Microsoft Visio has a useful Structured Diagramming concept that consists of Containers, Callouts and Connectors. The first of these features make it possible for shapes to know what they are contained within, as a better option to grouping shapes together. Grouping can hide or break the grouped shapes smartness, so Visio provides two ways of allowing shapes to be members of one or more containers. There are a few built-in Container shapes that can be added with the Insert / Diagram Parts / Container gallery, but shape developers can also create their own. Member shapes can be positioned anywhere within the container. There is a second type of container, List, that provides the ability to have ordered member items. There is no ribbon command to add these, but there are a number of these special shapes provided in the OOTB Visio stencils. For example, dragging and dropping a List box shape from the Software and Database / Software / Controls stencil will automatically add three List box item shapes to it.[Read more…] about Referencing Container Data in Visio
A few years ago, I wrote an article about messaging and encryption inspired by a visit to the National Museum of Computing in the UK. I developed a Morse Click shape to demonstrate how Visio can be used to represent and learn Morse Code. However, I never published the shapes here, and my good friend John Marshall recently wrote an article about Braille in Visio, so I thought I should explain how I made the Morse Click shapes, and I took the opportunity to enhance the shapes with some accessibility features that I have learnt since I originally designed them. I have also changed the shapes to be Visio Web friendly, which means, for example, removing shape effects.
I think I learnt Morse Code as a Cub Scout, but forgotten it in the half-century since. Its evolution, and its use today still makes very interesting reading. Each letter comprises of between one and four short or long clicks, whilst each number has five such clicks. Generally, the most used letters have lesser clicks, with ET being the lowest number, presumably to save an extra terrestrial money on a phone call home!
There are just two master shapes of interest here, Morse Click and Morse Click Rack, and a couple of page Shape Data rows. The Morse Click shape can be anyone of the 36 characters with a simple Shape Data value change, whilst the Morse Click Rack is a list shape and can spell out the words of up to 26 Morse Click shapes within it.[Read more…] about Understanding Morse Clicks with Visio
There are literally thousands of master shapes in the stencils supplied with Microsoft Visio, so I guess that mistakes can creep in. One error that I have noticed is the inability of the default text control handle of many of the network shapes to actually move the text block horizontally.[Read more…] about Correcting the Text Control Handle on Visio Network Shapes
I have only been developing Visio solutions for 25 years, but I got a surprise this week when I was trying to understand why I couldn’t update the value of a Shape Data row of multiple selected shapes. It is something that I often do, so it took me a while to understand why I was failing to change the values, even though it appeared to initially change in the Shape Data window. There was no problem selecting the shapes individually, but every time I selected multiple shapes and edited these particular rows, I could see the new value in the Shape Data window, but as soon as I looked at the individual shapes, I could see that the values never got changed. I checked my code in vain, and ran the Events Monitor from the Visio SDK. Visio seemed to enter the Shape Data scope, but then immediately exited it without attempting to apply the new value to the shapes. Very strange![Read more…] about Using a formula for Shape Data labels prevents multiple updates
There are times, in Visio, when you just need to ensure that the text in a primary shape is synchronised with the text in different secondary shapes … even if they are on different pages of a Visio document. My previous article, Forcing Display Update of Inherited Data Values , describes a method of synchronising the values in Shape Data rows from a central data source in the document, and that allows for the values to be viewed and edited in multiple pages or shapes. However, the text of a Visio shape is different because it is not stored in a single ShapeSheet cell, so how can you display the text of one shape in another?[Read more…] about Automatically displaying Visio shape text in other shapes
I was going to title this “When is a truth not a truth?” because I have found that Visio can sometimes refuse to apparently update the displayed value in a cell, even though it has been changed. However, this was, in this instance, down to a misunderstanding of the formula evaluation events on my part. Take the scenario where you have some data that you want to be available to all pages and all shapes in the Visio document. There are some built-in Document Properties in Visio that are accessible to all pages and shapes using ShapeSheet functions ( eg TITLE(), SUBJECT(), COMPANY(), Categories / CATEGORY(), Tags / KEYWORDS(), Comments / DESCRIPTION(), Author / CREATOR(), MANAGER() and HYPERLINKBASE()). However, Visio does not have custom Document Properties like the other Office applications. Instead, Visio allows for the addition of User-Defined Cells and Shape Data rows in the DocumentSheet of the document. These can be uniquely named, and Shape Data rows can be given a data type (of sorts), a label, prompt and format.
These values can be accessed via a ShapeSheet function from anywhere within the document, which ensures that you only have one version of the truth. However, there is no non-developer user-interface to edit these DocumentSheet Shape Data values in Visio, so what do you do? And how can you be sure that you are always seeing these centralised values correctly?
I created the following master shape to test how this can be done. It is a group shape that contains a single StartDate Shape Data row, which is used to edit or view the date in the similarly named Shape Data row in the DocumentSheet. For good measure, I also added a similarly named Shape Data row to the page, so the Shape Data window in the page could also be used. I then used Insert / Field to display the values in the ShapeSheet, PageSheet and DocumentSheet:[Read more…] about Forcing Display Update of Inherited Data Values