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Reload this page Microsoft Visio

Here are my notes on flowcharting UML and other charts using Microsoft's Visio product, organized in a different way than Microsoft's Help files and training documents.

Take the Brainbench certification test on Visio 5.0

Cisco offers its Visio shapes for their product line here


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Set screen Product Information


David Parker [Visio MVP]

"Al Edlund"

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Set screen Product Architecture/Migration

  • Visio was purchased by Microsoft in 1999.

  • Visio 5.0 was part of Office 2000.

  • Visio 2000 flowcharts have file type of .vsd

  • Visio 2000 Template files have a .vst extension

    Thank you for supporting this website by buying Visio books through this site:

    Get this book discounted from Amazon Learn to Diagram Visio is a good introductory book.

    Get this book discounted from Amazon Visio Inside Out has many tips and tricks.


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Set screen Installation


Get live support from experts through Keen.

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Set screen Configuration

    Here are the customizations I prefer after installation is complete:

  • Tools, Options, General tab,
  • Check "Open last file on startup"
  • Input 9 in "Recently used file list"
  • Right-click on one of the Stencils to select "Icons Only".

    Visio 2003 stores the list of last used files, fonts, and other setttings in Windows Registry key



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Set screen GUI Tips and Tricks (plus Annoyances)

  1. Duplicate shapes by right clicking on that shape, selecting Copy, then pressing Ctrl-V to paste.

    The trouble is that (by default) Visio pastes shapes in the center of the window. This usually disrupts the autoflow.

    So either scroll to a blank location before pasting or use Bill Morein's suggestion of setting Visio to paste on the same location as the copied shape (as OpenOffice does by default) using a macro using these functions:

    • ActiveWindow.Selection.Copy (visCopyPasteNoTranslate)
    • ActivePage.Paste(visCopyPasteNoTranslate)

    Visio Macros (tips & tricks) for Interaction Designers provides additional macros.

  2. If you have access to an (expensive) plotter, such as at Kinkos, set the paper size to E4 () and then set the page size to match the paper size.

    If you have a regular 8-1/2x11 printer, set Custom page size and select as many pages as you need. But you'll have to trim the white edges and paste sheets together.

  3. When using Visio to do storyboards, press F5 to go into full screen mode. In this mode, Visio provides arrow keys so that you can navigate forward and backward through the pages. Hyperlinks still work in this mode.

Storyboarding Rich Internet Applications with Visio by Bill Scott

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Set screen Right-Click Instead of ToolBar Icons

    Roll vertical scroll
    Shift + roll horizontal scroll
    Ctrl + roll zoom
    Click + drag pan
    Visio 2000 provides support for the Microsoft IntelliMouse. The following wheel actions are supported in a Visio drawing window:

    another page on this site Other mouse and keyboard shortcuts

    Microsoft's Tutorial on Creating a UML Diagram uses the NeuCom UML.vsd and NeuCom DFD.vsd files installed with Visio 2000 on C:\Program Files\Visio\Samples\Software (or wherever visio is installed).

    Click on tabs at the bottom to select each type of UML diagram. The default UML diagram type is a Static Structure Diagram.

    To change text, select the entire item by clicking on a side. Then instead of properties, select menu item Edit > Open Interface.

    Reminder Deleting a shape from the diagram does not delete it from the UML model! You must also delete it from within the UML Navigator window, displaying UML elements as icons on a hierarchical tree view.


    Reminder Unlike all other Microsoft apps, select multiple Visio 2002 items by holding down the Shift key (not the Ctrl key). Visio was purchased by Microsoft. This difference was corrected in Visio 2003 onwards.

    Some shapes you have to drag the arrow to the middle of an element (until its edges turn red), even though there are nodes at the edges.

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Set screen Visio as UML Tool

    VEA (Visual Studio Enterprise Architect) 2003 and Visio 2005 Forward engineering generates code from UML classes and their relations.

    Reverse-engineering generates UML shapes from C# code, creating UML design docs: a detailed code map illustrating the classes, their properties and methods, and relationships between them.

      However, VS 2003 only generates classes in the "Model Explorer" view, and doesn't show class relationships (inheritance and references).
      AssemblyToVisio fixes this shortcoming.

    Visual Studio for Enterprise Architects has a reverse-engineer option. Select "Database Model Diagram".

    Select in Database -> Options -> Drivers the database you want.

    Some prefer "Crow's Feet" instead of the default arrows and cardinality symbols.

    Round-trip engineering is not supported by VEA (Visual Studio Enterprise Architect) 2003 and Visio 2005. In VEA, you must apply code changes manually to the UML model or reverse-engineer the code into a new UML model and thus lose all your documentation, use case diagrams, and so on. Any existing element that isn't reverse-engineered during the process is lost.


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Set screen Sparx Enterprise Architect

    Visio's issues have opened up an opportunity for vendors such as Sparx from Australia. Their product, Enterprise Architect costs about $300 per seat.

    Altova UModel, at $139 per seat, generates web reports.

    Sparx Help files exerpt from the UML specification text.


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