Choosing a Block Diagram

3 4

The block diagram templates are among the best examples of what separates Visio from the competition. Block diagrams refer to the diagrams you can create with any of the templates in the Block Diagram folder: Basic Diagram, Block Diagram, and Block Diagram With Perspective. Using only the fundamental drag-and-drop technique and common text and formatting tools, you can create functional and attractive diagrams, as Figure 11-1 shows.

figure 11-1. with block diagram shapes, you can capture layered concepts and hierarchies in an easy-to-understand format.

Figure 11-1.  With block diagram shapes, you can capture layered concepts and hierarchies in an easy-to-understand format.

The truth is, each time Visio has been updated, most of the effort went into expanding the shape capabilities of other templates and developing wizards and macros that automate the drawing process. Automating block diagrams has never been deemed a high priority, probably because they're already so easy to use. Marketing surveys show that many people use block diagrams, and they use them to create an amazing variety of diagrams. And if it ain't broke, well.... Regardless of the reason, block diagram shapes haven't changed much since the first version of Visio and consequently remain easy to use—as well as versatile.

With a block diagram template, you can create four general types of diagrams, as Table 11-1 shows.

Table 11-1. General Block Diagram Types

Diagram Type Uses Description


Reports, presentation graphics, proposal visuals; display brainstorming results, planning, product prototyping, process flow

Basic diagrams that communicate business relationships and processes using block shapes, such as boxes, diamonds, circles, and arrows


Hierarchical charts; display system integration, data structure, data flow, tournaments

Hierarchical diagrams, such as family trees or tournament plans, using branching tree shapes


Reports, presentation graphics, proposal visuals, slide shows; display component relationships

Concentric relationship diagrams in which each consecutive layer is dependent on the inner layer, and all layers are dependent on the core

3-D Block

Presentation graphics, slide shows, marketing reports, financial reports, hierarchical charts

Perspective diagrams that convey information more dramatically, suchas presentation graphics, using 3-D blocks and arrows

Using the Block Diagram Templates

If you're new to block diagrams, you may wonder how to begin. The Choose Drawing Type window contains template descriptions when you point to a template; however, the descriptions for the block diagrams are nearly identical. Which one should you use? In some ways, it doesn't really matter. You can start with the Block Diagram template, which contains the most commonly used shapes, and then open other stencils as you need them. Visio includes the following block diagram templates:

  • Basic Diagram. Opens a letter-sized drawing page and the Basic Shapes, Borders And Titles, and Backgrounds stencils.
  • Block Diagram. Opens a letter-sized drawing page and the Blocks, Blocks Raised, Borders And Titles, and Backgrounds stencils.
  • Block Diagram With Perspective. Opens a letter-sized drawing page oriented toward a vanishing point on the page. Also opens the Blocks With Perspective, Borders And Titles, and Backgrounds stencils.


To add a stencil, click Open Stencil on the Standard toolbar, and then select a stencil.

Starting a Block Diagram

You can assemble most block diagrams in the same way using the basic steps outlined next. If you would rather jump right into creating a particular type of block diagram, skip ahead to the section in this chapter that describes how to create a hierarchical, tree, onion, or 3-D diagram.

In general, follow these steps to create a block diagram:

  1. Decide whether you want to create a block, raised block, or perspective block diagram, and then choose File, New, Block Diagram, and select the appropriate template.
  2. Decide which shape or shapes to use to represent the main idea you want to communicate.


    Most of the procedures in this chapter refer to the Blocks and Blocks With Perspective stencils. For details about using the Borders And Titles and Backgrounds stencils that open with the Block Diagram templates, see "Quickly Formatting Shapes and Diagrams."

  3. Drag shapes from the Blocks stencil or other stencils onto the drawing page.
  4. Size, align, and format shapes as desired.
  5. Format the page with borders, title blocks, a background, or a color scheme.
  6. Save the drawing file.

Microsoft Visio Version 2002 Inside Out
Microsoft Visio Version 2002 Inside Out (Inside Out (Microsoft))
ISBN: 0735612854
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2000
Pages: 211
Authors: Nanette Eaton © 2008-2017.
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