Using Visio (2016)
  1. Getting Started Welcome to Visio 2016. In this series we'll look at Visio 2016 and how you can create awesome diagrams and drawings using this powerful application. Even if you've never used Visio in the past, you've no doubt seen flowcharts, plans, org charts, or other types of diagrams created using Visio. People who've never used Visio often ask what it does. Even those who have used Visio over the years may have a hard time explaining what Visio is because they only use it for one or two very specific tasks. Visio is an application that allows you to create visually distinctive and professional diagrams that can be used in a variety of settings, subjects, and professions. It's a tool that allows you to communicate complicated information or concepts visually with a polished and professional look. The idea behind Visio is to provide standardized tools that enable you to easily assemble drawings or diagrams using basic building blocks known as shapes. The great thing is that you don't need to be an artist or even know how to draw. This approach to diagramming makes it possible for anyone to create amazing charts and diagrams by putting shapes together. Templates make this even easier by providing you with a basic starting point. You start working by simply dragging and dropping shapes into a drawing. This is why I feel Visio is one of the most satisfying applications you can work with. You'll see impressive results very quickly. At the same time, Visio is capable of drawings and diagrams of incredible detail and depth. Consider some of the types of drawings that are possible using Visio by scrolling through the templates listed in your template gallery when you first open Visio. Out of the box, Visio Standard 2016 includes 26 types of templates, while the professional versions include 76 templates. If you have a subscription to Visio Pro for Office365, you're using Visio Professional 2016. Visio Standard provides you with tools to create many types of business diagrams, while Professional has expanded choices and extra templates, as well as tools designed to easily connect your diagrams to a variety of external data sources, which can turn your diagrams into dashboards that provide real-world information. To help you make sense of the way some of these templates are used, consider a few common examples. Connected diagrams include flowcharts, network diagrams, brainstorming, org charts, database diagrams, and many types of engineering schematics. All of these use lines to show how elements of the drawing relate to one another or to indicate a correct flow for processes. Here an org chart uses lines to show hierarchy. Block diagrams are often used to show concepts and illustrate relationships without using lines. Instead, shapes, colors, style, and position are used to communicate how shapes and ideas relate to one another. Here you can see a basic block diagram where smaller shapes represent components of a computer. Measured drawings rely on scale and measurements to communicate. They include plans, maps, layouts, and views. These are often used for planning and design and can be used to present ideas to clients. Here a floorplan has an assortment of dimensions that can hidden or displayed as needed. Visio continues to see updates to reflect the evolving needs and changing technology of the world we live in. You'll find that more templates have been updated to comply with recognized standards such as this basic electrical template. People are more mobile than ever before, which creates challenges to collaboration and sharing, so you'll see tools to make this easier in Visio. Collaboration can also increase the risk of sensitive data being exposed, so organizations that use information rights management on their network can now protect diagrams within Visio by specifying who's authorized to view or edit your diagrams. Tablets and touchscreens have become more common in the workplace, which in turn, has influenced the interface used in all Office products, and this includes Visio. Visio can sense when you're using a touchscreen, and it adjusts the layout of menus and tabs to optimize the touch experience. On larger screens with much higher resolutions you'll also find Visio 2016 to be easier to work with. Visio 2016 includes updated and modern shapes and stencils. You'll see fresh colors and styles to jazz up your drawings, and more details have been added to the shapes and many stencils. Work has been done to make tools even easier to find using the Tell me what you want to do box on the ribbon. With over 800 tools and commands available on Visio, this can be pretty useful. Visio 2016 continues to keep the drawing window at the focus of your work experience. Visio has so many tools to assist us that the interface can become cluttered, and you might forget where tools are located. To reduce the screen clutter, many tools now appear when you right-click to bring up the context menu. I encourage you to make it a practice to right-click on shapes and see what options are available in the context menu for those shapes. Visio uses live previews throughout, which helps you to see what a change will look like before you select it. An important area that benefits from this is the Print Preview. When working with print jobs, the live preview shows you what the print drawing will look like. This lesson is broken up so that you can feel free to jump to topics that address specific issues you want to understand, or you can watch them sequentially to build up your knowledge of Visio progressively. In either case, we have a lot of ground to cover, but don't worry, you'll soon be making diagrams like an expert. Thank you for watching, and I look forward to seeing you in the next clip.

  2. The Visio Drawing Window In this clip, we'll look at the Visio drawing window. The drawing window in Visio is the heart of the application where your drawings and diagrams will take shape. There are many things around the drawing window like the ribbon, toolbars, and panes, which we'll look at in other clips. The drawing window starts as a blank work area located below the ribbon interface where you can add shapes and content by simply dragging and dropping shapes like this. You can zoom in and out of this area using the scroll wheel on your mouse or the zoom control buttons down here on the status bar. As you become more proficient with Visio, you might want to have more than one drawing window open at the time. Visio allows you to easily navigate among open drawings. The way Visio handles multiple open drawings is essentially the same way this task is performed in other Office applications. Here on the View tab you'll see a lot of properties related to the drawing window itself. The group of tools in the section labeled Window are aimed at aimed at working with multiple windows. Here I have multiple windows open in my copy of Visio and if I use Cascade, I can actually see all of the open windows in a cascade view. This is one way I can select the correct drawing window and just double-click to make it full screen. You can also use Arrange All to split the available space amongst the open windows, and again, you can easily select the one you want to work with. Many long-time Visio users are familiar with Ctrl+Tab, which allows you to jump between open windows just using the keyboard. Of course, the Switch Windows button reveals a drop-down list and allows you to select the drawing you want to work with from the list. One feature that's unique to Visio is the New Window. What does this do? If you're working in a complicated diagram like this org chart, you may find it easier to have more than one view of the same drawing. New Window allows you to open up the same drawing in a second window. Notice the second window that's open has the same name, but a colon and the number 2, so using the New Window button, you can jump to different sections or areas of the same drawing. A word of caution, when you have multiple windows open and you decide you want to close a window, make sure to select the right Close button. The uppermost Close button is for the application itself, while the lower is for the drawing window that's open. There's a few other tools on the View tab that affect the drawing window. The group of tools labeled Show includes the Ruler, which can be toggled on and off. The Grid, which is disabled by default. For long-time Visio users, though, you may miss the Grid, so if you want to enable the Grid, it's just a simple matter of checking the box. Guides and Dynamic Grid are some visual cues that can be pretty useful. What does the Dynamic Grid do? Well, if I'm adding more than one shape to a drawing window, notice the faint green guidelines that let me know if things are lined up, if my spacing matches. These visual aids are controlled by the checkbox for Dynamic Grid. From the View tab you can also enable Presentation Mode, which strips away all of the ribbon and toolbars and puts the focus right on your drawing, so this is a handy way to preview what your drawing is looking like. You can use Escape to return to the drawing window or use F5 to toggle the Presentation Mode. In this clip we've looked at the drawing window and some of the tools that affect its appearance and your interaction with it. Thank you for watching, and I look forward to seeing you in the next clip.

  3. The Visio Ribbon and the Backstage In this clip we'll look at the Visio Ribbon Interface. Microsoft introduced the Fluent User Interface with Office 2007, and it's been a feature in Visio since 2010. There's no way around it; the horizontal ribbon of tabs is the most noticeable feature of this interface, which also provides us with a backstage area, a status bar, and a Quick Access Toolbar. You can see tabs labeled File, Home, Insert, Design, Review, and View. Professional versions also will have Data and Process tabs. Tabs are simply collections of tools that have been grouped together based on tasks. Tools are grouped even further on the tab itself. When you want to insert a picture or text, you'll find those tools in the Insert tab. When you need to change the appearance of a drawing, you'll find common tools for this task on the Design tab, and so forth. Tabs contain many straightforward tools with labels and quite a few unlabeled controls. If you hover over an unlabeled tool, you'll see a tooltip appear that will indicate the tool name and its purpose. It's also good to be familiar with some of the types of controls available on a tab. Drop-down arrows, for example, will indicate the presence of a menu with additional tools. Selecting this will reveal a drop-down menu where you can choose from additional tools. A dialog box launcher will actually open a small window referred to as a dialog box, and this will contain additional options and tools. Scroll buttons can be found with galleries, and they allow you to browse right from the tab. More buttons will expand a gallery, and they can provide additional menus as well. The Collapse the Ribbon button will actually hide the ribbon from view, which allows you more screen space for your drawing window. You can think of it as an auto-hide for tabs. When you select a tab, the tab will expand to reveal its contents as needed. Use the pin to restore the tab so that it's always visible. The ribbon in Visio is context sensitive. This means that occasionally additional tabs, referred to as contextual tabs, will appear depending on what you've clicked on in your Visio diagram, and they'll disappear when no longer needed. Let me show you an example of that. Here in this org chart I have a shape with a picture. If I select the actual picture, notice a new tab appears, the Picture Tools tab. From here I can do editing of the photograph or picture, something I would not normally do in Visio. Additional contextual tabs you may find are Ink Tools, Container Tools, and ShapeSheet Tools. In addition to the contextual tabs, there are also template tabs, and these are tabs with tools unique to certain templates. For example, again in this org chart, there's certain tools here that are designed for layout, spacing between shapes, importing data into my org chart, and even a special gallery to choose shapes for this particular template. Additional template-specific tabs you might come across are Brainstorming, Cross-Functional Flowcharts, Plans, Gantt Charts, and Website Maps. Well of all the tabs we've looked at, one still remains unique, and that's the File tab. Unlike the other tabs, this will take you behind your drawing to a backstage area. From here, you can manage tasks that go beyond the drawing window. For example, you can create new drawings, save your work, print, share, export drawings, and you can even manage settings for the Visio application itself. While the backstage area doesn't display the other horizontal ribbon tabs, it does provide a vertical list of tabs off to the left. Simply use the back arrow when you want to return to your drawing window. If you select the File tab while working in a drawing, it will open to the Info tab, which provides document properties related to the drawing you're working on currently. Size and date information can be found here. When you first open Visio, you're brought to a different part of the backstage area. This allows you to choose from recent drawings or start a new template. We'll come back to the backstage area quite often in other clips to consider in more detail the purpose and content of some of these other tabs. As you can see, the ribbon is practical. Imagine trying to find space to work if all of the buttons and tools were always visible. So in Visio it's possible to create custom tabs and tool groups that you can put your special tools and things you use all in one place. You can create your own custom tab by going to the File tab and then Options. This will open Visio Options. From here, click Customize Ribbon. Now there's a few things you can do from here. First of all, if you are looking for tools that you can't locate on tabs, this might be a good way to find those. From the Choose commands from drop-down, you can look for commands not in the ribbon. This will list all the commands that exist in Visio, but they currently don't have a place on any of the tabs. You can also simply list all commands, locate the commands you're looking for, and then just hover over it. This will reveal the tab and tool group where the tool is located. To create a new tab, on the right side simply select New Tab. You can then rename your tab, add new groups, and select from commands on the left to add these to Groups on your new tab, and you can even add new groups to existing tabs. Here you can see an Edit tab that I have created. It says (Custom) in parentheses, which indicates that it was a created tab. To make this appear in Visio, I simply select it to enable it. Now when I return to my drawing window I see the Edit tab has been enabled. So in this clip we've looked at the ins and outs of tabs. Thank you for watching, and I look forward to seeing you in the next clip.

  4. Toolbars, Menus, and Panes in Visio In this clip, we'll look at the Visio toolbars, menus, and panes found in Visio 2013. Besides the ribbon, there are many other tools you'll be working with in Visio that are part of the user interface, which are common to all Microsoft Office applications. The Quick Access Toolbar allows you to access essential commands that will always be visible. Basic commands are located here by default to save, undo, and redo actions. You can also customize the toolbar by clicking the More button. This allows you to pick specific commands from the Visio Options dialog box and keep them visible here regardless of which ribbon you might be working with. Context menus, sometimes referred to as right-click menus, are used the same way in all Microsoft products. They provide basic functions that allow you to cut, copy, paste, as well as tools to format text and perform editing. In Visio, context menus are powerful tools when working with shapes and texts. Some shapes actually display hidden abilities when examined using their context menu. Compare this regular basic shape and its context menu with the context menu that appears with this door shape. In the context menu here, notice how this door's orientation can be reversed with a simple click. Across the bottom of the Visio window, you'll see the status bar, and as the name indicates, it provides status information regarding the drawing that's currently open revealing the page you're on, language settings, and zoom settings. When a shape is selected, information related to the size of the shape is displayed in the status bar. These bits of information are also hot, meaning you can click or select them to edit or examine that piece of status information. You'll occasionally see status messages and progress bars here displayed toward the middle of the status bar related to file tasks like saving and printing, and you can always hover any of these with your mouse pointer to get additional information. The status bar houses a couple of other important buttons that you should be aware of. To the left of the zoom control is the Presentation Mode button. This displays your drawing at full screen, and allows you to scroll through the pages just like you would in a PowerPoint presentation. Press Esc to go back to your normal Visio window. The second button is the Switch Windows button. Select it to jump between currently open drawings. Visio relies heavily on task panes as you work with your drawings. Task panes are basically small, movable windows that can be docked to the side of a drawing window like the Shapes task pane, or they can float. There are four common task panes in Visio: Shapes, Shape Data, Pan & Zoom, Size & Position. From the View tab you can enable or disable task panes by clicking the Task Panes drop-down button and selecting to toggle a task pane on or off. When you close Visio, the position of the task pane is saved, and it will appear the same way the next time you open Visio. You'll occasionally see other task panes such as the Format Shape task pane, and some are unique to certain templates. They can all be moved, docked to the edge of a drawing window, resized, and anchored to the edges of a drawing window. Anchoring the pane allows you to automatically hide so that they'll fly open when you hover over them. So in this clip, we've looked at a few of the toolbars, menus, and panes that are found throughout Visio. Thank you for watching, and I look forward to seeing you in the next clip.

  5. Working with Pages In this clip, we're going to look at working with pages. Depending on the type of template you open to start a drawing or diagram, many times the page settings themselves are included in that template's settings, but as your work begins to evolve and grow, you may feel the need to change some of the settings associated with your pages. So let's look at some of the basic settings that are associated with pages. If we go to the Design tab, notice the first group of tools in the Design tab are the Page Setup tools. Here you can adjust basic settings, such as orientation, the page size, and we have something here called Auto Size. Let's look a little more in detail what exactly is included in the page properties. If we click this expand box, we can actually bring up the dialog box for Page Setup. Now we're only concerned with the middle three tabs, this one about Print Setup, that's a separate set of properties, and we'll have a few clips, actually, talking about printing later in the series. So the Page Size allows us to control a little more in detail the things that are taking place with our page size. We can choose from a predefined page size using quite a few different standards, and remember that this is dealing with the drawing window, the page size that's displaced in the drawing window, not what you're going to print, it has nothing to do with the paper that you might use to print a diagram with. The next tab deals with Drawing Scale. Depending on the type of drawing that you might be working with, scale may be an important feature, not so much with flowcharts or block charts, but floorplans and things such as that. Page Properties provides us with some essential settings to control how our page behaves. If you notice here, we have two types of pages, Foreground or Background. Think of foreground pages as the normal drawing window you interact with when you open Visio. Pretty much any type of page you're going to interact with is going to be a normal foreground page. Background pages are special. They have a special purpose, and we'll get into those in a little more detail here in just a minute. From here you can also input the name of the page, assign a background page, and determine what the measurement units will be for this drawing window. And again, this will have a lot to do with what type of diagram or drawing you're making. If I close this for a second, we notice that Visio is set up somewhat like Excel, if you've ever used Excel before. You have your workbook and you may have a few sheets with different purposes in your workbook. Visio is similar. At the bottom of the drawing window you actually have tabs for your pages. So if I right click on this page, I can see some of the same properties as far as renaming, and I can open up that same Page Setup box right from the tab. The + button allows me to insert additional pages, and again, like with an Excel workbook, I may have a drawing that requires additional pages to accommodate different types of information associated with my drawing. So rather than have separate diagrams and drawings floating around, it's a nice way to keep everything all in one place. For example, here a set of house plans dealing with a kitchen remodel, different tabs have different types of diagrams, but they're all associated with the same remodel project. Now we mentioned background pages, and let's just look at those really quick as far as what their purpose is. You can see in this unfinished flowchart that there is a basic white background, but let's say that this is going to spread over a few pages, and we want to jazz it up a little bit. Perhaps, we want some additional information that's present on the page, and this is where background pages can be very useful. From the Design tab, we have a section of tools for backgrounds. From here we can actually assigned a background color or pattern, and we can assign borders and titles. Now if you noticed, as soon as I clicked one of those, two things happened; one, it made an obvious visual change to our page. We also have a new page tab that appeared at the bottom of drawing table, VBackground-1. So the way background pages work, is the background page can be applied to all of our pages or just certain pages. We can have more than one background page. If we go to the background page itself, we can edit the contents of the page. We can include shapes, we can change the type of information that is presented, and another nice thing that we'll talk about when we deal with printing is that the properties of the background page can be stripped away if you ever decide you need to print your diagram, so all of the color and things that might be there do not necessarily have to be printed using expensive color toner. So if we go back to Page 1, and we look at the properties for that page now, we can see that VBackground-1 is assigned as a background page. If we say None, and hit OK, all of elements that were visible just a second ago are now gone. So I want to come back to the thought of page size again. We've looked a little bit at some of the general purposes of pages and how they can be used and how we can adjust the settings, but Visio has some nice ways that make it easy to change our page sizes on the fly. Auto Size is a nice tool that allows Visio to make dynamic changes to our page size as we work. Let's say this flowchart grows and extends beyond the borders of our drawing page. Now I could open up the Page Setup dialog box and make those changes manually, but I could just enable Auto Size and what Visio will do when a shape is added, is it will just extend the page size automatically. Some people like having Auto Size enable, others don't, but it's just a simple matter of toggling it on or off from the Design tab. Let me show you a tip for another way to quickly change your page size. Hold your Ctrl key down on the keyboard and hover your pointer over the edge of the page. Notice how my pointer changes to a two-headed arrow. This allows me to click and drag the edge of the page and change it to whatever page size I need. If I open up the Page Setup, I'll see that I'm now using a custom page size. So in this clip we've looked at some of the things associated with pages as you work with Visio. Thank you for watching, and I look forward to seeing you in the next clip.

