Do you need people shapes to spruce up those Org-charts, workflow diagrams, or marketing slides? Are you tired of Visio’s outdated or distracting-and-overly-3D shapes? Then you’ve come to the right place!
Today Visio Guy offers its own version of the The Human Form. A subtly shaded, Fisher-Price-looking, person-pawn for your downloading pleasure. And of course, they have a few extra smart features just to sweeten the deal…
Good People are Hard to Find
At first, I thought I might produce a matrix of all people-related-shapes by stencil. Then I thought that I ought to publish this article sometime this decade. So I resorted to Visio’s Shape Search utility.
I entered a variety of people-related terms in my quest for people-shapes. Below is a sampling of the shapes that I found with each term. The search terms return overlapping shape sets, so I’ll just show the unique shapes for simplicity’s sake.
I found it interesting that I couldn’t enter multiple search terms in the Shapes window. Although I tried various combinations of list separators: spaces, colons, semi-colons, I was only able to get results using single words, or rarely, with two words, separated by a space.
These are the results for the U.S. English version of Visio 2003 Professional:
A search for User resulted in these shapes:
Entering Person found a few more:
Curiously, the extremely cool shape below came from searching for: Human, but the master was named Person! Why in the heck didn’t this one show up when I searched for Person before!?!?
I squeezed out two more Master Shapes using the terms: Man or Men or Woman or Women. I’ll by-pass the golden opportunity for toilet-humor here:
What I Didn’t Like
Okay, there’s plenty of people shapes out there already. So what’s my problem you ask? Well, I’ve a few nitpicks. They’re not exactly global warming, but we get a nicely-formatted bullet list that adds text and makes this look like a serious post:
- Some of them are rather Windows-95-looking, in my opinion.
- Some of the newer 3-D looking shapes are bitmaps, so you can’t really mess with the formatting.
- Too much 3D.
I sometimes find 3D distracting in a diagrams. Icons or symbols are supposed to be simplified to enhance clarity. Do you want a photo of some dude on the men’s room? In my opinion, if you use good-looking, front-on shapes, a diagram can still look cool, but retain an elegant simplicity that makes it clearer.
- There are some suprises when formatting the shapes.
If you select any of the Visio-shapes and apply a red fill, you’ll see that the results are often less than spectacular. I must point out that the newer 3D shapes handle the color changes with, er…flying colors.
If you apply shadows to the same shapes, they get even dodgier, with the exception of the newer 3D shapes:
Interestingly, it looks like there’s perhaps a time-line of improvements. We can see that Whale Boy (the last shape on the right) handles shadows just fine, but doesn’t do so well with fill. Two of the other 3D shapes take fill and shadow just fine.
By the way, does anyone know the story of Whale Boy? I’ve heard on more than one occasion that the internal Microsoft name for the MSN Messenger pawn-person was Whale Boy, but I’ve never heard the story behind the name.
Enter the Visio Guy Person shape…TADA! You’ll see that it handles color- and shadow-formatting with aplumb:
I’ve also created some hat-master shapes that snap and glue onto the person shapes and transform your Visio Guy people shapes into Village People shapes:
I hope you find the Visio Guy People Shapes useful and entertaining to use!