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Chapter 24. Connecting Diagrams and Data... > About Visio and Databases - Pg. 645

645 Chapter 24. Connecting Diagrams and Databases About Visio and Databases Connecting to an ODBC Data Source Exporting Shape Properties to a Database Linking Shapes and Databases Managing Linked Shapes 711 715 717 721 729 Besides making great presentation graphics, Microsoft Office Visio 2003 diagrams are visual repo- sitories of shape information. You can export that information to a database or spread-sheet program or update that information based on the contents of a database or spreadsheet program. For ex- ample, suppose you want access to the furniture dimensions stored in an office layout to add to a planning database. You can export shape data, such as dimensions and other properties, to a database, which is a one-way procedure. Or suppose you want to associate shapes that represent parts with the specification data stored in a manufacturing database. You can also create a two-way link between database records and shapes. This latter feature gives you the ability to create dynamic diagrams that respond to data from an external source. In effect, your diagram becomes a visual front end to your database. This chapter discusses the way Visio works with databases so that you can export shape properties and link shapes to databases. About Visio and Databases Shapes are a visual representation of what can be considered a flat-file database. That is, each shape represents one record. Each shape property (including custom properties and Shape-Sheet properties) represents one field in a record. A property value corresponds to the value of a field in a shape record. If you're more accustomed to thinking in spreadsheet terms, each shape is like a row, each custom property or ShapeSheet cell is like a column, and each value is a cell's contents. Because Visio organizes shape information in this fashion, it's easy to export data from shapes as well as link external data sources to shapes. Visio includes several commands and wizards for exchanging data. This chapter focuses primarily on two options: · Export To Database--With this command, you can export data from shape properties to a da- tabase or file. This command does the same thing as the Database Export Wizard, which is complicated by its multiple-screen approach.