OK, we’ve just about had enough! Between all the newsgroup posts, and John Marshall’s nagging, it’s time to do something about adding text to a circle in Visio. ‘Til now, the standard response has been; “insert a Word Art object”. But with Visio’s SmartShape- and automation capabilities that just won’t do! We ought to be able to build something cool–and more native to Visio. This article presents the first in a series of the Circular Text Generator!
Be sure to check out the latest incarnation of text on a circle in: Text on a Circle Visio Shape. It offers a self-contained shape that works without VBA macro code, and can be freely edited without the “regeneration” step offered by this article’s tool.
The companion download at the end of this article contains a zipped Visio file that will help you create text that wraps nicely around a circle! You can resize the circle, format the text, and reposition the text’s starting point to get just the look that you want! But in order to get the “generator” to work, you’ll need to allow the VBA macros inside of the document permission to run. If you’re not familiar with VBA macros, and the related security issues, please have a look at VBA Macro Security first. Once you’ve downloaded the file, opened the document, checked the code, and enabled the macro code to run, you’ll be ready to rock-n-roll!
Running the Generator
To generate circular text, you simply need to click the button on the page. You’ll be presented with an input dialog, into which you can enter any message you want:
After you click OK, you’ll see something like this:
Tweaking the Output
The result is a system of shapes, not a single smart shape. Note the light-blue, dotted circle, diagonal line and cross hairs. This is the Guide Shape. The characters are bound to the guide via smart formulas in their ShapeSheets. Thus, the guide serves as a sort of User Interface for changing the look of your curved text. You only need to select the guide shape to do any of the following operations:
- Resize the circle
- Reposition the entire system
- Change the starting position of the text
Note: the guide does not print, so you don’t have to worry about funny looking circles in your finished, printed documents! Below, you can see the yellow control handle that appears when the guide is selected. Just drag this to change the starting location of your message:
Since the characters are separate shapes, you can simply select any number of them by either dragging a selection net around the characters, or by Shift + Clicking individual letters. The formatting of the characters is not locked in any way, so you can change the color, style and size of each character. You can even change the character itself, although there is no way to edit the whole message. If you need to change the text, simply create a new system by clicking the button.
We hope you find version 1 of the Circular Text Generator useful and easy-to-use. We will be periodically enhancing the capabilities of the tool, so check back often!
Update: There’s a new version available. This article still applies so be sure and read it, but go to Circular Text Generator (version 2) to get the latest features!