Author Topic: Data Visualizer tool - how to stop auto-arranging on refresh?  (Read 16325 times)

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Jacob2021

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This is a question for those who are familiar with the Data Visualizer tool in Visio Plan 2 that enables a link between an Excel table and a flowchart.

I have spent several days getting the flowchart elements positioned exactly and would like to keep it that way (the auto-arrange function is atrocious). When I add a line, like a shape and connector, to the Excel table (Cross-Functional Flowchart) and then refresh the Visio diagram it insists on re-arranging all my shapes and connectors. Is there a way I can turn this off at the document level so it just adds a new shape and connector only?

Here is an example of what is happening. The left is how I have arranged it. If I choose the Re-Layout page under Design (not the Design tab that pops up when selecting the container, but the normal Design tab) the flowchart goes to crap and re-arranges like the right image. This is exactly what is happening when I try and refresh the diagram after I add a line to the Excel sheet.

https://imgur.com/6HryGFs

« Last Edit: May 18, 2021, 11:39:19 AM by Jacob2021 »

Surrogate

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Re: Data Visualizer tool - how to stop auto-arranging on refresh?
« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2021, 11:56:07 AM »
I am not familar with Data Visualizer

I cant find in page's Shapesheet in section Layout cell (or cells) which can lock re-arange for page !  :(

Surrogate

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Re: Data Visualizer tool - how to stop auto-arranging on refresh?
« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2021, 12:25:40 PM »
Data Visualizer diagram have own ShapeSheet (once i take part with online meeting with Visio developers).

Just now i haven't Plan2, for check. May be you can lock this value ?

Visisthebest

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Re: Data Visualizer tool - how to stop auto-arranging on refresh?
« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2021, 12:47:45 PM »
Jacob did you create the nice clean layout on the left by hand or was this actually automatic data visualizer output (I am betting by hand but want to be sure)?
« Last Edit: March 27, 2023, 02:57:37 AM by Visisthebest »
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Jacob2021

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Re: Data Visualizer tool - how to stop auto-arranging on refresh?
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2021, 04:57:43 PM »
Jacob did you create the nice clean layout on the left by hand or was this actually automatic data visualizer output (I am betting by hand but want to be sure)?

The one on the left is the one I created. It took me quite a while to create. The one on the right is what happens when Visio tries to "Re-Layout".

Visisthebest

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Re: Data Visualizer tool - how to stop auto-arranging on refresh?
« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2021, 01:59:16 AM »
As far as I know, Data Visualizer cannot add or delete shapes without doing a full layout of the existing shapes, you probably need to add those shapes by hand in your beautifully layed out diagram.

This is an important point, you indicate the Data Visualizer auto-layout isn’t good enough, this is important feedback for Microsoft they should improve Data Visualizer to fix this.

Can you give more detail about what goes wrong with the auto-layout in other diagrams, the one you sent shows Data Visualizer using a lot of empty space for instance, which is suboptimal for reading and printing as well.
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Surrogate

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Re: Data Visualizer tool - how to stop auto-arranging on refresh?
« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2021, 03:00:53 AM »
This is an important point, you indicate the Data Visualizer auto-layout isn’t good enough, this is important feedback for Microsoft they should improve Data Visualizer to fix this.
You can do it in DV support site!
« Last Edit: May 19, 2021, 06:21:47 AM by Surrogate »

Jacob2021

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Re: Data Visualizer tool - how to stop auto-arranging on refresh?
« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2021, 08:21:44 AM »
As far as I know, Data Visualizer cannot add or delete shapes without doing a full layout of the existing shapes, you probably need to add those shapes by hand in your beautifully layed out diagram.

This is an important point, you indicate the Data Visualizer auto-layout isn’t good enough, this is important feedback for Microsoft they should improve Data Visualizer to fix this.

Can you give more detail about what goes wrong with the auto-layout in other diagrams, the one you sent shows Data Visualizer using a lot of empty space for instance, which is suboptimal for reading and printing as well.

I don't think there will ever really be a way to auto-arrange that will match hand layouts to be honest without a complete rework of the logic. One thing is that the lines should be made to cross as least as possible. In my diagram they cross once, in the re-layout they cross everywhere. The re-layout also uses much more space and there is no option to loop the next section of the flowchart, or 'swimlane' back up to the top like I have to save space. The connectors line often come from one origin on a shape and then split, so you can't tell which line is No and which line is Yes. The labels are also placed in the middle of the connector line, so if there is a connector that goes across the page you have to follow it halfway across the page to see which path it is on (Yes or No). There should be an option to place the text close to the shape it comes from so you can quickly see the paths. Then there are the lines themselves. If they have the same end location, I think they should merge into one (at least visually). If you use the re-layout option it wants to create separate parallel lines for each shape which are impossible to follow. It should have a small section of the connector line coming from the shape to show the label text and then merge with other lines that are going to the same end location.

