Linking Visio to Data Source (and other animals)

Started by monkeyblood, January 22, 2014, 01:53:09 PM

Previous topic - Next topic

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.


Hi guys,

I wonder if I might impinge on the collective geniuses in these forums for some guidance on an impending work-related endeavour I am about to undertake/lead.

First some related info
•   We have Visio 2007 and 2010 users.
•   We make use of shared stencil and shapes on our server.
•   We replicate some of the information that we show on the Visio drawing within Excel (2007/2010/2013).  Excel is a far easier way of tracking some of the information, but Visio representation makes it easier for our installation teams/subcontractors without having to cross reference schedules.

So, I am looking for the best way to have a single repository of data which is linked to fields in the standard shapes we have.
Ultimately, I am trying to reduce data entry for a project to one instance, and everything else (Visio drawings, Excel schedules) link to this source.

I have played with the Excel data linking but find this to be a bit lacklustre and non-intuitive, as it doesn't really support two way data linking well.  You also only seem to be able to pull in the spreadsheet layouts well, which isn't what I want to do.

If I have a shape with 10 'database linked fields'.  I need to be able to enter a value in 1 field which them pulls in the remaining 9 fields because the first field will be unique (or a database primary key).
We would have a database for a 'site', but this could link to many drawings in many folders (but generally all on the same server).

"Database" I hear you all scream .  So here are my questions;

1.   Is a database the best way to link data in Visio shapes?
2.   What database is the best solution in terms of use with Visio?  MS Access, SQL Server, SQLExpress, other...
3.   I would expect to have a single database per project, but multiple drawings from different locations on the server would need to use it as the data source.
4.   We only want to link the database to the drawing once, and Id prefer not to
5.   How do we handle the shapes, as they will come from a single location on the server and drop into any drawing, linked to one of many similar databases, but we want to make sure the shapes gets data from the specific database we need.
6.   We need to ensure that if the data source changes, that Visio drawings do not self-update, but rather requests an update of its data fields, and we can then manage the revision process.  It would be good to track the drawing changes/revisions on the database and have it update the drawings borders also ;-)
7.   We also need to be able to change the Visio drawing directly, and this would amend the data source.  The data source would need to record/audit trail the change from the Windows credentials.
8.   Are there any reasons why I shouldn't do this?
9.   Are there any pitfalls I need to be aware of?

Apologies if this sounds a bit like a specification, but it's important for me to understand the limitations before I embark on this adventure ;-)

Thanks all,