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
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.[Read more…] about Preventing Deletion of Container Members 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.
You should be aware that I often exploit the fact that Visio creates a local copy of each master shape that it uses within a document. This can be modified and set to match master by name on drop, to ensure that it is the one to use, even if the original Microsoft provided version is used. In this case, I use this trick to create hidden, enhanced versions of the containers that are available in the gallery of containers. Microsoft also do this with the Dynamic connector shape in a number of their own templates.
If you examine the Function Shape Data row of any of the flowchart shapes, then you will find the formula:
Much as I love using Visio, I have always felt that there are a few selection methods missing, and I often have to some extra buttons into solutions to make up for this. There are many types of diagrams that have shapes connected to each other, usually with a connector shape, and the user needs to be able to traverse these connections quickly and easily, so I have created a Visio 2010 add-in, multiSelect, that adds a lot of different selection methods that are accessible via an extra ribbon tab when ever a shape is selected.[Read more…] about Multiple Selection Methods for Visio Diagrams