maandag 29 december 2014

Visio and Excel - EN - Part 1

"Measure twice, cut once" 
- Carpenters rule

One of the tings that keeps amazing me is that people will gladly enter and maintain information in more than one place. Whenever that happens there is room for investigation and improvement.

When we were making documents for a customer we kept ending up with delta's between our documents in Visio and Excel. Meaning we needed to enter text twice, and spellcheck it twice, update it twice if something changed.

This should be easier in after all we live in a digital era, right?

First you will need Visio Professional 2010 or 2013. It is our experience that the non professional versions don't allow you to make data connections.

When you want to start using Visio and Excel in tandem always start with Excel as your single source of truth. Develop it, spelcheck it and when you think it is ready you can start to setup your data connection.

Click in the "Link Data to Shapes" button. Visio will take you to a wizard of which data you want to attach. Once you are done Visio will show you a new field filled with data that can be linked. 

The little link icon in front of my data indicates that the data has been linked to shapes in my diagram.

If you start to link data to you shapes you will see that Visio uses a template to make the information visual. We were not happy with the way the data was represented and needed to find a way to change it. For us the only way to tweak the data was to add a custom field.

Click the "Field" button to open up a wizard. In this wizard select "Custom Formula". In the text bar start typing "=Prop._VisDM_" Visio will narrow the number of items to the items you have imported.

The formula responds like a regular concatenate formula in Excel. Allowing you to create your own string of information. 


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