Our new Visio blog is filled with tons of articles that can help you make the most of everything Visio has to offer. In it, we have posts on new features, tips and tricks, and ways to make your diagram look both professional and beautiful.
To give you an idea, here's a sampling of our recent articles:
Our blog has lots of helpful information, from revisiting features in earlier versions to highlighting offerings in the new Visio. Check it out for yourself today!
The Visio Insights blog is moving! If you’d like to stay informed on the latest Microsoft Visio news and announcements, head over to the new Visio blog. We also have a new RSS feed so you can stay up-to-date. You’ll still be able to access previous posts here, but as of today, no new posts will appear.
Special thanks to all our readers for tuning in and hope hear from you on our new blog at http://blogs.office.com/b/visio/.
The Service Pack 3 (SP3) update for Visio 2007 is now available. It includes a variety of new security, stability and performance improvements as well as all previous updates and hotfixes released through August 2011. The SP releases are cumulative, so it is not necessary to apply any earlier service pack releases to get all previous updates.
A number of issues that have been addressed in previous hotfixes are included in this SP. The most significant of these are:
A full list of addressed issues can be found at http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2526291.
This service pack also addresses an issue involving Bluetooth add-ins which could cause recurring crashes in some machines running specific versions of a Bluetooth add-in. These add-ins are commonly installed by default on new laptops and PCs.
If a Bluetooth “Send to Office” add-in is installed, Visio may crash at the start of a session, during copy/paste, or on exit. This crash is often frequent and persistent on affected computers and may prevent use of Visio.
In order to correct this problem, Visio 2007 SP3 moves any Bluetooth add-in to the disabled add-ins list, and the add-in is not re-enabled in subsequent sessions. Once a Bluetooth add-in has been moved to the disabled add-ins list, the “Send to Office” functionality is disabled and no longer available. A disabled Bluetooth add-in can be re-enabled manually or manufacturers can override the disabling code during the installation to prevent the Bluetooth add-in from ever being disabled.
Detailed instructions to re-enable or override this behavior can be found at http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2621762.
The Visio SP3 and instructions for installation can be found at http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2526291.
Thank you for your continued feedback on Visio. If you have additional comments for the product team, please add them below or e-mail us a message.
A new series of training videos have been posted on Office.com to introduce Visio users to Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN). The videos are packaged as a course named BPMN Diagramming Basics.
The course provides both an introduction to the BPMN notation and a tutorial on creating BPMN diagrams with Visio 2010 Premium. Along the way you can see some of the other new features of Visio 2010 including Swimlanes, AutoConnect, Subprocesses, and Diagram Validation. The complete course takes less than 30 minutes to view.
Please remember that the BPMN, Subprocess, and Diagram Validation features are part of the Premium Edition of Visio 2010.
Be sure to let us know what you think!
In a previous blog post, we told you about the new Connectivity APIs in Visio 2010 that make it easier for developers to create and to move across a connected diagram. We’ve shown you how to use some of the new APIs to create new connected shapes (see here); now we’ll examine techniques for traversing connected diagrams. One of the most useful APIs for analyzing a connected diagram is the Shape.ConnectedShapes method, which allows you to get a reference to the shapes connected to a shape.
Let’s take a look at a specific scenario to demonstrate how this method can be used to walk through a connected diagram. Imagine that you have a simple project plan, created using the Basic Flowchart template:
In the shape data, each task in the flowchart includes a start date and an end date by which the task must be completed (shown in the chart below).
“Assess needs for project”
“Is project well-defined?”
“Build a prototype”
Ideally, no task in this project should start before the previous task has been completed. You could select each shape and compare the start and end dates in the Shape Data window, but the process would be very manual and tiresome. You could even use Data Graphics to display the start and end dates next to each shape, but it would still require visually inspecting each pair of connected shapes in the drawing.
With the ConnectedShapes method, however, you can write code that walks through each connected shape in your drawing and examine the shapes connected to it. The method returns an array of the shape IDs of all the shapes connected to a shape, filtered by the type of relationship between the shapes (e.g. is the connector “going out” to the other shape or “coming in” from the other shape?). You can also narrow down the returned IDs further by specifying a shape category as an additional filter.
Here’s some simple VBA that will iterate through each connected shape in a diagram and change the fill color of a connected shape if there is unwanted overlap between its start date and the task “before” it.
Dim vsoPage As Visio.Page Dim shapeList Sub TraverseFlowchart() Dim vsoShape1 As Visio.Shape Dim shapeIDArray() As Integer Dim searching As Boolean Set vsoPage = Application.ActivePage Set vsoShape1 = vsoPage.Shapes("Start/End") Set shapeList = CreateObject(“Scripting.Dictionary”) shapeList.Add vsoShape1.Name, 1 GetConnectedShapes vsoShape1 End Sub Sub GetConnectedShapes(shape As Visio.shape) Dim outgoingShape As Visio.shape Dim shapeIDArray As Variant Dim shapeIDArrayNext As Variant Dim outgoingNodes As Integer Dim node As Integer Dim prevTaskEnd As Date Dim nextTaskStart As Date Dim beenChecked As Boolean prevTaskEnd = shape.Cells("Prop.EndDate").result(visDate) shapeIDArray = shape.ConnectedShapes(visConnectedShapesOutgoingNodes, "") If (UBound(shapeIDArray) >= 0) Then outgoingNodes = UBound(shapeIDArray) For node = 0 To outgoingNodes Set outgoingShape = vsoPage.Shapes(shapeIDArray(node)) nextTaskStart = outgoingShape.Cells("Prop.StartDate").result(visDate) Debug.Print shape.Name & " end: " & prevTaskEnd & "; " & _ outgoingShape.Name & " start: " & nextTaskStart If (nextTaskStart < prevTaskEnd) Then outgoingShape.Cells("FillForegnd").Formula = "RGB(255, 0, 0)" End If shapeIDArrayNext = outgoingShape.ConnectedShapes(visConnectedShapesOutgoingNodes, "") beenChecked = shapeList.Exists(outgoingShape.Name) If ((UBound(shapeIDArrayNext) >= 0) And Not beenChecked) Then shapeList.Add outgoingShape.Name, 1 GetConnectedShapes outgoingShape End If Next node End If End Sub
If we run this code on the project plan shown above, we get a result as shown below. Notice that the two shapes that have start dates that are earlier than the previous tasks’ end dates have a red fill applied to them.