  6. Shapes, Stencils, and Templates An Overview of Shapes and Stencils In this clip, we'll consider an overview of shapes and stencils. Interaction with shapes is so crucial to creating diagrams in Visio that this whole section of clips is dedicated to the ins and outs of shapes. Shapes are the building blocks of your diagrams so they're used to communicate relationships, processes, or concepts that you might find in an organization or org chart, a block diagram, or a flowchart. They can provide details in logical or conceptual representations of networks, floor plans, and schematics. Shapes can be simple and basic, or they can be very complicated and can contain an incredible amount of data. Visio is so versatile that you can even create and import your own shapes such as logos or images. Generally, your drawing or diagram will use a particular type of shape, and in Visio these are grouped into categories called stencils. Stencils are predefined groups of shapes that have been assembled for a particular type of drawing or diagram. An example would be a floor plan. Common elements that would be used in a floor plan are in stencils such as windows, doors, or walls. While working in Visio, you'll spend a lot of time working with the Shapes pain. The Shapes pain has two major modes--Stencils and Search. Stencil mode presents you with those readily available shapes grouped into stencils so you can get right to work. And Search gives you the ability to locate shapes that might be in different stencils. Although the Shape pane displays the shapes from one selected stencil at a time, you may detach other stencils and float them around your drawing so that additional shape sets are displayed. The shapes that you find in a stencil are considered masters. When you open a stencil and drag a shape from the stencil to a drawing, you're using a master shape. And Visio understands that you want an instance or a copy of that shape located at that location on your drawing. You could compare the master to a cookie cutter. Shapes you create inherit the properties of the master shape and remain linked to the master shape that produced them. One of the benefits of this behavior is that the master shape can be edited or modified after a diagram is created, and all linked instances of that shape will reflect this new change. Imagine having to update a business logo, a size or color change, and then having to modify each shape individually. So understanding the relationship of the master shape to the replicated shapes in a drawing can save you a lot of time and effort when you need to update or modify a drawing. So there you have it. The basic overview of what shapes and stencils are all about. Thanks for watching! I look forward to seeing you in the next clip.

  7. Manipulating Shapes In this clip, we'll consider how to manipulate shapes. It's important to understand some basic characteristics of shapes and how to interact with them using their control handles, sometimes called control points. Imagine moving a big trunk or suitcase that has handles in the wrong place. Well shapes have plenty of control handles that are designed to be used in diverse situations. Some are readily visible while others are hidden until you need them. To manipulate your shape using one of these handles, you simply click and drag using the pointer tool, pretty intuitive. Shapes basically come in two flavors-- one dimensional and two dimensional. Shapes that are considered one dimensional include arrows, lines, and connectors. When you select a one-dimensional shape, you see two control handles or endpoints that allow you to position the endpoints themselves. Notice this shape used in rack diagrams, even though it appears two dimensional, it's considered to be a one-dimensional shape with an endpoint at each end allowing changes to the length and position of the endpoints. You may see occasionally yellow control handles that allow you to change additional characteristics of a one-dimensional shape like this arrow head. However, you're still working around a one-dimensional axis. Two-dimensional shapes have area, meaning that they have length and width with additional handles allowing for more ways to adjust their area. The rectangle you see here has eight control handles around its perimeter and another control handle for rotating the shape. Grab a control handle at a corner and you can resize in two directions at once while using midpoint handles allows you to change the size in one direction. Symmetrical shapes like circles and squares will maintain their aspect ratio by default. Rotate handles are used to rotate shapes by clicking the circular control handle and then dragging that to rotate the shape. We'll look closer at rotating shapes in another clip. Control handles can serve more than one purpose depending on the tool you select. As you've seen in previous examples, the pointer tool affects basic resizing when you select and drag a control handle. On the Home tab in the Tools group, you can select from additional tools in the drop-down to make shapes on the fly. I want to draw your attention to the Pencil tool. It's a little more special because it changes the behavior of some control handles and even makes additional handles appear in some cases. You can find it helpful to hover over the control point for a moment to see what change will be affected with that particular control handle. Vertex handles appear as small blue dots, and the cursor changes to a four-headed arrow when you hover over a vertex handle. A vertex refers to the point where two or more line segments meet. Select a corner using the Pencil tool, and the vertex handle at the corner allows you to reposition just that corner allowing you to be pretty creative. Using the Pencil tool, grab a midpoint between two vertex handles and you can pull the side of a shape into an arc. Line Freeform and Arc tools can also sometimes use control handles are vertex handles. Remember, you can always undo actions when you don't like the results. One last type of control handle you may encounter is the eccentricity handle. This appears when working with curved connectors or arcs, and it's used to adjust the severity of the arc. With connectors, you'll see these handles appear when using the Pointer tool or the Pencil tool. See how this connector changes shape when pulling and positioning the eccentricity handles. This arc doesn't appear to have eccentricity handles until you select the midpoint using the Pencil tool. The midpoint can be repositioned, and the arc can be adjusted using its eccentricity handles. Now some of these control handle types you'll rarely, if ever, use. But understanding how these handles work and what you can do may unlock some creative doors for you. I encourage you to take a few minutes to practice these techniques so you have an idea of what can be done when manipulating shapes in your diagrams. Thanks for watching! And I look forward to seeing you in the next clip.

  8. Finding Shapes In this clip, we're going to talk about finding shapes for your drawings. Finding shapes in Visio 2016 can sometimes seem like a challenge, but you can do a lot to alleviate that stress by choosing the right template to start out with. Some other ways you can find shapes easily and quickly is by using the auto-connect feature and taking advantage or leveraging Quick Shapes. Now in this case, I have the basic network template open, and I want to show you how to make sure that the auto-connect feature is enabled. If I place a shape on my drawing from the Network and Peripherals stencil, those faint blue arrows that are used with auto-connect don't appear. If that's the case for the template you're using, go to the View tab and make sure that under Visual Aids, the AutoConnect tool is enabled. So now that it's enabled and I go back to my shape, I see those faint blue arrows appear, and that allows me to choose from four different auto-connect shapes. These auto-connect shapes are drawn from your group of Quick Shapes for that particular stencil that's selected or active. If I change to the Computers and Monitors stencil, I now have a different group of four shapes that I can automatically connect to my initial shape. What do we mean by Quick Shapes? Well if you look closer at the stencil that's open, for example Networks and Peripherals, we have a group of shapes, and then we have a group of Quick Shapes separated by a very faint gray line. These Quick Shapes are the ones considered by the developer of the stencil to be the most frequently used shapes from that particular group of shapes in the stencil. Now it's an arbitrary grouping. It's not dynamically affected by how frequently you might use a shape. But you can still edit the contents of the Quick Shapes group. Why might you want to do that? Well let's say I use this particular stencil quite often, and I would like to have a different group of shapes appear for the auto-connect choices. For example, if I do a lot of diagrams for small businesses, under Computers and Monitors, the group of Quick Shapes that are currently active--PC, virtual PC, terminal, and wavelength division multiplexer--may not be the Quick Shapes that I would most likely use for a small business. So I can right-click any of these shapes and remove from Quick Shapes. And then I can right-click shapes in my group of common shapes and add those to the Quick Shapes list. So let's say I add a few different shapes to that group of Quick Shapes. Now when I hover over a shape, I have a group of shapes that more accurately reflects my particular needs with the diagrams I'll be working with. Some stencils you open may have four shapes. They may have six or even eight shapes, again depending on what the developer decided were considered frequently-used shapes. So to affect which shapes appear from the auto-connect option for you, you may need to whittle that group down or edit the contents of the Quick Shapes group to determine which ones appear with the auto-connect arrows. Another common task when working with shapes in Visio is the need to update or change shapes occasionally. So maybe you have a diagram that's all put together, but you decide that a shape needs to be replaced or updated. An easy way to do that is to go to the Home tab, look for the group of tools under Editing and use the Change Shape tool. From here, you can choose from open stencils and pick just the right shape to replace the one that's there. It doesn't simply delete and paste in a new shape. Any custom properties from the old shape are transferred to the new shape. So hyperlinks, Shape Data, layer properties, alignment, any connections that are made are all transferred to the new shape. As a tip, an even easier way to use the Change Shape tool is to right-click the shape in question and use the tool from the context menu. In this case, it's unlabeled but appears just to the left of the Styles button. Another way to quickly find shapes is simply to create your own stencils. For example, if you choose a shape in one of the stencils you have open now and right-click it, you can select Add to My Shapes and Favorites. Or if you've already created some stencils, you can add it to one of those stencils. Finally, we can search for shapes. In the Shapes pane, you can select the Search feature and type in a search term. Let's say I want to add a stop sign to my diagram, I'd type stop, Enter, and all the shapes associated with the term stop will be displayed in the search results. From here I can drag it over to my drawing, or I could right-click it and save it to a stencil where I'll find it quickly later. Search can be a pretty powerful tool for finding shapes that might be in stencils you would never have thought to look at. In some cases, your list of search results might be pretty big, and you may see a More results link. Select that to expand the results for a particular template. So there you have it, some basic tools to help you find the shapes you need for your drawings, and some practical suggestions to help you leverage the tools already built into Visio when working with shapes. Thanks for watching! And I look forward to seeing you in the next clip.

  9. Grouping Shapes In this clip, we look at the concept of grouping shapes in Visio. Groups have long been a feature in Visio, and they continue to be useful when you're working with shapes today. You might initially relate this concept with how you group pictures or files in other applications so that you can move or modify the properties of the group all at once. Although that's a valid reason for grouping shapes in Visio, Visio allows you to do much, much more with groups that you might be thinking of right now. Just to give you a quick example of how powerful group shapes are in Visio here in the floor plan template, I have the cubicle stencil open. And I'm going to take the cube workstation shape and drop it over on my drawing window. Now while this is all one shape, I can actually sub-select individual items within that shape, the furniture, the computer and the desk, and I can manipulate those, changing their position or orientation. And, again, because it's a master shape, I can actually drop this on several places on my drawing window. And each instance can look different and have different orientations. So that's a pretty powerful thing when you think of how these are just grouped shapes. So how can you use groups in your drawings? Well groups can save you a lot of time when you're applying common colors or other properties. They're practical when you need to move or rotate multiple shapes at a time. Groups can be formed as a temporary collection until certain changes are performed, and then you can ungroup at a later time. For example, notice in this flowchart what I can do with a group. If we look at this group of shapes here, we may decide that this is really a sub-process that we want to be able to work with individually. So if I just click and drag and select all the shapes in this area, I can now right-click and form a group. Now what's the benefit in doing that? Think of a group as working with these shapes as a unit. And that's really the key concept to take away from this. Grouping shapes allows you to treat them as a unit. So in this group, I can now reposition it. I could change the color or other things that might be key elements. But notice how I can still sub-select shapes, reposition them even outside the borders of my group. Now if I select the group again and reposition it, the whole thing still moves as a unit. So it's a very powerful way to work with multiple shapes and, again, using the group tool to treat this as a unit, it can really make me a lot more effective as I work with a complex drawing. Now another thing to be aware of when you work with a group is that in addition to grouping and ungrouping shapes, you can also edit the group itself. Again, select your group and right-click. And in the Group section of your context menu, look for Open Group. So now that puts my group front and center. It takes it away from all the other, maybe, chaos in a complex drawing. And I can just work on the elements of this particular unit changing shapes, updating information. Once you've formed a group, you can hold onto that unit and use it in other drawings. In our clip on creating stencils, I showed you how to take custom shapes and add them to your own stencils. So you could take a group of shapes, much like the cubicle that we looked at earlier, and add that to a stencil. And then you can use that master shape in other drawings at a later time. So, again, another powerful tool when you work with groups. And for those of you who are keyboard fanatics, like keyboard shortcuts, the shortcuts to make a group are Ctrl+G and to ungroup a group of shapes is Ctrl+Shift+U. Now are groups always the most effective way to work with multiple shapes at the same time? Not always. There are actually some very powerful tools in Visio that allow you to work with multiple shapes in different ways in different contexts. So we'll look at layers and how layers allow you to work with groups of shapes, as well as containers as another way of working with multiple shapes at the same time. And both of those we'll look at in separate clips later on in this series. So here we've considered briefly how to use groups of shapes in your drawings. Thanks for watching! And I look forward to seeing you in the next clip.

  10. Arranging Shapes In this clip, we look at arranging shapes. The importance of arrangement can be critical in some diagrams, such as the flowchart or an organization chart. Visio provides many tools to help you adjust the way shapes and connectors are laid out in your drawing. And with the Live Preview feature, it takes a lot of the guesswork out of using these tools. While most of the tools are located on the Home tab, there are a couple of useful tools that effect layout in the View tab, and we'll look at those as well. Dynamic Grid is a very useful tool that you'll likely leave enabled all the time. This tool provides reference layout information that helps control the placement of your shapes on the fly. Visual cues appear when you move shapes making alignment very easy from center or edge alignment points. Notice how this CPU shape can be aligned with the shape below it. Also I can see visual cues that let me know that the spacing is matching the expected standard for these two shapes. This Dynamic Grid tool is enabled by default on the View tab in the Visual Aid section. Without this feature, you'd be guessing at how close these shapes line up. As you've seen, similar shapes can be arranged using distance and centerline references. But when shapes are dissimilar, Visio still works to provide points of reference. Here, a group of dissimilar shapes still shows valuable references for alignment. The Home tab has a tool section labelled Arrange. The Align tools are especially effective when working with shapes that are connected with connector lines like you might find in a flowchart. However, you can also use this tool to select shapes in other situations. Align provides the following options. From the drop-down, selecting Auto Align will move selected shapes so that the center axis of the selected shapes are aligned. The other align tools in this drop-down focus on vertical or horizontal points of alignment with no regard to spacing. So don't be surprised if you see shapes overlap. There's a trick to using these arrangement tools. With alignment tools, attention is given to the first selected shape, and other shapes align their positions to align with that reference shape. So when you use alignment, select the shape you want to use as your reference point first, then while holding the Shift or Ctrl buttons down, select the rest of your shapes. While all shapes show they're selected with an outline, the reference shape will have a bolder outline. The second drop-down button in the arrange section of the Home tab is labelled Position. Position tools focus on the spacing between shapes. And like the Align tools, Position tools work really well with connected shapes. But you can also use them with selected shapes if you want to focus the effect or when working with unconnected shapes. Notice here how Auto Space moves selected shapes until the minimum spacing requirements are met between all of the selected shapes. With nothing selected, it adjusts the spacing between all connected shapes on the page to provide a minimum spacing. Auto Align and Space combines the Auto align and Auto Space tools. Shapes are neatly aligned, and the space between the shapes is now uniform. This is a very powerful tool. Finally, you can select Spacing Options to open the Spacing Options dialog box. In here you can tweak the spacing even further. The default for U.S. measurements is 0.5 inch, whereas metric uses 7.5 mm. Now here there're also a few commands related to distribute under the Position button in the Home tab. These tools focus on the way shapes are spaced in a drawing, and they will shift their position until all shapes are evenly spread horizontally or vertically based on the centerlines of the shapes, or you can select More Distribute Options to use a different reference point. One common way the Distribute tool is used is to establish reference points for diagrams. For example, think of the vertical and horizontal numbers and letters common on many maps. Distribute and Align tools can make a quick job of setting up these kinds of professional reference points on a plan or diagram. If we return to the View tab, there're a couple of other tools here that influence how shapes are arranged on your drawing. Whether the grid is visible or not, you can use it to snap shapes to your drawing window, or you could disable the feature by launching the Snap and Glue dialog box from the Visual Aids tool group. From here, you can disable snap completely or enable and disable settings that influence how shapes snap to the drawing window. I really recommend you keep track of any changes you make here in case you need to re-enable the setting later. Now while the General tab has options for both shapes and connectors, the Advanced tab is meant to allow you to adjust the strength of these tools. Again, be very cautious about making drastic changes here because the effects could become quite frustrating later if you enable or over-strengthen a setting. And, finally, as much as you may try to avoid overlaps, they can occur especially as diagrams evolve and become more complex or as processes or components are added later. In some cases, the overlap is even intentional. So how do you control which shapes overlap or sit on top of one another? In the Home tab, look at the Arrange section again. Here you have two tools that allow you to control the Z order of a shape. This refers to the front to back position of a shape relative to others around it. Bringing a shape to the very front will put it on top of everything, and you can step it forward or backward incrementally using bring forward or send backward. Send to back, of course, will put it to the very back of everything. And, again, these options are also available from the context menu if you use a right click. In this clip, we've looked at tools that help you arrange your shapes. Thank you for watching! And I look forward to seeing you in the next clip.

