Chance to get my Visio 2013 book on the cheap with the Packt $5 eBook Bonanza

From today until 6th Jan 2015, customers will be able to buy any eBook or Video, including all pre-orders, from the Packt website for just $5! This covers every title in the 2000+ range and customers can grab as many as they like :

See for example!


Social learning about Visio made easy

I wrote my Visio MVP Sessions Universal app ( see ) to provide access to the educational content that we did for Visio 2010. I was concerned because the links had disappeared from the Microsoft web site in favour of Visio 2013 content, but they are all together now in the social learning portal that Microsoft partners can provide now using the TidWiT portal … plus there is a lot more great content.


Simply click on to explore …


A Visio Deck of Cards

Sometimes I try ideas out in Visio without a specific goal in mind, and I have been creating a Visio deck of cards recently, so I thought I would share it. In fact, I have only created one card but it is capable of being any card in the deck by changing its shape data! I can even get a randomly generated card … all without any code except for formulas in the ShapeSheet.

Firstly, I used four icons for hearts, clubs, diamonds and spades, from my set of metro icons stencils ( see ). I decided to keep the icons for the suits separate, with four per suit, but linked their visibility to a Suit Shape Data fixed list row. I also displayed the Value Shape Data as the text of each icon.

imageI added a Face Up Shape Data row so that the suit and value are hidden by the Microsoft Office logo.

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Exposing the Visio Data Bars

Microsoft Visio Professional has had the ability to quickly visualize shape data with data graphics for a while now. This data can be displayed as Text, Data Bar, Icon Set or Color By Value. In an earlier article ( see ), I showed how to enable the shapes in the Icon Sets stencil to be linked to data. Well, I had a similar request recently for the Data Bar shapes. However, Microsoft did not package the Data Bar shapes into a handy stencil, so I have done this for you.

Firstly, a reminder of the thirteen built-in Data Bar shapes that are available to you when you choose to display data as a Data Graphics / Data Bar:



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Checking the Bitness of Microsoft Office, Visio Viewer and Visio

Visual Studio setup an deployment projects require the target “bitness” of target Windows operating system to be set. This means that I have to create two installation files, one for 32bit and one for 64bit Windows for my Visio add-ins, for example.

In addition, 64bit Windows users can install either 32bit or 64bit Microsoft Office, which will install the relevant Visio Viewer package. The installed edition of Visio should then match the installed edition of Office, but to check that this is indeed the case, I have written a small WPF application that can only run in the browser at

All this information is available elsewhere, but it is not readily available when answering support questions.

When run, it will simply display the bitness of your Windows and your current versions of Microsoft Office, Microsoft Visio Viewer and Microsoft Visio.


Nothing is permanently installed, and Microsoft currently recommend that the 32bit editions of Office and Visio are installed, unless you are using extremely large spreadsheets or drawing files.

I got most of the code for this from

Using SharePoint Rich Text Multiple Line Columns with Visio Services

Back in March, I wrote about mapping SharePoint Column Types to Visio Shape Data Types ( see ), and I skipped over the remaining SharePoint column types that could not be directly mapped. In this article I describe some of the possibilities of using the SharePoint Rich Text option for the multi-line column type.

There are three different options for multiple lines of text columns in SharePoint 2013, so I tried the Enhanced rich text option because it allows for media and tables to be included.


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Viewing Visio Documents in SharePoint through Outlook

This post comes with the sub-title “Now why didn’t I did know that!”. Sometimes it is easy not to see the wood for the trees, and this is one of those occurrences. I often get asked whether you need a Visio license to view Visio documents in a SharePoint document library. Well, no, but you do need a SharePoint Enterprise Client Access Licence to use Visio Services ( see ).
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