Connect your Visio drawing to other documents and Web sites

Applies to
Microsoft Office Visio® 2003

Say you've created a Visio diagram of a business process that gives a great overview of your scenario—did you know you can add hyperlinks to more documents and Web sites that have supporting information? With hyperlinks, your drawing can be a powerful tool for organizing and sharing information.

Hyperlinks can go to another shape or page in your drawing, to a shape or page in another drawing, to any other kind of document, or to a Web page. This flexibility helps you expose any information or tools your audience needs.

Visio flowchart with arrows indicating links to a PowerPoint slide, an Excel spreadsheet, a Word document, a Visio drawing, an intranet site, and to compose an e-mail message.

For example, a flowchart outlining a pharmaceutical development process might include links that open:

  • A slide describing product development.
  • Spreadsheets of supporting data for preliminary research.
  • Another Visio flowchart detailing the decision-making process.
  • A document describing decision-making criteria.
  • Intranet sites where readers can download or install tools to perform certain functions, such as documenting their research. (Visio supports the http://, https://, and ftp:// protocols.)
  • An e-mail message to send work status or ask questions about a procedure. (Visio supports the mailto: protocol and is compatible with e-mail programs that support the Messaging Application Programming Interface (MAPI) protocol, such as Microsoft Outlook.)
  • Business forms for capturing information.

In Visio, you can add hyperlinks wherever you need them—to any shape in your drawing or to an entire drawing page. You can even add multiple hyperlinks to a shape or page.

 Note   Hyperlinks from pages are not currently supported for drawings saved as Web pages. If you know how to edit HTML code, you can manually add code to create hyperlinks on pages in the Web page version of the drawing.

Preparing to add hyperlinks

Adding links to your drawing is the easiest step of the process, but it's not the first step. Before adding links, you need to think about:

  • How people will access your drawing.
  • Where to store the drawing and the documents it links to so others can open them.

Remember, to view the documents you linked to in your drawing, people need the appropriate software. For example, if your drawing links to a Microsoft Excel worksheet, only those with Excel installed will be able to open the worksheet.

Free viewers are available for many Office programs. These viewers enable people who don't have those programs installed on their computers to view files created with those programs. Search for "viewers" on the Downloads on Office Online Web site.

Access to your drawing

The first step is to think about how others will view your drawing: with Visio or Visio Viewer, or as a Web site.

  • If your audience already has Visio installed, no problem—they can easily open your Visio drawing file.

 Note   If you're using Office Visio 2003 and your audience has Visio 2002 or Visio 2000, save your drawing in the Visio 2002 format (Visio 2000 shares the same format). Some specific functionality may be unavailable after you save your drawing to a previous version.

  • If your audience doesn't have Visio, they can download the free Visio Viewer from the Office Downloads site.

 Note   Just make sure they install a version of the viewer that is as least as current as the version of Visio you used to create your drawing. For example, if you created your drawing using Visio 2002, your audience can use Visio Viewer 2002 or Visio Viewer 2003 to view your drawing.

  • If your audience doesn't have Visio or the Visio Viewer, you can save your drawing as a Web page.

Storing your drawing and supporting documents

Next, think about whether the drawing and supporting files you want to link to in your drawing are also accessible to others. You may need to move these files to a public share on your network or post them to a folder on your Web site.

Of course, if your audience doesn't have access to your network or Web site, you can still share your drawing by burning your drawing and linked files to a CD or DVD and distributing it, or by using a compression utility to archive the files and distributing the archive as an e-mail attachment.

Thinking about distribution before you create the links saves work in the long run by helping you choose the best link paths for your content. The relationship between your drawing and the files you want to link it to determines whether you should use an absolute path (absolute path: a path that spells out the exact location of the linked file in terms of drive, folder, and file name.) or a relative path (A relative path describes the location of the linked file in relation to where your Microsoft Office Visio drawing is saved.) in each hyperlink to supporting files.

For example, if the supporting files are located somewhere other than where your drawing is located, you need to use an absolute path. If the supporting files are distributed with your drawing or are on the same Web site as your drawing, you should use a relative path.

Adding hyperlinks to your drawing

Now you're ready to add links.

ShowCreate a link to a shape or page in a Visio drawing

  1. Make sure both the file you're linking from and the file you're linking to have been saved.
  2. If you're creating a link to a specific shape, make a note of the shape name and the name of the page on which the shape is located.
    • To find a shape name, right-click the shape, point to Format, and then click Special. The text in the Name field is the shape name.