  11. Rotating Shapes In this clip, we'll talk about rotating shapes. There're a few ways to rotate a shape in Visio. Many people just grab the rotate control handle that's visible once a shape has been selected and then just drag it to rotate the shape to the desired angle. Incidentally, you can also control a group of shapes the same way using the rotation handle for the entire group. When using the rotate control handle, there're a few things you should be aware of. First of all, notice what happens on the status bar as I grab the shape and use the control handle to rotate it. The degree of angle is indicated, and I don't have to guess or even just use my eye. I know right away what the angle is. Also notice that as I go further away from the shape, the degree of rotation is more granular. The closer I come to the shape, the rotation is incremental 5, 10, or even 15 degrees so the distance from the center or rotation that I'm dragging from has a big effect. Coming back to the status bar, I can actually do with the angle from there. If I select this, I can now type in the exact degree of angle I desire. So if I'm at 0, I can just type 45, and look how easy it is to change that angle and then modify it if I don't like the results. With the rotate handle, you can also move your center point used for rotation. Simply select the rotate control handle and then select the center point and drag it to another location. Now what happens if you want to rotate multiple shapes or even the entire diagram? There's a tool for that. On the Home tab under the Position button are several Orient Shape tools related to rotation. Here you can rotate selected shapes or flip selected shapes from left to right or top to bottom. It's also good to be aware of how this tool works with text as opposed to using the rotate control handle. Text maintains its orientation here, whereas rotating it with the control handle will actually invert the text. Also, if your diagram is using gradients, the results may not be as desired. When using the tools listed under Orient Shapes, you can encounter overlapping shapes. So, therefore, the Live Preview is really valuable in determining whether a tool is accomplishing the desired change. The Rotate Diagram tools allow you to rotate the orientation or position of the shapes with respect to one another in the entire diagram. I encourage you to spend a little bit of time using both of these tools to see how they can be used in your drawings. In this clip, we've looked a little bit at rotating shapes in Visio. Thank you for watching! And I look forward to seeing you in the next clip.

  12. Using the Layout Tool In this clip, we'll look at the Layout tool. Layout is another very powerful tool in Visio that's used to improve and correct certain types of drawing such as flowcharts. When quickly putting steps or processes together, you may have steps or processes accurately represented but not efficiently visualized. Notice this flowchart. You can follow the process, but it's not very aesthetically pleasing, and it needs to be tidied up a bit. On the Design tab, I can select the Re-Layout Page tool and choose from available layouts. This presents me with some interesting variations. Some can be worse--look at all the line jumps--and some of these layouts just don't seem fit for this type of diagram. However, others make a bit improvement, and look at all the time it'll save me. The Re-Layout Page tool is especially useful after edits or additions have occurred that impact the appearance of your charts. Rather than trying to manually rearrange the steps or content, just see if the layout tool can't fix the chart. Notice that there's also a More Layout Options choice. This opens the Configure Layout dialog box. And from here, I can further tweak settings like spacing and how connectors will appear. Take some time to look at the Re-Layout Page tool on the Design tab. This provides you with a valuable tool that will make short work of adjusting and polishing your diagrams. Thank you for watching! And I look forward to seeing you in the next clip.

  13. Formatting Shapes In this clip, we'll look at formatting shapes. One common formatting task for shapes is resizing. While it's pretty intuitive to resize using the prominent control handles, you may be frustrated by the tendency to maintain aspect ratio. If you need to resize and override the aspect ratio, try holding the Shift key down when you drag the control handle. A few symmetrical shapes are meant to maintain an aspect ratio, such as a square. And this override won't work in their case. One-dimensional shapes such as lines or walls in a building plan can be resized by selecting an endpoint and dragging. If you hold down the Shift key while dragging the endpoint, you'll find the direction is constrained to 45-degree horizontal or vertical right angles. This can occasionally be pretty handy and avoid a lot of frustration. Visio also provides a dedicated pane to work with size. From the View tab, select Task Panes and enable the Size and Position pane. From here you can manually type in the size for a shape. Of course, formatting often involves other visible properties such as color. And while themes provide you with an abundance of color choices, you may occasionally need to use very specific colors in your drawings. You can reach many formatting options from the Home tab. However, I'm going to use the right-click context menu. If I right-click in a shape, I can assign colors using the Styles drop-down menu. Here I can change color properties for fill, line, and text. Notice that there are three types of colors to choose from--theme, variant, and standard. If you assign a theme or variant color, it will be altered by any later changes to the theme or variant on this page. Let's say that I want this octagon to look like a red stop sign, and I don't want the color to change. To prevent any unintentional changes to color, I will need to choose a standard color or choose More Colors and select a custom color from the Colors dialog box. From here I can choose using the Standard or Custom tabs. For most basic formatting changes, you can work from the Home tab or the context menu where you'll have many preset formatting choices to choose from. But that's just scratching the surface. Visio 2016 makes it easier to work with many of the lesser-used attributes from the Format Shape pane. The easiest way to open this is by simply right-clicking your shape and selecting Format Shape from the context menu. There are two tabs in the Format Shape pane. The first uses a fill paint bucket for a tab icon and contains expanded Fill and Line menus that include additional controls. The second tab of the Format Shape pane uses a pentagon for a tab icon. This contains a much deeper set of effects controls where you can manipulate properties like shadow color, transparency, and blur. If you plan to format multiple shapes, you should know about the Format Painter tool. This handy tool has been around for a long time in the Office Suites. And in Visio works the same way as it does in Word or Excel. By working with one object and getting your formatting down, you can do complex formatting over a period of time without having to keep a group of shapes selected. After your shape is just the way you want it, select the formatted shape and then select the Format Painter tool. This allows you to select a shape or drag over a group of shapes to transfer that formatting. A handy trick to be aware of with the Format Painter tool is by double-clicking, you can lock the tool in the enabled position and then select multiple objects even over different pages to transfer the formatting. When finished, you can press the Escape key on your keyboard to disable the tool. In this clip, we've considered how you can format shapes in Visio. Thank you for watching! And I look forward to seeing you in the next clip.

  14. Duplicating Shapes In this clip, we'll look at duplicating shapes in Visio. In Visio, you can make good use of a few basic techniques once you get them down. It's not uncommon to have several copies of the same shape in a diagram, and perhaps you become accustomed to dragging the same shape out of your stencil anytime you need a new copy. Obviously, this can create even more work if the shape has been customized in some way. Maybe you use a copy/paste technique that may serve you well. But let me show you a couple of easy methods that may save you even more time in the long run. Visio actually has a Duplicate tool that's hidden under the Paste drop-down and in the Home tab. It will duplicate whatever's currently selected in the drawing window. The keyboard shortcut's also pretty easy. Just use Ctrl+D. Once the duplicate shape appears, you can then drag it to the correct location. A similar and even faster way to create quick duplicates is accomplished when you hold down the Ctrl key and then select and drag a shape. The original shape stays where it was, and you're now dragging a duplicate. If you need a series of copies, use the F4 key to quickly repeat and add shapes with the same relative position. Now these methods also work when you have selected multiple shapes. It certainly is a lot faster than dragging several shapes over and then worrying about positioning each time. Using these techniques, you can create tables, patterns, or copies of clusters of shapes. With Visio Professional, you can use several macros for similar effects. From the View tab, open the Add-Ons menu from the Macro section and select Visio Extras. The Move Shapes macro allows you to basically duplicate selected shapes like we've seen already. The Array Shapes allows vertical and horizontal copies to be generated from a selected shape. Just indicate your preferences including the spacing and voila! Now, remember, you can add this macro to a tab or even the Quick Access toolbar if you would like it to be more accessible. In this clip, we've looked at duplicating shapes. Thank you for watching! And I look forward to seeing you in the next clip.

  15. Understanding SmartShapes In this clip, we'll help you to understand Smart Shapes. Smart Shapes are an important feature of Visio that can easily be taken for granted. What makes them so smart? And how can you access all that extra shape potential? Visio shapes have so many properties that allow for customization and functionality that they're often rightly called Smart Shapes. Much of this flexibility is out of sight. And up until now, you may not even be aware of what we call Shape Data. The term Shape Data usually refers to information kept in Shape Data fields. To view this data, we can right-click a shape to open up the context menu and then select Properties. From the View tab, you can also enable the Shape Data pane from the Task pane's drop-down menu. As you can see here, a lot of information is recorded and stored right in the shape. Features like Shape Data depend on the developers that create these shapes and their ability to anticipate how shapes might be used. You can customize Shape Data to suit your own needs to manage things like workflows and processes, schedules, inventory, audits, and there are many other ways that you can use Shape Data. We'll look closer at using and customizing Shape Data in other clips. Another way to get an idea of how much data a Smart Shape is carrying around is to look at the context menu. Here you can see how the context menu reveals many special abilities for some shapes from different stencils. And anytime you see Properties listed in the context menu, that's a good sign that there's additional information in the Shape Data fields that you can view in the Shape Data pane. While control handles are a standard feature for shapes when you're moving and resizing, you may see additional control handles from time to time that signal additional adjustments or purposes. They appear as yellow control handles, and you can find their purpose by hovering over them to reveal a screen tip. Shapes can provide a nice intuitive springboard to a website or a network location by adding hyperlinks. Notice if I hover over this shape labelled Invoices, it points to a network location. And if I click, I can actually open up that location right from my Visio drawing. To add a hyperlink to a shape, you select a shape, and then you can use the Hyperlink tool from the Insert tab or simply select the Hyperlink option from the context menu. Enter your URL or network path to point to a location. If a hyperlink is already established, you will see the Edit Hyperlinks option, and then you can edit or add additional links. Shapes that have hyperlinks will not have any different appearance, but the cursor changes and you'll see a screen tip to let you know right away that a hyperlink is present. In this clip, we've looked at a few of the features that characterize Smart Shapes. Thank you for watching! And I look forward to seeing you in the next clip.

  16. Shape Data Basics In this clip, we'll look at some basic uses for Shape Data. Visio provides you with many ways to manually input Shape Data in the fields using input controls that you can even customize. Input controls help you to be consistent allowing you to indicate which choices are available and providing predefined data choices, which makes it easier and quicker to keep your Shape Data accurate and up to date. In this example, notice that the status field offers five choices. You can type in text of your own choosing, but this is one way to ensure consistency. Date fields offer navigable calendars for dates, and fields related to monetary units convert numbers into money. Visio also allows you to select multiple shapes that are similar and edit the Shape Data fields for all selected shapes at once. For example, a flowchart might have a few processes that have the same owner. You could select all of these shapes while holding down your Ctrl key and then modify the Owner field in the Shape Data pane. All of the selected shapes will now have that owner when looked at individually. Depending on the diagram type and the shapes used, Shape Data can be static information that is held for reference, or it could influence the visual configuration of the shape in your diagram. As you can see here, shapes added to a floor plan have dimensional Shape Data revealed in the Shape Data task pane. Changing the dimensions immediately changes the size of the shape on the floor plan, and this holds true for windows and doors. Most dimensional fields will have an input field that reflects common standard sizes, which is, again, pretty helpful. If you thought in the past that Visio was just simply a tool for making attractive diagrams, perhaps you start to see new ways to use Visio based on this capability to hold Shape Data. Building managers and office administrators often struggle with keeping track of assets. How does your company track cost, purchase dates, manufacturer, and other relevant details? Network administrators and engineers certainly can't memorize all the details about the hardware and ownership for servers that populate their network. Although there are many expensive choices for network management software to audit and monitor your equipment connected to a network, you may be able to handle some of those tasks right from Visio. Items such as part numbers, vendors, and contact information can be easily added to your Shape Data. It can be expensive and time consuming to recreate information that key employees take away from them if they leave the company. And, again, Visio enables administrators and managers to use many ways to centrally manage information that might, otherwise, be fragmented and lost. Although it's nice when you find shapes that have everything predefined, at times you have a special project that just needs to be customized. You can create your own Shape Data fields pretty easily. Let's say I need to track paint options regularly when I work with floor plans. I want to track paint colors, how much paint is needed, and the cost. I can do all of this using Shape Data. Notice in this floor plan, I have a large round shape dropped in each room. This shape has been created with custom data fields, and I can check the Shape Data and update it as needed. If I select the shape, you can see the types of data that this shape is tracking in the Shape Data pane. If I drop in a new instance of the shape, notice the fields are blank. If I hover over the field names, I can see helpful screen tips that let me know what type of information is expected. In this example, I can just manually type in my information. Now let's look at what's happening behind the scenes, and I can do this is I open up the context menu and select Data and then Define Shape Data. The label is the visible field name. Type refers to the data format that can be entered. Prompt allows me to put in screen tips that will be shown on the screen, and you can see I can add new fields for data or delete or edit existing ones. Let's go back to types of data and look closer at that. Visio provides us with basically eight types of data. String data refers to text. It can be formatted as normal, uppercase, or lowercase text. Number data can be a whole number, a number with units of measurements, or decimal points. Fractions can even be included in the formatting. Fixed list refers to a drop-down list that you establish with no choices for any additional options. Variable list includes a drop-down list with the option to type in a custom entry. Boolean refers to a simple true or false choice. Currency provides a few variations based on currency currently selected for your computer system. Date offers a navigable calendar. However, you can type in a date, and Visio presents it in the indicated format. Format can include day and time aside from the normal variations of date. Duration allows formatting for weeks, days, hours, minutes, seconds, and combinations of hours, minutes, and seconds. You can see that string is pretty easy to use, but it's the least consistent option. What do I mean by that? If you've ever shopped for paint, you know that you can't just buy beige paint. Unfortunately, spelling can also become an issue. It might be better to use a fixed or variable list to ensure that we get consistent results in these fields. If we can work from a catalog of limited choices, we can incorporate that into our shape. Let's say that the paint choices are limited to a few colors based on a corporate standard for this example. To change the wall color to a list, we would change the type from string to fixed list. The choices for the list would be entered into the format field using semicolons to separate the choices with no spaces. So employees can choose any color they want as long as it's Grey, White, Beige, or pink. And notice pink I left a lowercase p. Once I hit OK and go back to the shape to indicate the wall color, I now have a drop-down list of choices. No typing, and the results will be very consistent. Again, notice the p displays that lowercase I used in the list, so the spelling and case choices you enter here are what will be used. If you want to allow for additional choices, remember to use the variable list option and follow the same steps to create that drop-down list. You'll still have a list in the format field, but there's the option to type in data that you could not anticipate. Once your shape is just the way you want it, add it to a custom stencil so it'll become a master shape, and then you can drop it into your drawings anytime you need the shape. In this example, we know there's data hidden in the shape, but wouldn't it be cool to have the shape show some of this data? Maybe the paint color in this case. We can use a text field that we looked at earlier in another clip and use it to display a Shape Data field. Select the shape, and from the Insert tab, select Field from the Text tools. In the Field dialog box, notice we have a very similar list of field names when we select Shape Data for the category. I can simply select Wall Color and OK. Again, if this text field is included in my master shape, then any instance of this drawing will indicate the wall color field. In this clip, we've looked at how we can use Shape Data to capture and track different kinds of data in your shapes. Thank you for watching! And I look forward to seeing you in the next clip.

  17. Creating Shape Data Reports In this clip, we'll look at creating Shape Data reports. Visio has the capability to generate reports that summarize Shape Data information. This can be pretty useful for generating information related to quantities, budget, assets, inventory tracking, and material lists just to name some examples. To illustrate how these reports work, I'll use an example from an earlier clip with a shape that had been customized to track paint choices. The paint color shape has been added to the rooms in this set of basic floor plans. Information has been filled out for each room indicating color, quantity of paint, and pricing. While Shape Data can be pretty useful on its own, imagine generating a report to put our data in context and all in one place. To do this, I'll need to create a special report using the Shape Reports tool found on the Review tab. This will start a Report Definition wizard. Essentially, I will be telling Visio the shape I want to look at and the pieces of data I want included in my report. I can even tell Visio the format it should have. Once I've created this report, I'll be able to run it as needed. Just to simplify this process, I'm going to add a new page and drag over an instance of that shape that I plan to use for the report. And, of course, this page can be deleted later after I've created my Report Definition. Now that I have my shape, I can select the Shape Reports, which opens the Reports dialog box. And I can select New to open up the Report Definition Wizard. Here, I select Shapes on the current page, the new page I just created, and I'll select Advanced to refine the Shape Data that's going to be included in the report. In the Advanced dialog box, I pick the relevant fields from the drop-down labelled Property. I need to change the condition to exists and the value to true for any Shape Data fields I want to include in my report. Now the condition and value fields allow for a lot of flexibility on the report. Your choices will depend on the need for your report. For example, if you only want data included that has a value in excess of a certain monetary amount, you would select a condition of is greater than, and then input a value to use for your baseline value. Now that I've got things configured for my property, I can select the Add button to add this to the properties in the defined criteria field. Once I have all the items selected for my paint report, I can click OK. Now if you don't define the criteria, Visio tends to include pretty much all of the Shape Data criteria, which generates lots of blank rows and results in a pretty cluttered looking report. So it's worth it to take a little time to define the properties you want included in your report. Now that I have defined the bits of data I'm interested in, I can click Next to indicate which properties I want to see as column titles on the report. I just check the boxes for the ones I want to see and then click Next. Here, I'll type in the name for the report title. And because I want this report to show totals, I will select the Subtotals button. For each property, I can select what type of total I want to see. In this case, I want an actual sum or total. Once I've made my choices, I can click OK. And then I click Next. In here I'm going to use the same name I typed in for my report title, and I'm going to save it in this drawing. So I click Finish. So now that my definition is created, I can actually run the report. I can go to the page of my Visio drawing, and from the Review tab, I can select the Shape Reports button again. This time I can select and run the report that was just created. There are a few standard output options I can choose from. In this case, I'm going to select Visio shape, which will create the report as an embedded Excel spreadsheet right on the page, which I could then print. Now reports are really snapshots of Shape Data. Changes to data after a report has been run require you to rerun the report to get a new snapshot. Reports are an extremely useful feature in Visio. If you've never used them before, it might take you some time to grasp their value. Consider the types of drawings you work with and what you want to communicate. Inventory reports, quantities, material lists, costs of assets, model numbers, reports on business states are all examples of some of the types of reports that can be generated. They can be run on flowcharts, org charts, building plans, and so on. Your imagination is really the limit. In this clip, we've looked at creating Shape Data reports. Thank you for watching! And I look forward to seeing you in the next clip.