In the code sample, the GetConnectedShapes subroutine uses the ConnectedShapes method on the shape passed in as an argument to get an array of the shape IDs (integers) of the shapes that it connects to. (That is, the shape contains the beginning connection of a connector that points to the shapes referenced by the IDs in the array.) Then the subroutine iterates through each shape referenced by the IDs in the array. Next, the value of the “Prop.StartDate” cell of each attached shape is compared to the “Prop.EndDate” cell of the first shape. If the values overlap, the value of “FillForegnd” cell is changed to red.
This code sample also uses the ConnectedShapes method to traverse the connected diagram in a manner similar to “walking” a tree data structure, starting from a specific shape (the first Start/End shape). After it analyzes a shape and one of its attached shapes, the GetConnectedShapes subroutine checks whether the attached shape has any shapes that it connects out to (making another call to ConnectedShapes). If so, the subroutine makes a recursive call to itself (and thereby halting the execution of the original call), passing in the attached shape as an argument. In practice, it is likely that you will need to use this programming technique in conjunction with the ConnectedShapes method in order to work all the way through each shape in a large connected diagram.
(Also notice that the code sample keeps track of each shape whose outgoing nodes have been checked by adding the shape to a dictionary object before the GetConnectedShapes subroutine is called. This will prevent the code from becoming stuck in an infinite loop if the diagram includes a circular reference.)
Even though we’ve used a project plan scenario as the example in this code sample, there are many other practical applications for this technique. In a related but larger sense, you could incorporate this technique within a custom validation checker to determine whether a connected diagram has been constructed correctly. Also similar to the code sample above, you could use this technique to extract and store data from each shape in a connected diagram. (Extending the project plan example, you could get the duration from each task in the workflow and then create a total of all the resource hours needed for the project.)
In the next blog post, we’ll look at another way that you can use this technique and the Page.SplitConnector method to add new shapes to a connected diagram.
Yesterday Microsoft announced the availability of Service Pack 1 for Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010. This wave of releases includes updates to Visio 2010 and the Visio Viewer. Here are the links for downloading:
Visio 2010 SP1
Visio Viewer 2010 SP1
The updates to Visio 2010 include stability, security, and performance improvements. SP1 includes the Cumulative Updates and Public Updates to Visio since RTM a year ago.
There are a couple noteworthy improvements in Visio 2010 SP1:
Thank you for your continued feedback on Visio. If you have additional comments for the product team, please add them below or e-mail us a message.
Visio has published the XML Schema Definition (XSD) files for the Microsoft Visio 2010 XML Drawing (.vdx) format. This schema is also known as DatadiagramML. The .XSD files allow developers to better understand the structure of Visio XML documents and design solutions that work with the .VDX file format.
The DatadiagramML Schema for Visio 2010 consists of three .XSD files:
More information about the schema is available in the Visio 2010 XML Schema Reference on MSDN.
Do you work directly with Visio XML files? We’d love to hear about your scenarios in the comments.
The video below shows how to add a Data Graphic legend to a drawing using C# code. How might you use this code within the context of constructing diagrams with Data Graphics?
As mentioned in a previous blog post, Visio Professional 2010 and Visio Premium 2010 use container shapes to create legends for data graphics. Along with this new feature, the Visio 2010 Object Model includes new APIs that allow you to manipulate container shapes programmatically – including the Page.DropLegend method that allows you to add a Data Graphics legend to your drawing using code.
We’ve created this how-to video about using C# to add a Data Graphics legend to a drawing page. While creating this video, we considered some of the larger scenarios where this API might be used. We’d like some feedback from you, the Visio developers and users, to learn more about how you use these features:
· How often do you create Visio drawings that are linked to data? Do you link that data to shapes? Do you use Data Graphics to visualize the data contained in the shapes?
· Which templates do you use most frequently to represent external data?
· When you link a drawing to external data, which data providers do you most commonly connect to (e.g. Excel, Access, SharePoint lists, SQL Server, etc.)?
· What other tasks do you frequently perform in addition to linking a drawing to external data?
· How often do you use code to manipulate external data in Visio, using VBA, C#, or VB.NET? Have you ever applied data graphics to a Visio diagram using code?
Please watch the video and submit your feedback using the comment box below this post.
Note: The Data Graphics legend feature is only available in Visio Professional 2010 and Visio Premium 2010.
Spring has arrived and baseball season is upon us! Whether you follow the professional leagues, play recreationally or coach in the little leagues, there is one thread that ties all baseball enthusiasts together – a passion for stats. In this article and the attached diagram, we present a baseball scoring sheet that you can use to track the action in each game. You can use the diagram as-is or customize it to your liking.
The Visio Baseball Scorecard is intended to be printed and filled out by a scorekeeper during a game. It includes a section for game data at the top, the batting order and details for each at bat, and sections for batting and pitching totals at the bottom. Don’t know how to score? Here is a link to an online tutorial.
The diagram is designed with customization in mind. Here are some of the special capabilities of the shapes that make up the diagram.
You may want to pre-populate your diagram with information before the game starts. Maybe you have a standard player roster or want to fill in the game summary information at the top of the sheet. Every shape in the diagram is designed to accept text. Click on a shape and start typing. Use the Tab key to jump to the next text field position on the shape.
For those curious how this was set up, the tabs were created using the Text dialog, where you can add tabs at specific text positions and even control the alignment of the text around the tab stop. You can get to the dialog by right-clicking on the shape and choosing Format > Text. Then choose the Tabs tab.
The Game Info shapes at the top of the page have Shape Data fields that allow you to customize the information shown. Right-click on a shape and choose Data > Shape Data to see the Shape Data window. Then fill in your own field labels.
The player rows in the middle of the page are designed to list 1, 2, or 3 players at each position. Having more than one row of data allows you to record position substitutions in the game. By default each Player Row shape has room for two players, but you can change this in Shape Data. Press Enter after a row of text to fill in the next line.
