Chapter 2, Creating Visio Shapes

Chapter 2, Creating Visio Shapes

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The best Microsoft® Visio® solutions often begin on the drawing page, where you design shapes. Although you could define much of the custom behavior that a solution might need with programming, you'll get superior results faster by taking advantage of the built-in functionality of Visio shapes. If you design intelligence into your shapes, you can build a more flexible solution that requires less coding and maintenance in the long run.

Think of shapes as components that can be used to construct a diagram with little or no additional effort by the user. Each shape should, if possible, represent a real-world object; the user's main task will be to choose the shape from the stencil, and having it represent something familiar will help the user choose correctly. Put as much functionality into the shape as possible—within reason. A shape that does many things might be more confusing and harder to use than several shapes that each do one thing, and simpler shapes perform better in Microsoft Visio.

This chapter explores the different means of acquiring shapes for your solutions. Although drawing them yourself is always an option, you can also import graphics from other programs, convert metafiles into shapes, scan images to use as shapes, and adapt existing shapes for your own use. Later chapters provide greater detail about controlling shapes through formulas and other techniques.

In this chapter...

Visio Shape Anatomy

Drawing New Shapes

Importing Shapes from Other Programs

Adapting Existing Visio Shapes