  18. Creating Stencils In this clip, we're going to look at creating stencils. Creating your own stencil can be practical for a variety of reasons. Large companies often create and provide their own stencils that include custom shapes that are used in graphics, web content, or advertising. You may find it convenient to put some of your favorite shapes and company logos all in one place as well. The easiest way to start your stencil is to start with a shape. In this example, I'm going to put some shapes together for an advertising stencil. So I'm opening a basic workflow template. Using the Department stencil, I'm going to add a couple of shapes to my own personal stencil. So starting with the master shape in the Department stencil, I right-click and simply choose Add to My Shapes, and Add to New Stencil. Notice it wants me to name and provide a file location for the saved stencil. So we're going to call this Advertising, and I'm going to save it to the default location. Now that I've established the stencil, I can right-click and add other shapes from other stencils to this new stencil. Again, I right-click the shape, Add to My Shapes, and now I can choose the Advertising stencil. Now that you've seen how easy it is to create and add things to a stencil, let me show you what else you can do to customize your stencil. To start with, let's make sure we have the stencil open. So we want to go to More Shapes, go to My Shapes, and then choose the new stencil that was just created. Now let's say I decide that one of these shapes I really don't want in this stencil after all. So if I right-click one of these master shapes, there is an option to delete the master, but notice it's grayed out. The first thing I need to do with the stencil is to right-click the stencil itself and open it by editing the stencil. Notice I have an asterisk that lets me know right away that the stencil's open for editing. Now when I right-click my master shapes, I have the option to delete the master. Something else I can do with my stencil, as you can see here, I have a logo that was thrown together pretty quickly. I can take this shape, select it, and drag it over, and drop it onto my stencil. And look what happened. A few things happened. First of all, it disappeared from my drawing window and now appears as a shape with the new name. And my stencil itself no longer has an asterisk. It has a Save symbol. It lets me know that there's some update that took place that needs to be saved before it'll actually be kept for future use. So the first thing I want to do is give this an actual name. To rename the shape, I can simply right-click it, select Rename, type in my new name, and hit Enter. Now that Visio understands that this logo is a shape, a master shape, I can actually drag it and drop it into my drawings and work with it as I would with other shapes. Depending on how you use Visio, you may have a few different stencils that you customize depending on the task or the type of client you're going to be working with. So in this clip, we've looked briefly at how to create and customize your own stencil. Thank you for watching. And I look forward to seeing you in the next clip.

  19. An Overview of Templates In this clip, we'll look at an overview of templates. We've thrown this term around quite a bit, but what is a template? Templates refer to the overall framework that determines appearance, purpose, and even the tools that are used to make up your diagram. They include the set of shapes and stencils present in the Shape pane, the size and scale of the page you work on, the paper size for printing, settings related to font, color, and many others that dictate the default behavior of shapes and connectors in your diagram. You might even see additional ribbon tools unique to that template as in the case of an organization chart template. I've used a couple of basic templates in earlier clips, and you may have been tempted to check on some of the other templates in the template gallery yourself. Visio 2016 Standard includes many predefined templates, and Visio Professional has even more. Included templates have a very modern look with shapes and content that have been selected and updated to reflect the times we live in. When you choose to start a new Visio diagram, you're presented with the featured templates by default, and the most recently used templates appear at the top. You can refine the choices presented by using categories, which present different groups of templates. Here you can see business, engineering, flowchart, general, maps and floor plans, network, schedule, and software and database. In addition, you can search for online templates. Let's look a little closer at these categories and see what sets them apart from each other. I'm using Visio Professional, so if you're using Standard, you may not see all of these templates. Business templates include organization charts and a few types of charts and graphs. You can find tools for analyzing processes such as cause and effect or fault tree. Many people have learned to use mind mapping or brainstorming diagrams. Engineering offers several templates including basic electrical and part and assembly drawing. Flowchart templates include the basic flowchart, BPMN diagram, and workflow diagrams. General includes basic diagram and block diagrams. This is a good area to start with if your diagram needs only basic shapes and stencils. Maps and floor plans includes many types of templates. You can create 2D or 3D map graphics, floor plans and layouts, detailed layouts for HVAC, ceiling grids, and plumbing, and even site plans. Network templates include a few ways to represent the physical network, rack diagrams, and more conceptual diagrams to visualize Active Directory or LDAP directories. Schedule templates provide tools for calendars, Gantt or PERT charts, and timelines. The last category, software and database, has many templates such as data flow, database notation, program structure, and website map. When you select a specific template, a small window appears with a few details related to the purpose of the template and its origin. You can scroll to the left or right using the arrows to browse to other templates. And for each template, you can select metric or U.S. units of measurement. Selecting Create will open Visio with a blank canvas. With Visio 2016, you'll also find that many templates have included a few advanced starting points such as you see here. If you select one of these starter diagrams, you'll see best usage and tip information for this particular starter diagram. When you select Create with a starter diagram, you'll find shapes are already laid out, and you may just need to update the text and tweak a few things to get the diagram to work for you. Starter diagrams are especially useful to help individuals get familiar with a diagram or drawing type that they may have never used before. As you can see, some tips have been included right in the Drawing pane. And after looking these over, you can delete them and continue working with the diagram. As mentioned earlier, when you look at the template gallery, you can see at the top of the page a field that allows you to search for templates online. For example, type in flowchart, and you'll see templates you already have, as well as many additional templates that can be downloaded. Your company or someone you know may have created their own templates, and you can download those and use them with Visio. You can also search and download templates from other websites and use those as starting points for your diagrams. I recommend that you only download templates, though, from trusted sources to avoid unexpected surprises. So there you have a basic overview of what templates are all about. Thanks for watching! And I look forward to seeing you in the next clip.

  20. Creating a New Diagram In this clip, we're going to create a new diagram. Visio will quickly make sense to you as you follow the clip's contained in this series and especially as you get your hands dirty and start making diagrams. Many tools are intuitive, and you'll see a layout very similar to other Microsoft Office applications that you're probably already familiar with. I'll progressively explain in detail what all the buttons and menus are for in these clips, but you don't need to wait to be an expert before you start making Visio diagrams. In fact, you can start right now with this simple flowchart. If you don't have Visio open already, go ahead and open up Visio. To the left, you'll see a list of the most recent drawings you've maybe opened. As you work with Visio, this list will grow even if it's now empty. To the right, you'll see a list of drawing types. We're going to select Basic Flowchart. Our window appears labelled Basic Flowchart, and we're going to just click Create. To the left, you can see in the Shape pane a few basic shapes with different names. Look for the Start/End shape and drag it over to the drawing window by selecting it and dragging it. Drop it toward the top of the page. Now while the shape is still selected, just start typing Start flowchart. Notice how it starts typing right into the middle of the shape. Press the Escape key on your keyboard when you're done, or you can just click somewhere outside of the shape. Now for something cool. Hover your cursor over the shape and notice four faint blue arrows that appear. Now hover over the lower arrow, and you'll see four shapes appear. Select the left-most rectangle with a click. Notice how a rectangle is placed automatically below your start shape, and there's even a line with an arrow that connects the two shapes. While your rectangle's selected, type in Add shapes to identify steps in the flowchart. And press Escape again. Again, hover your mouse over the rectangle, wait for the blue arrows to appear, then over the arrow pointing down, select the right-most oval shape, which will be our end shape. While this shape is still selected, type the words End flowchart. Press Escape. Your flowchart should look something like mine. And congratulations! You created a simple but a complete flowchart that summarizes the steps we just completed. So there you are, you're quickly on your way to becoming an expert in creating Visio diagrams. I encourage you to keep practicing and using these basic tools that make up the foundation of your skills as a Visio diagrammer. Thanks for watching! And I look forward to seeing you in the next clip.

  21. Creating Custom Templates In this clip, we'll look at creating your very own template. Templates provide an advanced starting point for drawings. When creating new drawings rather than starting from a blank page or using a close-enough template, you may find it easier to address your unique needs by creating and saving your own templates. This enables you to include content and other settings that fit with your distinctive standards or those of your organization. Custom templates save you time when you often use the same basic settings and tools and want these available when starting new drawings. With a template, you can predetermine your page size and scale settings, your window size, shape stencils and styles, color pallet, settings for snap, layers, and glue, print preferences, and backgrounds and logos. To create a custom template, we first have to establish our starting point. You can open a drawing you've already created with some of these settings or just start from scratch. Remember that any content that is on the pages will become part of the template. So remove any content you don't want to include. Open any stencils, especially custom stencils that you'd like to include, and close ones you don't need. Open the Page Setup dialog box and verify the settings you want to include in this template. Note especially the Print Setup and Layout and Routing tabs. Select a theme from the theme gallery or, better yet, customize the color pallet for this template to match your company colors. Create a background page if you'd like to have standard options like text fields, a company logo, or a background image. Open any task panes you want to have available when working with this template. And, finally, select the File tab, and select Save As. Type a name for your template, and make sure to change the Save As type to Visio template. Select the location where you want to save your template, and click Save. To test your template, close Visio. When you next open Visio, you'll likely see the template listed under Recent content. Now you can pin your new template to the Recent list, double-click it to open the template file. You now have your starting point, and you can get right to work. In this clip, we've looked at how to create your own template. Thank you for watching! And I look forward to seeing you in the next clip.

  22. Tools Understanding Connectors In this clip, we'll help you understand connectors. What are connectors? Connectors are the lines and arrows that connect one shape to another in many types of diagrams. You can think of them as the string that threads a pearl necklace. Connectors are used to thread your shapes together so as to ensure that steps, thoughts, or processes are followed in the correct order. To understand how they work, watch as I put together this quick flowchart. After dragging over a start and end shape into a drawing, I can hover over the shape, and from the four thin arrows that appear, I can pick a shape and attach it automatically. Notice a connector line was created. Visio understands that in this flowchart, connectors will be needed for the diagram. I can continue to add shapes, and in each instance, connector lines are added automatically. Here a decision indicates multiple paths. So, again, I can easily add shapes, and the connectors appear automatically. This is all being done using the auto-connect tool, and for many templates, this is enabled by Visio automatically. Now if I select a shape and move it, notice what happens to the connector line. So as the name implies, connectors remain connected to shapes. This makes it a lot easier to move things around and rearrange your diagram. The thing that holds the connector to the shape is referred to as glue. And in another clip, we'll look at the two types of glue available in Visio. Despite how easy it is to use the auto-connect feature, there may be times when you prefer or need to manually create connections between shapes using the Connector tool. For one thing, it can be faster when you know the connections that need to be created and you don't want to wait for the hover-generated menus to appear. Also when a shape has another shape already auto-connected, you won't be able to auto-connect an additional shape to the same side. Also, there are times when Visio won't even offer auto-connect options. This is generally the case when working with templates that seldom use lines and arrows to connect shapes such as a floor plan or a timeline. In cases like this, you can switch from the Pointer tool to the Connector tool on the Home tab. Or if you enjoy using keyboard shortcuts, you can use Ctrl+3. Using a mouse, select your first shape and hold the left button down and drag a connector to the second shape. Using this same process, you can connect all your shapes together manually using the Connector tool. The Connector tool also allows you to resize and move connector lines that have been placed in a drawing. As you mouse over the drawing, notice the cursor will change from a default cursor to a crosshairs or two-sided arrows indicating movement or adjustments. Now the Pointer tool can also handle these tasks if your connector is selected. So don't feel you need to switch back and forth between these two tools just to move or adjust a connector. When working with connectors, remember that deep down, they're shapes too. Yes, connectors are technically one-dimensional shapes, and just like regular shapes, they can be formatted, and they have the capability to display text. For example, you can change the color and line weight of your connector. You could modify the ends putting arrows or points or removing the ends altogether. You can change the style associated with a connector. You can modify the shape and position of a connector using its control handles. And, finally, you can add text to a connector by simply selecting the connector and starting to type your label. The nice thing about text with connectors is that text can be relocated, but it continues to be part of the connector. So if the connectors move later, the text will follow. In this clip, we've looked at connectors and some of the tools you can use when working with them. Thank you for watching! And I look forward to seeing you in the next clip.

  23. Understanding Glue In this clip, we'll help you understand glue. We've looked at connectors and shapes, and now we'll look at the amazing ability that binds connectors to these shapes. It's called glue. And this glue comes in two flavors. I have two shapes here that I want to connect. Notice after selecting the Connector tool that I can select the entire shape or just a point. The highlighted item lets me know which kind of glue I'm using. When the entire shape is highlighted, this lets me know dynamic glue would be used while a highlighted point lets me know point-to-point glue will be used. What's the difference? Point-to-point glue as the name implies sticks to a specific point forming a static and permanent bond to that point on a shape. Dynamic glue just connects shapes using whichever point is convenient giving priority to the shortest unobstructed path. As the diagram grows, the routing that connectors use can be dynamically adjusted. You can even combine these two glue types using dynamic glue on one end of a connector and point-to-point glue on the other end. Most shapes have predefined points that you can choose that appear as dots around the shape when you use the Connector tool. If the dots aren't visible, it's possible the shape doesn't have predefined points. Also, you may want to check that they are enabled on the View tab in the Visual Aids section. Point-to-point glue gives you greater control over how two shapes are linked together. Think of it as an override for the way Visio will try to automatically route and connect two shapes. And as an override, you would likely use it more sparingly. You may need to exercise that capability to avoid confusing or inappropriate points from being connected in your diagram. Dynamic glue tends to combine multiple connectors to the same point when it feels the need, and this could work against your diagram's intention. The downside of point-to-point glue is that this type of glue might make things appear more jumbled if shapes get moved around later. To illustrate, look at these two sets of shapes that appear identical. One set has point-to-point glue while the other uses dynamic glue. If I move shape D, you can see the connector easily adjusts and maintains a clean path between the two shapes. Shape B, however, forces a routing that has to maintain the connection between two glued points. The appearance isn't as clean. And on a complicated diagram, this could really detract. You might also have noticed that the connect path has been forced off the page, which would affect any print job for this diagram as well. Another sticky situation that you may encounter is when shapes are forced to be too close together. The dynamic glue on shape D allows it to simply use a different point to avoid routing a line too close to a different shape. Shape B in the same situation actually cannot adjust, and it's forced to route as needed because of the point-to-point glue being used. Now what happens if you want to change the glue that was used? Rather than deleting and recreating the connector, select the connector and then the endpoint that you want to change. Notice I can select it and drag it away and then back to the same shape. I'll hover a moment so you can see the two types of glue that I can choose to reconnect it. When I release it, the indicated glue is now applied. In this clip, we've looked at glue and helped you to understand the two types of glue that are used in Visio. Thank you for watching! And I look forward to seeing you in the next clip.

  24. Formatting Connectors In this clip, we'll look closer at formatting connectors. Depending on the template you use, the connectors have a default appearance and style that is appropriate to that type of template. A flowchart has connectors that help make the order of steps clear, and they tend to have rigid lines and right angles that emphasize that these are established, clear-cut policies. A diagram used for mind mapping is not rigid. Instead it uses connectors that flow and that connect shapes relying on curves lines. You can likely think of other variations based on what you have seen. Does this mean that you're forced to use the connectors included in the template? Of course not. Visio connectors can be modified in many ways, and you can do this on a single connector or on an entire page or document at once. Themes provide one easy way to change elements of a diagram including the style of connectors used. And we'll look at themes in a separate clip. To manually alter the format of your connector lines on a page, you could drag and select an area that includes the connectors you want to modify and change the connector style using the right-click context menu. Or you can select Format Shape, and from the pane that opens, you can edit the arrow properties under Line. Be aware that any changes to the actual line properties, such as color or weight, will change the lines of selected shapes also. To be more selective, press the Ctrl key while you select the connectors you want to edit before making changes. While there are many modifications that can be done from the context menu, the Format Shape pane has a much deeper set of tools for modifying all aspects of your connector properties. Check out the controls for making gradient lines. If you select Styles in the context menu, you'll see many theme styles that can be applied to just the connectors, and the Live Preview helps you know how this is going to look right away. Another aspect to editing connectors has to do with the connection points themselves. As you've seen, shapes often have a set of predefined points that meet most needs when you use point-to-point glue. However, you're not limited to those predefined points, and it may be useful to know how to add additional connection points to shapes. To understand how this can be done, look at this diagram. Imagine that this is part of a set of instructions for a remote office to set up their equipment in a very specific way so that all the devices will communicate properly. I want the diagram to accurately show which ports should be connected to which devices. To do this, I need the ability to have a connector start or end at a very precise location. Let me zoom in and select this router shape. The closer I zoom in, the easier it is to control the placement of new connection points. From the Home tab, I select the Connection Point tool, which just appears as an X. To add a connection point, I hold the Ctrl key and click to add a point. Easy-peasy. I could also move any connection point with this tool by selecting and dragging to reposition it. Now keep in mind, this could be an extremely accurate Visio shape for a specific router or switch model provided by the manufacturer or even an image or photo of the device. Notice here I've added connection points for the ports on this network device, which is just an image that has been imported into Visio. Adding and removing points to shapes is a little tricky and not something you're likely to use very often. Knowing how to use these tools can bring a bit more elegance to your diagrams and make you look like a Visio guru. In this clip, we've looked at a few ways you can format connectors. Thank you for watching! And I look forward to seeing you in the next clip.

