Adding Data to Shapes in a Visio network Diagram

Fluid Power network diagramIn this, the second of the network diagrams series we look at adding data to shapes within the network diagram. There are a number of reasons that make this a good idea; the data can be used to create an asset list, reports can be created using the data saved within the shapes, shape data can be used to create an inventory, and it is extremely useful to have a record of expensive assets should they need to be taken off the site.

In some circumstances you may create a network temporarily, for example a trade show, conference or other isolated event and using the facilities available in Microsoft Visio to document the infrastructure and record all the assets used at the event in a network diagram is an excellent idea for keeping everything clearly recorded.

Using the Shape Data window in a Network Diagram

In this tutorial video we cover such items as the Shape Data window, the Document Stencil, and the Define Shape Data dialogue box. Adding data to shapes in this way makes the network diagram much more useful than a standard drawing. Data that is added can be displayed in the network diagram itself or saved in a spreadsheet. The entire infrastructure can be documented in this way, making the diagram serve several functions at once.

 Connecting Shapes in a Network Diagram

By using the Basic Network diagram template you can quickly and easily create a network diagram that includes information about the type of equipment used, how it is connected to each other, where the Internet connection is made, who uses it, what the IP address of each component is and so on. Simply by dragging and dropping shapes onto the drawing page, you can create your network diagram in a very short time then by opening the shape data window, add details about the network and its components.

TIP: Normally, the first stage is to establish what type of network protocol will be used, and then to add the backbone shape to the drawing page. From here individual components can be added and control handles dragged from the backbone shape to connect individual pieces of hardware to it. Then it is a simple matter of adding text to each of the shapes to identify it.


All network equipment shapes in Visio have default shape data fields that include the manufacturer’s name, product number, part number, product description and serial number. In Visio 2007 the shape data window is accessed from the View menu; when the shape is selected, its data appears in the shape data window or you can right click the shape to get the same information.

If you want to define a new data field for a shape you must open the document stencil – however any changes you make to a standard shape in the document stencil will apply to all instances of that shape in your diagram.

Adding data to network diagram shapes

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