In this, the second in the Visualizing Data series, we cover connecting data to shapes in Visio 2007 by using the wizard to connect the data held in the spreadsheet to the shapes in the flowchart diagram.
In this tutorial we use the facility for automatically linking the data to the shapes, but there is also an option for connecting data to shapes by selecting them individually.
Accuracy is important when connecting data to shapes
- Makes the diagram dynamic
- Connect shapes to Excel
- Connect shapes to Access
- Connect shapes to SQL
- Connect shapes to SharePoint lists
When connecting data to shapes using the wizard, the stage that says “automatically link rows to shapes” must have the same properties in both the Data column and Shape field windows. It is important to ensure that the field names are identical, in this case the swim lanes of the cross-functional flowchart and the column titles in the spreadsheet, as these are used as a reference point when the data is being connected.
The data sheet appears when connecting data to shapes
When the data has been successfully connected, a datasheet appears at the bottom of the Visio drawing pain. When automatic connection has been used for connecting data to shapes, the wizard inserts a small chain-link symbol in an extra column on the left of the data. A task pane will also open on the right of the drawing window, and this will contain the default data graphics Visio has used. These data graphics can be used as they are but it is common to edit them so that they represent the data in a more meaningful way. In the next tutorial we will discuss various ways of doing this.
When connecting data to shapes in Visio, the connection is also used to refresh the shapes in the diagram when the data in the spreadsheet changes. This means that your Visio diagram can display the latest version of the dataset, and refreshing it in real time means you can detect warning signs and fine tune the business model accordingly.
TIP: Don’t forget, when connecting data to shapes in Visio diagram it is critical to ensure that the field names in the data source are accurately represented in the diagram.
Read more about connecting data to shapes and using data graphics to visualize data in this article.