Somewhat overdue, I’ve recently uploaded a single archive page with a link to each post. Hopefully this will make navigation a little easier than the traditional month by month list. The page can be found at:
I came across a set of cloud computing images the other day and thought they’d make a nice Visio stencil set. I contacted Josh Twist, the author, and you can now download the stencil from here. (If you want to download the original png’s then head over to Josh’s post titled ‘Cloud Artwork’.)
Note, all the hard work belongs to Josh – I’ve just added a few connection points and saved them as a new stencil (.vss).
To install the stencil – download and unzip the file above. Move the resulting .vss file to either:
Your My Shapes folder
C:\Users\[User name]\Documents\My Shapes
or your stencils folder, the path for which is described in
As you know raster images generally don’t scale well, however the above images are fairly large (averaging somewhere around 1200 x 1200) which means they can be stretched a fair way before pixelating. In general you would want to be careful with image sizes if your drawing is likely to contain a large numbers of instances. In this case, given the abstract nature of the shapes, I think it’s unlikely that you’d see a diagram with 500 instance shapes.
Anyway, they’re a great set of shapes and I hope you find them useful.
[Update 18.04.12 - If you're after other cloud shapes then Visio MVP John Marshall recently sent me this clever shape. It's based on a line pattern and so scales and alters shape, in a rather pleasing way, as it's resized (click on the image to download)]
Being a multitouch fan (the Dell Studio 17 is a great machine) I contacted Luke and developed three Visio touch gesture shapes – Hand, TouchPoints and Arrow. You can now download the zipped Visio stencil and template set over at Luke’s reference guide post. The stencil and template work on Visio 2003, 2007 and 2010, and there’s a ReadMe text file that describes how to install the files correctly.
For this post I thought I’d write a quick review of how these shapes work…
I just spotted a post over at Snap 2 Objects.com and thought I’d highlight it here. This site is a great resource for both icons and other graphics and is particularly interesting for Visio users as they frequently produce both vector and raster formats.
Visio can import svg files (File / Open and then set the file type to svg), but on this occasion I found that it had a few issues with managing some of the layers. For example, on the apple shape above, the logo shapes didn’t make it through. My guess is that if you open either the eps or ai files in Illustrator then you’ll be able to copy and paste over the shapes of interest.
If you do elect to use the vector shapes, which would be the ideal option, you will probably want to modify shape as svg makes for a pretty heavy shape. For example, I pasted one of the apple shapes across to a new page and then had a peep at the Drawing Explorer and discovered that its made up of about 160 individual shapes, some of which are grouped groups – not good.
I should point out that this isn’t the fault of the designer, it’s just that the conversion process from svg to Visio produces a fairly heavy shape that need to be optimized if you going to use many instances in your diagram.
If you want to avoid the work then I would probably go for the png versions as they come in 32, 64 and 128 pixel versions.
Anyway, it’s a great set of icons and I can see it having a home in various Visio network and site maps.
In Part 1 of this post I looked at how to draw a 2D RSS icon shape for Visio using it as an example of how to use operations that manipulate a shape’s underlying geometry. In this post I’m going to move on to a 3D version and whilst I’m going to use some similar techniques the focus, this time, is going to be on breaking down a complex shape based on colour…
I was looking at an RSS icon the other day and thought it would make a good example of how to draw custom shapes in Visio. You can, of course, use bitmap based images and save yourself all of the drawing, but if you want to include any interaction within the shape and if you want it to scale without degrading then the vector route is the one to choose.
I’ll split this into two posts:- in the first I’ll look at a 2D icon and use the shape operations functionality and in the second, I look at a 3D icon and try and break down the shape in terms of its colours…
Moving on from the previous post, where I looked at the basics of hyperlinks in Visio, today I’m going to consider how to build dynamic hyperlinks using the ShapeSheet.
I’ve thought up a couple of slightly contrived examples to demonstrate how this functionality might be applied but there are no doubt many other applications out there and I’d love to hear if you have other examples...
I spotted a blog post the other day about a new feature in Office 2010 that enables you to ‘crop’ a subject out of an image. The feature is called Background Removal and is part of Excel, PowerPoint and Word 2010: