Deploy Microsoft Visio IFilter 2002

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Published: November 1, 2002

By Steve Scott

Microsoft Corporation

Applies to:
Microsoft Visio 2002
Microsoft Visio 2000
Microsoft Visio 5.0c
Microsoft Visio 5.0

Summary: This article describes deploying the Microsoft Visio IFilter 2002 and setting up Indexing Service on user's computers.

Download the Microsoft Visio IFilter 2002 from the Download Center. (1.07 MB)

On This Page

Deployment Methods for the Visio IFilter
Modify Installation with a Transform File
Deploy Visio IFilter using Group Policy and Active Directory
Start Indexing Service
Searchable Diagram Properties using Visio IFilter


Use Microsoft® Visio® IFilter 2002 to search for text, shapes, and other information in Microsoft Visio diagrams. IFilter is supported by the following versions of Visio:

  • Visio 2002

  • Visio 2000

  • Visio 5.0c

  • Visio 5.0

Visio IFilter searches the diagram's index to find specific text or shapes, information in the Visio ShapeSheet®, or Visio diagram properties. When you set up the Visio IFilter on each computer, it installs a DLL on the computer that indexes all Visio documents, stencils, and templates. XML file formats are also indexed for Visio 2002.

This article describes how to:

  • Deploy the Visio IFilter across a corporate network.

  • Publish or Assign the Visio IFilter using Group Policy and Active Directory.

  • Start indexing services.

  • Search for Visio diagram properties.


Operating Systems

Microsoft Windows must be installed on the computer on which you want to install Visio IFilter, and must be one of the following versions:

  • Microsoft Windows NT® 4.0 with Service Pack (SP) 6

  • Microsoft Windows 2000

  • Microsoft Windows XP (Professional or Home)

Note: Visio IFilter is not supported by Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition (Me) or any Microsoft Windows 9x platforms.

If you choose to Publish or Assign the Visio IFilter, all the computers in your organization are required to be running Windows 2000 or later. You must also have implemented an Active Directory service and Group Policy structure

Files to Install Before Setting up Visio IFilter

For VisioIFilter to install properly, you must first install the following files on each computer:

  • Windows Installer 1.1 or later. You can download the Windows Installer for Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 from the Download Center. Microsoft Windows 2000 and Microsoft Windows XP already include file versions later than 1.1.

  • MSXML 2.5 or later. If your operating system is Windows NT 4.0 with SP 6, MSXML should be version 2.5 or later. Windows 2000 and Windows XP already include MSXML 2.5. During installation, Visio IFilter setup checks for MSXML 2.5, but does not automatically install it. If setup determines that MSXML 2.5 is not installed on the computer, the Visio IFilter is not installed.

    To install MSXML 2.5, do one of the following:

    • Upgrade your browser to at least Internet Explorer 5.01, which also upgrades MSXML to 2.5.

    • Upgrade to MSXML 2.5 to avoid installing Internet Explorer 5.01 or later and for redistribution on earlier operating systems (Windows 95, 98, and Windows NT 4.0). You can download MSXML 2.5 SP 1 from the Download Center.

Additional Information for Deploying the Visio IFilter Over a Corporate Network

The following resources can help you successfully deploy the Visio IFilter:

  • Visio 2002 SR-1 Resource Kit: Download the resource kit as a Microsoft Word file from the Visio Web site. The resource kit contains detailed information about deployment and deployment issues.

  • Windows Installer SDK: The Windows Installer includes applications you can use to modify the MSI file for the Visio IFilter and/or create a transform file. You can download the Windows Installer SDK from the Download Center.

  • Office XP Resource Kit: Download the Office XP Resource Kit from the Microsoft Office XP Web site.

    Note: Deployment of the Visio IFilter is not supported by the Microsoft Office Custom Installation Wizard. To create and modify a transform file for deployment of the Visio IFilter, you should use the Windows Installer SDK.

Deployment Methods for the Visio IFilter

You can deploy Microsoft Visio IFilter 2002 across your corporate network. Within a Microsoft Windows 2000 Server environment and using Active Directory®, you can also customize the deployment of the Visio IFilter to target specific users, groups, or computers within your corporate network.

When you install the Visio IFilter on a single computer that multiple users access, but that is not necessarily connected to a network, all users of that computer can use the Visio IFilter.

Important: For computers connected to a corporate network, install the Visio IFilter from an administrative installation point. For instructions, see "Deploy the Visio IFilter from an Administrative Installation Point" later in this article.

From an administrative installation point, you can:

  • Distribute a command line pointing to the administrative image containing the visfilt.msi file.

