Turn your Visio process diagram into an information portal

A visual overview of a process, such as a cross-functional work flow diagram, is very helpful as an introductory explanation or as a reminder. However, your operations teams sometimes need additional clarification, supporting documentation, or specific steps to ensure that processes and procedures are followed correctly, especially when working with other groups. The solution? Use the hyperlinks in Microsoft Office Visio® 2003 to turn your visual overview into an information portal.

Start with the process flow

Begin by diagramming your process in Visio using one of the many business process templates supplied with the program. The point of this high-level overview of the process is to identify the participants and steps — it won't provide enough detail for the participants to actually perform the individual tasks within the process. Here's where hyperlinks can help.

Gather the pieces

Hyperlinks provide connections 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 to expose the information and tools your audience needs.

For example, a flowchart outlining a cross-functional process shared between the operations team and the sales team might include links that open:

  • Visio organization charts detailing each team's structure.
  • Microsoft Office PowerPoint® presentations describing the purpose of the processes and the owners of each step.
  • Microsoft Office Excel spreadsheets of reporting data.
  • Microsoft Office Word documents outlining specific steps or tools to use in the process.
  • Microsoft Office InfoPath™ business forms for capturing and routing information.
  • Internal Web sites where readers can download or install tools, review internal policies, and post project information. (Visio supports the http://, https://, and ftp:// protocols.)
  • External Web sites for partner or reference information.
  • New e-mail messages to send work status or ask questions about a procedure. (Visio supports the mailto: protocol and is compatible with e-mail programs, such as Microsoft Office Outlook® 2003, that support the Messaging Application Programming Interface (MAPI) protocol.)

Your drawing and the supporting files you link to must be accessible to others, so first move these files to a public shared folder on your network or post them to a folder on your Web site.

Link to the details

Now you're ready to add your links. 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.

ShowCreate a link to a shape 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. In the file you're linking to, 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 box is the shape name.
    • To find the page name, locate the tab for the page at the bottom of the drawing window.
  3. To link from the current page, display the page with nothing else selected. To link from a specific shape within that page, select that shape.
  4. On the Insert menu, click Hyperlinks.

Hyperlinks dialog box

  1. Do one of the following

ShowTo link to a specific shape in the same file

  1. To the right of the Sub-address box, click Browse.
  2. In the Page list, click the page name.
  3. In the Shape box, enter the name of the shape, and then click OK.

ShowTo link to a specific shape in another file

  1. To the right of the Address box, click Browse, and then click Local File.
  2. Find the file you want, and then click Open. If you don't see the file you want, try changing the Files of type list to All Files(*.*).
  3. To the right of the Sub-address box, click Browse.
  4. In the Page list, click the page name.
  5. In the Shape box, enter the name of the shape, and then 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. Click OK.

ShowCreate a link to a 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. Find the page name in the file you're linking to. The page name is located on the tab for that page at the bottom of the drawing window.
  3. To link from the current page, display the page with nothing else selected. To link from a specific shape within that page, select that shape.
  4. On the Insert menu, click Hyperlinks.

Hyperlinks dialog box

  1. Do one of the following

ShowTo link to a specific page in the same file

  1. To the right of the Sub-address box, click Browse.
  2. In the Page list, click the page name.
  3. Click OK.

Hyperlink Browse dialog box

ShowTo link to a drawing page in another file

  1. To the right of the Address box, click Browse, and then click Local File.
  2. Find the file you want, and then click Open. If you don't see the file you want, change the Files of type list to All Files(*.*).
  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. 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. To link from the current page, display the page with nothing else selected. To link from a specific shape within that page, select that shape.
  3. On the Insert menu, click Hyperlinks.
  4. To the right of the Address box, click Browse, and then click Local File.
  5. Find the file you want, and then click Open. If you don't see the file you want, change the Files of type list to All Files(*.*).
  6. Click OK.

ShowCreate a link to a Web site

  1. To link from the current page, display the page with nothing else selected. To link from a specific shape within that page, select that shape.
  2. On the Insert menu, click Hyperlinks.
  3. To the right of the Address box, type the Web site's URL, starting with the protocol (such as http://), or click Browse to find the site.

ShowHow?

  1. Click Browse, and then click Internet Address.
  2. Find the page on the Web site you want to link to.
  3. Go back to your Visio drawing without closing your browser. You can do this quickly by clicking the Visio drawing name on the taskbar. Visio automatically completes the Address and Sub-address boxes in the Hyperlinks dialog box.
  4. Click OK.

ShowCreate a link to open a new e-mail message

  1. To link from the current page, display the page with nothing else selected. To link from a specific shape within that page, select that shape.
  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 also want to 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=Operations Process

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

  1. 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. You can enter information about the hyperlink in this dialog box.

Hyperlink shapes on the Borders and Titles stencil

Button images

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

  1. To open the Borders and Titles stencil, point to Shapes on the File menu, point to the Visio Extras folder, and then click Borders and Titles.
  2. Drag one of the hyperlink shapes to the drawing page.
  3. In the Hyperlinks dialog box, set the properties for the type of hyperlink you want to add — shape, page, document, Web site, or e-mail — by following the preceding instructions for that particular type of link.
  4. To change the icon that appears in the shape, right-click the shape, click Change Icon, select the icon name you want in the Icon type list, and then click OK.

Icon images

Hyperlink shape on the Basic Flowchart Shapes stencil

Basic Flowchart off-page reference shape

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. To open the Basic Flowchart Shapes stencil, point to Shapes on the File menu, point to the Flowchart folder, and then click Basic Flowchart Shapes (Metric) or Basic Flowchart Shapes (US units).
  2. Drag the Off-page reference shape to the page.
  3. In the Off-page reference dialog box, under Connect to, do one of the following:
    • Click New Page to create and name a new page in your drawing, and then link to that page.
    • Click Existing Page to link to another existing page in the drawing.
  4. To add a return hyperlink shape to the other page, make sure the Drop off-page reference shape on page check box is selected.
  5. To add the hyperlink, make sure the Insert hyperlinks on shape(s) check box is selected.
  6. Click OK.
  7. 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.

Outlines for the Off-page reference shape

ShowFollow a link

When a Visio drawing is open in Visio or Visio Viewer, the mouse pointer changes to Mouse pointer resting on a hyperlink whenever the pointer rests on a link. To follow the link, right-click the shape, and then click the name of the hyperlink.

ShowEdit a link

  1. Click the shape.
  2. On the Insert menu, click Hyperlinks.
  3. Make the changes you want, and then click OK.

ShowDelete a link

  1. Click the shape.
  2. On the Insert menu, click Hyperlinks.
  3. Click Delete, and then click OK.

Now, view your drawing

Your team can now view your drawing and access the linked information with just a click of the mouse using Visio, or the Visio Viewer. If your audience already has Visio installed, they can easily open your Visio drawing file. If your audience doesn't have Visio, they can download the free Visio Viewer from the Office Downloads site.

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

If your audience must install a version of the viewer, make sure that they install the Visio Viewer 2003.

 
 
Applies to:
Visio 2003