Visio for Enterprise Architects Versioning (and other responses to blog feedback)

Readers of my last blog on conceptual architecture shapes asked why they couldn’t find the new networking shapes with the latest version of Visio for Enterprise Architects (10.0.5110). Releases of Visio for Enterprise Architecture (VEA) and Microsoft Office Visio are not synchronized. VEA ships with Visual Studio and therefore ships on the Visual Studio release schedule. The Visio Standard and Professional applications ship on the Microsoft Office release schedule.

Visio 2003, which has the new shapes that I talked about in my last blog, shipped in summer of 2003. The most current version of VEA in the marketplace has the Visio 2002 bits, since it shipped before Visio 2003 released. VEA is picking up the Visio 2003 bits for the Whidbey release, which is Beta right now.

There were a number of other questions that readers posted as feedback to the shapes blog that I wanted to respond to:

· As Alexey says in the blog’s feedback, the shapes come from Microsoft Office Visio 2003 (11.3216.5606 or higher).

· We don’t have the new stencils in Visio 2003 downloadable from the Web. You have to buy the product to get it.

· I’ve posted the shapes from the blog in a Visio document if you want to check it out. I’ve also posted some of the Person shapes that I created for my blog on Person shapes, which Darren had also asked for previously (sorry for the delay, Darren). The Person shape is also new for Visio 2003 and won’t be in the current shipping product of VEA or available in other versions of Visio.

· If you’re trying to use a shape that has protection on it, you can “break” the shape by removing any of the protection associated with the shape. This can completely break the shape, though, so don’t expect it to work with the same behavior as before. Right-click on the shape and select Format and then Protection. Then unselect all the options and try again. You should be able to do your actions (like Delete or Ungroup).

· Chris talked about changing the shadow of a network shape to a transparent black instead of a grey, which is great advice especially if you plan to print. You have do it a little differently with the new Network shapes in Visio 2003. The new network shapes are a group of multiple shapes. In the new Network shapes, the shadow is a shape in itself and not applied through the Shape shadow setting, since the shadow does not follow the line of the shape. To set the shadow of the new Network shapes to a transparent black, ungroup the shape, select the shape that represents the shadow, and change the Fill color to black and the transparency to 75% through the Fill dialog from the Format menu on the shape.

· Jeff asked why he gets a different result set from his Find Shapes search. The main reason might be the version of Visio – it needs to be Visio 2003 to get the same result set. Access to the Web shouldn't make a difference since the shapes that I use are from locally installed stencils, not the Web repository. Jeff, if you’re still having problems, contact me and we can talk more.

· I agree with Dennis that my shapes for folder and document don’t look exactly like the ones in the article. I think they are close enough, though. To be clear, the ones in the MSDN article aren’t the “official” Microsoft icons either. The official Microsoft icons are the Windows icons. Visio 2003 actually does ship these icons in the Icons stencil in the Software section of the Shapes List. Visio also ships the Windows XP icons on the Toolbars and Menus stencil. Since these are the official icons, they are not native Visio shapes and won’t behave as such.

-- Mai-lan

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