The Sum Row shapes below the player rows allow you to total your stats in each column above. If you want to record a different stat on each line, choose a different label name in Shape Data or enter your own in the Shape Data Window.
Download the attached Visio diagram to print the scorecard for recording during the game. You can also customize the diagram by pre-filling in text boxes or using Shape Data to change the fields. For those interested in shape development, you can dig into the ShapeSheet to see how these shapes are constructed. Most of all enjoy the baseball season!
Please send us your comments and also suggestions for future topics.
One of the things we all do a lot is reuse shapes or groups of shapes in several places and often the best way to do that is to Copy the existing shape and Paste it elsewhere. Even though you use it daily, there may be some behavior you’re not familiar with, especially with the Copy/Paste improvements in Visio 2010. So, here is a brief summary...
Copy and Paste is available in more than one way. Depending on your normal workflow and the result you want, you may want to use some or all of them.
the context menu,
and from the keyboard using CTRL+C to copy and CTRL+V to paste.
Pasting using the context menu, will always paste the object at your mouse cursor location, with the center of the shape where your cursor was when you right-clicked. This can be very useful when you want to copy items to specific places in your diagram.
Paste from either the Ribbon or using CTRL+V will paste the new object at the location of the object you originally copied. If you are pasting on the same page, the object will be offset slightly, to avoid “losing” it.
If you paste something onto a separate page and use CTRL+V or the Ribbon control, this puts the pasted object in the same location that it was on the original page. This can be very useful for ensuring that parts of a diagram are in the same location on multiple pages.
A quick way to make copies of selected items is to hold down CTRL and the left mouse button. This lets you drag a copy of the selected item to a specific location. This allows you to make multiple copies of a shape or a group of shapes you’ve selected very quickly.
Hint: This works with grouped shapes or multi-selected shapes, so it’s a really quick way to reuse a group of shapes in multiple locations on a page.
You can also duplicate objects that are selected using the Duplicate option in the Ribbon. Click on the arrow below the Paste icon to show the Duplicate option. Clicking on it will make a duplicate of the selected object or objects and drop them near the original, offset slightly, just like CTRL+V does on paste.
Hint: Note that if you duplicate multiple objects some of them may end up covering up the originals. As an example, if I selected the two rectangles above and did a Duplicate, the result might look like the example below. Though you can’t see it, there are really four shapes here, but one is exactly below the brightly highlighted shape. Hitting one of the arrow keys a few times while the newly duplicated items are still selected will move them enough to expose the shape underneath.
Since pasting using CTRL+V or the Ribbon will place objects on the same location on other pages, it becomes much easier to make a copy of a whole page.
First, insert a new page. You can either add a page by clicking the “add page” icon on the last page tab, or by clicking a page and right-clicking to insert a page immediately after it.
Once you’ve got a new page, go back to the page you want to copy. You can drag-select the whole page by left-clicking at one corner of the diagram and dragging the selection to the opposite corner. You can also select everything on a page by pressing CTRL+A. With everything on the page selected, copy it by using CTRL+C, or Copy from the right-click menu or the Ribbon. Navigate to the blank page you created, and press CTRL+V or click on Paste in the Ribbon (Remember that if you use Paste from the right-click context menu, everything will be pasted with the center around your mouse position, so the new page may not look like you expect). That’s it, a duplicate page in just a few clicks.
Hint: if you want to duplicate a whole page with the exception of one or two shapes, CTRL+A to select everything and then CTRL+left mouse click to deselect just the object you don’t want. Then you can CTRL+V everything else to the new page.
Of course, Office applications “play nicely” with each other, so you can paste objects you’ve copied from Visio to other applications, as well. In most applications your pasted Visio objects will remain Visio objects and you can still edit them by double-clicking. This can be very useful when you want to be able to fine-tune a diagram in a Word document or a PowerPoint slide.
Hint: If you would prefer the diagram not be editable, you can use the Paste Special option to paste it as a static image. You can find Paste Special on the menu that drops down when you click the arrow below Paste in the Home Tab.
Those are the basics of Copy/Paste.
Post a comment if you have any other tips you’d like to share and please let us know if you have any feedback on Visio 2010, Visio Services, or suggestions for other blog posts you would like to see.
March Madness is about to start, so here’s a Visio diagram to let you quickly fill out and share your bracket! Download the diagram here, and with a few clicks you can have a complete professional looking bracket that you can easily share with others. This diagram was originally created by Visio MVP Chris Roth, who runs the Visio Guy blog.
The bracket has the first 64 teams already filled out. All you need to do is select the winners. You can fill out the bracket using Visio in one of the following ways:
When you enter the score in the shape data window, the shapes will update and propagate the winner to the next level in the bracket.
Note: the 8 teams playing in the first round are playing on 3/15 and 3/16, so you’ll need to update the bracket once those teams are decided. In the bracket, those teams are highlighted with a red asterisk so you don’t forget.
Chris Roth’s original diagram can be found on his blog here: http://www.visguy.com/2009/03/16/ncaa-final-four-interactive-visio-tournament-bracket/ He originally created this diagram during the 2009 tournament, and we updated it with the 2011 teams.
Hope you enjoy this year’s tournament, and good luck filling out your brackets. As always, let us know if you have any feedback or suggestions.
In this post, we describe a great way to get help with Visio: the Visio and SharePoint 2010 forums. Microsoft employees, Visio MVPs and other experts monitor these forums and answer questions. This is an excellent way to pose a question to a large audience of Visio experts.
There are two Visio and a number of SharePoint forums where you can post questions:
Each one is targeted at a different audience. We explain these forums in more detail below.
Microsoft Answers is a community-based support site where you can ask and answer questions, or just browse other's answers. Its slogan is “Real People, Real Answers”.
The Visio Answers forum is located here.
Visio shares its forum with Project, InfoPath and Access, but you can filter on Visio to see only the Visio conversations.
This forum is targeted at end users and would be a great spot to post questions on the following topics:
The Visio MSDN forum is targeted at IT Professionals using Visio and is located here.
It is also mirrored on TechNet here.
The MSDN/TechNet forum would be a great spot to post questions on the following topics:
If you need help getting started with the Visio forums, there are FAQs available for the Answers forum here and the MSDN forum here. These FAQs are a great resource for creating a profile, posting to the forums, receiving notifications and general troubleshooting. These FAQs should contain all the information you need to start asking and answering questions: if not, there’s the option to ask your own question.