  25. Routing Connectors In this clip, we'll look at routing your connectors. The routing style itself refers to the overall appearance that your connector will have while connecting shapes. The line can be straight, right-angled, or curved. You can right-click a connector to see these three available routing styles right on the context menu. This allows you to override the default settings that govern the appearance of connectors on the page level. You could also change the appearance of connectors for the whole page. From the Design tab, select a basic style from the Connectors drop-down menu, and you'll see it instantly applied. For even more options, I can open the Page Setup dialog box by right-clicking the Page tab below the drawing and selecting Page Setup. From the Layout and Routing tab, I can change this style using options in the drop-down menus. Besides the appearance of the line, routing also involves the way connectors behave when one connector crosses another. The setting that determines the way the line appears is referred to as a line jump. This can be an important detail as you can see in this diagram. Is point A connected to point B or point D or both? Technically, this appears to show that the two paths intersect, which would allow for either point B or D as the next step in the process. Compare this to page 2. Notice how the line jump makes it pretty easy to see the correct path for the processes. The format for line jump is established at the page level. So all lines on a page will behave the same way. To set this up, we return to the Page Setup dialog box. Besides right-clicking the Page tab, we could also open this by launching this from the Design tab and using the Layout section dialog launcher. Notice we have an entire section on the Layout and Routing tab labelled line jumps. You can determine which lines will have the jump displayed--horizontal, vertical. You can also establish how the jump will appear using the vertical and horizontal size settings, as well as the style drop-down. Arc, gap, square, or faceted options are available. If you select none, then no jump appears, and you have the intersection we saw earlier between points A and B. One last detail to mention with routing has to do with the ability to manually override the path your connector takes. Hopefully you've spent some time experimenting with the control handles that appear on connector shapes. There are a couple of tricks that you can use when tweaking the path the connector takes, which you can add to your bag of tricks. Watch the way control handles behave when holding the Shift key down. This allows me to adjust just a portion of the connector rather than an entire segment. If you hold down the Ctrl key when selecting mid and corner points, you'll see Angular adjustments. If things ever get too crazy, you can reset the connector from the context menu. Obviously, you wouldn't use these settings very often. However, they add additional ways to customize your diagrams and allow you greater artistic expression in your drawings. In this clip, we've looked at routing connectors. Thank you for watching! And I look forward to seeing you in the next clip.

  26. Saving Visio Drawings In this clip, we'll look at saving your work in Visio. If you've ever lost work because of a blue screen on your computer or because someone bumped the strip on their power strip, then you're no doubt familiar with the frustration that follows if you haven't saved your work recently. Visio provides you with a few ways to save you from those feelings of remorse. Save As is an important place to start soon after you create a new drawing. When you select the Save icon in the Quick Access toolbar for the first time, it automatically takes you to the Save As screen. You can also click the File tab and choose Save As on the left. Or you can press Ctrl+S on your keyboard. From here, often you may find yourself selecting This PC and choosing from recently used locations. You can also pin locations to these lists to make it easy to routinely save to the same folder. Browse will open your File Explorer, and you can navigate to a folder on your device or that's accessible to your device. Generally, you'll see the option to save your work to your OneDrive, and recently accessed folders are shown. You may have other web-based locations you can use such as a SharePoint location. You can also select Add a Place to add a cloud-based location that Visio may not be aware of yet. There're several advantages to using cloud-based locations for saving your drawings. And we'll consider those further in another clip focused on sharing your Visio drawings. When you use Save As, you can choose the file type or format that you want to use. The default file type is named Visio Drawing. It's a newer format that was introduced with Visio 2013 using the .vsdx file extension. Select the drop-down, though, and you can see there're many formats to choose from. If you've used Visio in the past, you may be more familiar with other formats. Visio 2003, 2007, and 2010 all have offered unique variations to the common .vsd format. So you might be wondering, What are the advantages to this new format? The .vsdx format uses XML content, or XAML. And essentially saves your file in a zipped compression that results in much smaller file sizes. This is also consistent with other Office applications that now use XML for their default formats. Thus, Word has .docx and Excel uses .xlsx. This is great when sharing files, and it also conserves storage space. Another perk is that XML is considered safer and more resistant to data corruption and viruses. Even so, the Visio 2003 to 2010 Drawing format choice may be more practical when sharing your work with others that use older versions of Visio. In another clip, we'll look closer at saving your work to other formats. So now that you know where and in which format your work is saved, you can hit the Save icon to update your saved file. Now this is a good start, but it still won't protect you from that touchy power strip or from a computer meltdown if you forget to hit the save button. Visio actually has an auto-save feature that can come to your rescue if it's configured. If you check your settings now, you might be surprised to find that this feature is not enabled by default. Select the File tab to access your backstage area, select Options here at the bottom of the menu on the left. And here in the Visio Options window, select Save to verify your settings. Notice the Save AutoRecover information every x minutes. You can enable this, and you can change the default setting, even, from 10 minutes to a shorter period of time. When enabled, Visio will automatically take a snapshot of your work, and this could be used to recover your work restoring it to that last snapshot in case of a power outage. Now I know that some people like to reduce the interval for the auto-recovery setting to something lower than 10 minutes, maybe 5 minutes or so. But just be aware that with especially complex and large Visio drawings, you may actually start to notice a slight hit on your performance while an auto-save is being created. So if that happens, you may want to increase the interval. While you're here, you may want to also enable or disable other settings. For example, you can choose your default format using the Save file in this format drop-down. You can also enable the checkbox to make your default save location to your computer. And you can also indicate other paths where certain items are saved and stored. Once you've made any changes here, go ahead and click OK to save your changes. In this clip, we've considered the settings related to saving your Visio drawings. Thank you for watching! And I look forward to seeing you in the next clip.

  27. Understanding Themes and Styles In this clip, we'll look at the use of themes and styles in your drawings. Themes are found on the Design tab. Here you see a gallery which can be expanded when I click the More button. Themes refer to the combination of colors, effects, and formats that govern the overall appearance of your diagram. Themes are more than just pretty colors, though. They can influence the effect a diagram has on your audience. Notice how they're categorized--Professional, Trendy, Modern, and so forth. These categories help you make intelligent choices to better suit your audience and your message. A rather simplistic diagram that was just thrown together like this one can instantly appear polished and well thought out when you apply a tasteful theme. With the current assortment of themes, it's easier than ever to express your individual tastes and complement established color schemes used by your business. This is especially true when you add the variants. Variants refer to variations on the theme currently selected. Perhaps just different color combinations while retaining most other settings of the theme. Themes will have four predefined variants to choose from. The expanded Variants gallery offers a few menus that allow you to further customize the major components of the theme. Colors, effects, and connectors are all pretty straightforward, and they really make it easy to tweak the appearance of a diagram. If you do not see a theme color combination you like, or if you want to create a theme combination that fits the colors you've established in a business logo or artwork, you can create your own custom theme. From the Variants gallery here on the Design tab, I can click Colors and then Create New Theme Colors from the flyout menu. I want to name this theme, and then I can select six accent colors and then a dark, light, and background color for the theme. When I'm all done, I click OK. When I want to apply my theme in the future, I'll need to open the Variants gallery and look in the Colors menu. And here I can see my new theme in a Custom section. You can also choose to change the theme color for a selected shape or shapes using Styles. Quick Styles can be seen in the Home tab where you can right-click the selected shape and select Styles. This provides a selection of theme styles or variant styles that still complement the theme you're working with. Finally, the theme you choose can apply to the page you're currently working with, or you can apply the theme to all of your pages by right-clicking the theme and selecting either Apply to Current Page or Apply to All Pages. In this clip, we've looked at the use of themes and styles in your drawings. Thank you for watching! And I look forward to seeing you in the next clip.

  28. What Is Embellishment? In this clip, we'll look at embellishment. Embellishment is an effect that can be seen when working with containers and shapes that have been designed to respond to this setting. An example of this would be the new org chart shapes. To change the embellishment setting on this organization chart, I need to go to the Design tab and expand the Variants gallery. The Embellishment menu shows me the setting is currently at the default automatic setting. I can hover over the low, medium, and high settings and see the changes in effect. Think of this as a range from elaborate to subtle. As you can see, changing the setting adjusts the degree of influence that certain settings have, and it's not limited to color choices. Changing the shape and checking Embellishment shows variations to the shape in this case. This setting will apply to the entire page and can't be applied to individual shapes. In another clip, we'll look closer at containers and how to use them. As the name implies, they're special shapes that can hold other common shapes. Containers are designed to respond to embellishment. Here you can see two different containers representing different cities. As you can see, containers really respond to embellishment. Notice, though, that changes to the embellishment only affect the containers, in this case, the server shapes don't respond to embellishment. Few shapes are designed to do so. Org chart shapes happen to be a category that leverages this feature. In this clip, we've looked at embellishment and how it's used in Visio 2016. Thank you for watching! And I look forward to seeing you in the next clip.

  29. Working with Containers In this clip, we look at working with containers. Containers were a new feature starting with Visio 2010, and they provide you with a powerful way of grouping shapes in a visual way while maintaining the flexibility to work with either the shape or the container. While containers are shapes and can be manipulated like shapes in many ways, they are special having their own contextual tab and a few unique features. Think of them as an organizational tool that can add order to your diagrams. Containers are often used to represent a department, a geographical location, or even a concept that contains other resources or ideas. Here you can see a container that represents a branch office in a city that has a couple of servers. To add another location, I go to the Insert tab and select Container. You can have different styles on the same page, so it's up to you to maintain the same style or not. Right away, I can type in a heading name for my container and add contents. Notice how the container will resize automatically to accommodate the new shapes. Now if I move the container, the shapes contained move with it as a group. If I drag a shape out of the container, it no longer is moved with the container. So you can see that this is a more dynamic and easier way to group shapes. If I delete a container, the shapes are deleted also. Containers have their own context menu to reflect the tools available on the contextual Container Tools tab. From here, I can select Disband Container. And now the shapes remain. There are tools here to add a container to an existing container or add a new container. Select Shapes is a quick way to select all the contained shapes for formatting or movement. Lock Container has some interesting consequences. New shapes cannot actually be added to a locked container. Moving shapes out of a container does not actually remove them from the container. If the container can, it will resize to include the shapes in their new locations. If it cannot resize, the shape will continue to be part of the locked container even if it appears to be outside of the container. Fit to Contents will shrink the container to the shapes. On the Container Tools tab, there're a few tools that govern size. Margins sets the distance between shapes and the container. Automatic Resize can be changed from Expand as Needed to Always Fit to Contents allowing the container to expand and shrink as needed, or No Automatic Resize. From the tab, you can also change the appearance of the container style or location of the header. From the Design tab, you can further influence the appearance of containers using the Embellishment tool, which is considered in more detail in another clip. In this clip, we've considered how to use containers in your drawings and the many settings that determine their behavior. Thank you for watching! And I look forward to seeing you in the next clip.

  30. Using Callouts In this clip, we'll look at using callouts. Callouts are a great way to add textual information to your diagrams without distracting from the flow of the diagram. The first time you see them, you might think of the way characters talk back and forth in a comic book. In Visio, their principle use is to draw attention to some detail in a diagram. Since Visio 2010, callouts have new properties, and they certainly help to organize and structure your diagram. Used properly, they can take your diagrams to the next level. Technically, callouts have an associative relationship to a shape because the text balloon is associated with the target shape in a special relationship. Let's look at some of the characteristics of callouts. To add a callout to a shape, you must first have a selected shape. Callouts are then added from the Insert tab in the Diagram Parts section of tools. If I hover over the callouts, I can see their names, and I'm going to select an orb. The callout is now added, and you can see a bright green line outlining the shape. And with the callout selected, I can now type in my text. To get out of the Text mode, I'll hit the Escape key on the keyboard. Now watch as I drag the callout shape to a different location on my drawing. Notice that when dropped, the connecting line is redrawn to show which shape the callout is associated with. If I drag the shape to a new location, you can see the callout travels with the shape. It's really an extension of the shape. In fact, if I copy the shape and paste it somewhere else, I get not just the shape but the associated callout. Now you may have noticed this yellow point that appears when a callout is selected. This is the anchor for the callout. And if I hover, notice this screen tip-- Create Association. If I select this point and drag it to a different shape, the association is now linked to the new shape. Pretty cool! As a word of caution, callouts can be overused as a visual effect. So be selective when using them. For example, in this list of samples, notice how busy everything looks. So use callouts to draw the eye to critical points of interest in diagrams and workflows or to highlight special features in advertising and maps. Besides the Callout tool that we've looked at, Visio actually has a stencil of shapes named Callouts. To find this particular stencil, go to your Shapes pane and expand the More Shapes flyout menu and select Visio Extras. Select Callouts to see many more callout shapes you can add to your diagrams. Now these callouts don't have the full functionality of the Callout tool, but they can be connected to shapes. And that may be all you need. With the exception of the three special callout shapes at the bottom of the stencil, these are pretty much just plain old shapes with no special associative connections. Custom callouts 1, 2, and 3 have highly customizable properties. And they can even be associated with a target shape similar to the Callout tool. In this clip, we've looked at the use of callouts in your diagrams. Thank you for watching! And I look forward to seeing you in the next clip.

  31. Using Screentips In this clip, we'll look at the use of screen tips in your drawings. Screen tips have been used in applications like Visio by developers for many years, and you have no doubt benefited from their presence many times. Usually, they appear when you hover over an item on the screen. They provide additional information that evaporates when you move the cursor away. In Visio, you can create your own screen tips. They're an elegant way to have information available on a diagram without the clutter. Because they're hidden, your user has to be in the know about their presence or accidentally hover over their shape to trigger their appearance. Despite this potential limitation, you may find their inclusion in your diagrams to be a great training aid or a handy way of reminding yourself of important additional information or explanations. To create a screen tip, we need to start with the selected shape. On the Insert tab, I select ScreenTip from the Text section. A small ScreenTip appears, and I can type in the text I want to use and click OK. Now if I click a blank part of the drawing window and then hover back over my shape, notice my screen tip appears. That's pretty cool! Now screen tips can be very useful but, again, they're only useful if you know they're there. So you may find it practical to add some visual cues to your diagrams to you remember there's a screen tip. You could add a border or glow to your shapes with screen tips, a textual symbol, or any number of other visual reminders so that you know that this is something you can hover over to get additional information. Screen tips don't print, so keep that in mind as well with your diagrams. In this clip, we've looked at the use of screen tips in your visual drawings. Thank you for watching! And I look forward to seeing you in the next clip.

  32. Using Layers In this clip, we look at the use of layers in your drawings. Layers provide another way to manage and organize your diagrams. Most often this feature is used by farsighted creators of complex diagrams as a means to quickly see or select diagram components. As you look at layers, you'll find that some layers are created automatically as you work on a Visio diagram, and you can create additional layers based on your own criteria using factors like shape, resource, date, color, and so on. They can exist in your diagram without being noticed and can be selectively printed or displayed at your whim. Now don't think of layers as simply a means of stacking and overlapping images like transparencies on an overhead projector. In Visio, they're designed to help you surgically organize and control groups of components without affecting the rest of your diagram. Working with layers is done from the Home tab in the Editing tool group. Select the drop-down from the Layer tool, and select Layer Properties to open up this dialog box. Notice that there are four layers in this drawing. Connector and flowchart were created with the drawing. The other two layers, I created. You can see that two shapes are assigned to each of these layers and that only three layers are currently visible. Now notice how the drawing changes when I toggle the visibility of these two custom layers. Layers are especially suited to certain types of drawings such as floor plans. Notice the many default layers provided in the floor plan. I can easily hide or show layers to refine the views on the plans, which makes this single drawing very flexible serving the needs of different trades or departments. Many shapes have layer properties built in. Here if I add a table and then select the shape, I can select the Assign to Layer to verify the layers this table belongs to. When you make custom layers, you'll need to assign shapes to your layers. To do so from here, I can create a new layer and then enable it for my selected shape or shapes. Now layers are obviously cool, but maybe you're still wondering how you would use them. There're many practical reasons to employ layers. Perhaps you wish to have confidential or secondary information included in a drawing, but you don't want it to be printed. Assign it to a layer that has print disabled. Imagine you have a site plan diagram that shows the layout of a complex with multiple buildings that are under construction. You can assign structures to layers based on the projected completion dates. And by hiding layers or revealing them, you have a handy way to provide snapshots of the project at different points in time. On a flowchart, you can emphasize the impact of the removal or addition of a resource by your use of layers. Perhaps you have a diagram that contains elements you don't want moved or changed by accident. Assign those to a layer and the lock the layer to prevent alterations. I encourage you to take some time to experiment with layers and understand how they can be used to control the elements assigned to them. In this clip, we've looked at the user of layers in your drawings. Thank you for watching! And I look forward to seeing you in the next clip.

