Converting from PowerPoint to Visio

Every so often I get requests about copying from PowerPoint to Visio and confusion about why it is not easy. The problem is that PowerPoint, like several of the other Office apps (Word, Excel and Publisher) have the ability to create Visio like drawings. These are not Visio drawings, just drawings that have Visio features (drag and drop, control handles and connected shapes). Actually, these apps have two methods for creating drawings. The classic method is to select an MSO shape from a drop down list (you can not add shapes) and the other is to use SmartArt. SmartArt is XML based and for those daring enough, they can create their own shapes.

The usual question was: So,  I can manipulate the MSO shapes in PowerPoint (or Excel, or Publisher or Word) why can I not continue doing this when I copy the drawing to Visio? What is copied to Visio, is just a collection of shapes with none of the connection smarts. The only thing you can do is ungroup, not a great user experience.

At one point, I did create a Visio stencil of the MSO shapes and was able to convert the  control handles of the more popular shapes, but it turns out that though the various Office apps used the same MSO shapes, how they were implemented in each app differed.

John Marshall… Visio MVP

Published by johnvisiomvp

The original Visio MVP. I have worked with the Visio team since 1993