If you need help with Visio Services on SharePoint, a number of SharePoint 2010 forums are available on MSDN here. As described below, each forum specializes in a particular set of issues.
SharePoint 2010 - General Questions and Answers: General questions, comments and discussions on SharePoint 2010 products and SharePoint services such as Access Services, BCS, Excel Services and Visio Services.
SharePoint 2010 - Setup, Upgrade, Administration and Operation: Discuss setup, upgrade, administration and operation for SharePoint 2010 and SharePoint services such as Access Services, BCS, Excel Services and Visio Services.
SharePoint 2010 - Using SharePoint Designer, Infopath, and other customization: Discuss using SharePoint Designer, SharePoint Gallery Solutions, templates & other customization for SharePoint 2010 and SP services such as Access Services, BCS, Excel Services, & Visio Services.
SharePoint 2010 - Using Visual Studio with SharePoint and other programming: Discuss using Visual Studio and other programming with SharePoint 2010 and SharePoint services such as Access Services, BCS, Excel Services and Visio Services.
In addition to the Visio and SharePoint 2010 forums, there are many other Microsoft forums that might relate to your particular needs. We’ve posted a list of forums that might be most useful to Visio users and developers here. You can use the navigation panel on the left of the linked page to find relevant forums for other Microsoft Office products.
In the past, Microsoft hosted a number of Visio newsgroups. Last year, however, Microsoft discontinued its newsgroup support and migrated to forums.
The decision to focus on forums was based on changes in customer habits and requirements: many Microsoft customers wanted online resources, including forums, to find help. In addition, newsgroups became less popular. Given this trend, Microsoft decided to concentrate on online help and forums. Focusing on forums reduced the number of redundant resources and centralized content, making it easier for users to find content and making community contributions more broadly available and impactful.
You can read about the details of the transition from newsgroups to forums here.
Please let us know if you have any feedback on Visio 2010, Visio Services, or suggestions for blog posts you would like to see. In addition, feel free to visit the Visio and SharePoint 2010 forums, and ask us a question there.
In a previous blog post, we explained how Visio 2010 ships with a unique single image architecture. This post explains how to deploy the three different editions of Visio 2010, and how to change the edition of Visio 2010 after you have already deployed it. In particular, the following scenarios are covered:
This post also contains links to more information on Visio 2010 deployment and customizations.
With volume licensing, Visio 2010 can be installed as Visio Standard, Visio Professional, or Visio Premium based on a product key. By default, Visio 2010 uses a Visio Premium 2010 KMS client key, which enables all the features that are available for Visio Premium 2010. If you are licensed to use Visio Standard 2010 or Visio Professional 2010, you must install the appropriate KMS client key. Different features or applications are available, depending on the kind of key that is installed. This makes it easier for you to upgrade or downgrade without having to deploy a different product edition.
For more on this single image architecture, see this blog post: Volume Activation for Visio 2010 Explained.
For more information on Office 2010 deployment in general, see the following resources:
If you’re planning on deploying Visio 2010 to your organization, and want to deploy Visio Standard or Visio Professional, you will need to change the key that Visio 2010 will be deployed with. There are two ways to do this before deployment:
Below are step by step instructions on how to use these two methods. Note that you should only use one of these methods, not both.
Note: this method can be used to install with a key for any edition of Visio, but we’ve chosen Visio Standard for the example.
1. Open up a command prompt and navigate to the directory where the Visio 2010 installation folder is 2. Open the Office Customization Tool (OCT) by calling setup.exe with the /admin switch: 3. Select “Create a new setup customization file for the following product” and choose Visio 2010. This should already be selected by default 4. In the OCT, select “Licensing and user interface” from the menu on the left 5. Select “Enter another product key” 6. Enter the Visio Standard 2010 KMS client key: 7. Click FileàSave and save the MSP somewhere. Choose a name you’ll remember like “VisioStandardKMSKey” 8. Copy this MSP file to the “updates” folder in the Visio 2010 installation folder.
1. Open up a command prompt and navigate to the directory where the Visio 2010 installation folder is
2. Open the Office Customization Tool (OCT) by calling setup.exe with the /admin switch:
3. Select “Create a new setup customization file for the following product” and choose Visio 2010. This should already be selected by default
4. In the OCT, select “Licensing and user interface” from the menu on the left
5. Select “Enter another product key”
6. Enter the Visio Standard 2010 KMS client key:
7. Click FileàSave and save the MSP somewhere. Choose a name you’ll remember like “VisioStandardKMSKey”
8. Copy this MSP file to the “updates” folder in the Visio 2010 installation folder.
Now when you deploy this installation of Visio 2010, it will use the custom MSP file that includes the Visio Standard 2010 KMS client key. This will install Visio 2010 Standard. You can also replace the key in step #6 with a Visio Professional KMS client key or a Multi Activation Key (MAK) for either of the three Visio 2010 editions.
Note: this method can be used to install with a key for any edition of Visio, but we’ve chosen Visio Professional for the example.
1. Navigate to the Visio 2010 installation folder 2. Open the “Visio.WW” folder 3. Open the “config.xml” file with a text editor like Notepad 4. Add the following line to use the Visio Professional 2010 KMS client key: <PIDKEY value="7MCW8-VRQVK-G677T-PDJCM-Q8TCP" /> 5. Save the file
1. Navigate to the Visio 2010 installation folder
2. Open the “Visio.WW” folder
3. Open the “config.xml” file with a text editor like Notepad
4. Add the following line to use the Visio Professional 2010 KMS client key:
<PIDKEY value="7MCW8-VRQVK-G677T-PDJCM-Q8TCP" />
5. Save the file
Now when you deploy this installation of Visio 2010, it will use the Visio Professional 2010 KMS client key specified in config.xml. This will install Visio Professional 2010.
You can also replace the key in step #4 with a Visio Standard KMS client key or a Multi Activation Key (MAK) for either of the three Visio 2010 editions
If you’re planning on deploying multiple editions of Visio, we suggest that you keep three copies of the Visio installation media, and use one of the methods above to customize an installation for each edition you plan on deploying.
