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Visio 2013 Absolute Beginner's Guide

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Visio 2013 Absolute Beginner's Guide


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  • Practical, approachable, and packed with useful tips
  • Covers all the basics: diagram creation, editing, formatting, sharing, and more
  • Includes Visio 2013's best new features for creating diagrams more quickly, making them more attractive, and collaborating on them more effectively
  • By Visio MVP Chris Roth, one of the world's most experienced and successful Visioinstructors


  • Copyright 2014
  • Dimensions: 7" x 9-1/8"
  • Pages: 400
  • Edition: 1st
  • Book
  • ISBN-10: 0-7897-5087-2
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-7897-5087-7

Make the most of Visio 2013–without becoming a technical expert! This book is the fastest way to master Visio and use it to build powerful, useful diagrams, org charts, and flowcharts of all kinds! Even if you’ve never used Visio before, you’ll learn how to do what you want, one incredibly clear and easy step at a time. Visio has never, ever been this simple!

Who knew how simple Visio 2013 could be?

This is the easiest, most practical beginner’s guide to using Microsoft Visio 2013...simple, reliable instructions for doing everything you really want to do! Here’s a small sample of what you’ll learn:

  • Master new tools for creating intuitive, visually appealing diagrams
  • Learn high-efficiency touch features for Windows 8 and tablets
  • Create business and engineering diagrams, flowcharts, maps, floor plans, network diagrams, schedules, and more
  • Instantly set or change diagram designs with enhanced templates and themes
  • Simplify diagramming with built-in shapes and stencils–or create your own
  • Craft more sophisticated diagrams with containers, callouts, screentips, and layers
  • Import external images, from SVG graphics to AutoCAD drawings
  • Visually present Excel spreadsheet data in Visio drawings
  • Dynamically update diagrams with real-time data to support better decision-making
  • Share diagrams to improve team collaboration

Sample Content

Online Sample Chapter

Working with Basic Diagrams in Microsoft Visio 2013

Sample Pages

Download the sample pages (includes Chapter 3 and Index)

