Is Visio a sensible alternative to CAD systems?

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Many of the companies we work with at Visimation use Visio as a low cost and more sensible alternative to CAD systems like AutoCAD, MicroStation, ProE, and more. While CAD has its strengths, we find that as many as 80% of CAD users can perform their work more efficiently and at lower cost if they were to use Visio. Of course it all depends on what you need to do with a graphics system. In this article I’ll share our experience regarding why companies choose to use Visio in lieu of CAD. For …Continue reading

Simulating 3D with isometric Visio shapes

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Tripp Lite isometric

Tripp Lite isometric

In our last post I discussed 1D Visio shapes and their powerful connection features that ease the task of creating drawings of objects assembled into systems. In this article I’ll describe a variation of 2D Visio shapes that are drawn to look like 3D views.

Visio includes in the box several stencils with objects drawn in an isometric style. Wikipedia has an excellent overview of the isometric projection technique if you are interested. The appeal of isometric is …Continue reading

Creating Well Connected Assemblies with 1D Visio Shapes

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A 1D line with and without height

A 1D line with and without height

Visio shapes can be either 1D (one dimensional) or 2D (two dimensional). Unfortunately, there is no 3D shape although you can produce a “3D-like” 2D drawing by using the same methods as you would on paper… isometric, axonometric, perspective, etc. Most Visio drawings that simulate 3D are drawn as isometrics… but I digress and will cover that in a future post.

When …Continue reading

Why are my Visio files so large?

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This Document Stencil contains over 100 unused master... the only one used is at the lower right

Something we’ve heard often over the years from various clients, customers, and users is, “There’s not much in my drawing… why is the file so big?” Of course, there can be several reasons for this but one of the most common is the concept of “unused master shapes.” Huh? I’m glad you asked.

The icons on a Visio stencil represent what’s formally known as Master Shapes. …Continue reading

Copying a Visio graphic as a metafile can improve performance

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Visio has the capability of creating almost photo-realistic graphics with as much detail as you want. However, the more detail (i.e. lines, gradient color fills, shading, etc.) in a shape, the more sluggish it will be when you move it around a page or drop it from a stencil. One key reason for this is also one of Visio’s most powerful features… the ShapeSheet. Every geometric element, such as a line or polygon, has a calculation engine behind it known as the ShapeSheet. Each time you move a shape, the cells in all …Continue reading

Converting DWG file versions to work with Visio

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Many of us in the Visio user community have struggled with Visio’s inability to convert AutoCAD files in DWG format versions later than 2000/2002. Hope is on the horizon with Visio 2010 but many of us cannot wait that long.

If you don’t have access to a copy of AutoCAD and would like to convert a late version DWG file to an earlier version that Visio can open, there are a couple of free tools that we have recently found to accomplish this. One is Autodesk TrueView …Continue reading