Enhancing the Built-In Containers in #Visio

The concept of Structured Diagrams was introduced in Visio 2010 to provide core functionality for a variety of the templates in Visio, such as the Cross-Functional Flowchart, BPMN Diagram and Wireframe Diagram. This is primarily evident as Containers, Lists and Callouts and they can be customized (see Custom Containers, List and Callouts ), as shown in some of my previous articles ( see https://blog.bvisual.net/?s=container). One example of this extension can be found in all of the flowchart shapes that placed into a swimlane in a cross-functional flowchart. They have a Shape Data row, Function, that automatically inherits the text entered into the header of the swimlane. In another example, a Visio user can use Insert / Diagram Parts / Container to visually group other shapes together, and update the header text of the container. Well, I often do want my custom shapes to inherit the text of a container, so, in this article, I show how the built-in containers can be enhanced to provide this ability.

InheritingContainerText

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Swapping Images in a #Visio Shape

I often include images in Visio diagrams, and sometimes they are part of a group shape. There are times when I need to swap the image for another, and I want the correct width to height ratio for the new image to be applied, otherwise the image will be distorted. I recently realised that the Shape.ChangePicture() function in Visio actually returns this ratio which can then be applied to the shape cells so that the image is not distorted. Therefore I wrote some C# code (in LinqPad) to utilize this method to provide the option to change the image in a selected shape or sub-shape.

ChangePicture

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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?

ChessboardRectangles

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