A short survey about learning #Visio

I have been a Visio user and developer for over 20 years, and I am aware that there are many long standing Visio users out there who love it too, but there are also some who experience frustrations. This can be down to expectations brought over from using other applications, or just understanding the best way to achieve something from the multiple options available. When it comes to Visio development, I believe it comes down to three possible separate skills :

  • Shape, stencil and templates (aka understanding the ShapeSheet)
  • Automation (using VBA to write macros, or other languages to write add-ins or add-ons)
  • Online Integration ( web pages and apps with Visio Online )

I was inducted into the world of Visio development with 5 days training in Paris in 1996, which was split evenly between the first two areas above. There was no online integration possibilities in those days, but it is now an increasing demand. The recent announcement of Visio integration with Power BI has created a lot of excitement on Twitter.

There used to be Microsoft exam for Visio developers back in 2007, but has since been retired. It used to count towards a Microsoft Partner competency, but there is no personal certification for Visio, so there currently no Partner competency Visio skills count towards. I think this is an oversight, but what do you think? I have created a short survey whose results I will forward to Microsoft, and share on this blog (if enough people actually complete the survey) :

Survey : How easy is it to learn Visio?

 

 

 

Metric vs US Units in #Visio floor plans

First of all, as a Brit, I have to point out that US Units in Visio should really be called Imperial Units 🙂 I was born pre-decimalisation (note the s not a z!) and have had a mixed vocabulary ever since. I think about distances in feet, yards and miles not in millimetres, metres and kilometres. I weigh myself in stones and pounds, not kilograms.

As a trained (but lapsed) building architect, I can convert between metric and imperial lengths and areas fairly well, and have got used to changing glibly between both systems. I used to draw on Imperial size paper (wonderfully called Double Elephant), and spend many hours folding freshly printed, but dangerously smelling, dyelines. Imperial/US Units paper sizes are not all the same ratio between the side lengths like Metric paper sizes are. So, this creates a problem with Visio…

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Data Visualizer for #Visio Pro for Office 365 – Part 2

I walked though the steps to create a Cross-Functional flowchart automatically from an Excel table in my last article ( Data Visualizer for #Visio Pro for Office 365 – Part 1 ), but I often prefer to use a relational data source, such as Access or SQL Server, to store and organise my data. Therefore, I describe how Excel‘s Get Data (nee PowerQuery) can be used to merge together the data in a relational data source as a single table suitable for Data Visualizer in Visio Pro for Office 365.

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Data Visualizer for #Visio Pro for Office 365 – Part 1

Microsoft have just released Data Visualizer for Viso Pro for Office 365! This great new feature provides you with the ability to create diagrams from an Excel table automatically. It currently comes with two new templates for creating Basic or Cross-Functional flowcharts, but the feature can be used for many other different types of diagrams.

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Layer Manager add-in for Visio released

I use layers in Visio a lot. Maybe it is because I originally used CAD, and created facilities and cable management layouts linked to data. I know that some of my fellow Visio MVPS don’t use layers very much at all, mainly because they create process diagrams, I guess, but careful use of layers in a diagram can provide multiple views of the same base information. However, Visio has a more complex layering system than any CAD program that I used, so I have always created my own layer management tools. I have decided to package my utility together as an add-in that others may want to use too.

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I have made some short videos explain the issue with layers in Visio, and how I solved it.

What’s the issue with layers in Visio?

Making it simple to toggle layer settings

Saving and recalling multiple layer settings easily

The add-in can be downloaded from my company website : LayerManager

I have put some licensing into the add-in, but 30 days are allowed for free.

Here is some of the genesis of this add-in : Toggling layers on and off

 

Gus am bris an lĂ  – David A. Edson

My first introduction to the art of Visio development was provided by David Edson, M.Arch. MCP. back in 1996 in Paris. Visio Corporation parachuted him and Mark Davision into that beautiful city to spread the knowledge with a week of intensive ShapeSheet and automation training. Dave was inspirational, and that week set the course for the rest of my life. His enthusiasm for the smartness of Visio and his similar background to my own, as an architect, meant that we immediately connected and understood each other. I stayed at his self-designed house in the woody hills near Seattle in the early days, and he has stayed with me in the England, though I know he would have preferred that it was Scotland, the land of his forefathers.

Dave wrote many books and articles about Visio, and created many videos, so he will live on in the ether for a long time, but many will remember his effortless presentations enthusiastically describing how to make smarter diagrams.

Here is an early example of his work, a simple Back Gammon game, that he created to demonstrate the capabilities of Visio with some VBA code.

backgammon

Dave was also a great photographer, and connoisseur of single malt whisky, but it will be for his belief in Visio that he will perhaps be best remembered. I recommend that all Visio users worldwide visit his website and download all of the free resources that he provided : VizFirst Downloads

Gus am bris an lĂ  – David A. Edson

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Understanding Visio’s Color Formulas

I was recently exploring the ShapeSheet formulas available in Visio that affect colors, and I decided that I needed to make a shape that I can change the fill color, tint, shade and tone of dynamically. This allows me to copy the formulas from a Shape Data row value for pasting into a ShapeSheet cell.

ColorFormulas.gif

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