If you plan to use shapes as a Web graphic, or if you want to distribute a diagram to someone who doesn't have Visio, you can export the contents of a drawing file as a graphic file. Visio can save files in many different formats, including JPEG, GIF, PNG, TIFF, EPS, WMF, EMF, and several less common formats. You can also save your Visio diagram as an HTML file.
Which format should you use? It depends, of course, on how you plan to use the diagram. If you want to include shapes as Web graphics, save them as GIF, JPEG, or PNG files. If the shapes are to be used in a document that will be professionally printed, save them as TIFF or EPS files. For use in other Windows applications, save them as WMF or EMF files. A general guideline is to consider whether you'll need to edit the shapes after exporting them. If you export shapes as a graphic in bit map format (which includes BMP, TIFF, and JPEG files), the graphic cannot be edited easily in other applications. If you export shapes in a vector graphic format, such as EPS, WMF, and EMF, you probably can edit them in other applications.
When you export in a graphic format, Visio converts objects on the drawing page into the graphic format. The resulting image might not look exactly the same when you import it into another application, because the importing application probably also goes through a conversion process to bring the image in.
You need to share a Visio diagram with someone who doesn't have Visio.
You can share your diagram with others if you take a few extra steps:
For details, see "Exporting Visio Diagrams for Use on the Web."
You can export a single shape, or multiple shapes, as a graphic that can be inserted or imported into another application. The Save As Type option of the Save As dialog box, shown in Figure 7-8, lists all the formats that Visio can export as.
To export a shape or multiple shapes as a graphic, follow these steps:
Figure 7-8. Visio can save a shape or diagram in many different formats.
For many file formats, one of the following format-specific dialog boxes appears with additional options:
Some shapes don't appear when exported to other formats.
If the Visio shape that you're trying to export is actually a metafile, as is the case with Visio Network Equipment shapes, the shape might not appear in the exported file. One way to tell whether a shape is a metafile is to select the shape and then choose Format, Special. You'll see "Type: Metafile" if the shape is a metafile. Then, you can ungroup the metafile, which converts it to separate Visio shapes. You might need to use the Ungroup command (Shape, Grouping, Ungroup) more than once until all parts are ungrouped and converted. You can then export the resulting shapes.
If you need to distribute a Visio drawing to people who don't have Visio, consider saving your diagram in PostScript Description File (PDF) format. That way, you can hand someone a Visio file they can look at right away in Adobe Acrobat Reader, a free and widely available viewer. (You can download it from the Adobe Web site.)
A PDF file is a great way to save your diagram in a format others can read without compromising the integrity of the image. There's no option for saving in PDF directly from Visio, because you need Adobe Acrobat Distiller to create a high-quality PDF file. But if you have the full version of Adobe Acrobat, or an Adobe product that includes Acrobat Distiller (such as Adobe PageMaker), you can create a PDF file that can be viewed and printed by anyone who has the free Adobe Acrobat Reader, whether they're using a Windows, Macintosh, or UNIX operating system.
To create a PDF file from a Visio diagram, you must have a PostScript printer driver installed. You can install one through the Windows Add Printer utility, and you can install the driver without actually owning the device. When you've installed what you need, follow these steps:
The AI/EPS Export Setup dialog box appears.
A file with the extension .ps is created.
Distiller does the rest so that anyone with Acrobat Reader can view the resulting PDF file and see exactly what you intended when you created your diagram.