Microsoft Visio 2007 for studio schematics

Started by jack20, June 20, 2008, 06:29:19 AM

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I am setting up a home recording studio (quite complex kind) for my personal use. A lot of gears are involved and hence many different kinds of signals shall be in play. I plan to use Excel to first create a detailed wiring chart and then transfer that into a wiring diagram form in Visio 2007.

Is that possible and if so, how?


Well,yes. But what are you trying to get Visio to do (what are your expectations).

Do you want Visio to generate a drawing straight from the excel?
Do you want the use data from excel to link this to your Visio shapes?

Also a small tip before you jump in, try a simple excel sheet and see if that works. Some layouts in excel work better then others so get the excel layout right before you write the entire chart. (If you haven't already made it).

- Lars


Thanks for the quickie.

Well, as I said, in excel I have a detailed wiring chart showing what connects to what, what is the colour of the connector, what is the signal flow direction (arrow) and the wire numbering.

Ideally I would like Visio to generate a drawing straight from excel if that is possible. I do not know of any other possibilities, hence I have posted.

I did not understand your second question though:Do you want the use data from excel to link this to your Visio shapes?


Well I wasnt clear on what type of data you had in your excel. If for example you wanted to have data behind your "wiring" shapes that have voltage or something, then your linking data to the shape from excel.

To get Visio to create a drawing from excel is gone take some coding (pretty complex stuff in there I think) and a main problem will be making the code smart enough to create a lay-out...(That makes any sense)

Here's a thing you can reasonably easy do with Visio and Excel:
Step by step the process would be something like this:
- Link Excel to Visio.
- You get a window showing you excel rows in Visio
- Drag the rows to a shape
- Have the shapes change color according to the Excel data
- Have the shapes create an arrow according to the Excel data
- Wire numbering according to the Excel data ( can make this show on the shapes aswell )
- Changes to the Excel data will change the Visio file

You however need to draw the shapes, and link the right data to the right shapes (Because this part is really tricky, if at all posible, to code)

Does option two come close to what you are trying to do with Visio?

- Lars

Visio Guy

Hi Guys,

Visio has lots of "import data from Excel" options, but I don't think that any of them do connections. It's mostly for populating Shape Data fields in shapes. (I need to brush up on this, since they added so much to Visio 2007)

The Org Chart wizard is the closest thing, but it is pretty rigid, i.e. it's almost impossible to trick it into doing what you want  :)

Saveen Reddy has posted a tool that allows you to create flowcharts from XML data: Visio: Using MSAGL to Create Visio Flowcharts Programmatically

I think you need to use Visual Studio 2008 to get this to work, though. It's a source-code library, not a fancy, ready-to-install utility.

For simple code examples (in VBA), have a look at my article

It shows how to make basic connections between shapes and fill out shape data fields per code.

If you have the From and To data, then getting a basic, connected schematic shouldn't be super-hard.

Also, keep looking! There are lots of folks doing stuff like this, and there must be a sample laying around somewhere. I just have too much garbage in my head to remember everything  :)
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I believe that Visio may poise one additional problem for creating the drawing from Excel.  That is, I don't believe Visio supports named connector points.  For example, you might want to run a mike to a 1st channel of a multi-channel mixing console.  For the console, you like to have a connection point for each channel, and each point labelled, say Ch1 ... Ch8.  I am not aware of Visio supporting such naming, and that being the case, it won't be possible to do the Excel to Visio automation.  Basically, the Visio drawing will have to be done by hand, and checked off versus the Excel file. 
Visio 2019 Pro

Visio Guy

Inside the ShapeSheet, you can name connection points. You replace the "Connections.Row_1" with something like "Connections.Input_USB". Of course the names are limited to not having spaces and commas and such.

You can also create your own tracking systems by using User cells, Scratch cells, Solution XML, etc. inside the shape to map each connection to richer data.

aledlund talks about how he does it for networking in this post: Attach a label or properties to a connection point?

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Quite true.  Connection points may be labeled in the shapesheet.  VBA code may be written to take advantage of this feature, but that doesn't really help the top-level user, as in this case.  Specifically, to plan out an extensive set of interconnects between various pieces of audio gear in Excel, and then use that info to create the connectivity in Visio.

Obviously, there are a variety of issues here:  placement of shapes, identity of each shape, e.g., a reference designator ID--say, Mike1, labelling the connection points, etc.  All of these need to be available at the top level.  I don't even know of schematic capture systems that work using this methodology.  Generally, it's the opposite.  Place the parts (shapes), make the interconnects, and then generate a connectivity list.  How do you know if you did it right?  Simulations.  But for Visio, even this ability is missing--to take a schematic drawing and generate an Excel connectivity list.  It would seem that Visio has all of the tools to do this, e.g., the Org Chart Wizard, however, it doesn't seem to be a standard feature for other applications--generate connectivity lists, bill of materials, etc.

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