Life with Visio and other Microsoft Toys!

Guitar Electronics/Pickup Shapes for Microsoft Visio

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Along with a link to “How to switch a Visio TV to USB” in my daily Google Alert on anything Visio was a little gem about creating pickup shapes for a Telecaster in Visio.  The link brought me to the Telecaster forums where there was a lively discussion on how to create the shapes

The OP has set up a site for this project When I took a look at the site I was expecting to just see a handful of shapes, but I was surprised at more than one hundred components. A very good job. It is also nice to the community involvement. When I get time, I am going to take a close look at the stencil to see if I can give him some pointers on how to keep the diversity, but reduce the number of shapes.

Till then I will try to answer some of the questions raised in that thread. So to start with, a big thanks to Jason Ferrell for creating this stencil and the website. I have been collecting Visio shapes since Visio was launched in 2002, this is the first one I have come across this type of stencil and it appears is extremely well done.

I want to reverse the control plate or something: There are several ways to do this, I will take a look at it and get back to you.

Moonshiner: “Tdowns did this for PowerPoint…” – I would be interested in seeing that.

“I was trying to figure out how to do a good white wire. I have no idea how to do a white wire that has black edges so you can still see it when you print it out”. You are now delving into the realm of Visio line patterns. Fellow Visio MVP John Goldsmith has some good articles explaining how to create them and has some interesting examples to give you an idea of what can be done.

Is it possible to edit your stencils?  One of the problems with Visio is that the shapes can be changed. This is of course one of Visio’s strong points. You can see how others have created a shape and embellish the shape or use the functionality in a new shape.

I don’t know if you want to go to the trouble of making a shape for every type (silver, gold, red, blue, emerald, etc). A generic Lace sensor might be enough. One of the nice thing about Visio is smart shapes. Rather hna creating dozens of shapes, you can create a generic shape and use shape data to customize the shapes appearance; change the colour, size, appearance of parts or ???. So a single Lace shape would be possible and it could use shape data to alter the colour (or colours).

I’ve figure out how to modify an existing shape, but I can’t figure out how to save that shape into the existing stencil or a new one. Got any pointers?  Provided the stencil is open for editing, you can just drag a shape from the drawing on to the stencil. You can also right click a shape and do an Edit Master to change the shape within the stencil. The usual rule of backup first applies. AND… never edit a stencil from Microsoft. The next time they release a new stencil it will be overwritten.

Save As gave me the blank drawing, not the stencils. The issue is that I can’t figure out how to save all the shapes in the stencil without putting them all in a drawing (and then having to arrange them). There are hundreds of them at this point, so that’s an overwhelming task.
When you create a Visio drawing, you drag shapes onto the page. Visio will add a copy of the shape to an area of the file called the Document Stencil. The file format between a stencil and a drawing is the same, So when you are opening a stencil, what you are seeing is the document stencil for that file. A quick way to create a stencil is just to rename a vsd to a vss. When you created a stencil, you need to open a blank drawing and then open the stencil. You will then see your shapes in the stencil rather than on the drawing.

John Marshall… Visio MVP


Written by johnvisiomvp

July 10, 2011 at 5:14 pm

Posted in Visio

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