What is the difference between a line and a [dynamic] connector in #Visio?

When I have reviewed some of the criticisms of connecting shapes in Visio on the web, it has been clear that some users have a misunderstanding about lines and connectors. It is not surprising really because the Microsoft Visio help documentation does not currently make the distinction clear. A connector shape is used to connect two shapes together, whereas a line is normally just a straight line. As usual with Visio though, this is not the whole story because a line can be used to connect two shapes together, and it can be turned into a dynamic connector. I will try to explain myself in this article.

The normal way to connect two shapes together is to use the Connector tool (CTRL+3) on the Home / Tools  ribbon, and a line is drawn with the Line (CTRL+6) drop-down menu in the same ribbon group.

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Using #JSON text in #Visio shapes

I often create Visio masters with a fixed number of Shape Data rows, and sometimes I get requests to modify them because of changes in business needs. Well, my previous posts about Graph Databases got me thinking if it would be possible to embed JSON text in Visio shapes in some sort of meaningful way. Then the user could enter just attribute-value pairs at will, without the need for me to modify their master shape. Alternatively, the data could be inserted into the shape from a database, such as SQL server. So, in this article I discuss the suitability of JSON text in Visio shapes.

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Cyber Monday giveaway free #Visio Chess

Earlier today, I gave away checkers for Visio (see Cyber Monday free #Visio Checkers! ) , and now this article completes my Cyber Monday freebies with a downloadable chess set for Visio!

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Cyber Monday free #Visio Checkers!

As it is Cyber Monday, I thought I would give away a compelling checkers board for Visio! In the UK, we call it Draughts, but the rules are the same… in my last post, I showed how to create a chess/checkers/draughts board, and in this one I add some checkers that can glue to the dark squares only!

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What is the minimum number of rectangles in a #Visio chessboard?

This may sound like a simple question with a definite answer, but I think it is worthy of further explanation. I wanted to make a chessboard shape with as few lines as possible, because it makes the shape more efficient and easy to work with. Some might consider grouping 64 squares together, but that would be a very heavy shape. A chessboard needs to appear to have 64 squares, but the following shape only has 9 rectangles … How is this possible?


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Scroll to Capture #Visio ShapeSheets with #SnagIt

Anyone who develops with Visio faces the problem of viewing the formulas and values in an often difficult to navigate ShapeSheet window. I have been a SnagIt and Camtasia user for many years thanks to the generous free license I get from TechSmith as a Microsoft MVP. I have used both products extensively for my books, articles and videos, though I am not an expert in either product. Now, SnagIt has a panoramic scrolling capture feature that is great with ShapeSheets.

The unique smartness of Visio shapes comes from the ability to program the ShapeSheet behind every single shape. This is like an Excel worksheet divided into sections, and the display can switched between formulas and values. The Visio’s ShapeSheet window does have the ability to toggle the visibility of each section, but that is often not enough to get a complete picture of the formulas involved. The following example is the partial view of the ShapeSheet window for a simple shape.


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Anchoring scaled shapes to page corners in #Visio

I have read that other users have bemoaned the lack of a anchor to top left, or something similar in Visio, so I thought I would demonstrate the issue, then propose a solution. In particular, there are some master shapes on the Annotations and Title Blocks stencils in the Visio Extras category that you would expect to have this capability, but don’t. Wouldn’t it be useful to have the ability to keep the shape size and anchor position to page bottom left, bottom right, top right or top left? This would mean that the page size or scale could be changed, but the annotations and title blocks could remain anchored.

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