  33. Working with External Data In this clip, we'll look at working with external data. In previous clips, we've looked at a few ways that you can use Shape Data, adding data to existing fields and even customizing the fields to accept data that you want a Smart Shape to hold. Manually entering in this data into a Visio drawing and keeping it up to date can be tedious at best. In many cases, data is already prepared in a spreadsheet or database somewhere so you could find yourself reinventing the wheel when manually adding this data to your shapes. Finally, not everyone is set up to modify Visio content on his or her computer. The Professional versions of Visio enable you to link shapes to several types of external data working from the Data tab. To link data, you need to look at your data source first and possibly do some preparation so that the data will easily import into Visio. If possible, it's a good idea to prepare your source data with the Shape Data field names in mind. This could save you time later and possibly avoid some confusion. To make sure data gets to the correct shapes, a unique key or identifier is used to match your external data to a Shape Data field in Visio. To demonstrate how to use an external data source, we'll use this example of an office building layout. The details for office assignments are kept up to date in an Excel spreadsheet and stored on a network drive. We can link that Excel spreadsheet to our Visio floor plan. If we look at the spreadsheet, you can see that the column names pretty much match the Shape Data fields in the space shapes for this Visio floor plan. What we want to do is bring all of this information into our floor plan as painlessly as possible. The floor plan provides a nicer way to see the information, and it could be put up on a server or an internal website for easy access. To bring the data over from the spreadsheet, we start in the Data tab. In the External Data tools, I could just choose Quick Import since I'm pulling that in from Excel, which is a pretty easy way to do this. Just so you can see more options, though, I'll select Custom Import to open the Data Selector dialog box. Now here I can select from several types of data. In this case, we're going to connect to an Excel workbook. So I can click Next. Here I can browse or paste to the location of my data source. And again I'll click Next. Now if the worksheet or range was incorrect, I could use the Select Custom Range button to correct it. In this case, the Excel worksheet 'Space Data$' was correctly identified by Visio. And I can click Next. Here I just need to verify which columns and rows I want to link to. I can click this Select Columns or Select Rows buttons to refine my choices or leave the defaults to link to all columns and data. Basically, I can just uncheck columns or rows that aren't needed. Maybe there's some confidential information here that I don't want brought into Visio. Once I verify the data I want to link to, I can click OK and Next. Configure Refresh Unique Identifier is really the key to the cross reference of my data from the spreadsheet to the Shape Data fields. It's good to use a value you don't expect to change because this will be used as your cross reference key. So I can click Next. Here I see this confirmation that everything looks good, and I can click Finish. In Visio, an External Data window has now appeared, which looks a little like my Excel spreadsheet. Above I can show or hide it from the Data tab using the checkbox. I can also resize the External Data window. So now we can see the data in Visio, but we can't edit or change it here. That would have to be done in the original Excel spreadsheet. So to link my data to relevant shapes or offices in this case, it's pretty easy. I just manually drag and drop my data to the correct shape. So data for office E101 would go with office E101 on my drawing. Immediately I see the Shape Data fields are updated, and below I see a link has been established for that data. Best of all, I don't have to manually type in all the data for that office. The capability to bring in external data from an outside source can be useful for many scenarios. Assets, network resources, HR, part numbers, pricing, sales information are just a few examples of how data can be maintained in an external spreadsheet or database and then brought into Visio as linked external data. When you indicate which data goes with which shape, Visio will even create new Shape Data fields if needed to hold the linked data. But imagine dozens or even hundreds of shapes being involved. This could still be pretty tedious. On the Data tab is a tool named Link Data, which can really save you time if you've prepared your data to match your Shape Data fields and have a good unique identifier for each shape in your Visio drawing that matches a field of data on your external data. The office numbers will work really well as my unique identifier in this example. To start the process, I'll select the Link Data button. The first window offers the option to automatically link to all shapes on the page or just selected shapes. For this example, I'll use all shapes and click Next. This is the critical piece of information that let's Visio figure out which data will go with which shapes. I indicate the corresponding values from the data source and the Shape Data fields. In this example, the office number should match the name field in my shapes. Once I select the appropriate values, I can click Next. The final message in the wizard summarizes the information. Visio quickly calculates all the links. And after a couple of seconds, you can see the fields have now been labelled. Again, you can see where Visio even created additional fields in the floor plan to show the occupant and department data. Now if there were rows of data that weren't able to be matched automatically, the External Data window would show a missing link for that row, and I could then either correct the source data or manually drag and link that data to a shape. Also, you can add additional external data sources if needed. They would appear as tabbed sources in the External Data window. Just use the wizard to link data to shapes again. Now what happens if you need to update your information? Perhaps there're new prices or a change in phone numbers that need to be updated in the drawing itself. Well, again, the update needs to take place in the data source. Once that's been updated, we can ask Visio to refresh using the Refresh All button. Visio updates the link data, which then updates the Shape Data fields. If you want to automatically refresh, you can do that as well. Select Refresh Data from the drop-down and then configure the data source. Remember that you can have more than one external data source. From here you can select Automatic Refresh and select the amount of minutes. Notice also here that there's a box to overwrite user changes to data. If I manually update a Shape Data field, perhaps with a different phone number, this would determine if Visio allows the refreshed source data to overwrite my manual entry. Shape Data is a powerful feature in Visio. It enables you to make diagrams that reflect real-world changes. Linking external data will save you time and effort in the long run. Consider the advantage to using an automatic refresh interval. It also may be a good idea to document the interval or the last refresh so the viewers will know how up to date the information is that they're viewing. In this clip, we've looked at how to work with external data. Thank you for watching! And I look forward to seeing you in the next clip.

  34. Working with Data Graphics In this clip, we'll look at working with data graphics. Data graphics are another awesome feature in Visio that provide you with a variety of ways to display data visually. In addition to text, you can use colors or shapes to communicate status information based on shape data. Imagine a way to see at a glance information for shapes related to inventory or capacity. To illustrate how this can be done, let's see how to add a data graphic to this conference room. We'll set up a simple data graphic that alerts us if there're too many people scheduled for this room. In this floor plan for these rooms, there's already Shape Data indicating occupancy and capacity, so we'll use that in this example. To add data graphics, I'll select my conference room and then Data Graphics from the Data tab. From the drop-down, I'll select Create New Data Graphic. Here I'll select New Item. And in the New Item dialog box, I'll need to indicate the data field I want to work with. You may be able to select it from the drop-down, but if it's not present, as in this case, select More Fields and look for it in the Shape Data category. I'm looking for the Shape Data field named Occupancy. Once I have it, I can click OK. In the Displayed as drop-down here, I'll use an icon set. There're quite a few styles to choose from. I'll use this one. Now notice the rules. These indicate the conditions needed to make the indicated icon appear. According to our Shape Data, our room capacity is 6. So anything greater than 6, we'll put as red. Anything equaling 6, we can put as yellow. And for green, we'll use anything less than 6. Now these rules allow you a lot of flexibility. You can add ranges of values, and the conditions certainly don't have to be just numbers. Once I have my rules set up the way I want them, I can select OK. Finally, notice that the position of the data graphic itself can be precisely located by choosing from horizontal and vertical drop-down choices. Everything's the way I want it, so I can click OK. And now I'm asked, Do I want to apply this? And, of course, I'll click Yes. Notice that the conference room now has a data graphic. It's green because the occupancy is 0. Let's see what happens if we change the occupancy. If we put 7, we right away see a red alert, and we expect that. If we put 6, we get the yellow caution. And anything below 6 will give us the green icon. Now we can set ranges or additional icons to indicate additional alerts for different statuses. Now you probably won't do this for a conference room, but consider how useful this would be linked to external data tracking inventory for a showroom or a stockroom with data graphics that let you know where shortages are and when to place orders for items. While icons are meant to be easily understood, you may find it useful to include a legend to explain the significance of your data graphics. The Insert Legend tool is also located right on the Data tab. Select from Horizontal or Vertical configurations. And then you can move the legend if needed. To further illustrate how data graphics work and some of the things you can do with them, consider this example from an org chart. Regional sales managers are shown, and below you can see that linked data is showing quarterly sales for their regions. Data graphics have been added, and this certainly spices up the appearance providing a nice dashboard type of visual right in your org chart. Certainly this is a much better way to show these numbers than just dry text fields. Some settings had to be tweaked to get the desired results. If I select a shape and then hit the Data Graphics and Edit Data Graphic, I can select the second item here and then Edit Item to see the settings. So instead of an icon set, I'm using a data bar. And you can see from the styles that there're several options to choose from. The details for this speedometer were adjusted so that the range of values would be more easily discerned using a minimum and maximum value closer to the range of values seen in the sales figures. The value format has been changed to currency. And because these figures come from linked data, the data graphic will be updated automatically anytime the data is refreshed. Data graphics provide you with a very polished set of tools to add depth to your visual diagrams. Use them to draw attention to fields that really deserve attention. Stock, inventory, availability, and monetary values are all examples of data you'd want to see included in a dashboard display. In this clip, we've looked at the use of data graphics. Thank you for watching! And I look forward to seeing you in the next clip.

  35. Importing Images In this clip, we'll look at importing images into Visio. Even with all the stencils and shapes that you have to work with in Visio, it's not unusual to need special shapes or images from time to time. Visio has some built-in features that make it easy to import images from many file formats. Besides allowing you to paste images, you can use the Insert tab to insert files using the Pictures tool. This allows you to browse for images on your computer or network location. Here I'll insert an image that's in the PNG file format. Notice that right away Visio turns the image into a shape. When you select a shape that's come from an image file, you can work with it further using the contextual Picture Tools, Format tab that appears. As you can see here, there are several tools included on this tab. You can use Line tools to outline the shape, adjust the Z order, and rotate or crop your image. The first tool group labelled Adjust allows you to adjust brightness, contrast, and auto-balance, which is pretty handy if the image is based on a photo. There's a Format Picture dialog box launcher here that gives you a few more controls such as transparency and blur. The Compression tab is the same thing you'll get if you select the Compress picture tool from the Tab. Compression may be more important to you than you realize. Image files can get large with smart phones offering 40 mg pixel cameras and content prepared for HD screens. You may find that some images are much larger than needed for a drawing, and that extra image quality will certainly impact your Visio file size. Inserting a few large uncompressed images can affect your ability to email or save a file. It can even affect the performance of Visio causing it to noticeably slow down. Optimizing your pasted or inserted images is a good practice. Use the tools down here to indicate the optimal dpi for the shape. Images that will be printed will be optimized for a higher dpi than those optimized for a web page. If you'll be using the image at a larger size, it might be best to optimize the shape for the larger size. Besides the special Picture Tools, you can, of course, use the Format Shape pane to further modify the images because Visio already considers the image to be a shape. When working with images, remember that there are two basic image types--pixel based and vector based. Pixel-based images like BMP or JPEG use dots to create an image. And the quality of the image depends on the resolution and density of the dots. That's why when you resize a pixel-based image, sometimes you'll see the image become pixelated or distorted. Vector-based images use lines and paths to render the image and are best when working with Visio because they resize easily and have a cleaner appearance. SVG is a common vector-based format that works very well with Visio even allowing you to change attributes of the image if it's been prepared well. You can refine your search for a particular image type when searching for images. Selecting online pictures from the Insert tab allows you to search and insert clipart. If you insert images from these third-party sources, make sure you understand the usage rights associated with the images selected. Most will be free to use, but some images can have strings attached related to the paying of royalties or limits on usage. Visio has the ability to insert and edit Excel charts. The way Visio presents this will depend on the version of Excel you've installed because it actually pulls tools from Excel. When selecting a chart, you launch in Edit mode by default. While in Edit mode, you can edit the spreadsheet and the chart that accompanies it. If you click outside of the chart, you go back to the familiar Visio ribbon interface. And the finished chart appears as a shape. If you need to edit the chart again, right-click and use the Chart Object menu to access the Edit, Open, or Convert options. The Open option opens the chart directly in Excel, which can be handy if you need to fine tune your chart. Convert allows you to change the format to a different Excel spreadsheet format. Now because Visio is opening in Excel application services to work with the chart, Visio can seem unresponsive. So watch for alerts related to pop-ups for the chart especially if you have Excel open for something else already. In this clip, we've looked at working with images in Visio. Thank you for watching! And I look forward to seeing you in the next clip.

  36. Text Using Headers and Footers In this clip, we'll look closer at using headers and footers in your drawings. In an earlier clip, we looked briefly at background pages. Headers and footers are really part of the background page. Visio uses the background page to insert visible headers and footers into your drawings. In this drawing, you can see header and footer fields which provide a title, a date, and a page number. From the drawing page, I cannot select or edit these headers or footers. When I create a new page, I can use the same background title or header from another page by simply assigning the background page in the Page Properties tab of the Page Setup dialog box. This method can save a lot of time in maintaining a uniform appearance. To create headers and footers from scratch, simply select this tool from the Design tab and pick a style from the gallery. The style you select will appear on your page, and you'll have a new background page generated automatically. To edit the title, I need to go to the background page and then just double-click my text. Add a few more pages and you can see the background has been added to each automatically. The same title is applied to all the pages, so you may want to have more than one background page if the title refers to the page and not the entire drawing. To carry this concept even further, you can assign background pages to other background pages to further refine how common elements are brought to groups of pages. In this example, I have a couple of different header and footer styles, and I want to show you what's happening behind the scenes so you can see how flexible background pages can be once you understand how they relate to other pages. Two of my background pages are displaying text that is actually originating in that third background page. Notice the Page properties reveals the assigned background page is named Title. By the way, background pages always appear to the right of your foreground pages, and their name is italicized so you can recognize them as background pages even if they have been renamed. Another strength of headers and footers can be seen here as well. I'm using a text field to show the page name on the title background page, which filters down to the rest of the pages that use this background. The footers already use text fields to display page number and date information. As you can see, text fields can be pretty useful in your headers and footers, and we'll look closer at how to use text fields in another clip. You should be aware that if you print your drawings, you can choose to not print background pages. This can save on toner and ink. However, that would also exclude title and header information being printed because they're part of the background page. There's also a different type of header and footer that's available from the Print menu which we'll consider when we look at printing in another clip. In this clip, we've looked at the use of headers and footers in your drawings. Thank you for watching! And I look forward to seeing you in the next clip.

  37. Adding Text In this clip, we'll look at adding text to your diagrams. Text is a crucial aspect of many diagrams. And in other clips, we've looked at the use of callouts and screen tips to add your text. Now we'll look at a few more ways that you can incorporate text into your diagrams. Visio includes horizontal and vertical text box tools right on the Insert tab in the Text section. You can quickly select one or the other and draw a box outline that's formatted for that orientation of text. We'll look at the actual editing and formatting of your text in yet another clip. Now the text box is essentially a shape, and it can be resized, moved, rotated, and connected to other shapes. Generally the text box is invisible allowing you to strategically place your text on the drawing page without any visible shape as you can see here. If you would like, you can add styles to the text box by right-clicking and selecting from the style choices available in the context menu. A very powerful tool for adding text in Visio is the use of text fields. Text fields are a way to insert dynamic text into a diagram, such as date, author, page information, measurements, and other data types. After dragging a shape onto my drawing window, I can insert a text field by selecting the shape and going to the Insert tab. From the Text tools, I can select Field. Here in the Field dialog box, I can select categories on the left and field names on the right. For example, if I would like this shape to display the date the drawing was created, I would choose Date/Time, and then Creation Date/Time from the field name list. I can even control the format that will appear by selecting the Data Format button and then selecting from the relevant choices. In these other shapes I could display other information like the page name or the document creator through the use of text fields. I encourage you to take some time and look through the types of text fields available. You could be creative, and you can even combine regular text and text fields. In this shape, I've already added some text to explain what the date would be indicating. Now I just insert my text field. And going forward, this shape will now tell me the last time this drawing was edited. Yet another way to add text is by means of shapes found in the Title Blocks stencil. Many shapes in this stencil use some of the text fields we've just considered. You can find these special shapes by opening the Shapes pane, More Shapes, Visio Extras, and Title Blocks. You often see this type of text block when working with different types of floor plans. They provide an easy and dynamic way to display scale, dates, page information, and other customizable data. In this clip, we've looked at a few ways you can add text to your drawings. Thank you for watching! And I look forward to seeing you in the next clip.