Tip  Because it's not possible to browse existing shape names when you create the hyperlink in step 6, copy and paste the name into Notepad.

  • To find the page name, locate the tab for the page at the bottom of the drawing window.
  1. Do one of the following:
    • To add a hyperlink to a shape, select the shape.
    • To add a hyperlink to a page, display the page with nothing selected.
  2. On the Insert menu, click Hyperlinks.
  3. If you're linking to a shape or page in another drawing, in the Address box, click Browse, and then click Local file. Navigate to the file you want, and then click Open.

If you don't see the file you want, try changing the Files of type list.

  1. To link to a specific page or a specific shape on a page, or to choose a zoom level, click Browse next to Sub-address.

ShowHow?

  1. Do any of the following:
    • To link to a specific page, select the page name in the Page box.
    • To link to a specific shape in another drawing, first select the page name on which the shape appears in the Page box, and then type the name of the shape in the Shape box.
    • To link to a specific shape in the same drawing, type the name of the shape in the Shape box.
    • To specify a zoom level, type a percentage in the Zoom box, or click the arrow to select a zoom level.

 Note   You can use the zoom level to show more or less detail of the drawing. Use a high number to show more detail of a smaller area of the drawing or a low number to show less detail of a larger area of the drawing.

  1. Click OK.
  1. In the Description box, type a name for the link. This text will be displayed when a user rests the mouse pointer over the link in the drawing.
  2. To create a relative path link, select the Use relative path for hyperlink check box.

Tip  If the check box is not available (appears dimmed), this means your drawing hasn't been saved. You can click OK to save the hyperlink settings you've made so far, save your drawing, and then edit the hyperlink to add the relative path. To edit the hyperlink, repeat steps 3 and 4, and then select the Use relative path for hyperlink check box.

  1. To add another hyperlink to the page or selected shape, click New, and then repeat steps 5 through 8.
  2. Click OK.

ShowCreate a link to a document other than a Visio drawing

  1. Make sure both the file you're linking to and the file you're linking from have been saved.
  2. Do one of the following:
    • To add a hyperlink to a shape, select the shape.
    • To add a hyperlink to a page, display the page with nothing selected.
  3. On the Insert menu, click Hyperlinks.
  4. In the Address box, click Browse, and then click Local file. Navigate to the file you want, and then click Open.

If you don't see the file you want, try changing the Files of type list.

  1. To create a relative path link, select the Use relative path for hyperlink check box.

Tip  If the check box is unavailable (appears dimmed), this means your drawing hasn't been saved. You can click OK to save the hyperlink settings you've made so far, save your drawing, and then edit the hyperlink to add the relative path. To edit the hyperlink, repeat steps 2 and 3, and then select the Use relative path for hyperlink check box.

  1. To add another hyperlink to the page or selected shape, click New, and then repeat steps 4 and 5.
  2. Click OK.

ShowCreate a link to a Web site

  1. Do one of the following:
    • To add a hyperlink to a shape, select the shape.
    • To add a hyperlink to a page, display the page with nothing selected.
  2. On the Insert menu, click Hyperlinks.
  3. In the Address box, type the URL of the Web site, starting with the protocol (such as http://), or click Browse to find the site.

ShowHow?

  1. Click Browse, and then click Internet Address.
  2. Navigate to the page on the Web site you want to link to.
  3. To link to an anchor (a jump to a section of a Web page), click the link on the page that takes you to that section.
  4. Go back to your Visio drawing without closing your browser. You can do this quickly by clicking the Visio drawing name on your taskbar. Visio automatically completes the Address and Sub-address boxes in the Hyperlinks dialog box.
  1. To add another hyperlink to the page or selected shape, click New, and then repeat step 3.
  2. Click OK.

ShowCreate a link to open an e-mail message

  1. Do one of the following:
    • To add a hyperlink to a shape, select the shape.
    • To add a hyperlink to a page, display the page with nothing selected.
  2. On the Insert menu, click Hyperlinks.
  3. In the Address box, type the e-mail address you want the mail to go to, starting with the mailto: protocol.

For example: mailto:someone@example.com

Tip  If you want to also set the subject line, type the following at the end of the e-mail address in the Address box: ?subject=subject.

For example: mailto:someone@example.com?subject=Research plan

 Note   Some Web browsers and e-mail programs may not recognize the subject line.

