Besides the great visuals you get from a drawing or diagram, you can use Visio to keep track of a great deal of information. Most diagram types are designed to include data in the form of customizable shape properties called custom properties. Custom properties provide a data-entry interface for a shape. For example, organization chart shapes can store data about employees, such as name and job title. Network shapes can store data about devices and equipment, such as manufacturer and model number. You don't have to take advantage of these properties; your drawings and diagrams can remain just as they are. But if you want to provide a deeper layer of information about your drawing's contents—information that can be extracted in reports and other forms—you can store data as custom properties.
This chapter describes how to use and revise the built-in custom properties that come with many Visio shapes and how to create new properties. In addition, this chapter describes the reporting tools that can be used for any drawing or diagram that contains custom property data.