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Thursday, May 19, 2011

A Basic Introduction to Microsoft Visio 2007

Microsoft Visio is a helpful tool used to create diagrams for better understanding of a complex system. It is used by business professionals to find improvements in their system and to convey the functions of a system to other individuals. How a phone is built and how a website is organized are two systems with many steps and entities. Having a diagram to visualize both systems provide helpful information for managers to make better decisions.

Mapping out the floor plan of a building, detailing a product assembly line using a cross functional flowchart, and developing a diagram that shows how data moves through a network are just some of the things Visio can do. Professionals ranging from IT specialist, teachers, and web designers use Visio. It's a fairly simple program that many people can start using immediately. The program has an intuitive interface similar to Microsoft Office applications.

A new user would usually start by opening Microsoft Visio. The user will arrive at the Getting Started page with a list of Template Categories to the left and the Getting Started area to the right. Selecting a Template category will populate the middle with usable templates. The Template category list has a variety of different templates to start from including Block Diagram, Building Plan, Database, Network, Software, and Web Diagram. In each category there are several templates available. If we looked inside the Network category we would see a template for Active Directory, Basic Network Diagram, and Novell Directory Services. A template can be selected from the list and then created. Users can choose to start from a blank template if they want.

After selecting a template the user will arrive at Visio's new drawing interface. Depending on the template selected from the beginning the Shapes pane will populate with particular sets of shapes and stencils. If a shape cannot be found a search engine above the Shapes pane is available. Try typing the word "chair" inside the search box and hit enter, you will see the list populate with over fifty different chairs. A person will most likely find the shape they need using Visio's Shapes pane.

Before adding any shapes to the drawing it is usually best to setup the drawing area to the correct specifications. Users can access the page setup window to change page size and orientation. The measurements of a drawing can be specified to match the actual size of a system.

When a user begins to add shapes to a drawing it's best to have a rough sketch to reference. Having an idea of your system size will help make the process much easier. It will save time from having to figure it out as you go.

Each object when placed on a drawing page will have similar attributes. Most if not all objects can be resized, rotated, and copied. When selecting a shape, handles will appear around a shape allowing you to edit the shape.


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