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Use Visio shape data to display another shape

Posted on 2013-01-16
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I'm learning about shape data and shape data linking (for professional use, not as a student) to see if it would allow me to bring my detailed networking diagrams to the next level as well as make me more efficient. I learned about shape data linking and it works pretty awesome. I am able to link to a spreadsheet, display necessary items and also have more shape data that doesn't appear on the diagram as printed. This so far has been great.

Is there a way to use shape data to display another shape?

So take one of my standard shapes that I use. It's a rectangle object inside of another rectangle. I also put the most accurate visio stencil I can get for the model. Would there be a way to cause that stencil of the switch to appear based on the model defined in the shape data?

shape
It would be great because as equipment is replaced/upgraded, I could update the spreadsheet, update the visio linking, and automatically have the stencil reflect the correct model switch.
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Question by:rauenpc
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Visio_Guy earned 2000 total points
ID: 38783624
Hi,

I think for your situation, you would need to use code. A shape could act as a shell to hold the frame elements and the data, but the internal image would need to be swapped out using code. The data could even contain paths to image files that custom code could read.

Visio has a concept called multi-shapes, whereby various shapes and geometry are stored inside a single shape, and turned on/off according to data. But all graphics must be built into the shape in advance, which isn't your case.

This article talks a bit about multi-shapes, if you're interested in seeing some examples:

Visio Multi-shapes
http://www.visguy.com/2008/11/10/visio-multi-shapes/

Consumer Reports Rating Shape
www.visguy.com/2006/11/22/consumer-reports-rating-shape/

In either case, there isn't a built-in, end-user feature that will get you all the way to where you want to go.
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by:rauenpc
ID: 38785249
Fair enough. That's about what I was thinking, but figured I'd ask to see if someone new of some simple magic to make this happen. Since part of my goal is to make a template out of this to allow other people to build diagrams, using something as advanced as coding would likely be a recipe for disaster outside of my own diagrams. Thanks for the input!
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Expert Comment

by:Visio_Guy
ID: 38792040
Well, that's the beauty of having the image inside of a group - the code swaps the image out based on data changes, but your diagram remains in tact - connections and data wouldn't be tampered with since you'd be going inside the group. Something for version 2.0, eh?
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