How To Use Data Graphics to Represent More Than One Data Field

Posted on 2010-09-02
Last Modified: 2012-05-10
I am attempting to do the following:

I have an excel driven organization chart imported into Visio with all shapes data linked to the excel spread sheet.

Currently the shapes are "colored by value" based on the "Geographic Location" column in Excel. There are certain shapes that have a special condition; example their geo. location is "DC**" the two "**" signifying that they are funded by a different pot of money and hence assigned a different color.

I have created a new column called "Funding" and for all the appropriate "**" instance and identified the funding source "Alternate" or "Regular" then changed "DC**" to just "DC".

I would like that all shapes be first colored by their "Geographic Location" and then by the "Funding" data field.
Question by:-Polak
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LVL 30

Accepted Solution

Scott Helmers earned 500 total points
ID: 33596585
The attached drawing shows a couple of possibilities. In the top half of the page, each shape has a data graphic applied just as you've already done, but in this case each dg has two parts: color-by-value based on location, plus an "icon set" that watches the Funding field. There are lots of additional icon choices besides the two I've shown but you can see how it might look to add a marker of some sort if the funding source is alternate. Note that I've arbitrarily placed the icons in one corner of the rectangle shape; you can place them in a wide variety of positions by changing the setting of that data graphic.

The lower part of the page illustrate another option for representing the funding source, while still maintaining the color for location. In the set of shapes on the left, I've set fill transparency to 50% if funding is alternate. In the set on the right, I've changed the fill pattern under the same condition. I happened to choose these two attributes of the shape to alter -- keep in mind that you could change the color entirely; change the line color or weight, add a shadow, etc.

The advantage of the examples on the top of the page is that they are pure data graphics -- a simple extension of what you're already doing.

The disadvantage of the approach I used for the examples on the bottom is that it requires adding a formula to each shape, which means that you will need to do this each time you create a new drawing. It's possible to write a simple macro to do it, but it's still an extra step.

Let me know whether you like one of these ideas or need additional information.



Author Comment

ID: 33597310
Worked Great! Thank you Scott!
Last question is I have several sheets in this visio document, is there anyway to copy the color by value and icon set dg's instead of having to define them over and over again over 15 sheets?
LVL 30

Expert Comment

by:Scott Helmers
ID: 33597612
Data graphics are an attribute of the document not of a page. Consequently, you can use the same data graphic on every page without needing to copy anything. (If it's not working that way for some reason, let me know, but it should.)

Also, here's a trick if you want to copy your custom data graphics from one document to another -- just copy a shape containing a dg from the old doc to the new doc, then delete the shape you've copied. The shape will be gone but the data graphics will remain.
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Author Comment

ID: 33597741
Yeah it's not working that way... I’m right clicking on a shape on a sheet then going to data>edit data graphic.

It only updates the DGs on that particular sheet. The funding source is only relevant to that sheet, because the only shapes that have alternative funding exist on that one sheet. However, it would be nice if in the future someone were to add an alternative funding employee to another sheet it would update dynamically and I didn't have to painstakingly define the DGs with 35 different locations (colors) and 2 icon sets across 15 sheets....

Author Comment

ID: 33598255
The trick of copying a shape from a sheet with the desired dgs to a sheet without any dgs did not work. However, if I select all the shapes with no DGs then select the shape with the desired DGs and then applied them that works, thats a bit quicker than selecting 35 colors etc...
LVL 30

Expert Comment

by:Scott Helmers
ID: 33598828
Re copying data graphics -- I was talking about copying them from one document to another, not from one sheet to another. As I said above, it shouldn't be necessary to copy from sheet to sheet at all because data graphics live in the document, not in the page.

To apply an existing dg to a set of shapes is as easy as:
  1. Open the data graphics pane (see right side of first figure below; in this picture shapes are selected but no dg has been applied)
  2. select the shapes (CTRL+A to select everything on the page)
  3. click on the desired dg in the dg pane (see second figure below -- this is after the dg has been applied)
There really shouldn't be anything else required. You definitely shouldn't have to edit a dg in order to reuse it.


Author Comment

ID: 33600455
Thanks, right clicking the graphic and making a "new data graphic" in the data graphics pane is the difference.

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