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How do I create a legend (In the Map Sense)

Started by bdmeyer, July 09, 2009, 04:20:37 PM

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I searched for 'Legend' here and found out about a feature I had never heard of.
It wasn't what I meant though. I would like to create a legend in the map sense. I mostly create network diagrams. I would like to be able to create a legend that merely show the color and line style perhaps, with text off to the side that explains what that color is for.

So my thick orange line might be an SMTP connector.
and the blue thin line perhaps TCP Port 80.

is their a way for me to generate this automatically, or do I need to just create the lines and write text next to it ?

Thanks for any help,
   --Bruce D. Meyer


Are you looking for something beyond the legend shape that is in the network and peripherals stencil? You can drag your shapes onto the legend and it will keep track of them. David Parker also has some examples in his book (Visualizing Information with Microsoft Visio 2007) that work very well.


I am looking for a way to let the user see graphically, that green means this, orange means that, blue mean soemthing else, and black means yet something else.

it would be  a small group of perhaps colored lines with a word next to the colored line explaining what the color means.

My diagrams have for instance, green lines that mean inbound email, orange lines might mean outbound email. Their would be a colored explanatuon so a user can look at the color on the diagram, then look at the say, bottom right corner for an explanation of what the difference is between the the orange and green lines. I am doing this by hand right now. It seems hard to believe that this function is built in. Each color represents a layer right now. I can shut off say the VLAN layer, which might remove all the purple lines. Turn on the Outbound layer which might show all the blue lines.

Am I making any sense?  :-)


Visio Guy

Hi Bruce!

Do you have Visio 2007 Professional? There is a nifty color-by-value option for the Data Graphics feature that might help you get the job done.

In older versions of Visio, try: Tools > Add-ons > Maps & Floor Plans > Color by Values...

But these are both more of a solution to color shapes according to data or size, etc.

Sounds like you want to make a legend that responds to what you have already colored?

For articles, tips and free content, see the Visio Guy Website at
Get my Visio Book! Using Microsoft Visio 2010




Yes. Visio 2007. Thanks both of you for sharing your knowlege!



Adding to what Al mentioned about the Legend shape. 

You can draw "example" line segments, make them fat, e.g., > 12 pt.  Then, for each shape, right click > Format > Behavior and select 2D-behavior.  Save to a new stencil.  Change the shape name to something meaningful.  Do this for all of your line "types".  Then, on a drawing page, drag a legend symbol, and then drag each of your line "shapes".  They will populate the legend.  Right click the legend, and configure it to show just the symbol and description.  With the legend selected, bring it to the front.  Now move the line shapes behind the legend to hide them.  You can select all, and group, and this will keep them behind the legend out of the way whenever you re-position the legend.

Attached example does all but the last step.

Visio 2019 Pro

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