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Visio Document with Dynamic Links

Here is what I want to accomplish with little or no help from our developers in house. We have a call center in our facility and when someone has a problem they pop up a flag that means they need help. They asked me if Visio could provide somehow a seating chart of our floor (totally possible already done) and then to have the users hit a submit button and on the Visio chart (which managers would have open on there desk) a red X would appear next to there name or desk number. Any advice would be great. Thanks
Avatar of Bob Learned
Bob Learned
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1) What version of Visio are you talking about?

2) Is Visio supposed to determine who the user is from current login information (environment variables)?

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1. I would be talking about Visio 2007.
2. Yes Visio would potentialy be linked somehow to find out the current login information
Hmmm...I don't have Visio 2007 here at work--I only have 2003, so it is difficult to comment on its capabilities without doing a little research.  I do have it at home, but I don't know how to do this specifically, but it would be interesting to find out.

I think you'll only need to write one small bit of code because you can take advantage of two key features of Visio 2007: data graphics and data linking.

The data graphics feature can provide the "Red X" or other flag you want. Data graphics are intelligent graphics that react to data values in shapes on the page. If each cubicle or person represented on your seating chart has a data field (let's call it the "Needs Help" field), then you can create a data graphic that reacts to the True/False setting of "Needs Help". The good news about the data graphic function is that the graphic will appear or disappear automatically -- no programming is required for this part.

Here's where data linking comes in: data linking allows the data in a shape to be updated manually or automatically from an external data source. Let's use a spreadsheet as an example and locate it on a server accessible to all call center staff (it could just as easily be an Access or other database). Each call center staff member and manager will have the Visio seating chart open; the Visio data linking code will refresh the drawing data from the master spreadsheet at a predetermined time interval. The data graphic will automatically display Needs Help flags as the underlying data changes.

To make all of this work, the only code someone will need to write is a simple-minded application that allows each person to turn on or off their Needs Help flag and then updates the central spreadsheet accordingly. This could be fairly straightforward coding for someone with experience writing either Visio macros, Excel macros, or both.

More on data graphics:

More on data linking:
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Scott Helmers
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