The following are the KMS client keys for Visio 2010. These can be used to install Visio 2010, but you will still need a KMS host key with your KMS server to activate Visio installations.
Visio Premium 2010
Visio Professional 2010
Visio Standard 2010
For more on KMS activation, please see the Deploy Volume Activation of Office 2010 article.
If you’ve already deployed Visio 2010 and would like to change the edition that is deployed, you can do so through several ways, none of which require a reinstallation:
1. Use the “Change Product Key” feature on the machine where Visio is installed This can be invoked from Visio 2010’s Backstage View It can also be invoked from Add/Remove Programs à Change 2. Use the Volume Activation Management Tool 2.0 (VAMT) VAMT is a tool administrators can use to manage activations of Office 2010 on managed systems. VAMT can be used to push down a new product key. For more information on how to use VAMT, see the following resources: Download VAMT from here Full TechNet reference on VAMT and how to use it: Managing Activation Using the Volume Activation Management Tool (VAMT) A set of videos on how to use VAMT Deploy Volume Activation of Office 2010 – this article has more information on the methods described in this blog post, as well as how to use VAMT to change keys 3. Use a script that calls ospp.vbs on the machines you would like to change The Office Deployment Support Team blog has a great article and an example script on how to use ospp.vbs with Visio 2010
1. Use the “Change Product Key” feature on the machine where Visio is installed
2. Use the Volume Activation Management Tool 2.0 (VAMT)
3. Use a script that calls ospp.vbs on the machines you would like to change
Note: With any of the methods above, Visio may need to be rebooted up to two times before the user interface and Backstage View update to reflect the new key and edition.
Depending on your User Account Control settings (UAC), in Add/Remove Programs, Visio may still be shown as the previous edition installed.
As always, let us know if you have any feedback on Visio 2010, Visio Services, or suggestions for blog posts you would like to see.
For this blog post, we put together a list of some of our favorite Visio tips & tricks. Learn these to save time and improve the look of your diagrams.
Let’s say you’d like to make a grid of shapes like the following:
To create this, first make a copy of the individual shape (e.g. using Control+Drag):
Then, press Control+Y to repeat that operation:
In a similar manner, you can then copy this row multiple times to create a grid.
To keep multiple shapes aligned on a vertical or horizontal line (which can be challenging particularly when they are far apart), drag a guide from the horizontal or vertical ruler onto the drawing page:
You can then also glue shapes to this guide. More on this feature here.
If a shape is covered by other shapes, as is the case with the yellow square below, it can be hard to find a clickable region to select it:
An easy way to select this shape is to click on the blue shape 3 times, pausing in between so as not to double-click. Visio will cycle through selecting each shape that overlaps at your mouse’s location.
Let’s say you manually changed the path of a connector, but don’t like the result:
You can reset its path by right-clicking the connector and clicking “Reset Connector”:
If you want to label a connector, you can add and move text on it the same way that you add and move text on other shapes:
Let’s say you have two connected shapes:
Sometimes when you reposition those shapes, you may end up with an undesirable jagged connector like this:
This happens because the connector stays fixed to its original connection points on the shapes. To prevent this from happening, Visio has a feature called dynamic glue that lets connectors automatically reroute to the nearest pair of connection points. When creating your connector, drag the connector endpoint not to an individual connection point on the shape, but rather toward the middle of the shape until a red box appears around the entire shape, like this:
The result is a more direct connector when you reposition the connected shapes.
Many people know that you can connect neighboring shapes quickly by clicking on the blue AutoConnect arrows around a shape:
Visio 2010 adds a feature where you can also drag a new connector from an AutoConnect arrow to a shape of your choosing:
In the sequence above, after hovering over the AutoConnect arrow to the right of shape #1, a connector is dragged and connected to the target shape #3. You can read more about this feature in this blog post.
If you need more screen space for your diagram, you can collapse the Shapes Window by toggling the small arrow on the top right of the window, which still lets you drag shapes out:
You can read more about this feature in this blog post.
Some of our favorite keyboard shortcuts are described here.
Those are some of our favorite Visio tips & tricks. If you have one you’d like to share, please leave a comment below.
Visio has several features that are designed to make it easy to create a diagram quickly. Here are three examples of ways to help you create a simple flowchart in under a minute.
Let’s assume you have a pretty clear idea of what the steps are that you want to diagram and the order that you want them in, so all you need to do is capture the flow quickly. Once you drop your first shape you can use the AutoConnect feature to fill in the rest of the diagram quickly (for more details on AutoConnect, see the blog post here.). When you hover over the selected shape, four arrows will appear. Hovering over the triangle that points where you want the shape to appear will display a mini-toolbar to let you pick any of the first four Quick Shapes from your current stencil. One click on the shape you want will add the shape, a connector and uniform space between the shapes.
The ability to add connected shapes with a single mouse click works really well when your goal is to get shapes onto the page quickly and then add text and formatting. Once you’ve got the shapes in place, you can double-click on shapes and connectors to add the labels and, as a final step, click on the Design tab and pick a theme to make it look really professional. In just over twenty mouse clicks and some typing, you’ve got a finished flowchart in well under a minute.
But suppose you know what steps you want to diagram, but you still need to figure out how to lay them out and how they all fit together. How can you make that process quicker? You can start by adding a shape for each step you know you need and labeling it as you go – don’t worry about where you place them for now, just concentrate on getting all of the items on the page. Once you think you have shapes for all of the major steps you need on the page, you can start dragging them around and organizing them into the real flow. Don’t worry about connectors for now, just get the shapes where you want them. Alignment guides make it easy to ensure that spacing is even; as you drag shapes near each other the guides will appear to help you out.
Once you’ve got shapes where you want them, those little AutoConnect triangles can help you out again. Hover over the triangle which points to the next shape just a little longer than it takes for the shapes toolbar to appear and a connector will appear. Click and it will draw connectors for your shapes automatically.
Since you’re building your diagram as you go, it’s easy to forget a step. Don’t worry, that’s not a problem. If you’ve already connected shapes and realize that a step belongs between them, just drag the new shape over the connector between the two shapes where you want the new one. You’ll see the cursor connection points highlight, and when you drop the new shape it will be inserted between the two shapes and connected up. By the way, if you delete a connected shape, Visio will automatically reconnect the remaining shapes, too. Note that the connectors are using dynamic glue by default. You can learn more about dynamic glue here.
