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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Using the Templates in Visio 2010

There are many, many templates within Visio 2010 and although they are ordered in logical groups, it can be very overwhelming for the new user. Visio can be a useful tool in many different areas of our working life and the templates can help even the novice user get started. When considering the best way to use Visio templates, let us examine some key uses. The templates within Visio do not work in the same way as a template in Word. Because the purpose is the creation of diagrams, the templates are broken down into types of symbols that would go into a particular type of diagram rather than a set document where you personalise set items. For example, selecting the flow diagram will give all the flow diagram symbols which can be clicked and dragged onto the diagram.

As an example, select a new document and go to the 'Maps and Floor Plans' section to present a variety of floor plan template types. In the example of Office Layout, the items are arranged in groups such as Office Equipment which includes the symbols for power points and scanners. The user can easily flick between these groups to find the appropriate symbols. It may be that the average office worker would not consider an office plan as relevant to their own work. After all surely this would be most useful to an office designer or decorator? This is not always the case. When new people join offices, it is often the case that they are presented with many different people and cannot remember all the names. A Visio diagram could be designed to show the office plan along with the locations of all the employees within the team.

Another worthwhile template is the Organizational Chart which also comes in a wizard form. This is a useful tool when considering how you will present your team and company to any new team members or clients. There are many examples when external people may be interested in the set-up of the company or team. This could also be broken down into team members for a particular project. If a client is being briefed on the team members that will be working with them on their project then this kind of diagram will affectively convey the hierarchy. Their contacts will be project managers who will work with the designers, the developers and the testers. The diagram could also include some personal information such as telephone numbers and email addresses. This kind of diagram could be printed out for them for use as a quick reference wall poster.

The Business, Flowchart and General templates cover a range of more general diagrams useful on a day to day basis depending on the type of business you do. There are general flow diagrams and charts which can be useful as part of presentations in any area. Professional looking visual aids are invaluable as a resource for presentations. The Brainstorming diagram would be a clever way to create a neatened up summary following a brainstorming session where lots of ideas were thrown on a white board. In this situation it may be helpful to use this diagram template and then send a copy to all attendees as part of the meeting minutes.

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