Editor's Note: The following is guest post by MVP Dave J Parker as part of the MVP Award Program Blog's "10 Days for Office 2010" series. David J Parker has been using and developing with Visio since
1996, and has been a Visio MVP for a few years. He started bVisual
ltd (http://www.bvisual.net ) in 1998,
and writes a Visio blog at http://bvisual.spaces.live.com
. He wrote Visualizing Information with Microsoft Office Visio 2007
and Microsoft Visio 2010 Business Process Diagramming ( http://www.visiorules.com
MVPs come from a variety of backgrounds. Some are developers, some are trainers, and some are users of their specialty product. I’m fortunate in that I’m a bit of all three, so I get excited about the new features, keen to tell others about them, and endeavor to exploit the new programming opportunities. So, here are my top 10 new features Visio 2010.
The first eight features are in all editions of Visio 2010, number 9 is in Visio Professional and Premium, and number 10 is in Visio Premium only.
You cannot fail to notice that Visio 2010 now has the Office Fluent UI. Despite my reservations when I first saw it in Office 2007, I like it. I like the 2010 version more because of the Minimize the Ribbon arrow button (A) to the left of the little blue help button in the top right corner. This gives you a lot more space for your diagram canvas. Even better, the Shapes window can also be minimized with its own arrow button (B).
After clicking the Minimize buttons
The new Quick Shapes menu, that appears when you hover over one of the blue arrows around a 2D shape, provides easy selection of the next connected shape. If the shape you want is not on the Quick Shapes menu then simply select it on the active stencil before hovering over a blue arrow. The shape from the stencil will be automatically dropped and connected in the chosen direction.
Favourites on the Quick Shapes menu
Selecting other shapes for Quick Connect
TIP : If you want to Quick Connect to an existing shape on the page, just hove then click and drag one of the blue arrows to that shape.
When you add flowchart shape into a swimlane on a cross functional flowchart, the Function Shape Data value is automatically synchronized with the text typed into the swimlane header itself.
Function before changing swimlane text
Function after changing swimlane text
You can create a linked subprocess page from an existing process shape easily by selecting the process shape, then clicking Create New on the Subprocess group in the Process tab.
TIP : Enter the process shape text first, then your new page will be given that name.
Select a single shape to create a subprocess page
A new hyperlinked named page is created
If you select several shapes, and you click Create From Selection, then a new page is created, the selected shapes are moved to the new page, and a new subprocess shape is left in their place on the original page.
Select shapes to change to Subprocess
Shapes moved to new page, and replaced with Subprocess shape on the source page
TIP : When you have finished your subprocess flowchart, you can use Link To Existing on the last shape to create an hyperlink back to the original page.
There are many new live previews in Visio, but perhaps the most useful is the preview of the Re-Layout Page options.
Before selecting a Re-Layout Page preview
Live Preview of a Layout option
You can use the Live Preview to see the effect of selecting an option before actually committing to it, and there is always the undo if you still get it wrong.
You can visually relate shapes by selecting them, and then selecting a suitable container type from the Diagram Parts group on the Insert tab.
Select the shapes
Then a container type
When you move the container, then each of the contained shapes move with it, keeping their relative positions, and when you re-size the container, the contained shapes do not become distorted.
TIP : Using a container to group data linked shapes is far better than actually creating an actual group because it does not turn the shapes into sub-shapes.
There are times when you need to add annotation to a shape to explain it further, and you want them to stay in the same relative position when you move the source shape. The new callout shapes can be easily added to shapes by first selecting a shape, then choosing a callout type from the drop down list in the Diagram Parts group on the Insert tab.
Select a shape
Then a callout type
You can use Insert \ Field to add data linked text to a shape or a callout, without using Data Graphics. You could always see the list of Shape Data rows (and other selected categories ), but now you can get IntelliSense in the Custom Formula category. This enables you to select from a list of available rows, and you get visual confirmation of their presence.
Shape Data rows of selected shape
Use Sheet.n! prefix to access Shape Data of other shapes
In the above example, I noted the name of the server shape, Database server.174, by reading the caption of the Shape Data window. I then selected its associated callout shape, and then selected Insert \ Field on it. Then I entered =Sheet.174! in the custom formula edit box, and then IntelliSense sprung into life and presented all of the ShapeSheet sections for me to choose from. Note that Shape Data rows are named as Prop rows internally. IntelliSense works with ShapeSheet functions too.
TIP : The Prop.<Name> of Shape Data rows that have been automatically added using Link Data to Shapes will appear prefixed with _VisDM_.
If you have Visio 2010 Professional or Premium edition, you can link data to Visio shapes and you can use Data Graphics, that was added in Visio 2007 Professional, to automatically display data as text, icons, data bars, or colour by value, and now in Visio 2010, you can insert a legend for these. What is really neat now is that these data linked diagrams can automatically refresh periodically, when saved to Visio Services on SharePoint 2010, thus always showing the latest information in the diagram.
Project data in SharePoint 2010
Visio Services displays latest data
There are many different diagram types in Visio, and I would doubt if anyone knows how to use them all properly. Well, Visio 2010 Premium edition has a whole new Diagram Validation feature, which means that you can check that you have constructed the diagram correctly. This gives you feedback about any issues, thus prompting you with the actions to take to fix them.
Validate a structured diagram
Review issues to fix or ignore
TIP : Although Visio 2010 Premium only comes with rules for flowcharts, Business Process Modelling Notation (BPMN) and SharePoint Workflow Designer, you can write rules for any type of structured diagram – not just flowcharts.
Cross Posted at The Office Blog
The macro recorder in 2010 does not provide (VBA) code to minimize the ribbon and google is somewhat quiet on the subject. Any ideas on other sources?