Visio documentation and marketing materials often refer to the solutions you can create, but what does that mean? If you think of Visio as a visual toolbox rather than merely diagramming software, you'll begin to understand how flexible it can be. If you have a business problem that requires a graphical or visual solution, Visio may be able to help. Shapes, documents, and even the Visio user interface itself can be customized. Your custom solution can be as simple as a tweak to an existing shape that you save as a new master, or a more elaborate, interactive program that uses Visual Basic for Applications 6.3 (VBA), which is built into Visio, or another programming language. Visio is a complete graphical development environment, or platform, that you can use to build visual solutions.
This book doesn't tell you how to program with Visio, which could easily take another 1,000 pages. This chapter does provide a place to start, however. With a deeper understanding of the Visio file format, you'll know how to create your own masters, stencils, and templates, which you can distribute to other users if you want. This chapter also introduces the VBA window and points you to additional resources for taking advantage of this development environment.