Table of Contents


What This Book Covers    2

How This Book Is Organized    3

Conventions Used in This Book    3

Working with Visio Tools and Menus    4

Using Screen Illustrations    4

Web Addresses    4

Special Elements to Watch For    5

Part I Visio 2013 Basics    7

1 Getting to Know Visio 2013    9

What Is Visio?    10

Create a Basic Flowchart    10

What Else Can I Make?    13

Which Edition Should I Use?    16

What Is New in the 2013 Editions?    17

Improved Touch Support     18

Streamlined Layout     18

The New VSDX File Format     20

2 Finding Your Way Around the Interface    21

The Ribbon    22

Embrace the Tab    22

Contextual Tabs    23

Template Tabs    24

Customizing the Ribbon    24

Where Did That Command Go?    29

Important Features of the Visio Application    30

The Quick Access Toolbar    30

Context Menus    31

The Backstage    31

The Status Bar    33

A Look at the Drawing Window    33

Task Panes    34

Rulers and Grids    34

Manipulating Shapes    34

1D Shape Handles    35

2D Shape Handles    36

Vertex Handles    36

Eccentricity Handles    37

Get Around Using Your Keyboard    38

3 Working with Basic Diagrams    41

Making Diagrams    42

What Is a Template?    42

Working Without a Template    46

Clone Your Drawing    47

Find Online Templates and Samples    49

Save Your Diagram    49

Save As     49

AutoSave     51

Working with Drawing Windows    53

Task Panes    53

Switching Between Windows    55

Working with Full Screen Windows    57

4 Taking Control of Your Diagrams    61

Working with Pages    62

Adding Pages    62

Inserting Pages    63

Using Background Pages    64

Rename Pages    66

Reorganizing Pages    66

Customizing Pages    67

Scaling Your Page    71

Working with Themes    72

The Theme Gallery    73

Changing Themes on-the-Fly    76

Working with Color    77

5 Working with Shapes    81

Find the Right Shape    82

Selecting Available Shapes    82

Frequently Used Shapes    83

Changing Shapes    87

Saving Favorites    89

Understanding Stencils    90

What Is a Master?    90

Creating Personalized Stencils    91

Edit Stencil Sets    93

Searching for Shapes    96

6 Manage Shapes    101

Using Groups to Organize Shapes    102

When to Use Groups    102

When It Is Better to Avoid Groups    107

Editing Groups    107

Arranging Shapes    108

Using the Dynamic Grid    108

Straighten Up Shapes with Auto Align    109

Using Position to Arrange the Diagram    111

Old-School Grid, Ruler, and Guides    115

When Overlaps Occur    117

Using Layout to Organize Shapes    118

Part II Customizing    121

7 Connecting Shapes    123

What Are Connectors?    124

How to Connect Shapes    124

Understanding Connectors    129

Connecting Shapes Versus Points    129

What Happens to Connections    132

…When I Drag a Shape?    132

…When I Split a Connector?    132

…When I Delete a Shape?    133

Modifying Connectors    134

Formatting    135

Routing Styles    136

Using Line Jumps    136

Manual Override    138

Working with Connector Points    140

Adding or Removing Connection Points    140

8 Making Advanced Diagrams   143

Organizing Diagrams    144

Containers    144

Lists    148

Callouts    151

ScreenTips    155

Using Headers and Footers    157

Working with Text    159

Creating Text Boxes    160

Using Text Fields    160

Layers    163

Creating Layers    163

When to Add Layers    165

9 Shapes: Customizing    167

Duplicating Shapes    168

Making Several Copies    168

Resizing Shapes    170

Rotating Shapes    171

How to Format a Shape    172

Modifying Common Format Attributes    173

Modifying Less Common Attributes    174

Using Format with Groups    175

Changing Text     176

Editing and Formatting Text    176

Modifying Text Blocks    179

10 Shapes: More Than Meets the Eye    185

Understanding Special SmartShape Features    186

What Is Shape Data?    186

Right-Click Menus    186

Control Handles    187

Hyperlinks    188

Smart Tags    188

Import External Images    189

What You Can Do with Images    190

Resizing Images    192

Working with Clip Art    193

Using Excel Charts    194

Importing Scalable Vector Graphics    196

Importing AutoCAD Drawings    197

Adding Content to AutoCAD Drawings    200

11 Printing Visio Diagrams    203

Just the Basics    204

Print from the Backstage    204

The Print Preview Pane    208

Test Your Print Job    210

Controlling the Space Around the Print Job    211

Headers and Footers    211

Margins    213

Selecting What You Will Print    214

Printing Just a Portion of a Diagram    215

Selecting Specific Pages in Visio    216

Background Page Printing (or Not)    217

Selecting Shapes to Print    219

Printing by Layer    219

Gridlines    221

Get High-Quality Print Jobs    221

Color Printing    223

Part III Advanced    225

12 Sharing Visio Diagrams    227

Share Drawings Using Email    228

Visio Viewer    229

SkyDrive    230

Social Networks    232

Creating a Web Page from Your Diagram    234

Saving to Other File Formats from Visio    235

Creating PDF and XPS Files    236

XML Formatted Drawings    237

Older Visio Formats    237

Getting Visio Drawings into Other Applications    238

Office Applications    238

Other Applications    240

Exporting Drawings to Image Formats    240

13 Unique Needs: Touchscreens, Custom Templates, and

Complex Printing Concerns    245

Touchscreens    246

Switching Between Touch Mode and Mouse Mode    246

Working with Shapes    247

General Touch Controls    248

The Touch Keyboard    251

Creating Your Very Own Template    252

A Look at Complex and Multipage Print Jobs    256

Printing Tiled Drawings    256

Using Page Scale    258

Using Avoid Page Breaks    260

Printing Mixed Orientation Drawings    260

Combine Drawings into a Single Sheet    262

14 Using Data    265

What Can I Do with Shape Data?    266

Exploring    266

Types and Uses    268

Creating Shape Data Fields    269

Add a Simple Data Field    270

Adding Lists and Format    274

Saving a Set of Shape Data Fields    276

Displaying Text in Shape Data Fields    278

Creating Reports    279

Using the Report Definition Wizard    279

Generating Reports    283

Adding Totals and Subtotals    285

15 Working with External Data and Data Graphics    287

Linking Shapes to External Data    288

Look at Your External Data First    288

Using Link Data to Shapes    289

What Are Data Graphics?    296

How to Create a Data Graphic    296

Customizing Data Graphics    299

16 Additional Visio Resources    303

Visio Viewer    304

Resources and Tools    304

Visio Help    305

The Official Visio Blog    306

Office.com    307

Additional Reading    310

Websites Worth Checking Out    311

17 Collaborating with Visio    315

SharePoint    316

Saving and Editing in SharePoint    317

Co-Authoring    320

Markup and Review in Visio    323

Adding Comments    323

Using Ink    326

Using Track Markup    329

Don’t Share Too Much    331

What Is Removed    334

What Is Not Removed    335

18 Tips for Flowcharts, Process, and Block Diagrams    337

Process and Flow Chart Diagrams    338

Auto Resize and Flowchart Shapes    338

Decision Shapes    339

Using Subprocesses    340

Swimlanes and Phases in Cross-Functional Flowcharts    342

Validating Your Diagram    345

Business Process Diagrams (BPMN 2.0) and SharePoint Workflows    346

BPMN Diagrams    346

SharePoint Workflows    347

Block Diagram Tips    348

Blend Block Shapes    348

3D Perspective Block Diagrams    349

19 Tips for Working with Other Diagram Types    353

Working with Network Diagrams    354

Logical Diagrams    354

Rack Diagrams    355

Timeline Tips    357

Org Chart Tips    359

Create Org Charts Manually    361

Using the Organization Chart Wizard    363

Office and Space Plans    365

Creating Plans Using Shapes    366

Space Shapes    367

Working with Dimension Lines    368

Index    371


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