Just like the first example, you can add some theming to make your diagram look great and you’re done.
As a final example, suppose you want to make a flowchart for a presentation and you want to use combine flowchart shapes with some non-flowchart shapes to make it look fancier. Because you want to use a variety of shapes, you want to be able to grab shapes from a number of different stencils to build up a good looking diagram. The AutoConnect triangles can help you do this quickly, too. This time, instead of hovering over the triangle and selecting a shape from the dialog that pops up, you can drag any shape from a stencil in the shapes pane, move it over the shape you want it to connect to and, when the triangle highlights, drop it to add a connected shape.
This allows you to quickly create a diagram that uses many different shapes from multiple stencils.
If you take some time to experiment with AutoConnect and its various features, you’ll find that just a minute is long enough to generate a simple flowchart that looks good and communicates well. Even better, you’ll find ways to shave some valuable time off of those bigger projects, as well.
As always, we value your feedback. Please let us know if you have any feedback on Visio 2010, Visio Services, or suggestions for blog posts you would like to see.
Saul Candib, a Microsoft technical writer for Visio, is writing a series of posts that highlight new members of the Visio 2010 object model on the Office Client Developer Content blog.
In the first article, Saul shows how to use the Page.Dropconnected method to add a shape to the page, and connect it to an existing shape at the same time:
The second article explores how to use the Page.LayoutChangeDirection to programmatically rotate or flip sets of connected shapes:
We covered one of those methods in a blog post: The Visio 2010 Connectivity API, but the posts above provide more detail and examples. See this article for a summary of other SDK documentation.
Look for more posts from Saul on Visio 2010 programmability, and other great Office developer topics on the Office Client Developer Content blog.
We on the Visio product team receive lots of interesting questions from Visio users through our blog’s contact form. In this post, we’ll share our answers to several questions that we thought would be of interest to our blog readers.
Q: I installed Visio 2010, but the BPMN shapes appear to be missing. Where can I find them?
A: The BPMN shapes are part of Visio Premium 2010. You can check what edition you have by going to File > Help and looking in the top right.
Here is a link to the feature set for each Visio edition:
Q: If I add hyperlinks to my Visio drawing, will they still work after using Visio Web Access to display them on a SharePoint page?
A: Yes, hyperlinks will work in the Visio Web Part. Here are some more details:
Q: I upgraded to Visio 2010 and am having difficulty finding the Shape Operations (Union, Combine, Fragment, Intersect, Subtract, Join, Trim, and Offset). Where are they?
A: In Visio 2010, Shape Operations have been moved to the Developer tab of the Ribbon, which you can enable by turning on Developer mode in Visio Options:
Once this is done, click on “Operations” in the Developer Tab to get the menu of operations:
Q: I am creating a Visio 2010 Cross-Functional Flowchart. How can I select an individual band to specify its color fill?
A: The easiest way to select a band (also called swimlane) is to click on its text heading, so that you see a dotted outline around the swimlane. You can then choose a fill color, and that will apply to the heading portion of the band, as follows:
To apply the fill to the body of the swimlane, go to the Cross-Functional Flowchart tab in the Ribbon and select a style in the Style gallery that has a fill:
This lets you color the whole swimlane as follows:
Q: Where can I get support for Visio or report a problem?
A: The central support place for Visio is the Visio Solution Center. It allows you to get product information, get self-support or community support, or contact a support representative.
If you simply want to report a problem, you can choose one of the community support options such as the forums or our contact form. If you want help finding a resolution, you should choose the forums or contact a support representative.
The Visio team would like to congratulate Visio MVP David Parker on his new book, Microsoft Visio 2010: Business Process Diagramming and Validation. This book provides an in-depth coverage of creating custom validation rules in Visio 2010.
After reading Microsoft Visio 2010: Business Process Diagramming and Validation, a few key things were apparent. First, this book covers a variety of topics. The book begins with an overview of process management in Visio 2010 and introduces Visio users to an assortment of new Visio 2010 features. Then two chapters are devoted to the Visio Object Model and the Visio ShapeSheet: powerful tools that combine to provide the unique development experience within Visio. Of course, there is a strong focus on the new validation feature but a reader will learn about a wide range of Visio topics.
Second, the book provides a large quantity of coded examples and even a chapter devoted to a worked example. These clear, well-thought-out examples are great for those who want to experiment in Visio as they read the book.
Finally, the book is a great reference for those interested in building custom validation rules. In Visio 2010, validation enables companies to ensure that their diagrams meet certain compliancy, business standards or more general requirements. Visio provides some built-in validation rules, but anyone can create custom validation rules to meet their own needs: you can specify your own custom diagram requirements, for any type of diagram, and Visio will verify these requirements for you. This book was written to teach people how to master this process of designing, implementing and sharing custom validation rules.
For more information about the book, check out David Parker’s book web site. We also have a chapter from the book, Understanding the ShapeSheet, available on MSDN.
The new Containers feature in Visio 2010 is great for adding structure and organization to Visio diagrams. In this post, we’ll walk through the creation of one diagram, the strategy map, which is easy to make using containers.
A strategy map is a way for companies to document their primary strategic objectives. It visually shows the goals being pursued by an organization and the relationships between these goals. Commonly, a strategy map is part of the documentation associated with the Balanced Scorecard, a framework used to help design and implement strategic performance management tools.
A strategy map typically consists of three components:
It’s easy to build a great-looking strategy map in Visio 2010. Here’s a walkthrough of how we built the strategy map below.
Since the shapes in a strategy map are simple geometric shapes, we started with the Basic Diagram template located under the General template category on the New tab of the Microsoft Office Backstage View.
Once we had a blank diagram, we did some simple steps to get the page ready for the strategy map:
This gave us a blank page with the correct orientation and grid lines turned off.
In a strategy map, objectives are organized into different perspectives. Traditionally, these perspectives focus on the areas of finance, marketing, process and organizational development. Using this convention, we started by creating "Financial", "Customer", "Internal Business Processes", "Learning & Growth” perspectives. These are best represented in Visio using containers.
