MSO Shapes and Visio

Though not directly Visio related, I have been playing with converting the MSO shapes used in Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Publisher into Visio shapes. The shapes are similar to Visio shapes and include control handles. So far I have created a Visio stencil for the shapes and have added some of the smarts into the shapes. I have been able to create Visio drawings from MSO shapes in PowerPoint and transfer some of the settings for the shapes. The fun has been getting around the MSO*mixed types. (It basically indicates that you have to go down another path to search … Continue reading MSO Shapes and Visio


A recent post in the newsgroups asked about a stencil for IVR. IVR – Interactive Voice Response – is the system we have known to love as the automated telephone system – Press 1 for customer service rep, 2 for sales and so on. A VRU Voice Response Unit is the computer that runs the software. In a past life I maintained an IVR system for a bank and of course, documented it with Visio. Except for a few specialized shapes, most of the shapes were from the flowchart stencil. With Visio 2007, some of the workflow shapes could have … Continue reading VRU / IVR

Will that be Metric or Imperial?

For a long time Visio has supported stencils and templates in two different measurement system; Imperial (US) and Metric. Each template had a US version and a Metric version. So why two templates? The US templates were in in, ft, yds and the other imperial units and the Metric templates were in mm, cm, m and the other metric units. There was also an isue of the physical page size; Some of the standard sizes for the US are letter, legal and tabloild while the metric sizes were the A format sizes like A3 and A4. So is it possible to … Continue reading Will that be Metric or Imperial?

Whose your father?

Visio does provide an option for printing shapesheets but it is wordy. In the past I have used Excel to sort and manipulate the information, but this is time consuming and really does not give me everything I want. One thing that was not easy to do was to find out whether a shapesheet was part of a group and if so, which group it belonged to. Being Visio, this is not a big problem. The object model is exposed and it is possible to write your own version of the shapesheet print Add-in with a routine to show the lineage … Continue reading Whose your father?

Percentage Ruler

When I try to create Visio shapes from a sample image, I import the image into Visio and stretch it so it matches the scale of the drawing. I can then use the dimension shapes to "measure" the image. Recently I came across a collection of shapes that had similar profiles, but the proportions varied. I needed a new kind of measuring tool, one that would display percentages. With Visio, this is relatively easy. The shape is a simple line with a control handle with a user defined field set to "=GUARD(Controls.Point/Width)". The text field for the line contains the user defined … Continue reading Percentage Ruler

Enhancing the Orgchart with different reporting lines

Over the summer I was asked if it was possible to have some of the reporting lines a different pattern. An interesting idea, but how do you mantain the feature when the Orgchart is imported and exported? For this feature to work the information had to be stored with the person at the bottom of the reporting relationship. The Custom Properties (Soon to be Shape Data) of each person was preserved over imports and exports and was the ideal location. So once the data was imported into Visio VBA code was run to check each 2d shape for a "Reporting Type" … Continue reading Enhancing the Orgchart with different reporting lines

Visio’s other file format – Report Definition files *.VRD

It has been a long standing fact that though there were several Visio file types; stencils, drawing, templates and workspaces, there was a only one Visio file format. Several versions ago, a new file format crept into the Visio file format family. Visio added a reporting facility that used a seperate file to store information about how to create the report. About the same time, Visio gave the Visio user the oppurtunity to save Visio drawings in XML format. So, the information in the Visio Report Definition (VRD) files is also stored in XML format. For Visio 2003, the third … Continue reading Visio’s other file format – Report Definition files *.VRD

How do Borders and Title shapes stretch to fit the page?

When dropping a border or title shape on a page, it automatically stretches to fit the page, but if you look at the shapesheet for the dropped shape, Width and Height are fixed. How do they do that? The trick is that the shape on the stencil has an EventDrop cell that tells Visio to set the values of Width, Height, PinX and PinY to fixed values when the shape is dropped on a page. It also tells Visio to clear the EventDrop cell so the process can not be repeated by the copy. You can find samples of these shapes … Continue reading How do Borders and Title shapes stretch to fit the page?

The Bowness of a Circular Arc

To create a circular arc in a shapesheet’s Geometry section, requires the specification of where the arc ends and a cell called “A” that holds the measurement of how much the arc differs from a straight line between the end points of the arc. The deflection indicates how much the arc bows. It is possible to fragment a circular shape to get an idea of a value of “A”, but it is a value not a formula. So what is a formula to describe the content of the “A” cell? To determine a formula, you need to revisit your grade … Continue reading The Bowness of a Circular Arc

Visio’s Most Useful Tool – The Macro Recorder

Finally, with the release of Visio 2003, came Visio’s most useful tool for development; the macro recorder. By clicking the record button it is possible to quickly see how various Visio tasks can be translated into VBA. The Help file that comes with Visio is useful for explaining the details of a command, but there is not enough examples explaining how to string several commands together, the macro recorder fills in this gap. For example, to simply answer the question; “How do you create two shapes  and connect them together using VBA?” The macro recorder will generate the following macro. Sub Macro1() … Continue reading Visio’s Most Useful Tool – The Macro Recorder