Data Visualizer leverages the best of Excel and Visio; you enter data into an Excel workbook and Visio creates a diagram automatically. Join Visio MVP Scott Helmers in this video as he demonstrates all of the options you have available in the Data Visualizer wizard when you’re building a flowchart.
- [Instructor] I suspect that some of you watching this video may have created a flowchart in Excel by drawing process like shapes on a worksheet and then connecting them with lines. What you end up with may be serviceable but in reality, it's just a set of shapes floating over a worksheet. It's neither a good use of Excel nor a very useful flowchart. Instead of doing that, why not leverage the data handling capabilities of Excel and the diagramming prowess of Visio, letting each product do what it does best. By the way, I've included this flowchart example in your exercise file if you wanna look at it although I'd recommend you ignore it in favor of what we're going to do next.
Let's start with the Excel data visualizer flowchart template, enter our own data and then walk through the data visualizer wizard to create a flowchart from our data. In the flowchart category in Visio, click basic flowchart for data visualizer and click Excel data template. On the process tab, we can begin to enter our data. I'm gonna use a process step ID of 100, provide a description, the next step will be 110 and let's add an owner of Hiring Manager.
I could continue to add the rest of the data but let's save time by switching to a completed version of the workbook I've just started. You'll find this sample data in your exercise file. As you can see, we have our hiring need reported as the first step, we've got IDs and descriptions and next step IDs for all of the other steps. The one step I would like to point out is step 170, candidate accepts, this is actually a decision which is why you see two outcomes in the next step ID column.
180 is the first outcome comma 150 is the second outcome. The connectors that correspond to each of those are labeled using the connector label column so the path to 180 will be labeled with yes. The path to 150 will be labeled with no. Now, let's use this data in Visio. Back to where we were a moment ago, click create, browse, in my case to the My Documents folder, in your case your exercise file. Choose process data for flowchart, click open.
Visio finds the table that contains the process step data and we'll click the next button. On this page of the wizard, Visio uses column names to match the data with the fields that it needs including identifying a step ID, unique ID, the description and the shape type. The data included in alt description column which is used for accessibility purposes if you have viewers of your diagrams who use screen readers because they're visually impaired, this column is the one that contains descriptive text about each step in the process.
Click next, this is the page where Visio identifies the shape types it finds in your data with the masters in the flowchart stencil. It's done a good job of matching so we'll click next. On this page of the wizard, we specify connectivity. Do we wanna connect using a column in the data? Do we want Visio to connect the shapes sequentially just from one row of data to the next or create a diagram that's not connected at all? We're going to use a column called, next step ID that you saw in the data.
When there's more than one outcome, the comma is the delimiter between alternatives. And the labels are in the connector label column. We're all set, let's click finish. I'm going to close the shape data window and the data graphics window, we don't need those at the moment. But we have a finished diagram. When you create a flowchart using data visualizer, you can accept all of the defaults and create a diagram with three or four clicks or you can use the pages of the wizard to customize how the diagram will be created.
Either way, data visualizer makes short work of building a diagram.
- Creating a flowchart from data
- Creating a swimlane diagram from data
- Working with the built-in Excel Data Visualizer templates
- Synchronizing diagram changes with data and vice versa
- Enhancing diagrams with graphics and themes
- Creating other types of process diagrams
- Creating a diagram template package