VisiNews - Vol 2


Editors Note -

Dear Subscribers,

Welcome to VisiNews, an ezine committed to informative topics and resources about Microsoft Visio, MapPoint, Project and Office. Visimation is sharing with our readers some of the exciting ways these platforms are being used to help companies work more efficiently and be more productive. If there is a topic you would like to hear more about, or some information you would like to see, we welcome your comments and feedback.

We look forward to hearing from you,

Adam Lofstedt
VisiNews Editor

Comments and questions to:

Visio Forums -

Our forums have been live for two months now, and many people have posted and contributed to this growing community. If you have questions about Visio, or more importantly, you have learned some valuable lessons while working with Visio, please come and post your questions or experiences. We are all in this together!

Visio Enterprise Network Tools Discontinued -

Microsoft Visio has discontinued its Enterprise Network Tools program.
If you purchased the package prior to July 1, 2002, then you can still receive shape updates through the web interface. To see how these changes may affect you, click the link below:

Featured Solution....

ProjectPix combines Visio and Project to enable visualization of Project data


ProjectPix - Integrating the diagramming power of Visio with Microsoft Project 2002

ProjectPix enables project managers to clearly communicate project information by creating Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) and Responsibility Assignment Matrix (RAM) charts with Microsoft Project and Visio. ProjectPix extends the functionality of Microsoft Project so that managers can specify responsibility for tasks to team members.

Work Breakdown Structure

The WBS Program generates diagrams in MS Visio from MS Project data, providing a rich set of display options for task boxes. The WBS Shape Wizard leads the user through the process of selecting the appropriate information, with control over the formatting and display of each individual level in the structure.

The WBS wizard enables you to customize the WBS shapes and decide what information to display

Responsibility Assignment Matrix

The RAM program enhances MS Project so that managers can specify responsibility for tasks to team members. The user assigns tasks in MS Project, and the RAM tool adds the ability to specify several levels of responsibility (Resource, Lead Resource, Sponsor, Stakeholder) to be stored within the Project File. The RAM chart produced in MS Visio shows each contributor’s role for easy visual reference by the entire team.

The WBS wizard enables you to customize the WBS shapes and decide what information to display

For more information about about ProjectPix, check out the ProjectPix web page at

VisiTool of the month....


VisiPad - A simple user interface for attaching formatted text and graphics to Visio shapes

VisiPad enables you to store up to three rich-text-formatted documents with each Visio shape. You can enter text and graphics directly via the VisiPad interface or you can import from other .txt and
.rtf documents. You can also make use of the Windows clipboard to cut and paste data from other Windows applications.

Combine VisiPad with your other windows to create a single, easy-to-use interface.
The VisiPad window can float, auto-hide, or be docked to the edge of the drawing window.

The VisiPad Window

As you click on shapes in the drawing, the VisiPad dynamic anchored window displays the associated text and images for the selected shape. This window can either dock, float, or even auto-hide and rollback to save you precious real-estate. You can even combine the VisiPad window with other Visio windows, such as the Custom Properties window, to create a single tabbed interface for all your data needs.


  • Provides space for 3 separate "documents"
  • Import and exports both TXT and RTF formats
  • Cut, Copy and Paste from other applications using clipboard
  • Search and Replace text
  • Spell Checker
  • Print invidual notes
  • Hosted in a Visio 2002 modeless anchored window that can float, dock to the edge of the drawing window, or collapse and auto-hide itself.

Scenarios for use:

  • Attach configuration information for network or other equipment.
  • Add employee pictures to enhance organizational charts
  • Add detailed information to any Visio shape
Use VisiPad to store configuration information for your equipment Store employee photos with your organizational charts

Tips and Tricks...

Connecting shapes as you drag and drop them

Connecting shapes with lines can be a tedious chore. Wouldn't it be great if you could have your shapes connected automatically as you drop them on a page? Well you can, using the Connector tool. Let's see how it's done...
 The Connector Tool 

The Connector Tool appears on the Standard Visio Toolbar. It is most commonly used for drawing connectors manually, by selecting the tool and then clicking-and-dragging on the page. However, this tool can also be used to automatically connect shapes together. The procedure is simple:

  1. Select a shape on the page. This will be the shape that gets connected to the newly dropped shape.

  2. Click the Connector Tool.

  3. From a stencil, drag and drop the desired shape onto the page. The new shape should automatically connect to the shape selected in step 1.

That's it! A very simple way to connect shapes.

Organize Custom Properties Into Tabs!

Ever wanted a way to organize your custom properties into categories? We'll show you how in this simple tip-and-trick section!

About Custom Properties

If you've ever added custom properties to a shape in Visio, you know that there are two ways to view those properties: through the Custom Properties dialog box, or through the Custom Properties window. However, as the number of properties grows, so does the size of the dialog box or window. Organizing the properties into tabs provides a nice solution to this problem.

The Sort Key cell in theShapeSheet is used to store the categories.

How it works

Visio comes with an add-on called "Network Shape Properties" that organizes properties into tabs; you just have to configure your shapes to run it. This add-on uses the "Sort Key" cell of Custom Properties to help organize the properties. The "Sort Key" cell is basically the category for your properties, and can be found in the Custom Properties section of the ShapeSheet. By placing a right-click menu action on your shapes, you can invoke this add-on and produce a tabbed Properties dialog box. Follow the steps below:

  1. Select the shape and open its ShapeSheet (Window > Show ShapeSheet).
  2. Add category information to the Sort Key cell for each custom property in the ShapeSheet.
  3. Insert an Actions section in the ShapeSheet (Insert > Section > Actions).
  4. In the Action cell, type: RUNADDON("Network Shape Properties") and hit Enter.

  5. In the Menu cell, type: "%Properties" and hit Enter.
  6. Close the ShapeSheet, right-click your shape, and choose "Properties" from the menu. This should open up your tabbed dialog box!

Next Month...

What's coming -

  • Featured Solution -
    • ProcessPix - Automatically generate detailed process diagrams from a database
  • Tool of the month -
    • VisiClone - Easily copy ShapeSheet data from one shape to another. Our most popular tool!
  • Tip and Tricks -
    • Printing - Orientation issues
    • Using cell references in the ShapeSheet
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