriate one. For most boss debuffs, I use the border. Looking at the very top picture above, the red border shows up when a person has Mortal Strike, Fel Rage, Parasites, Icebolt, and anything else that needs my immediate attention. You can set up as many as you like with the same color/indicator as long as they won't happen at the same time (because you won't be able to tell the difference). The green border shows the HoT from my Fel Reaver's Piston, mostly because it gives me a warm fuzzy to see it.
6) The second row of text isn't visible by default. Go to Frame -> Advanced and click Enable Center Text 2. It will now show up under the Frame -> Indicators list. What you can do is tie the Health Deficit to Text2 and remove it from Center Text so the player names will always be shown.
7) Health bar color isn't some stagnant, class color forevah indicator. Go to Frame -> Health Bar Color to add some pizzazz. Personally I like it to turn red when player's health is low, over the not-gonna-notice-it default white border.
Status Addons - WTB additional info
1) GridManaBars will add the mana, energy, and/or rage bars to the frames. In the very top picture, only the mana bars are shown. Once installed, you can access the options from Status -> Mana Bar. Be sure to check out Side to pick where it shows up around the frame.
2) GridAFK for Grid lets you know if someone's gone /afk on you. After you have it up and running, you can get to the options by Status -> AFK Alert. To see it as text, like in the picture at the far top, tie it to a text indicator.
3) GridRaidIcons will allow you to show who's wearing what Lucky Charm or which marked mob they're targeting. This is a pretty nice feature if you run with boss mods (DBM, BigWigs, etc.) that auto mark people when they get certain debuffs (Loot Reaver's Arcane Orb, Thaladred's Gaze, etc.). Or when you're not sure who's tanking what. Git er done and look for its options under Status -> Raid Icons: Player AND Status ->Raid Icons: Player Target. Be sure you tie it to an icon indicator if you want to see the actual shape. This works well with Side Icons (listed under Indicator Addons below).
4) GridStatusHealer will give you a visual cue who will need heals based on a series of checks. If you're interested in something like this, I strongly suggest you read the healing logic it uses (found under the link). You never know if you heal the same as the addon creator. Once it's good to go in-game, go to Frame and pick what indicator you want. The author recommends Border.
5) GridStatusHealingReduced is a quick way to bypass manually adding all of the debuffs that cause reduced healing, like Mortal Strike, or prevent healing all together, like Aura of Suffering. Once it's installed, Healing Reduced and Healing Prevented will show up as statuses for your indicators.
6) GridStatusHots will give all of you over time healers a way to track who has what on them. It also provides a numerical countdown for the duration of the HoT. Just pick out what indicator you prefer.
7) GridStatusLifeboom is like the addon above but will not only add Lifeboom to your list of buffs, but the indicator (normally a corner one) will change color depending on how many are stacked.
Indicator Addons - Moar ways to see things
1) GridSideIcons is a great way to move your buff/debuff icons to the side, top, or bottom of the frame, rather than directly over the center. In the picture at the very top, you can see the rogue is sheeped while the SP has reflected his magics back upon himself, all while still viewing their health deficit. Once installed, you can access the options via Frame -> Top/Bottom/Left/Right Icon.
2) GridIncomingHealth gives you a faded bar that predicts graphically how much health someone will receive from an in-coming heal. In the picture at the very top, you can see a Flash about to hit the hunter in the middle. In field tests, it only showed my own heals, though. Once it's locked and loaded, you can find the options at Status -> Incoming Health AND Frame -> Faded Bar.
3) GridIndicatorText3 lets you add a third line of text to your frames, but probably not where you expect it: in between Center Text and Center Text 2. In the picture at the far top, you can see how I use Text3 for my health deficit, and Text2 for any status info (dead, afk, offline, etc.).
Zomg Defunct Grid Addons
Don't bother with these addons since they're now either part of Grid/another Grid addon, buggy, or error out the wahzoo: GridAlert, GridAutoFrameSize, GridExtraBar, GridStatusThreat.
Final Notes and Tips
Yes, this is the post that keeps on giving. If you'd like some examples of the different indicators people use for various statuses, check out the Elitist Jerks forum topic. Also, don't feel like you need to use extra Grid addons to succeed. In an actual raid setting I just use the basics (although that Text3 is looking mighty useful). And the most important thing is that you have the information that you need to keep people alive. Everything else is gravy.
Now, if Grid still isn't your cup of tea, don't fret. It's just the first raid frames UI on my list. Give a shout out in the comments which one you want next and I'll do the one with the most votes at some point in the nearish future.
Marcie Knox has been healing lead for over a year, including old school AQ40/BWL/Naxx. She has suffered through holy priest and now basks in the glory that is healadin. Her pally is currently coming to terms with the fact that her guild downed Illidan last night, a server first. Yeah... Whoa.