My Visio 2007 -> 2010 migration has been nothing but frustrating...

Started by chrispitude, April 03, 2013, 02:02:21 PM

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Hi guys,

First let me say that I'm not trying to be a downer. I try to see the good in everything. My wife accuses me of being a stubborn optimist.

I am a technical writer for documentation that requires many diagrams. I rely quite heavily on Visio to be productive. My IT department recently upgraded me to Visio 2010. I normally look forward to software updates; it's always exciting to learn new features and get a few bugs fixed. However, my experience with Visio 2010 is that for almost every change I've noticed from Visio 2007, it's a change for the worse.

Some things I've noticed:

1. The new ribbon interface is simply awful. With toolbars, an entire powerful array of drawing tools was directly available. Now, I have to go searching for them. For me, the worst change was that line weight/style/arrows are pushed into a submenu; I use these frequently. (Also see #7 below.) I tried creating a quick access toolbar, but the flat row of tiny icons was not productive. I tried customizing the ribbon, but ran into unpredictable icon size issues.

I have no problem with Microsoft wanting to improve the experience for new or casual users, but they have done so at the detriment of their professional users who rely on this product on a daily basis.

2. If I have multiple documents open, there's no longer any taskbar feedback as to what's open. My taskbar is set to "Never combine." With other Office 2010 programs, each open document appears as a separate taskbar button, even when they share a single process. Visio 2010 does not follow this convention; it shows a single taskbar button. (I can flip between documents with Ctrl-tab or by navigating to the View tab and exploring the Switch Windows drop-down, but these are intrusive actions, not visual feedback.)

EDIT: workaround found; expose the registry settings (see and change the SingleInstanceFileOpen entry from 1 to 0. Original answer found at

3. So, I started using Ctrl-tab to switch between drawings. When I do this, there is a strange bug that causes one or both document views to be pushed down and/or to the right. (Why is the view-switching code even modifying the view parameters in the first place?)

4. This one is a story. Our documentation uses Helvetica. All Office apps show Helvetica in the font list EXCEPT Visio (2007 and 2010). Fine Microsoft, you win, I'll use Arial, it's close enough. When I moved to Visio 2010, my SVGs started using Calibri in place of Arial (plus other weird substitutions, like "Curly MT" in place of Courier New). However, this ONLY happens if I select all objects before saving the SVG. If I save the page as SVG, it avoids the font bug, but then I hit another bug that's been around since 2007 - intermittent, excessive whitespace incorporated into the SVG diagram borders.

5. The default font is Calibri. That's fine, Microsoft is in love with Calibri these days, but at least let me change the default. (You can't.) I have to change every new text box and label.

EDIT: workaround/solution posted at

6. Where are the advanced operators, such as fit-to-curve, union/intersect/fragment, join/trim operators? I tried searching the online help for some of these, and it returned zero results. I started freaking out because I rely on these for a lot of my more complex drawings. Did they go away?! Nope. But seriously, how could searching help not result in a single hit? I would be fired if I delivered incomplete documentation like this.

7. The line and fill colors provide a 2-part button; the right side lets you make a selection from the dropdown, the left side applies the current selection. In Visio 2007, I was also able to do this with line width, weight, and style. This timesaver is gone in Visio 2010, even if you add these line configuration dropdowns to the quick access bar or in a custom ribbon group.

8. When you copy from the same page, paste with Ctrl-v always places the object relative to where it was copied (even if that was far away), and then it pans the view to that new object location. This is intrusive behavior - clearly I am working where the view is - and it disagrees with the copy/paste behavior described in item #6 at

9. How can I see connection points on shapes all the time? They now fade in only if I am moving a connectable line/connector near the object. Sometimes I need to drag shapes to locations where certain connection points are aligned with grid lines, other objects, etc., and not being able to see them makes that rather difficult.

10. Sometimes I draw connectors between two objects with the connectors NOT anchored to connection points (object doesn't have them there, etc.). In Visio 2010, attempting to draw a simple unanchored horizontal connector line causes the connector to drop-down and form a U-shape. Try opening a blank page and drawing a simple horizontal connection line. Some widths will be on the horizontal, some will drop down. It's bizarre (and annoying). Yes, I can add connection points, pull the connector handle back up, etc. But I never had to do this in Visio 2007.

I have yet to find any way in which Visio 2010 has made me more productive. On the contrary, it is a significant barrier to productivity on a daily basis.

How has your migration experience been?

- Chris

Visio Guy

I don't mind the new interface, but my theory is that MS optimizes Visio for people who assemble drawings. This is, in fact, Visio's original premise.

For people who draw, the new stuff in Visio 2010 can get in the way. I draw with Visio more than I use premade shapes and templates, so I understand.

My suggestions:

- Put the Fill Options...,  Line Options... and maybe Text buttons in a custom ribbon group. This gets you to the big dialogs that let you quickly make several fill, line or text changes at once.
- Turn on the Developer toolbar. This gets you the boolean operations
- Connection points: lame. You can see them all if you get the Connection Point tool, though (Shift + Ctrl + 1) and View > Visual Aids > Connection Points is checked.
- Paste is a new world. Generally I like having two options. Mostly I just do Ctrl + drag, though.
- Help? Forget it. Google instead.
- Ctrl Tab between docs works fine for me. I always combine in my Task Bar. Pause the mouse over Visio in the Task Bar, all the windows pop up in thumbnails.
- Fonts etc. Define default themes for a blank document, save as a template. You have to create two things: Theme Colors and Theme Effects objects. Start with "Create New Theme Effects/Colors..." (at the bottom of each drop-down) to start with Visio's "Normal" palette and styling. Then select both of your newly-defined effects and colors to define the current Theme. Note: themes get an overhaul again in Visio 2013. Too complicated to go into here...
For articles, tips and free content, see the Visio Guy Website at
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Thanks Visio Guy!

Also, workarounds now posted in original message for items 2 and 5.