Non Standard Timelines

One of the long time requests for the Visio timeline is to support something other than standard dates and times. Items that are not related to the standard concept of time. This can be accomplished by NOT using date formats in the shapes. Each shape is grouped and has a top level shape that contains a User Property (or two) of the form User.xxxMask that contains the format to be used for the dates or times. This is controlled by the Timeline menu, but the format can be changed to use something more generic. Dates are internally represented by a … Continue reading Non Standard Timelines

Where is Waldo?

With Visio 2010, Visio has now joined the other core Office apps and now supports the ribbon. With the old menus, I ended up turning almost all of them on and wasting screen real estate. So in a way, I like the new ribbon. Of course, the first question asked always starts with, “where is the button for…”. There is a download from Microsoft that will help you navigate, but the Visio team was prepared for questions about the location of commands. If you click on the File Ribbon and choose Options and then Customize ribbon, you are presented with … Continue reading Where is Waldo?

Review of David Parker’s new book

Visio is almost twenty years old and for the last few versions, Microsoft has been extending Visio’s capabilities beyond being the standard for drag and drop diagramming applications. In the beginning, Visio lead the way with it’s ability to quickly create business diagrams with intelligent shapes. Rather than worrying about the details of drawing shapes, the user could concentrate on how the shapes interacted. With Visio 2010, Microsoft laid the groundwork for validating the diagrams. As a new feature, Microsoft made sure that the validation process was well defined, but only created basic rule sets. With this book, “Microsoft Visio … Continue reading Review of David Parker’s new book

Using Custom Property Lists

When you have a shape with a Custom Property/Shape Data List you may want to refer to it from within the shapesheet or an associated shapesheet. The first inclination would be to do a string comparison within the test. My preference is to create a User cell that uses Lookup to convert the text into a numeric value. So for a list named Relation, the Shape Data row would be:Name:   Prop.RelationType:   1Format:   “Hostile;Close;Distant”   Value:   =INDEX(1,Prop.Relation.Format) So what would be in the Value of the User Property cell User.Relation_nbr? The LOOKUP function would need the string to search for (which is … Continue reading Using Custom Property Lists

I Need Help!

This month, the Microsoft newsgroups were closed, but there were no clear cut direction for continued support. Other than announcements of their closing, little effort appears to have been done to highlight the new forums as the place to go for Visio support. In the place of the thirteen Visio newsgroups, Microsoft has provided three forums: There is no clear cut definition as to which one to use, but it appears that they are for general user questions and not for Visio developers. On the Answers forum, the Visio questions are buried in a forum shared with … Continue reading I Need Help!

Can we have a Word?

Even though the adage is “A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words”, sometimes it is useful to supplement a Visio drawing with text. For simple reports, Visio has a Reports feature that will produce tables of information, but occassionaly I want something more. For example, Visio does not have a feature to compare what is different between two drawings, so I have created a routine that will generate a very verbose Word document (think Print ShapeSheet on steroids) that contains minute details of the drawing(s) and then used Word’s Compare Document feature to highlight the changes. In the past I have … Continue reading Can we have a Word?

PowerPoint on a Zune HD

Though this is not really Visio related, I would like to talk about the Zune HD I acquired in February. So far I like the device, but as an MVP I cannot keep my mouth shut when it comes to talking about ways to improve. The Zune designers for the desktop software should take a look at the Data Graphics in Visio. The podcast collections could be improved by adding a Data Graphic like feature  to the podcast labels to indicate if it is to synced, how many times and how many podcasts are kept. The current method required you … Continue reading PowerPoint on a Zune HD

Visio RULES!

With Office 2010, the Visio team has added some nice new features to Visio 2010. One of the new features is the ability to apply rules to a Visio diagram. As a teaser, the team has created some rules for flowcharting and laid the ground work for users to create their own rules. Fellow Visio MVP David Parker was intrigued with this new feature that he researched it and built on this ground work and created a set of tools to make it easier to take advantage of this new capability within Visio 2010. There was enough material there for … Continue reading Visio RULES!

How do I change skin colour?

I have a few Google alerts set up to let me know if the word Visio is mentioned on the internet. I am always interested in new stencils for Visio and this has proven an effective way of finding them. Most of the time, the hit has nothing to do with the product Visio or it was a link to a download site for Visio or one of the books written about Visio. Today was slightly different, there was a link to a blog that said “In Visio 2007, i want to change skin color, but I don’t know the formula’s … Continue reading How do I change skin colour?

A blast from the past

Debra Dalgleish, one of the Excel MVPs mentioned an old episode of the Computer Chronicles on Facebook and provided a link. It did not take me long to find an appropriate link for the Visio crowd. The show is about Windows 95 and OS2, but at 16:50 to 20:00 is an intro to Visio 3.1 Nice shirt Ted!