A lot of people only know Visio as an app to create business diagrams with clip art and connecting lines. Some have realized you can connect the diagram to a data source like Excel and bring life to the content. Some have also realized you can add embellishments to the shapes called Data Graphics that will light up the data. The lucky ones have found that Visio has a Developer tab, that opens the magic of Visio.
There is a lot that can be done without using the developer tab, but once inside you will find the ShapeSheet with it’s book of spells, actually there are several ShapeSheets. Of course learning about the ShapeSheet is tricky. The ShapeSheet is full of information and that adds noise to any explanation. Most people who have written about the SpreadSheet have used screen shots. So a reader has to try and spot what the author is trying to convey. They can use a pen to highlight the important areas. I think a better way would be to create a set of Visio stencils that can be enhanced with colour and shading. Maybe eliminate cells that are not relevant. So, without text is this image understandable
So, with the help of my Very Best Assistant (VBA). I wrote code to create an Excel table of the content of a SpreadSheet, Section name, cell name, cell value and cell formula. Since ShapeSheet sections are basically grids, I used the information to replicate the shapesheet sections. I did have to add a column to indicate if the cell label was above or to the right of the cell. Most sections had standard locations and after the first run, I was able to correct the anomalies.
Visio has two types of Sections, Fixed and List. The 31 Fixed Sections are 1-D Endpoints, 3-D Rotation Properties, Additional Effect Properties, Alignment, Bevel Properties, Change Shape Behavior, Document Properties, Events, Fill Format, Foreign Image Info, Geometry, GeometryHdr, Glue Info, Gradient Properties, Group Properties, Image Properties, Layer Membership, Line Format, Miscellaneous, Page Layout, Page Properties, Print Properties, Protection, Quick Style, Ruler & Grid, Shape Layout, Shape Transform, Style Properties, Text Block Format, Text Transform, Theme Properties. The 17 List sections are Action Tags, Actions, Annotation, Character, Connection Points, Controls, Fill Gradient, Hyperlinks, Layers, Line Gradient, Paragraph, Reviewer, Scratch, Shape Data, Tabs, Text Fields, User-defined Cells. The Fixed Sections are simple fixed sides grids, but the lists are trickier because the number of rows is variable.
So I have created a set of Section shapes and a ShapeSheet container shape. Containers were added a decade ago. One of the lesser known containers is the List container. As with other containers, it adjusts to the size of it’s content. The shapes are next to each other and there is no fiddling with placement. The size of the margin and the spacing between shapes is controlled by the container. As you hover over the container with a new shape, an insertion line will appear. If you want to rearrange the shapes, select a shape and use the up and down arrow. Whether the list is vertical or horizontal is also controlled by the container.
Of course, these are just shapes and do not have to appear in the official order.
So why not pink…
Here is a Visio stencil of some of the Shapesheet shapes.
I will add this to the download page after a few more updates. This is in the blog to show you what is possible.
I hope this helps.
John… Visio MVP in x-aisle