I was recently contacted by a reader, Stanley M. Max (Towson University lecturer), who had started creating a Visio map of the 27 countries in the European Union in 2020, along with the demographics culled from Wikipedia. He wanted to know if the map and stats could be combined to make a more appealing presentation. Well, that prompted me to not only combine the data and country shapes, but to explore ways in which a presentation of the map can be made more interesting in Visio. So, I added data and hyperlinks to the shapes, and set up a page property for the selected country which automatically highlights the country shape, statistics, and header, to which I added flags. So, the user can either set the page country using the Shape Data window for the page, or context menu of each country, or simply by double-clicking.[Read more…] about Interactive Demographics of the European Union in Visio
One of the most useful capabilities of Visio Professional and Visio Plan 2 is to link external data to shapes and have them refreshed by changes in the data source. So, many of my solutions involve writing code to make these links, and they are covered with some VBA examples in my book, Mastering Data Visualization with Microsoft Visio Professional 2016, but I mostly write C# code in VSTO add-ins, so I thought it would be useful to demonstrate how easy it is to create data links by dropping a shape, and by adding links to an existing shape. The book, by the way, is still relevant for the current Visio Professional and Visio Plan 2 editions![Read more…] about Linking Data to Visio Shapes in Code
When Microsoft introduced a new way of linking external data to Visio shapes in 2007, I initially bemoaned the inability to update anything but Shape Data row values, unlike the old database add-on that I had been using for 10 years. The new method, though, has many advantages over the old way, not least that it is part of the Visio code library, for any Visio desktop user except the Standard edition.
The smartness of Visio shapes is derived from the formulas in the ShapeSheet that lies behind everything. There is a developer interface into this ShapeSheet in every desktop edition, but there is none in any of the web editions, even though the formulas, for the most part, work perfectly well (see my series of posts ShapeSheet Functions A-Z ).
The newer methodology of linking Visio shapes to data can also be used to refresh Visio diagrams automatically, even if the Visio document is not opened in the desktop edition. The Visio documents merely need to be stored in OneDrive, SharePoint (or Teams). This makes it suitable for solution development without assuming that every consumer has a desktop license. Indeed, the Visio Data Visualizer utilizes these newer external data recordsets embedded within the Visio document.
For my example, I used the Visio Sample Database that has been installed with Visio since 1997 for demonstrating the old database linking technology. It is an old style Access database (mdb), and can be found in a sub-folder of the Visio installation folder. I simply used the Data \ External Data \ Custom Import command to import the Bolts – Square Head table.[Read more…] about Update any Visio ShapeSheet cell with External Data
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
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
In the new normal of social distancing, we can easily miss the nuances of facial expressions with the the various electronic communication platforms that we utilise. In our personal communications via mobile apps, we have all started to use Emojis to express sentiment and actions, although we can sometimes convey the wrong meanings unintentionally as some Emojis get re-purposed by certain sections of society. Microsoft Windows 10 added native support for Emojis a year ago, and they can be inserted into many Microsoft applications using the onscreen keyboard 👀:[Read more…] about Using Emojis in Visio