  38. Formatting Text In this clip, we'll look at formatting text. When you work with shapes in Visio, there is an expectation that you'll use text because shapes are by default text blocks, and they can easily accommodate text. It's as simple as selecting a shape and typing in your text. There are many ways to edit and format your text after it's been entered in a shape, and you're no doubt familiar with basic text editing. In Visio, you can often use the right-click context menu or the Font and Paragraph tools on the Home tab to take care of basic tasks like font, size, bold, italics, and underline. Working with text in Visio is a little different from other Office products in a few ways. For example, formatting text can be done just by selecting the shape. Here I have a large shape selected with some text. And working from the Home tab, I can change the text format using the Font tool group. Now if I wanted to format specific words or portions of text, I really need to enter the Text Edit mode and select the portions of text to target my format changes. The easiest way to do that is just simply to double-click the shape containing the text. You're instantly placed in Edit mode, and you can make your changes. To exit, press the Escape key or click somewhere outside of the shape. If you need to change the text in a few different shapes, it might be easier just to enable the Text tool. This tool's found in the Home tab. Select Text from the Tools group. While enabled, any shape you select opens the text block to allow editing of the text rather than presenting you with normal control handles for removing and manipulating shapes. To exit, you can use the Escape key or click the Text tool again to return to your Pointer tool. For those of you that like keyboard shortcuts, you can use Ctrl+2 to enter the Text mode and return to the Pointer tool using Ctrl+1. Besides the formatting tools visible on the Home tab, you can launch the Text dialog box to find more options by clicking the launch button from the Font tool group or by pressing the F11 key on your keyboard. Here among the options I can work with on the Font tab are settings to change language and transparency for my text. The Character tab lets me change scale and spacing for the text. The Tabs tab allows me to establish how tabs are used inside of a shape to create columns of text, for example. While I can add bullets to a text block, I need to go to the Bullets tab to format the style used for my bullets. In this clip, we've looked at formatting your text in Visio. Thank you for watching! And I look forward to seeing you in the next clip.

  39. Using Text Blocks In this clip, we'll look at the use of text blocks in your drawings. Text blocks refer to the shape that actually hold your text. They can be created apart from shapes. But most often you deal with text blocks that start life when a shape is placed on a drawing. Shapes by default are prepared to accept text. When a shape is placed on the drawing window, it automatically includes a text block. You can think of the text block as a transparent skin that sits on top of your shape. Once text has been entered, it can be treated like a separate shape. But as you'll see, it remains attached to the shape that it started with. We talked about the Text tool in an earlier clip dealing with formatting text. On the Home tab to the right of the Text tool is the unlabeled Text Block tool. This quiet little tool is pretty impressive when you want to work with text, especially if it's connected to a shape. Like the Text tool, the Text Block tool allows you to create text blocks by simply clicking and dragging to create a text block. However, watch how it behaves when you pass over text with this tool. You can see the cursor change. And if I select the text, I see the whole text block is selected allowing me to move or even rotate the text independently from the shape. There are a few reasons you may want to move text around when working with shapes. Perhaps you want the text to be more visible when working with certain colors or themes or if you're using text blocks to create titles and labels in your drawing. Precise changes to the orientation of text are desirable in some situations. And while Visio offers a specific tool on the Home tab for rotating just the text block, it does so in 90-degree increments. Now don't forget that the text block continues to be subject to the shape it came from. While you can drag a text block to a different location away from the shape, moving the shape will move the text with the shape. So be cautious when moving text blocks away from shapes. For example, this text block would disappear if the original shape were deleted. Although the background of a text block is normally transparent, you can certainly add color. This might be helpful to make the text easier to read or to provide a background to text blocks that were meant to be titles or labels. There are a couple of ways to do this depending on the situation. For a text block that has no shape, you could just use the Fill tool and add color to the text block like you would any other shape. When a text block is on a shape or connector, you might get better results by launching the Text dialog box and selecting the Text Block tab to fine tune the background color. Here, the adjustable margins determine the amount of space around the text itself that will receive background color. Now this is different from the way Fill will fill the entire text block. And as you can see, the results are much more subtle. In this clip, we've looked at the use of text blocks in your drawings. Thank you for watching! And I look forward to seeing you in the next clip.

  40. Printing Printing Basics In this clip, we look at printing basics. Print is a little five-letter word. It really shouldn't be complicated. But we've all been frustrated when we've intended to print one thing and gotten something else entirely. Also, we don't want to be that guy that cuts down a forest every time we try to print a simple Visio drawing. It's important to understand our print settings and how to use less paper when we print. Whether your Visio diagram is a simple, straightforward flowchart or a sprawling, multi-page, complex diagram, the printing task is managed from the backstage. This is accessed by selecting the Colored File tab. And from there, we select Print from the vertical menu on the left. You can also get there by using keyboard shortcut Ctrl+P when working with the drawing window. The Print Settings pane on the left has a much improved and very intuitive interface that now shares the same appearance as other Microsoft Office applications. The prominent Print button sends the job to the printer using the displayed settings. It doesn't get much easier than that. You can easily indicate how many copies you want to print. You can quickly choose a different printer from the Printer drop-down list. And you can see the status of the printer. This can help you immediately avoid problems with sending your job to a printer that is ready rather than to one offline. Aside from the Ready status, you can hover over the informational icon to see more detailed information regarding the connection to that printer. Just below the Printer button is a link labelled Printer Properties. This will bring up the properties for the printer that was installed on your operating system. You'd get the same results opening the Printer Properties from Devices and Printers on the Control Panel on Windows. As you can see, the settings are unique to the printer installed. Although not all printers have the same options, you can expect to find certain basic settings here such as color, quality, print selection, duplexing, and paper settings. From the Settings pane, you can determine which pages are printed if there's a range. You can also select settings for collation if you have multiple copies of multi-page drawings. Here we have a setting for page orientation. Now this isn't the same as the page orientation that you use when working on the drawing window. Orientation here tells the printer how to reproduce the selected print job onto paper. Straightforward paper and color choices will be found here as well. You may also see other drop-down menus depending on the capability of your printer. For example, if your printer has a duplexer, you might see options for single- or double-sided printing here. It's hard to ignore the dominant Print Preview pane. This allows you to interact with your drawing without leaving the print page and provides you a get-what-you-see Live Preview of your print job. You can navigate through the preview pages and zoom in and out and pan across the drawing by clicking and dragging. To zoom in or out, use the zoom control, or you can use the scroll wheel on your mouse. To the right of the zoom control is the zoom-to-page button that you can use to jump to a view of the full page. There's also a Page Breaks preview that can be used when you're forced to print a large drawing across more than one sheet of paper. Use the setting to verify how shapes will print across the page borders, and you can decide if you're happy with the way the print job will print or if some rearranging is called for. This useful feature removes any concerns you may have before sending files to the printer. What you see here in the Print Preview may save you from printing an unusable drawing. For an important print job, it's natural to want to test the print job to ensure that everything is just right. However, we know that printing test jobs can be expensive and wasteful. A useful trick to test a print job is simply to print the job to a file format that will faithfully reproduce the print quality. You may have the means to print to PDF already installed on your computer. PDF is a great option for this because it won't change the formatting, and it reproduces what would happen if the page had been printed by a printer using the printer tool settings. Once the output has been generated, just save the pages as a PDF formatted file. Because the pages look exactly like the printed pages would, you can open the file to check the print quality. If you're happy with the results, you can send the same settings to a printer confident of the results. Another advantage is that PDF files can readily be viewed by anyone even if they don't have Visio installed because PDF viewers are free applications and are commonly installed. A similar but lesser known option is built into Windows and Visio. You can choose Microsoft XPS Document Writer in your list of printers. This creates an image that, again, corresponds to what would be printed on paper. Windows has an XPS viewer which is normally included in the operating system. In Windows 7, for example, click Start and type XPS. The XPS viewer would be listed. In this clip, we've looked at printing basics. Thank you for watching! And I look forward to seeing you in the next clip.

  41. Controlling Print Results In this clip, we'll look at some of the ways you can better control print results in Visio. With laser and inkjet printers or plotters, generally there are limits to how close you can print to the edge of your paper. This physical limitation can be referred to as a bleed, crop, or margin depending on the context and application. In Visio, this area is referred to as margins. And you can change the amount of space reserved for your margins if you need to. The setting is configured using the Page Setup dialog box, which happens to have a link in the Print Settings pane. Here on the Print Setup tab, click the button labelled Setup to open the Print Setup dialog box. In the Print Setup dialog box, you can adjust the margins for left, right, top, and bottom. The settings for small drawings allow you to split the margin space and center your drawing on the page either horizontally or vertically. Just click OK and OK again to save your settings. Another link that appears in the Print Settings pane refers to header and footer settings. Now this isn't the same as the header and footer feature that can be included in background pages. This is a separate setting that's used with printed pages and will only be seen on printed output. You can print reference information at the header and footer of your pages. To configure this feature, open the link labelled Edit Header and Footer. You can choose to locate this reference information at the left, right, or center positions of the top or bottom of your page. You can select reference information for any of these positions using the drop-downs for that position. Page number references would be related to the printed pages. For example, page 1 of your drawing may actually print across six pieces of letter-sized paper. So this information would relate to the six pages of paper that will be printed. Use header and footer fields when printing to provide reference information in your printouts that may not be visible in the drawing itself. Referencing pages when there are many printed pages, identifying the date the drawing is printed, or indicating the file name that was printed can all be useful pieces of data that can help avoid confusion if changes have been made or if the printout is being used for review. The reference to margins here is referring to the distance from the top and bottom edges of your paper. It's not the same as the print margins that we just looked at earlier in this clip. Use the Print Preview to ensure that overlaps are avoided and that your information will be legible. To further control what's printed, we can be very selective in the Print Settings pane. While the default is Print All Pages, from the drop-down we can select specific pages or even the current view if we are zoomed in on a drawing. Something unique to Visio is the option to print background pages. Background pages may have additional color and content that aren't necessary in a printed diagram. And choosing to not print them can conserve ink and toner. If you decide you don't need the background content on the printed page, you can quickly strip this from the print job by selecting the words No Background toward the bottom of this list. Check again and you'll see that No Background is checked showing the choice is enabled. To go back to including the background pages, just select it again to remove the checkmark. Another way to limit the items being printed is to manually select items first in the drawing window and choose Print Selection from the Print Settings pane. You can drag over an area to select shapes and connectors or hold down the Ctrl key and click each item. Once the document is set to Print Selection in the Settings pane, the preview window adjusts to show what will be printed. In this clip, we've looked at settings that allow you to better control the print results. Thank you for watching! And I look forward to seeing you in the next clip.

  42. Advanced Printing In this clip, we'll examine settings related to advance printing. While we all try to be green and conserve resources, there are times when we want to ensure that the print quality is maximized. One quick setting to check in Visio is the High Quality setting. Located in the Print Settings pane, this setting is somewhat hidden as it's located at the bottom of the document drop-down list that is labelled Print All Pages by default. High Quality is a setting that changes the print output from the default optimized draft mode to a high quality mode. With this setting enabled, you may not see any difference because the draft mode provides pretty sharp print quality. So what is the difference? When Visio and other Office products print a document, some visual effects that are seen in the drawing window will not be included in the printed output. Shadows are a good example of this. Printing this effect can take extra time and slows down the printer, so Visio removes these effects to improve print speed. Notice in this drawing that I've exaggerated the shadow a bit just so you can see the difference this setting makes. In the Print Preview window, no shadow is shown, and it will not be printed. But watch what happens after enabling High Quality. You may also want to check other quality settings that are unique to your printer using the Printer Properties. Make sure you're using the equivalent of best or high in your printer settings rather than draft or normal if the quality is not as good as desired. Another advanced print setting is related to layers. In a separate clip, we looked at the use of layers in your drawings. But they deserve attention here. One of the benefits of working with layers is the capability to choose which layers print. Notice here how easy it is to select what is printed in this drawing just by unchecking the box. The floor plan can now be printed without the furniture layer so that the printout can focus on other elements of this room. And, again, the Print Preview pane is very useful to show me what will actually be printed. Many layers are created automatically when you place shapes and connectors in your drawings. So it can be very simple to make selections like this one. Visio also allows you to create new layers as needed and assign content according to your criteria. In any case, printing or not printing a layer is a simple choice you can make. Gridlines are sometimes desirable features in a printed diagram. They provide guidelines and a sense of scale. Modifications can be easily noted and scaled. So to print gridlines, select the Page Setup link from the main Print Settings pane. Select Gridlines at the bottom of the Print Setup tab to enable this feature in your printed copy. In this clip, we've looked at some advanced settings that affect your printed drawings. Thank you for watching! And I look forward to seeing you in the next clip.

  43. Resolving Complex Print Issues In this clip, we'll look at resolving complex print issues. One type of complex print job common to Visio is the need to print large diagrams across several pages, commonly referred to as tiled drawings. No one likes to print tiled drawings. It'd be so much nicer to have a huge color plotter that could print laminated diagrams anytime we need to print a diagram. Realistically, this is sometimes just not an option perhaps due to cost or equipment issues. Anticipating this situation, Visio allows you to manage tiled print jobs with a minimum of fuss. As an example, you can see this large flowchart is spread out over several pieces of paper. It's practical when working with large diagrams to ensure that page breaks are visible in the drawing window. Enable this visual aid from the View tab and the Show tools set. This will alert us if some shapes are placed too close to where the page is split. Another aid is the Print Preview pane. To consult this, open your File tab and choose Print. Make sure the Show/Hide Page Break button is enabled. Here we can see shapes are split up at the page break. Does this mean we have to rearrange everything? Or do we need to move shapes around to find the least bad page split option? We can actually fix this with a simple click. From the Home tab, expand the Position button and select the Move off Page Breaks. Notice how the diagram is automatically adjusted to avoid problems caused by page breaks. Sometimes we don't want a tiled print job, and we really just want to keep everything on one page. There're a couple of ways to manually dictate the print scale without altering your drawing. Keep in mind that changes to scale may have an effect on the accuracy of drawings that depend on scale. Including a scale or legend in drawings could be a good idea. You might also consider including a disclaimer in altered print copies to avoid confusion. To shrink a large diagram to force it to print on a single page, I can open the Page Setup dialog box from the link at the bottom of the Print Settings pane. In the Print zoom area of the Print Setup tab, I can use a different value for Adjust to to alter the scale percentage. But it might be easier to just enable the Fit to option. In here you can see a size of one sheet across and one sheet down are filled in by default. I can click OK. In either case, I can see the change in the Print Preview pane before actually printing. Visio manages the printing of drawings at the page level. This allows for a variety of pages in a single Visio file that can have very different settings. This isn't all that unusual because many people include supplementary pages with close-ups, secondary information for large diagrams, title pages, backgrounds, and titles in header fields all in the same Visio drawing file. When printing, make sure that the print settings for each page give you satisfactory results. If your pages are combined into a handout at a meeting, you probably don't want landscape and portrait orientations mixed together. Page sizes may have been set differently for one page than the rest. And this may represent additional problems for your printer. The Print Preview feature can be especially helpful because you can browse through your pages and verify the pages are set up correctly. Remember that the settings area in the print window reflect the settings for the specific page being previewed. Notice here page 3 has a landscape orientation, and the paper size is A4. This lets me spot a problem because that printer only handles letter-sized paper. In this clip, we've looked at some common issue affecting complex print jobs in Visio. Thank you for watching! And I look forward to seeing you in the next clip.

  44. Sharing Sharing Visio Drawings In this clip, we'll look at sharing your Visio drawings. We live in a social world where it's become very common to share everything, whether it's a status update or what we had for lunch. There are always new ways being found to share. Visio's not to be outdone in this respect, and you'll find several tools built in that facilitate your desire to share and collaborate with others. One traditional way to share Visio drawings is by email. After you create and save your drawing, you can open the File tab and select Share. Select Email to see options for sharing your drawing via email. There are four basic choices, and some may be grayed out depending on where you've saved your drive. To send as an attachment, we'll open a new email with your drawing attached as a VSDX document. The default subject line would be your document name, and then you can just add your contacts to the To and Cc fields and click Send. Now this is an independent copy, so any changes made after sending will not be synced with the original. If you're drawing is saved to a network or cloud-based location, you'll be able to send the link. This will open a new email with a link to your drawing. Just add your contacts and click Send. Now this link allows for the availability of a fresh up-to-date copy with collaborators. Now when sending a link to a network location, not all recipients will necessarily be able to open the drawing. It's common for corporate networks to restrict access to files located on the server to a minimum number of users. Permissions to that server may be set to read-only access, which may make editing impossible. If you have questions or problems sharing a network location, you may need to consult whoever administers your server regarding access and permission. The option to send as PDF opens a new email with your drawing attached as a PDF formatted document. Just add your contacts and click Send. Similarly, the XPS option will open a new email with your drawing attached as an XPS formatted document. Again, just add your contacts and click Send. If your email recipients only need to see the drawing, can consider sending it as a PDF or XPS formatted attachment. Both are common formats, and you can usually expect others to have the software needed to open and view. Formatting is preserved, and the recipient sees the drawing as it was meant to be seen. If you need your recipients to make changes to or edit the drawing, a link or copy of the file would be the better choice. Many email servers enforce size limits on attachments. And, therefore, they may block an attachment if the email is too large. So sending a link is oftentimes the best option. Although it would be great if everyone had Visio, individuals and companies often have to keep a close eye on resources and target Visio licenses to those that really need to work with Visio drawings on a regular basis. As a result, our desire to share with others may present a difficult situation. The recipients may not have the ability to open our VSDX formatted files. If that's the case, then point them to the Microsoft Viewer 2016. This is a free download provided by Microsoft, and even if they have an older version of Visio Viewer, they'll benefit from the latest version as it allows them to work with the latest file formats, and it brings additional improvements. Visio Viewer allows them to open Visio drawings and view them in the Internet Explorer web browser. With Visio Viewer, they can pan, zoom, navigate pages, inspect shapes, selectively view layers, and view commenting. Starting with Office 2013 products, OneDrive integration has been supported, and this continues in Visio 2016. OneDrive is cloud-based storage that can be used not only to save our files, but we can also easily share content with others that's been saved to our OneDrive. If you're working with a drawing that's saved to OneDrive, you can select Share and then Share with People. This will provide you the basic interface for managing access to your cloud-based drawing. You can add people from your contacts or add email addresses and then select the type of access you're granting them. Choose between Can edit or Can view. You can add notes here and select Share to send an email with a link to your drawing. Down here, you can see who currently has access to your drawing, and their current level of access is indicated. You can also modify access that has already been given. To do so, right-click a person from the Shared with section, and you can then remove their access or change their access. In this clip, we've looked at ways you can share your drawings in Visio. Thank you for watching! And I look forward to seeing you in the next clip.

