The concept of Structured Diagrams was introduced in Visio 2010 and is featured in many of the templates supplied with Microsoft Visio, and in some third-party solutions, like mine. Connectors, callouts, containers and lists are the key parts of a structured diagrams, and there are times when preventing the deletion of members of a container or list is desirable.
Visio does have the ability to lock a layer, and therefore preventing deletions of shapes assigned to that layer, but that also prevents the shapes being selected, and thus any movement, shape data or hyperlinks become inaccessible. Visio also the ability to protect any shapes from deletion with an option in the Developer / Shape Design / Protection dialog, but this has to be applied to selected shapes.
Another option is to use the container Format ribbon, however this is not visible by default for any cross-functional flowchart diagrams because Microsoft supplied a custom CROSS-FUNCTIONAL FLOWCHART ribbon tab. This is invisible because the User.msvSDContainerNoRibbon cell has a a TRUE value. Simply changing this to FALSE will enable the Format ribbon tab to be seen. There are some dangerous buttons, such as Disband Container, and some superfluous buttons, but there are also a couple of useful ones.
The container Format / Membership ribbon group has a Lock Container button. This will prevent the accidental deletion of any of the existing members of the parent container or list of the selected shape.
Note that it does not prevent the deletion of the connectors, as they are not considered to be members of the container or list.
Behind the scenes, the value of the User.msvSDContainerLocked cell of the container or list is being toggled between FALSE and TRUE. Be aware that a container or list does not accept any new members if the value is TRUE.
Notice that there is also a Select Contents button which allows you to select all of the container or list members in one click.
Note that there are more hidden selection capabilities in MultiSelect for Visio add-in.
See Custom containers, lists and callouts in Visio 2010 and Microsoft Visio Developer 2010 Training for more information.
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