I subscribe to Google Alerts to known when items using the word “Visio” on the net. Most of the time it is about Visio TVs (Seems by the number of police reports, it is a favourite device of thieves), copies of Visio for sale or mentioned as a job requirement. Occassionaly there are a few gems of Visio articles or Visio shapes. Recently it provided a link to a YouTube video that attempted demonstrate how to use Visio 2010. Unfortunately, this video was a bad example of how to learn Visio. Better examples can be found at visio.microsoft.com
So what was wrong with the video?
It was an honest attempt to demonstrate Visio, but the presenter could have used a few pointers before starting.
To start with, several shapes were dragged to the page and then connection lines were added. The Visio team spent a lot of time developing features to simplify the creation of Visio drawings. they added Quick Shapes so that the user just needed to hover over the blue arrow in the direction of the next shape and Visio would provide a list of the Visio quick shapes. When one of the Quick Shapes is selected, that shape is placed a suitable distance from the first shape and connect the two.
Visio connections have directionality. There is a beginning and an end. This YouTube presentation connected the To shape to the From shape. Most of the time, that is not a big deal, but Visio is programmable and if any program tried to read the drawing, it may get confused or require extra code to determine what the user wanted rather than what was drawn.
Connections can be from or to a shape or a connection point. The old way was to use the connection points, this was a problem if the shapes were rearranged. If a shape was connected to a shape on its’ right and then that shape was moved to the left, the connection would go from the right side of the shape to the left side of the second shape that is now on the left. With connection of the shape, the actual point of connection moves to the connection point closest to the other shape.
Each shape contains a block of text. In the video, a text block shape was added to the shape. Moving the shape would not move the text block. The correct way would have been to just click on the shape to select the text block. If the positioning was not appropriate, the Text Block Tool can be used to move the text block relative to the shape.
Visio is a great product, but users should seek out proper help in using the package. In addition to the Visio website, visio.microsoft.com, there are the Visio forums on answers.microsoft.com and Technet.
John Marshall… Visio MVP Visio.MVPs.org