If this works, it will save me Weeks of Frustration!
January 20, 2011 10:05 AM   Subscribe

Does anyone know how to insert an automatically updating visio diagram into a Word file without it looking like complete crap?

So I've got a long set of wireframes and screen flow diagrams that I've created in Visio 2003 (yes, I know). The file itself is somewhat complex - lots of background pages that build on other background pages, etc. I would like to be able to take a single wireframe or diagram into Word, insert it as an OLE object, write lots of interesting text to explain it, and then have the diagram automatically update itself if I update it.

Here's what I've tried that hasn't worked. My friend Google has been no use to me, fyi.

- Inserting the visio file as an Object hasn't worked; I want the diagram in question to display and that just displays an icon of file -- I assume this is because the file has multiple pages.

- Printing the page to a pdf and then inserting the pdf as a linked object has worked, however, the inserted diagram is all scrunched up and looks like crap.

- Saving as a jpg looks good, but doesn't update. Same with Copying from Visio and pasting in.

The pdf approach is the only thing that works in terms of updating automatically, but it looks so bad as to be unacceptable. I'm about to give up on this dream but thought I'd throw it out here before giving up entirely.

I'm going to research Word macros - which I know nothing about - next to see if I can at least fake what I want with those so if you know anything about that, any tips would be oh-so-welcome.
posted by katyjack to Computers & Internet (2 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Insert > Object >'Create from file' should work, if you make sure "Link to File" is checked, and "Display as Icon" is unchecked.
posted by rocket88 at 10:42 AM on January 20, 2011

I would strongly advise against using OLE for trying to keep your diagrams up to date. Even if it works today on that machine, you may find when you get a new machine or try to open the file on another machine with different versions of office you get something very different (a hatched area, a 16x16 icon blown up to the wrong size, or just a blank space - I've seen it all </Hauer>).

The best scheme I have seen is to keep your original visio diagram (of course) and save high resolution .png files for each diagram you need. You can then insert these in the word file using insert picture and choosing "link to file" - this should allow you to update the .png files and have word load your changes. You could look into automating the export from Visio, but that would only be worth it if manually exporting them after changes gets too much.

If you absolutely want to try and keep them linked, then the procedure should be copy to clipboard in Visio, paste special in word then choose "paste link" and "visio object". Paste link is greyed out on my PC, who knows why maybe Microsoft finally dropped support for it (about time!).

Maybe some variant of rocket88's method would work, but I don't know how you would display a particular visio page or object.

(Microsoft normally gets stuff right in the end, but not OLE no sir).
posted by samj at 11:09 AM on January 20, 2011 [2 favorites]

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