  • Deploy the Visio IFilter.

  • Use Active Directory to Publish or Assign the Visio IFilter in Control Panel on your user's computers.

Important: Visfilt.exe is an IExpress wrapper for the IFilter MSI package, visfilt.msi. Visfilt.exe does not support any advanced deployment methods. To pass command line parameters or use the deployment methods, first extract visfilt.msi from the Visfilt.exe package.

To extract the visfilt.msi from Visfilt.exe package

  1. Download and save Visfilt.exe to a temporary folder.

  2. On the command line, extract visfilt.msi using the syntax Visfilt.exe /c

    Note: /c is an IExpress setup switch that extracts files to a temporary folder. The files are not installed in this location.

  3. Enter the path where you want to save the extracted MSI file.

Distribute Command-line Options

When users double-click visfilt.msi on a network share, installation runs with no command-line options. To apply your custom command-line options, users must click Run on the Windows Start menu and enter the path to visfilt.msi along with the command-line options you distribute.

To simplify this process, create a batch file in MS-DOS® that runs visfilt.msi with your command-line options. Or you can create a Windows shortcut and add your custom options to the command-line box. Users double-click the batch file or shortcut to run the Setup command line that you have defined. You can store the batch file or shortcut in the root folder of the administrative installation point.

Deploy the Visio IFilter from an Administrative Installation Point

For computers connected to a corporate network, first create a network share and ensure your users have permissions to use it. After creating the network share, create an administrative installation of the Visio IFilter. Users on your corporate network can then access this share and install the Visio IFilter.

In Microsoft Windows NT 4.0, Windows 2000, and Windows XP environments, different types of users have different levels of rights and permissions. In these environments, default users have limited access to system areas of the computer. Because of this, an account with administrative privileges must be used to install the Visio IFilter, or users must have elevated privileges for installing applications. To enable elevated installations, you must set a group policy for elevating privileges on each computer in order to install the Visio IFilter. Use the Group Policy editor (gpedit.msc) to enable the policy Always install with elevated privileges.

For more information on setting elevated privileges for users and for setting group policy for computers, see "Installations that Require Elevated Permissions" in the Visio 2002 SR-1 Resource Kit.

Important: Use caution when granting elevated rights to your users. It may compromise your system security.

To set up an administrative installation point

  1. Download the Visio IFilter executable file (Visfilt.exe) and extract visfilt.msi. To extract the MSI file, on the command line, use the following syntax: Visfilt.exe /c

    Note: /c is an IExpress setup switch that extracts files to a temporary folder. The files are not installed in this location.

  2. Click the Windows Start button, and then click Run.

  3. In the Open box, add the command Msiexec /a <path to visfilt.msi>. For example, Msiexec /a *c:\temp\*visfilt.msi.

  4. Change the installation location to where you want the administrative installation to be created.

    Note: If you are using a Universal Naming Convention (UNC), this location should be at least three levels deep.

  5. Accept the Microsoft End-User License Agreement (EULA), and then click Install.

    Note: For more information on modifying and distributing command line options, see "Customizing the Visio Installation" in the Visio 2002 SR-1 Resource Kit.

Modify Installation with a Transform File

You can modify the properties of the Visio IFilter 2002 installation by using two tools included in the Windows Installer SDK:

  • Orca, which allows you to open visfilt.msi and make changes to the tables in the MSI.

  • Msitran.exe, which allows you to generate a new transform (MST) file based on the changed tables in the MSI.

You can download the complete Windows Installer SDK from the Download Center. The Windows Installer SDK includes the Msi.chm, which contains additional information about creating Windows Installer transform files.

Note: Creation and modification of transform files for Visio IFilter 2002 are not supported in the Microsoft Office XP Custom Installation Wizard.

To modify the IFilter MSI file by creating a transform file

  1. Start the Orca tool.

  2. Click File, and then click Open. Browse to the location where you saved visfilt.msi.

    The Tables column displays the names of the tables in the MSI on the left. The window on the right displays the properties associated with those tables.

  3. Navigate to the Property table, and modify the property values you want.

  4. Click File, click Save As, and save the MSI file with a new name in the same directory where visfilt.msi is saved.

  5. Copy Msitran.exe from the location where you installed the Windows Installer SDK to the folder where the two MSI files are located. By default, Msitran.exe is installed on your computer in the \\Program Files\MsiIntel.SDK\Tools folder.

  6. Click the Windows Start button, and then click Run.

  7. Open a command prompt, and navigate to the folder where visfilt.msi, your modified MSI, and Msitran.exe are located.

  8. Create a transform file by typing Msitran.exe –g, the name of the original IFilter MSI, the name of your newly created MSI, and the name you want to give to the transform file at the command prompt.