  1. To add another hyperlink to the page or selected shape, click New, and then repeat step 3.
  2. Click OK.

ShowCreate a link by using a Visio hyperlink shape

Visio also has several shapes specifically designed to act as hyperlinks. When you drag one of the shapes to your page, a dialog box opens where you can enter information about the hyperlink.

Hyperlink shapes on the Borders and Titles stencil

Hyperlink button, Hyperlink circle 1, and Hyperlink circle 2 shapes on the Borders and Titles stencil.

The hyperlink shapes on the Borders and Titles stencil can be used for any type of hyperlink.

  1. Drag one of the hyperlink shapes to the drawing page.
  2. In the Hyperlinks dialog box, make the settings you want by following the instructions earlier in this article for the type of hyperlink you're adding.

 Note   Because the dialog box opens as soon as you drag the shape to the drawing page, you can skip the steps about selecting the shape and opening the dialog box from the Insert menu.

  1. To change the icon that appears in the shape, right-click the shape on the drawing page, click Change Icon, select the icon name you want in the Icon type list, and then click OK.

Available icons: Home, Mail, Forward, Back, Up, Down, Help, Info, Search, Directory, and Photo.

Hyperlink shape on the Basic Flowchart Shapes stencil

Off-page reference shape on the Basic Flowchart Shapes stencil.

The hyperlink shape on the Basic Flowchart Shapes stencil creates a link to another page in the open drawing. It's designed for use with flowcharts, but you can use it with any drawing type.

  1. Drag the Off-page reference shape to the page.
  2. In the Off-page reference dialog box, under Connect to, click one of the following:
    • New Page to create and name a new page in your drawing, and then link to that new page.
    • Existing Page to link to an existing page in the drawing.
  3. To add a return hyperlink shape to the other page, make sure the Drop off-page reference shape on page check box is selected.
  4. To add the hyperlink, make sure the Insert hyperlinks on shape(s) check box is selected.
  5. Click OK.
  6. To change the outline of the shape, right-click the shape on the drawing page, and then click the name of the outline you want.

Available outlines for the Off-page reference shape: Outgoing, Incoming, Circle, and Arrow.

Tip  To open the Borders and Titles stencil or Basic Flowchart Shapes stencil:

  • In Visio 2003: On the File menu, point to Shapes, and then point to a category folder to see the stencils in that folder.
  • In Visio 2002: On the File menu, point to Stencils, and then point to a category folder to see the stencils in that folder.

The Borders and Titles stencil is in the Visio Extras folder, and the Basic Flowchart Shapes stencil is in the Flowchart folder.

Following hyperlinks in your drawing

Now that you've added hyperlinks to your drawing, you should test your links to make sure they're working properly.

Try to create the same scenario for yourself that your audience will be in. This may mean posting your drawing and files to a network share or Web site, burning a CD or DVD, or adding your drawing and files to a file archive and sending it in e-mailing to yourself.

ShowFollow a link in a Visio drawing that is open in Visio or Visio Viewer

When a Visio drawing is open in Visio or Visio Viewer, the mouse pointer changes to Mouse pointer when resting on a hyperlink. whenever the pointer rests on a link.

  • To follow the link, right-click the shape and then select the name of the hyperlink.

Shortcut menu of a selected shape, with name of the hyperlink highlighted.

ShowFollow a link in a Visio drawing that is saved as a Web page or viewed in full-screen mode

When a Visio drawing is viewed in full-screen mode or is saved as a Web page, the mouse pointer changes to Mouse pointer changes to hand when resting on a hyperlink. whenever the pointer rests on a link, just like on most Web pages.

  • To follow the link, simply click the shape. If a shape has multiple hyperlinks, a small box appears listing all links. Click the link you want from the list.

The hyperlink menu for a shape with multiple hyperlinks on a Web page.

 Notes 

  • Multiple hyperlinks are supported in Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.0 or later. Multiple hyperlinks appear in a shortcut menu when a shape or page with multiple hyperlinks is clicked. For browsers that don't support display of multiple hyperlinks or if the output format for the Web page is SVG, the default hyperlink is displayed when the shape is clicked. If no default hyperlink is set, the first hyperlink in the list is displayed.
  • Multiple hyperlinks are not currently supported when a drawing is viewed in full-screen mode.

Now that you've tested your links, you're ready to share your drawing with others.

 
 
Applies to:
Visio 2003