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Visio 2003 For Dummies



Visio 2003 For Dummies

Debbie Walkowski

ISBN: 978-0-764-56867-1 January 2004 398 Pages

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Did you ever wish you could draw folks a picture of your business processes or the design of your database, but you just don’t have the graphics skills? Then Visio 2003 might be exactly what you’re looking for, and Visio 2003 For Dummies makes it easy for you to find out.

Often, pictures do speak louder than words. Visio enables you to turn business and technical concepts into visual diagrams. Best of all, it doesn’t require you to possess any artistic talent! Visio 2003 For Dummies shows you how to

  • Navigate the software and use the menus, toolbars, and task panes
  • Create simple diagrams
  • Use Visio drawings with other software programs
  • Annotate your diagrams
  • Post diagrams on the Web

If you need to explain business goals and procedures, software concepts, or database designs to others, Visio 2003 For Dummies can get you going with this great software package in no time. Soon you’ll be able to

  • Choose the appropriate type of drawing for your purpose, work with stencils, and add shapes
  • Pan and zoom to fine-tune your diagram
  • Set up your printer with Visio 2003, add headers and footers, and print an entire drawing or only selected parts
  • Explore open and closed or one- and two-dimensional shapes, and manipulate them to demonstrate what you want to show
  • Add color and text to enhance your drawings
  • Create custom shapes, develop and use templates, and even add layers to provide more detail
  • Integrate Visio with Excel, Word, Project, and Outlook
  • Produce reports using data stored in Visio, update them, make them available for others to review, and even track changes

Additional information and links to online Visio resources are available on the book’s companion Web site. Visio 2003 offers you an exciting new way to communicate business processes, information systems, database and software designs, or computer and telecommunications networks, and Visio 2003 For Dummies gives you the power to use this great tool quickly and easily.


Part I. Starting with Visio 2003 basics.

Chapter 1. Visio 101.

Chapter 2. Creating and Saving a Simple Visio Drawing.

Chapter 3. Printing Visio Drawings.

Part II. Creating Visio Drawings.

Chapter 4. Discovering What Visio Shapes Are All About.

Chapter 5. Adding Text to Your Drawings.

Chapter 6. Connecting Shapes.

Part III. Taking Your Drawings to the Next Level.

Chapter 7. Perfecting Your Drawings.

Chapter 8. Creating and Customizing Shapes.

Chapter 9. Working with Pages.

Chapter 10. Layering Your Drawings.

Part IV. Advancing Your Knowledge of Visio.

Chapter 11. Creating Stencils, Master Shapes, Templates, and Styles.

Chapter 12. Managing Shape Information, Behavior, and Protection.

Chapter 13. Marking Up Drawings for Review.

Chapter 14. Using Visio with Other Programs.

Part V. The Part of Tens.

Chapter 15. Answers to Ten Frequently Asked Questions about Visio.

Chapter 16. Ten Common Tasks in Visio.

Chapter 17. Ten Tips for Working Successfully with Visio.

Chapter 18. Ten Places to Look Online for Visio Resources.


Using Visio Viewer 2003

Using Visio Viewer 2003

For your colleagues who don�t have Visio but want to view Visio drawings on their computer, have them download the Visio Viewer 2003 from

An alternative location is

Then do the following:

  1. Choose Visio in the Product/Technology search field.
  2. In the Keyword box, type Viewer.
  3. In the displayed list of topics, click Visio Viewer.
  4. Click Download and choose a directory (such as C:/Program Files) in which to store the file.
  5. After the download is complete, click the Open Folder button to display the file in Windows File Explorer. 
  6. Double-click the file name to extract and install the Visio Viewer.

To user Visio Viewer 2003, double-click a Visio drawing (.VSD, .VSS, .VST, .VDX, .VSX, .VTX extension) in Windows File Explorer. An Internet Explorer window opens, the Visio Viewer is automatically loaded, and Visio Viewer displays the drawing you selected.

Other Tips

You can make Visio organization charts more interesting (and help new employees place names to faces) by adding pictures to organization chart shapes. Right-click a position shape to display a pop-up menu, and then choose Insert Picture. Find the directory where the employee picture is located and select it. Visio automatically inserts the picture in the selected shape.

In Visio drawings and diagrams, you can add text to lines and connectors just as easily as you can to shapes. After drawing a line or connector, click it to select it, and then just begin typing. Visio automatically �breaks� the line or connector to incorporate the text you type so that it�s easily readable (not obscured by the line).

You can quickly copy formatting from one Visio shape to another without using elaborate menu commands. To copy all formatting applied to a shape, click the shape to copy from, and then select the Format Painter tool on the Standard toolbar. Your mouse pointer changes to a paint brush. Click the shape to which you want to copy the formatting. Visio instantly applies all formatting attributes. To apply only text formatting, double-click the shape to copy from so that it�s text box is selected, and then follow the same procedure using the Format Painter tool.

Want to create a pattern of identical shapes that are uniformly spaced and aligned?  Ordinarily you would have to copy a shape, paste it over and over, and then align and distribute the entire collection of shapes to get them evenly spaced. But there�s a better way! Select the shape you want to copy, and then hold down the Ctrl key and click and drag a copy of the shape to a new location. Visio not only pastes the shape, but also remembers the position of the second shape relative to the first. Now press F4 and see how Visio pastes another identical shape using the same relative position to the second shape. Keep pressing F4 until your pattern is complete.

Online Resources


Tips, articles, updates, downloads, and more:

Visio updates:

Online training and tutorials in Visio:

Variety of information on working with Visio:

Launchpad site for finding newsgroups, community Web sites, technical chats, and user�s groups:

General information sites maintained by Visio experts:


Google-sponsored user groups:

Then click the Groups button at the top of the page, and type microsoft.public.visio in the search box on the next page.


Yahoo! group for software developers and network designers:

Third-Party Suppliers of Visio Shapes and Stencils

Sources for Visio shapes and stencils:.