In this video, Visio MVP Scott Helmers demonstrates how to visualize data by using icon sets. Icon sets are collections of two to five icons that Visio will display based on data values in the shapes on the drawing page. You will learn to create new data graphics as well as to modify existing graphics.
- [Narrator] Icon sets are one of the four available methods for visualizing data in Visio. An icon set is a collection of up to five icons, each of which represents either a data value or a range of values. To select an appropriate icon set, it's helpful to know a bit about the data you want to visualize. In the first example in this video, we're going to use an icon set to visualize the text values in the drop-down list for a shape data field called Status. Here in this process map, we can see that there are data values, including the Status field.
And the Status field contains a drop-down list with five values. That Status field is actually visualized currently. If we zoom in on part of the diagram, you can see that the Status is displayed at the top of each shape. But that's really not as effective a way as we'd like. So we're going to use an icon set. Begin by selecting all shapes, Control + A. And I'll click the Advanced Data Graphics button. If you're using Visio 2013 or 2010, this button is simply called Data Graphics and it's over on the left end of the Data tab.
I'm going to select No Data Graphic which removes that graphic from each of the shapes. To create the new data graphic, click Advanced Data Graphics, Create New Data Graphic. Click New Item and then tell Visio which field we want to visualize which is the field called Status. How do we want to display it? As an icon set. And now Visio provides a gallery of icons. Each icon set is between two and five icons. And we can use any of these that we would like to represent the status.
What I'm going to do is choose this set of traffic-light-like icons. And Visio now presents me with those four icons and I can set formulas and values to indicate which icon should appear at any given moment. In this case, the first will be we'll leave it this set to equals and this will be whenever the status is marked as Completed. The yellow status will be whenever the status field contains a value of Not Started. And by the way, these are not case-sensitive, so I can capitalize or not as I'm typing these.
And finally, for the gray status, this is for the condition when we're Waiting on Input. So I've set the conditions. I click OK, click OK. And now simply select everything on the page and apply my new graphic. I've gone with the default position which happens to put the icon in the upper right corner. That's great. I can leave it there if I'd like, but it's also very easy to edit that. Just right-click, choose Edit, and double-click. And now just change the position.
Perhaps I want this to be far left and top. And click OK. I can, again, put it anywhere that I'd like. Now once you've created an icon like this, it's useful to remember or have Visio help remind you what the colors mean. So we're going to insert a legend and click Vertical or Horizontal, either one. And now, this legend appears in the upper right-hand corner. Visio always drops it in the upper right. I should mention that these legends are actually editable.
So, if I don't like the white text on the brownish background, I can simply Shift-click on each of these four items and go to the Home tab and choose black, for example. I could do the same thing with the word Status and the word Legend if I want to as well, simply by selecting and changing the text color. So this is what our final diagram looks like with a graphic representation of the status and a legend that reminds us what each color means. In the second example, we're going to use data graphics to visualize how each employee in an organization is doing against their annual training requirement.
If I select a shape, you'll see that this employee has completed 40% of his training. This employee is doing much better. She's completed 90% of her training and so forth. Each employee shape contains a value for annual training. So what we're going to do is create a graphic to visualize the annual training percentage rather than have to go looking for it by clicking on each shape. Start by clicking Advanced Data Graphics, Create New Data Graphic. Select New Item and indicate to Visio that it's the annual training that we want to select.
Next we'll choose Icon Set. And actually, I like the one Visio happens to have pre-picked here, but we do have the whole gallery available. So if there's another way you'd like to visualize percentages, this one would work, for example, as pie chart style. You can just select it but I'll go with this one. And finally, we just need to tell Visio under what condition each of these five icons should appear. The one with four blue squares is the maximum. So we'll set that to 100, indicating 100% completion of our training requirement. The next one we'll set to greater than or equal to 75%.
And now I can go to the next field and choose greater than or equal to and 50%. I'm gonna tab into this field and use a keyboard shortcut. I'm just typing G twice which selects those entries that start with G. So I've got greater than or equal to 25 and greater than or equal to zero. Now I just want to point out before we leave this page that you can choose between and actually select a range of values. So I could enter zero to 24 if I wanted to, and that works better for some situations.
In this case, greater than or equal to zero will work correctly. So let's change the position. Where I would really like this graphic to be located is on the far left and at the top. So now when we click OK and OK, we don't want to apply it to just the selected graphic. Instead, what we want to do is select all and apply our new graphic to every shape. And notice Visio repositions the lines and we now have a pretty good looking picture of how each employee is doing against their training.
You might not remember tomorrow or next week what that icon represents, so let's add a legend. Click Insert Legend. I'll choose vertical. And Visio drops it in the upper right corner of the page. You can move it. Just click on the edge and drag it anywhere else that you'd like. You can also edit the entries in the legend. Though that may not be obvious, you can. Simply click and let's select this one, for example. Perhaps you'd want to shorten that text and reduce it to a symbol to say greater than or equal to 75. I can do the same thing and change the text color or any other attributes of this legend that I'd like.
Now let me press F5 and we go to Full Screen View, and we see a pretty good looking organization chart that makes it really obvious how everyone's doing against their plan. We've only scratched the surface of icon sets in this video, but I think you can see the power of this type of graphic display. The built-in collection of icon sets, each of which contains two to five icons, offers a lot of flexibility for visualizing your data but you aren't restricted to using only those sets. Although it's beyond the scope of this video, it is possible to create your own custom icon sets.
First, learn how to apply data and display fields to shapes and run the many prebuilt reports offered in Visio 2016, as well as customize your own. Then find out how to visualize data with callouts, data bars, and icon sets; change the color of shapes as data values change; link diagrams to external data from Excel and Access; align data with flow charts, timelines, organization charts, and other Visio diagrams; and share your new data-driven diagrams with others—even if they don't have Visio. This course will help you accomplish more than you ever thought was possible with Visio, and communicate more effectively than you ever could with static data alone.
Lynda.com is a PMI Registered Education Provider. This course qualifies for professional development units (PDUs). To view the activity and PDU details for this course, click here.
The PMI Registered Education Provider logo is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.
- Finding shape data
- Defining and using data fields
- Running built-in and custom reports
- Visualizing data with text, callouts, icons, and color
- Linking diagrams to data
- Managing linked data sources
- Creating diagrams from data
- Sharing data-driven diagrams