This morning I was thumbing through one of Edward R. Tufte’s books, and I got this idea for a “12-month bar shape” — a shape that shows vertical bars for each month of the year, in a compact, easy-to-read format. My original thought was that it would make a perfect Visio 2007 Data Graphic!
So, without thinking, planning, or researching, I plunged ahead creating the details of the shape, and then realized that making a Data Graphic is more complicated than I thought. Ugh!
Nevertheless, I’ve created a shape, which displays bar-graphics for 12 months of the year, and which links to external data. Perhaps you’ll find it useful!
Since the shape I created requires 12 months of data plus an ID, it wasn’t exactly clear to me how I could make a single Data Graphic shape out of it. I need to do some more research on how to integrate a shape into Visio’s Data Graphic, which really means that I need to re-read: Building Custom Data Graphics for Visio 2007 !!!
But the shape is pretty cool, so I figured I’d just call it The First Step, and simply link the master to data. So the shape isn’t a Data Graphic, but it does link to external data.
If you have data that has fields named: ID, Month 01, Month 02,…Month 12, then this shape will be automatically link it’s Shape Data fields to your data. In the download .zip, I’ve provided a sample Excel-file that provides the Visio file with appropriately structured external data.
Below, you can see an example of several 12 Month Bar shapes in action, shamelessly showing off Visio 2007’s cool new Theme-ing. Note that the shapes are linked to the data shown in the bottom window. This data in turn comes from the Excel file.
click to view larger image
Note: When you open the Visio file, you might have to re-connect the External Data to the spreadsheet: 12 Month Data.xls. You can do this via the menu item: Data > Link Data to Shapes…
I hope you find this shape useful, and would love to hear your comments about it!