Custom Data graphic question

Started by mattpell, October 30, 2014, 12:07:15 PM

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Hello all,

New to the forums and new to Visio but I have been playing around with some interesting ways to use it for so jobs at my workplace.  I work in a oil refinery and my job is to plan out how to safely decontaminate and isolate equipment every few years when we need to work on it for maintenance.  So what we do is import our drawing of the plant into Visio and use it to highlight flow paths and identify valves that need closing or opening to achieve this. 

My question is around custom data graphics.  We create lists of all these valves that need closing or opening in an Excel spreadsheet.  Each valve has a unique number that corresponds to a physical tag we hang in the field.  I am hoping I can import the data from the Excel sheets and use it to quickly label these isolation on a drawing using a custom stencil I have setup.

The issue I am having is I'd like the text (in this case the tag number) in my data graphic to default to red or blue to help it stand out on the black and white drawing.  I also wouldn't mind having them about 40% transparent so it does not hide the valve it is placed on.  Below is a picture of a quick example I did up.  I did a few numbers with a simple text callout and the number 2 with a circle callout.  Ideally if I would simply get my circle callout to default to red in color and have it slightly transparent so it does not hide the valve underneath it.  The other valves with the text callout would work as well if the data text would default red and stand out. Hope all this makes sense and I look forward to hearing from the real visio users on this one as I am lost on how to achieve this.

I have went as far as pulling up the "master" of the data graphic and editting everything I could in there then saving it but the changes dont seem to take.  Thanks in advance for any help you folks can drect my way on this one as I feel Ive tried everything that "should" work for a situation like this.


just playing around this morning I found that if i change the "theme colors" I can get red circle callouts.  The only issue doing it this way is that I have lines in the drawing that can't all be the same color and applying the theme changes every line in the drawing.  Any suggestions other then individually removing the themes from each line that doesn't require it?  Is it possible to have my master stencil setup so the shapes i drag on never have a theme applied to them?


Hi mattpell,
to give a really founded answer one would need to know more about the whole environment, but neverthless some thoughts from the side:
- I read that you import your drawings into Visio to do some annotation work. So you don't actually draw your P&IDs in Visio. You use it to create new documents.
- This said, I wonder which are the shapes you connect the data to. Are they the circles you lay over the valves and other sensors/actuators?
- Then the P&ID could lay on a background page and the new work could be done on a new frontpage.
- Whilst promising, data graphics are difficult to customise, because there's so much magic in the background that you can't influence. We decided for our P&ID solution to write our own solution and we are happy with it.
I can provide some help, if you need it.




Hi Yacine,

The drawings come to us in either DWG or PDF format and are already final documents.  We are basically planners for the work and use the P&ID's for reference.  We have some safe work practices that require us to provide as much information as possible to people executing the work out in the plant and one requirement of this list is marked up P&ID's highlighting lines and marking valves and blinds to be manipulated or used to ensure the system has zero energy.

Basically I have been taking the .PDF versions of my P&ID's and taking a "snapshot" using adobe reader then pasting what I copied into a layer in Visio. I then size the document to match what I pasted then I assign that "snapshot" to a layer and lock it.

Next step is marking up the drawings for operations and maintenance to have a very clear understanding on what will be going on.

I did monkey around with it a bit more this morning and think I may have figured out a couple ways to get my end result...not sure if its the best way but they worked.

First I tried messing with my theme colors in order to get my data graphic circle callouts to automatically go red.  This worked great but I wanted red for valves and blue for blinds so not 100% what i needed but workable.

I then discovered if I created 2 distinct data graphics I could find them under master file in my drawing explorer.  From there I could individually customize each one with the colors and font size I wanted and in the end I think we are happy with what we ended up with.

Alot of trial and error learning getting to this point but if you can think of anything that would make any of these steps easier please feel free to share.  My plan now, since data graphics don't really save anywhere except the drawing you are working on,  is to make a visio template with all my settings worked out then re-import all my drawings into the visio template in order to save me from having to tweak the custom data graphics on each separate drawing.   

Hope most of that rambling made sense.  Thanks for your input!


Hi Mattpell, basically you've got most of the setup right (according to visio's official philosophy).
The necessary improvement would just be to adjust the colour of the annotations.
You can tweek the shape sheets to get the right colour. But you can also use your own customised shapes to do this.
E.g. respond to a certain status by a colour.
Pse give some time to show you a viable solution.