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Data-linked diagrams: Multiple data graphics with a single shape

Yana Terukhova is a Product Marketing Manager on the Microsoft Visio team.

Visio makes it easy to build visually compelling organization charts and enhance them to meet your specific business needs. You can create a data-linked diagram connected to your organization’s key business indicators and then make sure your information is always current by linking it from an external source. Then you can display the information with data graphics. You can bring even more business insight into your diagram by showing multiple data graphics with a single shape.

Shapes can be associated with a single data point—for example, the percent of budget spent by employee—but you can also create diagrams where each shape shows multiple data points, such as the number of employees in each department, sales attainment for employees in revenue-generating roles or other metrics that are important in your organization.

There are a few different ways to do this, but the most simple is to add multiple data elements to a single data graphic. For example, if we wanted to show the number of employees in each department on our organization chart, we could edit our existing data graphic and add a text call out under the main shape.

Visio allows you to specify where you’d like data graphics to show up on shapes–just uncheck the Use default position box and select a position that is better suited to what you are hoping to achieve.  In this case, we chose the Center, Below Shape position.

If you want to change the fill of the data graphic, select that element and change the fill as you would for any other shape.

With our organization chart we can create a diagram that represents multiple dimensions of data in an easy-to-follow format. The first thing to think about is whether the Coin diagram type is the best way of representing data. In situations where I’m showing multiple data graphics per person, I like to use shapes that are open. In this case, I’ll switch to the Bound style. (Go to the Org Chart tab to select the shape style that best fits your needs.)

You may need to use the height and width controls to make the shapes large enough hold the data graphics you’d like. Once you have the shapes looking the way you’d like, you can use the layout controls to adjust spacing between shapes.

Considering the amount and variety of information we want to display on this diagram, and that the data graphics are usually very visual and colorful, we can switch to Simple design for the diagram itself. (Go to the Design tab to select the design style that best fits your needs.) This way we can read our business-intelligent diagram most effectively.

Using Ashima as an example, you can see we added three additional shapes to the organization chart, grouped them, and applied data graphics to them:

Note that not every data graphic needs to be applied to every shape. In the organization chart example, only some employees produce revenue, so they have sales metrics attached to their names, while other employees do not.

Here is our final dynamic data-linked diagram:

Use Visio Services to share your diagram with others and make it available to everyone, from nearly any device.

Yana Terukhova, Product Marketing Manager

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2 comments
  1. This article is fine as a manager level description of what can be done. It assumes the reader knows how to do these things, they just need the suggestion. For many of us that simply is not true.

    I would like, at the very least, to be able to zoom in on the final image. Ideally, it would be nice if you provided a download link for the required files Viso/Excel, used to create the images. That way we could try to reverse engineer them.

  2. Good article. Is there an easy way to hide the data until you mouse over or click on the shape – and perhaps have the data then show up in a box that could be moved to a suitable location on the drawing? I am using Visio 2013 to create a complex network diagram. Thanks.

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