Visio Accessibility Guide and Webinar

I am pleased to announce that I have a guide to accessibility available to download from VisionUp and I will be presenting a webcast on the subject on 26th September 2019. Registration is now open at the following link :  Introducing Accessibility in Visio.

Visio Accessibility image






Testing Visio shape text for WCAG 2.0 pass

The Web Content Access Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 provides the current recommendations for making web content accessible to users with vision impairment, but how do you test if your Visio shapes pass? There are several web sites out there that provide this capability, but all of them require the HEX values, rather than the RGB or HSL that Visio provides natively. Therefore, I have created a Visio callout shape that can be associated with a target shape to report on the values of each of its main color elements, and provides hyperlinks to automatically check the contrast ratio on WebAIM.

Color Values Shape

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Multiline text in Visio Shape Data

The Shape Data (nee Custom Properties) dialog and window only provides a single line to view or edit text values. It is a great shame because the value can be up to 64k characters, and long text can be pasted into it. I, and many others, have complained about this for many years to Microsoft, but nothing has been done to rectify this. Of course, I do develop custom user interface components for many customers, but that is not always desirable. Therefore I sometimes re-purpose standard Visio elements to provide the ability to view or edit multi-line text in Shape Data rows.

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Writing a WeekNum(…) function for Visio

I needed to display the week number of dates in a Visio project of mine, but there is no WeekNum(…) function built-in, so I had to write one, and allow for the date that the week numbers begin in to be varied from 1st January.  I also needed to allow for the week numbers to go backwards from the specified week number begin date.

Excel has a WeekNum(..) function, which can take an optional parameter for the day of the week to begin on, and an IsoWeekNum(..) function, and the following table shows the values change for the first 35 days of the year:

Excel Week Num Formulas

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What makes Visio smart?

I have been running my Visio consultancy for over 20 years now, and I have created Visio solutions for many organisations, big and small, across many countries. Most of them know that Visio can do much more than they know how to do, but they do not know how it can be done. I usually do a short demo to explain where the smartness in Visio comes from, so I thought I would share a little bit of this knowledge with a couple of videos that, I think, show why Visio is so smart!

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Narrated Text in Visio for Accessibility

One of the ways that Visio supports accessibility is to provide text that is read out by a screen reader, such as Windows Narrator or JAWS. This Alt Text can be set using Format Shape / Size & Properties tab using the Title and Description text boxes. The Title is the initial text that is read out when a shape is attentioned, and the Description will only read out if the user pauses. The Description text box only allows 255 characters to be entered and displayed, but this is not actually the limit!



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Understanding Visio Navigation Order

Visio defaults to tabbing from shape to shape in the order that the shapes are added to the page. However, this can end up with an illogical order if you are trying to navigate a diagram with the keyboard, which is often an accessibility requirement. Fortunately, Visio provides a Diagram Navigation pane so that the tab order can be changed, but how does it do it? The following short video shows how the navigation order, displayed as numbers in each shape, is assigned a value as soon as the order is edited.

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