Creating a Schema from Visio External Data record sets

Visio introduced External Data record sets in 2007, and I have made great use of them ever since. Visio 2013 has deprecated reverse engineering of databases to produce a schema, which was a function that I loved to use because it allowed me to provide clients with up to date, annotated, enhanced schema diagrams. Microsoft have, however, provided some nice database schema templates in Visio 2013 Professional, so I thought I would provide a way to use the External Data record sets to produce schema diagrams.

I have created a new custom stencil, based upon the IDEF1X Database Notation template in Visio 2013 Professional, and have added some macros to provide the guided diagramming. I say guided because page position of tables and relationships are left to you, but the macros will create table definitions from External Data record sets.

All of the three database notation templates contain an Entity and an Attribute master. In fact, they also have a Primary Key Attribute master too, but this is identical to the Attribute master, apart from a setting to say it is the primary key. This can be done from the Attribute shape anyway, so I will dispense with the Primary Key Attribute master.

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