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What is Visio?

Some people might think that only artists can—or need to—draw. Visio can help you toss that belief out the door. Visio is a business and technical drawing and diagramming program that anyone can use to communicate concepts, procedures, product information, specifications, and more. Most of us respond to visual images on the Web and in the reports and e-mail we see every day, even when the accompanying text doesn’t grab our attention. Images such as charts, tables, process flows, floor plans, Venn diagrams, and so on use text and symbols to convey information at a glance. You could call this type of image an information graphic, and a good one can clarify an idea and help you understand even complex concepts more quickly. Visio is designed to help you convey information visually—without requiring that you know how to draw.

Visio does this by solving your diagramming needs with categories that include ready-to-use templates that set up a page appropriately and open stencils that contain predrawn shapes. For example, Visio includes several flowcharting templates, as Figure 1-1 shows. If you start with the Basic Flowchart template, Visio displays a new, blank drawing page and opens several stencils that contain the shapes you need to create a flowchart. You drag a shape from the stencil onto the page, which has a grid that helps you align your diagram. You might have heard this process referred to as drag and drop. That is the fundamental idea behind everything you do in Visio. Perhaps even more important is the idea of connecting shapes. When you drag additional shapes onto the page to create a diagram such as a flowchart, special lines called connectors connect the shapes and stay attached when you move shapes around. By arranging and connecting shapes on the page, you can rapidly assemble a diagram that you can drop into another document, such as a report or presentation slide; save as a Web page; or print.


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