To get our first container on the page and formatted, we performed the following steps:
Tip: Turing off Automatic Resize is good for situations where you have many containers on the page that must be the same size. This prevents the containers from expanding to fit new shapes.
The foundation for the strategy map was now complete.
Objectives are the goals that the company identifies as areas of focus. Typically, each objective is represented by text appearing within a shape.
For our diagram, we picked a different shape to represent the objectives in each perspective. We picked the Ellipse shape for financial objectives, the Star 5 shape for customer objectives, the Rounded rectangle shape for internal business processes objectives, and the Rectangle for learning and growth objectives.
As we added shapes to the diagram, the dynamic grid made it easy to ensure that shapes were dropped on the page evenly space and centered.
Tip: You can also use the Position functionality on the Home tab to ensure that shapes are perfectly aligned.
At the top of the first perspective, we wanted to add some overarching goals for the company. We thought that these objectives would look best as upside-down triangles. We added a Triangle shape to the page, resized it and used the knob at the point of the triangle to rotate the shape.
Then, we added text.
Notice that the text was still upside down. On the Home tab, there is a Text Block tool for rotating text. With the tool turned on, a knob appears for rotating text. We used this tool to rotate the text. Once the text is rotated, remember to go back to Pointer Tool mode by selecting the Pointer Tool in the same ribbon chunk.
When we had one upside-down triangle, we used copy and paste to create two additional triangles.
Using the Text Box tool on the Insert tab, we added a title and subtitle for the diagram.
Then, we wanted to add some color and formatting to the diagram. The first two things that came to mind were a background and a theme. We added these using the following steps.
The diagram above shows themes being live previewed. As the cursor moves over each thumbnail in the gallery, the theme’s formatting is previewed on the diagram. This lets you quickly experiment with various looks without forcing you to commit to the change.
The Department, Work Flow Objects, Work Flow Steps, and Landmark Shapes stencils have a number of useful people, building and work-related shapes that will help add character to a diagram. You can open the Department stencil by clicking on More Shapes fly out in the area above where the shapes are displayed, then clicking Flowchart, and then clicking the Department stencil. The Work Flow Objects and Work Flow Steps stencils are also under the same Flowchart menu.
We used a number of different shapes from the Department stencil, including the International division, Headquarters, Finance, and Operations shapes. We also used the Customer shape from the Work Flow Objects stencil and the Research shape from the Work Flow Steps stencil.
To find different building types, we opened the Landmark Shapes stencil by clicking on More Shapes fly out, then clicking Maps and Floor Plans, then Map, and then the Landmark Shapes stencil. We used the Warehouse shape from this stencil.
At this point, the diagram was mostly built, but the diagram still needed a bit more personality.
We wanted to show that there are two main types of the objectives inside the internal business processes perspective. The first three objectives are related to “Standardized Execution”, while the last two objectives are related to “Manage for Innovation”. This was another occasion suited for containers.
We selected the shapes to go in the container and inserted a container using the Container drop down on the Insert tab. The container was inserted around the selected shapes. Even though the shapes were already on the page, it was no trouble to get them grouped in a container.
We were quickly able to add a second container and then label them both. On the Home tab, we used the Align Left button in the Paragraph chunk to move the title text to the left of the container. Notice that the shape changed slightly to adapt to the new text position.
Tip: After a container is inserted on the page, it is still easy to change its look. On the Container Tools contextual tab, visible only when a container is selected, you can select a new style for the selected containers.
To add some additional polish, we updated the fill, line and shadow properties on the shapes. We also changed the font, and added bold to some of the text in objectives. All these options can be accessed in the Home tab. Finally, we repositioned some the shapes so that the graphics did not overlap with the objectives.
Tip: If you have formatted one shape and want other shapes to have the same formatting, you can use the Format Painter. Select the shape with the desired format, click the Format Painter button on the Home tab, and then click the shape that needs formatting. Voila! Both shapes have the same formatting.
The last step was adding connectors to the diagram to show causal relationships between objectives. We used the Connector tool on the Home tab to add the connectors. In some cases, we took advantage of the connection points on the containers, instead of connecting directly to objectives.
To make the connectors look stylized, we went to the Design tab, clicked on the Connectors drop down, and then clicked Curved Lines.
Since no shapes were selected, this action updated all the connectors in the diagram to curved connectors. Note that we could have also decided to apply the style to a specific set of connectors by selecting these connectors before applying the style.
We then increased the line weight, added a shadow to the line, and changed the color slightly to make the connectors slightly easier to see. We could have made them even bolder and brighter, but decided not to make them the main focus of the diagram.
To reduce the number of connectors in the diagram, we also added two Triangle shapes to the bottom perspective to show that multiple objectives in this area had the same causal relationships.
Before long, we had the strategy map shown below.
This strategy map shows business objectives, their associated perspectives and the causal relationships between them. It was easy to create in Visio 2010 using basic geometry shapes, graphical shapes for emphasis, containers and connectors. If you want to download this strategy map, it is available here.
If you have any questions or feedback about this post, feel free to comment on the blog and let us know.
Over the past few weeks Microsoft has released a ton of resources to help administrators and end-users get started with Visio Services. This article summarizes all the online resources for Visio Services in one place.
Visio Services is a new feature in SharePoint 2010 that allows you to view and share dynamic, data driven diagrams. For a quick refresher on Visio Services, see this blog post.
To help administrators setup and configure Visio Services, we’ve put up a set of instructional videos that will guide you through various setup and configuration tasks. The videos cover basic setup, as well as how to configure Visio Services to connect to external data sources.
The second and third videos below also show you how to create a data connected diagram in Visio 2010.
Note: these videos are .WMV files, so you can click them to stream them, or right click and choose to save them locally.
In a previous blog post we talked about the Visio 2010 add-in for System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2 . For step by step instructions on how to set this up, check out this new article on TechNet:
Monitoring SharePoint Server by using Visio Services and System Center Operations Manager
There is tons of documentation available to help you with anything related to Visio Services. Here’s a roundup of it all:
Visio Services Setup, Configuration, and Planning:
Visio Services Development
Using External Data with Visio Services
Visio Insights Blog posts
Microsoft has published a new technical article on MSDN about the Structured Diagram capabilities of Visio 2010. Structured Diagrams help you organize the contents of your diagrams using intuitive, logical relationships between shapes. These capabilities are exposed as the Containers, Lists, and Callouts features in Visio 2010.
