Creating flowcharts and diagrams is very easy with Microsoft Visio. Available in standard and professional editions, this handy program lets you create all the visual aids you will need for presentations and reports. Not everyone was born with artistic talent and a steady hand. Now, even if you cannot draw straight lines, you can still do so on your computer. Using vector imaging, you can create all sorts of drawings composed of lines, curves, boxes and more allowing you to use the drawings wherever you need them. Here is how to use Microsoft Visio:
- Acquisition and installation. Buy and purchase the latest version of Microsoft Visio. Choose between the standard and professional editions. If you install the free trial version, you will only have access to the software for a limited period of time. Bootleg versions are cheaper but will not have access to upgrades and add-ons. For the latest version, Microsoft Visio 2010, you will need a 500-MHz processor, a 64 MB video card, 3 GB worth of hard drive space and 512 MB of RAM. Most versions of Microsoft Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7 are compatible.
- The basics. Use templates if you have just begun using Visio and are still familiarizing yourself with the controls. The AutoConnect key will allow you to place accurate points and lines to connect your shapes and diagrams. Use themes and effects to add personality and life to your projects.
- Flowcharts. Click on ‘File’ and in the drop down menu, click ‘New.’ Find and click the ‘Flowchart’ feature. Pick a template. Select which shapes you want to use in the flowchart and click and drag them onto the drawing page. Reposition and resize the shapes as you see fit. Look for the ‘Connector’ option and click it. Now look for the small ‘x’ on your shape. That is where you can begin or end your connecting line. Connect two shapes by clicking on one ‘x’ and dragging the line to the other shape. You can add text to your shapes by selecting the ‘Pointer’ tool and then double-clicking the inside of the shape.
- Mind maps. In that same ‘Flowchart’ submenu, look for the ‘Mind Mapping Diagram’ feature. Clicking on this will load the necessary tools to create a Mind Map. In the center of the drawing area you will now find the ‘Central Theme Box’, which will house your general or main idea. Add boxes to the rest of the drawing area, representing the ideas that branch out of the general idea. You can resize the box as you fit or it will automatically resize itself when you put text into it. The ‘Branch Handle’ feature will allow you to connect the boxes together.
- Timelines. Look for the ‘Schedule’ option under the ‘New’ menu. You will find the ‘Timeline’ feature under this and click ‘Create.’ Drag a timeline template onto the drawing area. The ‘Configure Timeline’ dialog box will appear. Input the time scale of your timeline here. Drag a ‘Milestone’ shape from the templates onto the chosen location on your timeline. The ‘Configure Milestone’ dialog box will appear. Enter the date and the details of the milestone here.
Wished you could just read your report verbatim to the panel instead of having to make a presentation? Terrified of pencils, rulers and straight lines? Microsoft Visio will solve all your artistic inefficiencies. With the software, creating diagrams and timelines is a breeze. Create effective and helpful drawings to make your presentations better with Microsoft Visio.