Until those things are done, there should really be an option to turn the auto re-layout option off for the Data Visualizer tool because it makes the whole adding of items to the Excel document completely useless and therefore only a way way link from Visio to Excel.
« Last Edit: May 19, 2021, 10:47:19 PM by Jacob2021 »

Surrogate

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Re: Data Visualizer tool - how to stop auto-arranging on refresh?
« Reply #8 on: May 19, 2021, 08:54:27 AM »
I send to developers e-mail and share hyperlink to this thread.

wapperdude

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Re: Data Visualizer tool - how to stop auto-arranging on refresh?
« Reply #9 on: May 19, 2021, 10:10:54 AM »
Quote
I don't think there will ever really be a way to auto-arrange that will match hand layouts to be honest without a complete rework of the logic.

I agree.  I've not had occasion to use the DV, some this comes from ignorance, but has some observational lessons learned.  Granted, there could be some improvements, but, from user to user, there will be differences as to what is optimal. 
>  What might be nice is some sort of option to be more semi-automatic.  That is, updates would preserve existing general flow when updating to add a new shape.

> (This might already be true)...When only data values changed, existing layout preserved.

> More layout flow options...that is differentiate between global and lane scenarios.  For example, globally, the page might flow left to right priority, but, within a lane, the placement might have top to bottom priority.

> improved do not re-route functionality.  This might be on a per lane basis.  Goes hand in hand with 1st bullet.  For example, layout has been meticulously crafted.  Subsequently, a new shape gets introduced.  Perhaps one or two shapes need to be move to make room.  What frequently occurs is an undesired is a resulting total re-route.

> improved connector to connector spacing constraints.  Perhaps with a "bus" option that works on a per connector basis.  That way, multiple, parallel connectors could be allowed to overlap.  To go with that, a more unique differentiation to highlight a selected 1-D shape other than bounding box...say a user definable properties: line color, weight, style, whatever.

Just some thoughts.
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Jacob2021

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Re: Data Visualizer tool - how to stop auto-arranging on refresh?
« Reply #10 on: May 25, 2021, 07:12:53 PM »
Just as an update, I have contacted Microsoft about several issues to do with the Data Visualizer tool and have also told them that I think the tool should be recalled. I don't recommend anyone use it at the moment because it honestly causes more issues than it solves. It randomly renames Excel columns that can't be changed back which completely ruins all the connections, automatically re-arranges the diagrams and the tool options make no sense. For example, if you create a flowchart with the tool and link it to Excel, only when clicking on the container will you see options relevant to the tool. These options are 'Design' and 'Format'. The design tab has nothing to do with design, it just handles the Excel connections. What makes it more confusing is that there is already a design tab on the ribbon that is not related to the tool. There is also a data tab which has all these options about external data connections, but this has nothing to do with the tool either.

I'm not just expressing gripes with a program because I am not familiar with it, I honestly think this is a subpar product that should never have been released.

wapperdude

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Re: Data Visualizer tool - how to stop auto-arranging on refresh?
« Reply #11 on: May 25, 2021, 08:28:57 PM »
Thinking I'm glad I haven't tried it.  Perhaps it's one of those "time to market" scenarios where a product is rushed out the door before it's ready in order to capture a customer base and revenue. 

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Visisthebest

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Re: Data Visualizer tool - how to stop auto-arranging on refresh?
« Reply #12 on: May 26, 2021, 03:54:26 AM »
See the attached screenshot, according to the Office Update overview there is an update to Data Visualizer that should be released this month! The question is, what does it contain?
« Last Edit: March 27, 2023, 03:04:02 AM by Visisthebest »
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Jacob2021

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Re: Data Visualizer tool - how to stop auto-arranging on refresh?
« Reply #13 on: May 28, 2021, 01:28:44 AM »
That is interesting! I'll keep an eye out for it and will update if it turns out to fix any of the issues I mentioned.

ncjackson112480

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Re: Data Visualizer tool - how to stop auto-arranging on refresh?
« Reply #14 on: June 04, 2021, 11:23:39 PM »


I don't know if it will let me attach a screenshot, but it doesn't do that to me.  The first time it guesses (pretty terribly) but when I move it around and I Update Source Data, close and reopen it stays.  And I've notice that if I'm trying to reconstruct a previous model I don't have to have the data perfect because technically if I highlight all the data objects and shapes BUT no connectors then it will copy and paste in the VDV and create it's own spreadsheet ... you just have to connect everything again, but I think that's less of a hassle.

what I don't get is that they are clearly storing X,Y position just like normal as well as the Shape Documentation but that is not in the template.  There has to be a way to map the template to all the properties or formats you want to control.

I can send you my file if you think it might be a setting.