The article covers these topics:
Readers of the Visio Insights blog will be familiar with much of the article, since it is based on a number of previous posts. However, some of the details on Lists are new. For reference, here are the related Visio Insights posts:
Please let us know if you have any feedback on Visio 2010, Visio Services, or suggestions for blog posts you would like to see.
The Visio team is pleased to announce the release of two new white papers which will help Visio Services administrators choose and configure the right external data authentication mechanism for their data connected diagrams.
Data Authentication for Visio Services: This paper provides an overview of the advantages, drawbacks and applications of the various authentication mechanisms available to Visio Services, namely: Kerberos, Secure Store Service and the Unattended Account. The paper also walks through how to configure the Secure Store Service and the Unattended Account to function with Visio.
Configuring Kerberos Authentication for Microsoft SharePoint 2010 Products and Technologies: This paper provides a step-by-step guide on how to configure Kerberos to function with various SharePoint services – scenarios #1 and #7 should help you get Visio Services up and running.
As always, let us know if you have any feedback on Visio 2010, Visio Services, or suggestions for blog posts or white papers you would like to see.
In Visio 2010, we completely revamped the Visio user interface and adopted the Office Fluent UI or the “Ribbon”. With the Office Fluent UI, Visio’s extensive capabilities are organized into logical, easy to find groups that help you accomplish tasks efficiently. The breakdown of each of the core tabs in the Visio 2010 Ribbon was explained in a previous post.
Although the Office Fluent UI was designed to help make the Office applications easier to work with, we realize that there is a learning curve for the new Office Fluent UI.
Did you know that there are tools available to help you learn the new Visio 2010 Ribbon?
Looking for a list of the 2007 menu and toolbar commands and their new 2010 locations? You’re in luck! Each Office application has an Excel workbook that lists the old menu commands and their new locations in the Office Fluent UI. You can find these workbooks here.
Would you prefer an interactive program that shows you the new location of a command? Interactive guides for each Office application can be found here. Just click the Visio 2007 command or button that you want to find and the guide will show you its location in Visio 2010. These guides are available as online tools or can be installed on your own computer for use any time (even when you’re not connected to the Internet).
We are enjoying the new look and feel of Visio 2010, and hope you feel the same way! If you have questions or comments about the Visio 2010 Ribbon, please comment on our blog and let us know.
If you’re an IT administrator managing multiple copies of Visio and Office 2010, this post explains some changes and improvements we’ve made to the deployment experience for Visio 2010. Visio 2010 deployment is a little different than Office 2010 deployment, and this article will illustrate all those differences.
There are two supported volume activation methods for Visio and Office 2010:
For more information about those activation methods, see this article on TechNet. There’s also a great blog post on the Office Engineering blog that talks about the differences between these methods.
Visio 2010 comes in one single-image SKU. This means that the edition of Visio installed is determined by the key that is used to install it. There are three different Visio 2010 editions: Standard, Professional, and Premium. (For more info on the three editions, see this previous post). Before you deploy Visio 2010 to your users, you need to decide which edition(s) of Visio you want to deploy.
The Visio 2010 Single Image SKU is prepopulated with a Visio Premium 2010 KMS client key. This means that if you deploy the Visio 2010 Single Image SKU without making any changes, you will be deploying Visio Premium 2010. If you want to deploy different editions, you need to take additional steps.
Visio 2010’s new single image architecture was designed to make it easier for organizations to manage multiple editions of Visio 2010. Some of the benefits of single image include:
If you’re planning on deploying a different edition of Visio (other than Premium), or deploying multiple editions of Visio, you will need to install the correct product key based on the edition you want. This section is targeted towards those who are using KMS as the activation method, though you can use the same tools to install the correct MAK key. Here are some different options to help you manage this easily:
By default, the KMS client key in the Visio 2010 Single Image SKU is the Visio Premium 2010 key. You may use the “Enter another product key” under the “Licensing and user interface” section in the Office Customization Tool (OCT) to enter the correct KMS client key:
Visio Premium 2010
Visio Professional 2010
Visio Standard 2010
If you don’t enter the key in the OCT, then you can also enter the key in the config.xml file.
If you’ve already deployed and installed Visio Premium 2010 and want to change editions, it’s easy to do so, and you don’t need to reinstall Visio. Using the Volume Activation Management Tool, you can change the key for every installation of Visio client installed.
After you change the product key for an installation of Visio 2010, you will need to restart Visio twice for the changes to take effect. From then on Visio will update and run as the edition specified by the new key.
You can download and get more information about VAMT 2.0 here.
There’s also a great video here that shows how to use VAMT.
The Office Software Protection Platform script (ospp.vbs script) enables you to configure volume editions of Office 2010 client products. With this script, you can change which keys are used for specific Visio 2010 installations. This is the command you can use to change the key:
cscript ospp.vbs /inpkey:<Visio key>
For more information on how to use this script, see this article on TechNet.
The above section talked about how you can change the edition of Visio before installing the single image SKU, and even after you’ve already installed Visio 2010.
If you’re planning on deploying multiple editions of Visio 2010 in your organization, we recommend you do one of the following:
While we recognize that Visio 2010’s single image SKU requires a little bit of planning before deployment, we hope the benefits of it will save you time in the long run.
Congratulations to Spain for winning the 2010 World Cup! Now that the games are over and we’re all suffering through soccer withdrawal, here’s a recap of the world cup summarized as a Visio diagram. You can use this diagram as a reference to remember who eliminated who, and which group your team was in. You can also see some stats like who the top scorers were, and who received the most yellow cards.
And as a bonus, you can view this diagram with Visio Services ! (If you don’t have a SharePoint server handy, you can see what Visio Services looks like).
This diagram highlights one of the many ways you can use Visio to visualize information. We’ve seen people create intricate diagrams for all types of sports, like bracket diagrams for March madness, elaborate baseball diagrams, and classic Xs and Os for drawing up American football playbooks.