    For example:

    Msitran.exe –g visfilt.msi ifilter2.msi trans.mst

  9. Press Enter to create the new transform file, and then exit the command prompt. Msitran.exe creates the transform file and saves it in the same folder as the two MSI files.

You can now apply the transform file to your installation of Visio IFilter, or you can use the same file if you are deploying IFilter using Active Directory or System Management Services (SMS).

Note: An SMS white paper is available in the Office XP Resource Kit Toolbox. To download the white paper, see the section "Using SMS 2.0 to Deploy Office XP" in the Office XP Resource Kit. The Appendix of the Visio 2002 SR-1 Resource Kit also contains text used to create an SMS file.

Deploy Visio IFilter using Group Policy and Active Directory

After creating the administrative point and any transform files, you can deploy the Visio IFilter using Active Directory to publish or assign the Visio IFilter installation.

When publishing, Visio IFilter is displayed under Add New Programs in Add or Remove Programs of Control Panel. The user must then choose to install the Visio IFilter using Add New Programs. After the Visio IFilter is installed, all users of that computer can use it. When assigned to a computer, Visio IFilter automatically installs on that computer.

Note: You cannot deploy the Visio IFilter by assigning it to individual users, and no IFilter icon is created on the Start menu.

Publishing or Assigning the Visio IFilter

Use the Group Policy snap-in to publish or assign the Visio IFilter. After setting up IFilter to be published or assigned you can then apply a transform file to the installation, so that when Visio IFilter is installed on a computer, that transform file is applied to the installation.

To publish or assign the Visio IFilter using Active Directory

  1. Open the Group Policy snap-in and click one of the following nodes:

    • For publishing the Visio IFilter, click User Configuration.

    • For assigning the Visio IFilter, click Computer Configuration.

  2. Click Software Settings.

  3. Right-click the Software Installation node, click New, and then click Package.

  4. Browse to the Visio IFilter MSI.

  5. In the Open dialog box, select the Visio IFilter MSI in the File Name list, and then click Open.

  6. In the Deploy Software dialog box, click Published or Assigned, and then click OK.

To modify publishing or assigning using a transform file

  1. Follow steps 1-4 in the preceding procedure to Publish or Assign the Visio IFilter.

  2. In the Deploy Software dialog box, choose Advanced publish or assign.

  3. Click the Modifications tab, and then click Add.

  4. In the Open dialog box, browse to the administration installation location of the transform file that you want to apply to the installation of the Visio IFilter, and then click OK. If you are applying multiple transforms to the installation, you must add the transforms in the order in which you want them applied to the installation.

Start Indexing Service

You must start Indexing Service on the computer before you can perform searches. After you start Indexing Service, you can execute queries to search for specific text or shapes within a diagram, information within the Visio ShapeSheet, or diagram properties.

To start Indexing Service

  1. In the Computer Management console, click the Indexing Service node.

  2. Click Start Indexing on the toolbar.

    If Indexing Service is running or has been set to start automatically, the Start Indexing button is dimmed.

Once Indexing Service starts, you can use it or any search mechanism to query for files. Other search mechanisms include the Windows Search functionality, SharePoint Team Services, or SharePoint Portal Server.

Searchable Diagram Properties using Visio IFilter

Visio IFilter provides index information for the following information sets: Document Contents Information, Document Summary Information, and Master Keywords Property. The following tables describe these sets.

Document Contents Information Set



Text Contents



This set includes:

  • Shape Name, which indexes the data in the following order: Name, NameU, ID.

  • User defined properties and values.

  • Custom properties and values.

Document Summary Information Set


















This set includes data from:

  • Document Summary Information in Visio binary files. These include file formats with .VSD, .VSS, and .VST extensions.

  • Document Properties in XML for Visio. These include file formats with .VDX, .VSX, and .VTX extensions.

Master Keywords Property Set



Master Keywords






This set includes data from:

  • MasterKeywords In Visio 2002 MasterKeywords are located in the user.visKeywords cell.

  • MasterDetails, which indexes the data in the following order:

    • Master name. Derives its information from the master's name, the nameu, or ID cells.

    • Master prompt. Prompt cell of a master.

    • Master version. The version of Microsoft Visio that created the file. Supported Visio versions are Visio 5.0/5.0c, Visio 2000, Visio 2002, and Visio 2002 SR-1.

Steve Scott has been a technical writer for eight years, the last four of which have been with Microsoft Corporation. He specializes in network technologies and documentation geared towards IT professionals.