Visio includes an application programming interface (API) that employs object models that allow users to create scripts that automate certain features of Visio, such as opening a new diagram, altering shape behavior, customizing the user interface (UI), or adding shapes to an existing diagram. With the right code, a user can have a diagram created automatically by inputting data or linking to an external data source (like Excel), rather than needing to create the diagram manually by dragging in and/or drawing each portion of the diagram.
For this to work, users will need to be familiar with programming languages such as Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications (VBA), C#, or .NET, will need a copy of Visio, and will need to take the time to properly set up each script and define most object properties. To automatically add shapes to a diagram, the coordinates and size of each shape and line in the diagram need to be explicitly specified by the programmer. This makes creating a properly formatted diagram from varying data a difficult task. However, once understood, automated diagramming using scripts provides a huge benefit to end users, and will make diagramming and creating visuals much less tedious and time consuming.
Much like shape data discussed above, any good diagramming software should provide an open API to automate much of the diagramming process, and to allow users to customize the program to provide the results most relevant to them.
SmartDraw also has an Open API to let users build diagrams from data automatically.
SmartDraw created the VisualScript SDK to take automation to the next level. The SDK is the foundation of SmartDraw's Open API. It's easy to use because it leverages SmartDraw's intelligent formatting to make specifying a tree or a flow as simple as specifying the parents and children. No positioning information is needed because the intelligent formatting engine knows how to lay them out perfectly on the page. Click here to learn more about SmartDraw's Open API.
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