  45. Saving to Other Formats In this clip, we'll look at saving your drawings to other file formats. Visio saves your drawings by default to the new VSDX format. Although this default Visio drawing format is what you'll likely use for day-to-day drawings, some situations might have you scrambling to save to a different format. What are some of the common formats available, and when might you use them? To save a drawing into a different format, you might intuitively open the File tab, select Save As, and choose your location and then select a file format from the Save as type drop-down. This is a valid way to save to other formats, and it's a common way to handle this task in many applications. Visio actually offers a more polished interface to save to other formats using Export from the File tab. Essentially, you are using the Save As function, but you're choosing your format before establishing a save location. Also, you'll find more information related to these other file formats. PDF or XPS formats allow you to create static easily viewable copies of your drawings that maintain the appearance and formatting you've put together. You can email drawings saved to these formats to just about anyone. Some also use PDF and XPS files as a way to archive a drawing and refer back to them if things have changed in the actual drawing. The PDF will recognize text as text. And shapes saved to PDF can provide a usable hyperlink. Select the Change File Type button to choose from other formats. From here, you can save Visio drawings to the older VSD format, which would be compatible with 2003, 2007, and 2010 versions of Visio. Saving to the Visio 2002 format is no longer supported. You can also choose from a few image formats here. Both PNG and JPEG are raster or pixel-based image formats. Raster formatted images use a grid of pixels to recreate the image. Because of this, they can degrade when enlarged becoming pixelated. Because the image quality is an important factor, you'll be presented with output options when saving to these formats. PNG is often favored for websites and is similar to JPEG. You can actually assign a color to be transparent using PNG. PNG files also print well. JPEG compresses the image to a small size with minimal loss of detail, and it's a good choice for website images or graphics that will be displayed on the screen. EMF and SVG are both vector-based formats that resize well and maintain sharper lines and colors. EMG is often favored for true color and for quality printing. SVG is a widely used standard vector-based format. The format you choose will depend on your purpose in saving to an image format. Take some time to experiment and compare the results if you're unsure which is best for you. If importing an image to another application, you may need to consult the documentation for that application. One last format worth noting here is the DWG AutoCAD Drawing format. It's possible to open and view DWG formatted files in Visio and even convert them so shapes and drawing elements can be manipulated in Visio. Using Export, you can also save to this format. Now if you need to save to the DXF AutoCAD format, just change the option to AutoCAD Interchange in the Save as type drop-down. In this clip, we've looked at saving your drawing to other file formats. Thank you for watching! And I look forward to seeing you in the next clip.

  46. Markup and Review in Visio In this clip, we'll look at Markup and Review tools in Visio. As you work with the Visio diagram, you can collaborate with others in a variety of ways using commenting and more traditional tools like Ink and Track Markup. Comments show a timestamp and author, and it's easier to navigate long chains of comments. The presence of comments are revealed by small balloon icons that are located at the top right corner of a shape. To view the comments, just click the icon. You can add comments to a shape by right-clicking a shape and then select Add Comment from the context menu. Just type in your comments and click Enter. A small icon will remain to let you know that there's now a concealed comment associated with that shape. On the Review tab, you'll see a group of tools labelled Comments. Select the Comments pane drop-down to show the Reveal Tags option. You can use this checkbox to enable or disable the tags allowing you to completely hide comment tags from a drawing if needed. Select the Comments pane to add this task pane to the drawing window. From here, you can see all the comments included in your drawing. When you select a shape with a comment, the related comments are highlighted in the Comments pane. You can also select a comment in the Comments pane, and the small icon balloon appears highlighted to indicate the shape the comment is attached to. Because comments can multiply easily, the Comments pane includes a filter to narrow the results in a few ways including by person, page, or recent comments. You can select the New Comment button from the Review tab when you want to add a general comment to the entire page. The Comment tool Ink actually has its own tab. Ink tools provide another useful way to add comments to a Visio drawing. Using Ink tools, you can create hand-drawn shapes and handwritten notes when looking over a diagram, and it's especially useful with tablets and touch-screen devices. Lines and shapes you draw can be left as Ink shapes or converted into Visio shapes that can be edited using standard shape drawing tools. Like other Visio shapes, you can move, copy, and resize Ink shapes. Visio will even attempt to convert letters you draw freehand into text. The ballpoint pen and highlighter tools are straightforward drawing tools that allow you to draw freehand style lines called strokes. These lines combine to form part of the same Ink shape until you either click the Pointer tool or select the Close Ink Tools button. Stroke Eraser enables you to selectively remove strokes from an Ink shape. You can tweak the properties of your drawing tools using the Color and Weight drop-down menus. Close Ink Shape provides you with another way to indicate you're done adding strokes to an Ink shape. Select this, and the next stroke will start a new Ink shape. Auto-Create Ink Shapes closes Ink shapes after a long pause. You can enable or disable this feature using the checkbox. Auto-Create Ink Shapes is enabled by default, and many people really like this feature. If you want to adjust the time allowed to automatically close an Ink shape, you can go to your Visio Options dialog box and select Advanced. Use this slider to increase or decrease the time allowed before the tool closes in Ink Shape. Convert to Text and Convert to Shape converts the selected Ink shapes to text or to a Visio shape. After converting the text, you can then edit and format by using standard Text tools. If you've used Visio in the past, you might be wondering where the Markup tools went. With the improvements to the commenting tools, Markup tools have been removed from the Review tab. If you like Markup tools, you can certainly add them back. Just be prepared to walk others through the steps to find the command and add it to a tab in their copy of Visio. Track Markup is used to create an overlay on your drawing where comments and shapes can be added without changing the original drawing. The markups can be displayed or hidden easily, and the drawing can have several markup overlays. You can see I've added the Track Markup tool to my Review tab. Adding tools to tabs is considered in more detail in another clip. This drawing has had Track Markup content added, and you can see a Review pane and a border around the drawing window itself. The markup overlays are colored, and you can jump between them using these vertical tabs. From the Review pane, I can change what's displayed using the checkboxes down here. After enabling Track Markup, it's easy to add shapes and comments to an overlay. The drawing area will have a colored border, and shapes added will share the same color. The Reviewing Task pane also shows up, and this tracks changes made to the overlay and provides a way to control how overlays are displayed. Now overlays are isolated from one another, and the idea is to use these to indicate where and how a drawing can be improved or corrected. Finally, another benefit to using markup overlays is you can easily remove these overlays to eliminate confidential information from being made available on final copies. In this clip, we've looked at tools used for markup and review in Visio. Thank you for watching! And I look forward to seeing you in the next clip.

  47. Removing Sensitive Information Before Sharing In this clip, we'll consider removing sensitive and hidden information from your Visio drawings. Visio drawings can be shared in any number of ways from an email attachment to a drawing that's been shared to a website. Although you might be understandably focused on sharing the drawing you create, it's wise to consider what is being shared. Your drawing may contain sensitive information that's been inadvertently embedded in your document. Also, the overall size of the document may have grown larger than you realized. A couple of handy tools can be found in the Info tab to help you remove unnecessary hidden and sensitive data. The two buttons Remove Personal Information and Reduce File Size will both open the same Remove Hidden Information dialog box. Personal Information tab allows you to quickly remove several types of data. You may not want author, manager, and company names revealed through this drawing. You could forget that reviewer comments and markups are present. This information may contain embarrassing or confidential details, aside from being information that just doesn't need to be shared. File path information that Visio normally embeds in a document for things like stencils or templates will be removed. This type of data could provide insightful information regarding a company's network file structure to hackers and can be viewed as a security risk. The checkbox to remove data from external sources is also worth noting. You may have financial or contact information linked to a drawing like an org chart that shouldn't be widely available. The File Size Reduction tab allows you to remove non-critical information or extra data that's not being used in your drawing. For most drawings, this will not have a big effect in the overall file size. But it's still worth using it. Just check the boxes for anything you want to strip away. Now if file size really is a problem, you might want to also see if any images have been inserted. They may need to be optimized. While all these tools allow you to strip away hidden information, drawings retain shape data and text that's been added to text fields. Therefore, confidential information that was entered in this way is still there. Extra pages that have been temporarily added and call logs used for commenting are not removed. So just to be safe, make it a practice to look through your pages to ensure that you or a coworker have not added private or confidential information before a document is shared. In this clip, we've looked at removing hidden and sensitive information from your Visio drawings. Thank you for watching! And I look forward to seeing you in the next clip.

  48. Tips Tips for Flowcharts and Block Diagrams In this clip, we'll consider some tips regarding flowcharts and block diagrams. Although flowcharts tend to be pretty straightforward creations, Visio provides you with a few tools designed to improve your experience when working with flowcharts and process diagrams. Auto-resize allows flowchart shapes to automatically grow vertically to contain long text entries. And this setting is enabled by default. This capability can be disabled by selecting Set to Default Size. Also, after a shape has been resized manually, the auto-resize feature is disabled. To reenable it, look for the Resize with Text option when right-clicking the shape. The Re-Layout Page on the Design tab can be a very useful tool to quickly clean up a diagram. While results are predictable and more desirable than manually throwing a flowchart together, the tool has a hard time with decision shapes and dynamic glue. As you can see here, the Re-Layout tool has combined the Yes and No options because dynamic glue allows for this. This cause the diagram to be unusable as a flowchart. The solution in a case like this is to use point-to-point glue with your decision shapes. If you have Visio Professional, you can use sub-processes to simplify a complicated flowchart. Sub-processes allow you to separate the higher level process steps and the relegated subsections of the flow to secondary pages where they can still be consulted when needed. Here's a flowchart for handling support tickets. Now this can be simplified by making the entire phone call process a sub-process. You can do this easily by selecting the appropriate shapes and then navigating to the Process tab. From the section labelled Subprocess, I can use the button Create from Selection. The selected shapes are now replaced with a single sub-process shape, and a new page has been added to hold the shapes that make up the sub-process. I can now name the page containing my sub-process. And it's a good idea to match the shape and page names. To review my relocated steps, I can just hold the Ctrl key and hit the sub-process shape. Basically, a hyperlink has been included, which now jumps to the page. Block diagrams are often used to capture a variety of design, process, and flow modelling. Block diagram shapes have a few unique qualities in Visio. One of these is the fact that you can blend some block shapes together. Notice here how arrows have been blended into a box shape. These arrow shapes have the capability to have either an open or closed end, which is what makes this possible. The context menus allow you to open or close sections for blending, and this feature works for both two-dimensional and three-dimensional shapes. Some problems you might run into when blending shapes are the use of shadows, themes that use gradient colors, or your Z order. Blended shapes continue to be considered as separate shapes by Visio. So avoid effects and colors that work against the blend effect. In this clip, we've looked at a few tips related to flowcharts and block diagrams. Thank you for watching! And I look forward to seeing you in the next clip.

  49. Tips for Timelines and Org Charts In this clip, we'll consider a few tips related to timelines and org charts. Timeline stencils include three basic shape types--timeline, milestone, and interval. These can be combined to create schedules, historical overviews, projected timelines, and so on. It's also good to notice that timelines, intervals, and milestones all allow you to change type using the context menu. From here, it's also easy to correct dates, orientation, and even hide elements all from your context menu. Timelines also have their own contextual ribbon. From here, you can use the Configure button to edit the time endpoints, scale, and time format. The Date/Time Format button is a bit more granular allowing you to edit format options for all visible time reference fields. There are buttons that synchronize milestones and intervals, and these can be useful when scheduled events influence other events. You'll also find tools to import and export from Microsoft project files. When importing, you can select the task types you want to import--All, Top level tasks only, Milestones only, Summary tasks only, or Top level tasks and milestones. You can then assign the Visio style of shapes to be used for your timeline, milestone, and interval shapes. Organizational or org charts were heavily updated with Visio 2013 with many fresh and modern styles and shapes that breathe new life into the standard boxy org charts that have been around for a while in Visio. It's obvious in these new designs that photos play an important role in making a great looking org chart. This feature has been well received because we all like to put a face to a name. Take the time to verify you have your data prepared and updated before creating your org chart. An org chart says a lot about the people in it, so take advantage of the new styles and variations available. It's a good investment to take the extra time to get your pictures of people and then name the picture files to save you time later when importing them to the org chart. Use file names that match the fields used in your org chart, such as name or employee Id. When adding and editing photos, you have access to a Picture Tools tab that allows you to perform basic editing and cropping right within Visio. You can import photos from an Exchange server so that the same familiar faces used in Outlook appear in your org chart. You could also import photos from a folder that has those photo names set up to match your Shape Data fields. Finally, you can manually add photos using the Org Chart tab or the context menu for that shape. Now, if you're creating an org chart for a spy organization and don't want to use pictures, you can protect their identities by hiding this feature altogether. Select the shapes you want to remove pictures from and use the Show/Hide button on the Org Chart tab to hide this feature. From the Org Chart contextual tab, you have general layout options. And plus and minus buttons to change the spacing and size settings. If you want to create an org chart from scratch using Visio shapes, you should be aware of some characteristics and handy tools. By nature, org charts are tiered. And this relationship is anticipated. So to add a subordinate position, simply drop one shape on top of another, and the new shape is connected automatically. You'll find that org chart shapes provide several options using their context menu. Also you'll find the Shape Data can be a practical way to update or correct data in your org chart. While data could be added manually, it's to your advantage to import the information from an outside source. Even if you need to use an Excel spreadsheet or text file, it'll be faster than manually entering in all your data to Visio shapes. You'll find that Visio can easily extract common fields such as the name, phone number, department, and title using the wizard that opens when you first open the org chart template. You could also create a chart on the fly using the Organizational Chart Wizard. Rather than choosing information that's already stored in a file on a database, select information that I enter using the wizard. The wizard then helps you to create a spreadsheet or a delimited text file, which is then used to create your chart. So this could be a formidable task if you're starting from scratch. If you choose a delimited text file, you'll see a Notepad open asking you to enter your data using the format Name, Reports_to, Title, Department, and Telephone, and a couple of lines of sample data are provided to assist you. Make your additions and save the file. Visio can then convert this data into an org chart that you can work with. In this clip, we've looked at a few tips for working with timelines and org charts. Thank you for watching! And I look forward to seeing you in the next clip.

  50. Tips for Floor Plans In this clip, we'll look at a few tips for working with floor plans. When working with plans, you should be aware of a few unique characteristics in Visio. Some shapes found in floor plan templates have been designed to provide many layout variations using a single shape. For example, you can use the context menu to reverse the direction and orientation of door shapes. Further changes can be made from the Shape Data pane for these shapes such as dimensions and degree of opening to show on a drawing window. In fact, the Shape Data pane is a very useful tool to keep open when working with your plans. Walls have a single side that is referred to as a reference line. Using the context menu for walls, you can flip the side used for the reference line, add a guideline, or add a dimension. Guidelines can be handy visual reference points. To remove a guideline, just select it and press Delete. Depending on the plan template you selected, you may find yourself working with interior floor plans. If you need to include exterior walls, make sure the Wall, Shell, and Structure stencil is open. Besides using shapes to create your walls, you can actually use the drawing tools to provide the shape you want to start with working in a clockwise or counterclockwise direction will affect where dimensions eventually appear. A clockwise direction will place dimensions to the outside. Once your shape is complete, use the Convert to Walls tool from the contextual Plan tab to turn a rough sketch into walls you can work with. The Convert to Walls dialog box lets you select interior or exterior walls, whether to show dimensions or guidelines, and what to do with the original lines you drew. The Plan tab also includes a tool that lets you select display actions for door, wall, and window shapes. If you've never used them before, space shapes can be very useful in a floor plan. Drop a space shape into a room, right-click, and select auto-size. The space shape will resize to fit your room. If the area you want to work with is only a portion of a room or even an exterior area, you can right-click the space shape and select Edit. And this places you into an Edit mode allowing you to customize the area covered by the space shape. You can select and move points as needed. Press the Escape key to exit Edit mode when you're finished. The Shape Data pane allows you to type in additional Shape Data entries for a space shape, which can be displayed, and this is one of the things that makes space shapes so special. From the context menu, select Set Display Options to select up to four Shape Data fields you want to show. This is a practical way to display extra information for a room like the names, department, phone numbers, and even square footage. By default, the area covered by the space shape is calculated automatically, and you can choose from various units of measurement. A space shape has two important points to be aware of. There is a base point for the space shape used for the auto-size tool, and the second point determines where any displayed text will appear. Either point can be selected and moved providing you with lots of versatility. In this clip, we looked at a few tips for working with floor plans. Thank you for watching! And I look forward to seeing you in the next clip.