Author Topic: File Locations  (Read 40349 times)

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Roger Billsdon

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File Locations
« on: April 29, 2013, 12:39:47 PM »
Hi all

I've just upgraded to Visio 2013 and have hit a problem which I'm sure is due to some really simple mistake on my part.

In previous versions of Visio, stencils saved in a folder added using the "File>Visio Options>Advanced>File Locations" option would be shown to the user in options such as "More Shapes". I've also tried without success saving folder names directly into the Windows Registry database key "HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Visio\StencilPath".

Interestingly when a new drawing is created using the Visio 2013 SDK FlowChart template, my stencils are then listed by the "More Shapes" option. I can see no obvious reason why this should be. Also I can't find how templates are organised into categories such as Business, SDK, etc.

Any hints or comments would be much appreciated.

Many thanks
Roger Billsdon

Paul Herber

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Re: File Locations
« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2013, 12:55:12 PM »
Hi Roger, have you tried installing stemcils via a Windows installer and Visio Solution Publishing Tool?
However, just this morning I had an email from customer telling me that this doesn't work 100% in Visio 2013. Stencils do show in the More Shapes menu in new documents but not in old ones, presumably ones made in previous versions of Visio.
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Roger Billsdon

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Re: File Locations
« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2013, 01:55:48 AM »
Hi Paul, Many thanks for your reply. I use .msi windows installer packages to install my .NET programs and their associated Visio templates and stencils but I don't use the Visio Solution Publishing Tool. I did look at the Publishing Tool but that was about 5 years ago and I can't remember why I decided against it. I think I'll check it out and the Visio 2013 SDK installer and FlowChart template to see what I can discover.
Best regards
Roger

Paul Herber

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Re: File Locations
« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2013, 02:30:59 AM »
Hi again. I've just found this from a blog tweeted yesterday by the Visio twitter account. It could be the reason for this problem:


"Filter for current drawing's units

Note: only affects US (and Canadian) users.

The More Shapes browse menu now filters its results based on your current drawing's unit selection, ensuring you choose a stencil with the correct units, resulting in shapes that look and behave great on your page. If your document is US, you will only see US stencils, and vice versa."


First, it's not going to affect only US and Canadian users, its going to affect drawings based on Imperial units (or US units as Visio calls them) i.e. inches, feet, yards, miles etc. Is the filtering based on the locale or the drawing units?

Second, not all stencils available outside Microsoft are in US and Metric versions. Are metric only stencils going to be totally invisible to US (and Canadian) users?

Has somebody not thought this through ?
Electronic and Electrical engineering, business and software stencils and applications for Visio -

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Roger Billsdon

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Re: File Locations
« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2013, 03:11:13 AM »
Hi Paul, I totally agree it's not that simple. For example, I've customers in the USA who happily mix imperial page sizes with metric and imperial units of measure and in some designs dual inch/metric measurements are required.

Paul Herber

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Re: File Locations
« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2013, 03:29:37 AM »
Maybe someone who has Visio 2013 could try this:
Install a stencil that is only metric,  then create 2 new blank documents, one metric, one US units. Check the stencils available from the More Shapes menu.
Electronic and Electrical engineering, business and software stencils and applications for Visio -

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Roger Billsdon

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Re: File Locations
« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2013, 04:52:00 AM »
Changing Page Setup>Page Properties>Measurement units from millimetres to inches enables stencils to be listed by the "More Shapes" option. However, with millimetre measurement units not even newly created metric stencils are listed. I've tried various different settings but can't seem to get stencils listed without the page inch measurement units.

Another irritation is if a multi-page document has some pages set to millimetre and some to inch units the user sees all or no stencils when selecting different pages.

Unless I'm missing something, in this regard Visio 2013 will be somewhat tedious and confusing for those working in metric units, i.e. most of the world!!

Paul Herber

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Re: File Locations
« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2013, 05:13:42 AM »
I feel this change should have been the other way around. Most of the world doesn't want or need to see US unit stencils, millions of people have no idea what an inch, foot, yard or mile is. The US needs both imperial and metric, but the metric conversion is going at a snail's pace, like a furlong per fortnight. Mind you, Iran, North Korea and terrorists use metric, so just be careful!

 ;)

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Roger Billsdon

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Re: File Locations
« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2013, 10:18:56 AM »
Also there was the rather expensive mix-up back in 1998 on the Mars Climate Orbiter and Mars Polar Lander spacecraft when a navigation error caused the lander to fly too low in the atmosphere and it was destroyed. The error was traced to a sub-contractor on the NASA program who had used imperial units rather than the NASA-specified metric units!

Paul Herber

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Re: File Locations
« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2013, 10:43:06 AM »
Also I can't find how templates are organised into categories such as Business, SDK, etc.

This is done by the Published Component table in the MSI file, it's created using the Visio Solution Publishing Tool. Actually I create using the tool InstEd, then the table is filled by Visio Solution Publishing Tool, it complains if the table isn't there already. Why can it not create it itself?
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Roger Billsdon

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Re: File Locations
« Reply #10 on: May 07, 2013, 10:49:17 AM »
Hi all
It seems stencils must be named with a "_M" suffix in order for them to be listed by the "My Shapes" menu option whenever the active page opened in Visio is not in imperial units of measure. To achieve this I've duplicated all my stencils named, with and without an "_M" suffix and made a few enhancements to my program code so that the appropriate stencil is selected.

This all seems an unnecessary irritation, unless I'm missing a cleaner alternative solution.

Best regards
Roger Billsdon

Paul Herber

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Re: File Locations
« Reply #11 on: May 07, 2013, 12:57:13 PM »
Is this only when the stencils are in the specified file location or does it also apply to published stencils? Using the published stencils method the stencils don't have to have the _M or _U ending for their final name.
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Roger Billsdon

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Re: File Locations
« Reply #12 on: May 10, 2013, 02:58:39 AM »
Hi Paul
"Is this only when the stencils are in the specified file location or does it also apply to published stencils?"

Applies to both. I've tried various experiments, including the alternate names option provided in the Visio Solution Publishing Tool.

Stencils named without a "_U" or "_M" suffix are just listed when the active page is set to imperial units of measure. As far as I can find, stencils must be named with a "_M" suffix in order for them to be listed by the Visio 2013 "My Shapes" menu option when the active page is in metric units of measure.

Does your comment "Using the published stencils method the stencils don't have to have the _M or _U ending for their final name" indicate you've found a solution or does the comment refer to previous versions of Visio?

Also on a different but slightly related issue; has anyone found how to replace the folder icons that Visio use when templates are organised into categories?

Many thanks,
Roger Billsdon

Paul Herber

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Re: File Locations
« Reply #13 on: May 10, 2013, 03:12:38 AM »
I don't have Visio 2013 so I can't try anything. This is either a bug or a very badly thought out change to how Visio works.
My comment about the _M and _U suffixes was just that even if the file name does have this suffix then using the VSPT the file name seen by Visio and the user can be changed.
The folder icon - no, no idea.
Electronic and Electrical engineering, business and software stencils and applications for Visio -

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Roger Billsdon

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Re: File Locations
« Reply #14 on: May 10, 2013, 03:53:44 AM »
Thanks Paul.