Visio Insights
The official blog of the Microsoft Visio product team

Data Graphics in Visio 2010

Data Graphics in Visio 2010

  • Comments 12

In Visio 2007, we introduced the data graphics feature to make it possible to display data on shapes using text callouts, data bars, or icons, or by coloring the shapes based on the data. As the data changes, the data graphics update accordingly.

With data graphics, Visio diagrams can be used to visualize dynamic data in powerful and succinct ways. For example, data graphics are used on these network server shapes to show their network name, operating system, and IP address as text callouts that appear next to them. Data bars show CPU speed and memory, and an icon is used to indicate each server’s current status. The data associated with each shape can be conveyed at a glance.

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In Visio 2010, we’ve given the data graphics feature a makeover to integrate it into the ribbon and to address feedback we heard from users. We also added a legend feature, but we’ll talk about that in an upcoming post.

As in Visio 2007, before you can display data using a data graphic, you first need to have some data in your shapes. You can add the data manually in the Shape Data Window for each shape, or you can import the data into the diagram from an external data source like an Excel worksheet or a SQL database, using the Link Data to Shapes button on the Data tab. The data will appear in the External Data Window.

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Once you drag a row of data from the External Data Window onto a shape to establish the link to the shape, a set of data graphics is created in the Data Graphics gallery, which replaces the task pane used in Visio 2007. The first data graphic in the gallery is automatically applied to the data-linked shape.

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You can also create a new data graphic or edit one of the data graphics that Visio built for you in the gallery.

In addition to integrating the user interface into the ribbon, we made some improvements to the dialog boxes based on user feedback. First, if you want to change the way a data field is displayed in the data graphic, you no longer have to delete the data field item and add a new one. For example, if you want to make an item display as an icon instead of a text callout, you can simply edit the item…

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…and switch its display type from Text…

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…to Icon Set.

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When you edit a data graphic, we now give you a choice between applying the changes to all shapes with that data graphic applied (the only option in Visio 2007) or only to the selected shapes, using radio buttons at the bottom of the Edit Data Graphic dialog box. The latter choice makes a copy of the data graphic and applies it to the selected shapes.

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Visio 2007 users asked us for more control over the formatting of text and other elements in data graphics. In Visio 2010, you can choose the font size used for the value and label in a text callout or data bar, and you can specify the width of the callout.

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Please check out the new Data Graphics user interface and let us know what you think, either by commenting on the blog or (if you’re using the Visio 2010 Technical Preview) via Send a Smile.
Leave a Comment
  • Please add 5 and 2 and type the answer here:
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  • Great feature, I missed it with 2007, but I will definitely use it.

  • Have you improved data binding? I have frequently had the need to add custom shape data and wanted the variable list to be DYNAMICALLY created from an Access database field (e.g., process uses this system with the system name coming from an Access database field). Better yet, allow a multi-value field to be there (e.g., bind multiple values to the custom shape data field). Best would be all of those features and add a bi-directional update as a property (e.g., I add a system to the Process Shape that automatically updates the Access database field list).

  • Any chance there is added customization to color bars (specifically the Speedometer) to show and specify color gradations?  Would be great to show levels AND what is acceptable in the same graphic...

  • Any efforts at better control over the alignment/positioning of text data? In 2007, I have tried to position data on a shape like a label (without displaying the actual label), but I have nearly no control over how the text is aligned or positioned on the shape. The text is always right-aligned, and if the shape is not a rectangle, the text often overruns the edges. This can be controlled by editing individual text boxes, but has to be done for each shape.

  • Is it possible to resize Icon in Data Graphics Icon Set?

  • One of the simplest missing features is the ability to align text - data graphics can only display text content right-aligned.  Rather a bizarre oversight really, considering how much effort has gone into making data graphics extremely sophisticated.  Perhaps it's too boring a feature to code up?

  • If you open the drawing explorer, you can often edit the masters for the shapes used to realign text, set a default font/size etc.

    Doesn't always work - depends on the object being used.

  • i used it already in the visio2007, it's great function!

    how do i create new icon set of my own ?

  • I'm sure there is a way, but I can't find any information on how to do it.  I'm looking to only show an icon when text is entered into a data item in my Shape Data Window.  For example, I want to show an icon when information is added to my "Notes" field.  Can't seem to find any information on rules and how to work with string values in particular.

  • All the datagraphics seem to be horizontal. Is it possible to make them vertical? I have a lot of Server stencils from HP etc and horizontal datagrapics work great in a rack. However occasionally a tower server is added to a shelf inside the rack so the unit is installed horizontally and then the data graphic text is rotated by 90 degrees. It would be good to be able to change the angle of the text in the data graphic. Any ideas?

  • Any idea how to customize the icon set? Thanks

  • Can you add a text handle to the data graphic so we can move it as needed.

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