I really think that Visio Services is very under used in SharePoint 2010. I think this is mostly due to the fact that people don’t understand the powerful solutions that can be built just using the out of the box tools. Working with Visio really takes the whole “No Code Required” to the next level. I recently did a session at SPTechCon about it and I was surprised to see how little people knew of what could be configured.
There is nothing too special about this post, in fact you may look at it and not really see much value or see some other way you could have accomplished the same thing. That is fine and expected J I just wanted to start with a simple example so it was easy to understand and relate to. I assume that as you look at these features you will build more complex charts, diagram and reports.
As a quick summary, here is the business issue we are looking at: Our team manages a small number of projects. We want a way to be able to quickly see visually the status of the different projects. The projects summary information is stored in a list.
To get started, we need to first create our SharePoint list to store our project data. I have created a custom SharePoint list that has a few different columns:
- Title (default column)
- Description (multi-line of text column)
- Project Manager (person)
- Status (multiple choice)
Below is a screenshot of the default view of my list.
Now, I am going to open Visio and create the diagram that I want to use to show the project status visually. Since I know I am going to be publishing to a SharePoint site I will be using Visio Premium. For my example I am keeping things very simple. I basically have configured a shape for each project. Below is a screenshot of my simple diagram. To add a little style I used the background settings in combination with the design themes. I also applied some effects. In case you are new to Visio, in the diagram below I have highlighted some of the different menu structures you may want to spend some time exploring.
The next step I need to do is to configure my connection in the diagram back to the SharePoint list data. I am going to do this through the Data ribbon.
When I select the option to Link Data to Shapes I am able to connect back to my SharePoint list using the connection wizard. Below are the screenshots that map out the process.
Once the connection is created, a new menu is displayed on the bottom of my drawing. Here I can see the values for the different items in my list.
Now I need to tell Visio what list data needs to be associated with which shape. This is done by simple selecting the item from the list and dragging in to a shape. As I do this I will see a link icon next to each item and I will see data from the list on the drawing.
As you can see, Visio has attempted to configure the diagram to show the data that makes the most sense. This in my case is too much data for my diagram. I can easily update this however by accessing the Edit Data Graphic…. Menu item on Data Graphics menu located in the Data ribbon.
Here I can add, edit or remove items.
In my example, I have removed the description field and edited the title fields Position. Here is a screenshot of my updated diagram.
Now the fun part The next step is adding the data graphics so that we can display an icon based on the values in the SharePoint list. For our example we are using the values in the status column. We do this from the Data ribbon using the Data Graphics menu option. We will add a new data graphic to our existing items (where we set the title above).
For my example I am going to use an Icon set that is associated with the stop light concept. This will provide a visual queue for people to know the overall status of the project.
Finally, as a finishing touch I want to add a data legend so they understand what the icon values represent. I can do this through the Data ribbon we have already been working with. Also, don’t be surprised if adding the legend causes you to need to resize or move your diagram around. Should be pretty easy to manage though. Here is a screenshot of my diagram.
Now I am finally ready to publish this diagram to my SharePoint site and display it in a web part. I will start by saving the file as a web drawing to my SharePoint site.
Once I do this, I can add the Visio web part to any page and configure it to display my document. I have added some screenshots from the process below.
Adding the Visio web part:
Configure the web part to point to the document you published:
The finished view: