This mousebyte explains how to show shape data in a flowchart and how to link to a database in Visio 2010.  If you use Visio Standard the steps involved in linking to a database are clearly explained in the video above. For Professional and Premium versions you will find your instructions below.

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Enter Data for FlowChart Shapes

To enter data for flowchart shapes, open the Ribbon’s View tab, click the Task Panes menu button and then click Shape Data.

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The Shape Data window will open.

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Now select a flowchart shape on your drawing and enter values in any of the shape data fields you have data for.

Displaying Data within FlowChart Shapes

To display data fields within a flowchart shape, follow these steps:

  1. Select the flowchart shape
  2. Press F2 on your keyboard to enter edit mode
  3. Open the Ribbon’s Insert tab and click the Field button
  4. In the resulting dialog box select Shape Data under Category.
  5. Under Field name select the name of the field you want to display.
  6. Click OK to confirm.

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To add additional fields press Enter on your keyboard to create a new line within your shape and repeat steps 3 to 5.

You can type in labels for your fields and apply formatting as shown below.

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Copy this shape to create additional shapes displaying these fields.  You can then use the Shape Data window to edit the data for each individual shape.

Create a Master Shape Displaying Data Fields

Once you have created a flowchart shape displaying fields you can save it as a master shape that can be reused in the same drawing or other drawings.

You can create a master shape either in the document stencil or in a custom stencil.  Custom stencils are available to other drawings whereas the document stencil is only available to the current drawing.

Display the Document Stencil

To display the document stencil, click on More Shapes in the stencil area. At the bottom of the menu click Show Document Stencil. If the option is already ticked, then the document stencil is already open.

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Create a Custom Stencil

To create a custom stencil, click on More Shapes in the stencil area. Then click New Stencil.

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To save the custom stencil and give it a name, right click on the new stencil’s name and click Save.

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As the custom stencil is essentially a separate file you will need to save any changes you make to it as you go along.

Creating a Master Shape

To create a master shape, first of all clear all the data values for one of your flowchart shapes that contains data fields.  Now drag that shape into either your custom or document stencil.

To rename the master, right-click on it and select Rename Master from the menu.

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Type a name for your master shape.

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Drag this shape onto your drawing whenever you need to use it.

Link Shapes to a Data Source in Visio Standard

The process for setting up and connecting a data source in Visio Standard is more involved than if you are using the Professional or Premium versions – see below.

Watch the video above if you need to set up a data source in Visio Standard.

Link Shapes to a Data Source in Visio Professional or Premium Versions

You can import data from an application like Excel and then associate each shape with a record within that data source.

The first step is to create a data source:  in Excel create a database that uses the same field headings that Visio uses for flowchart shape data. Enter records in this database for each step of the flowchart. Next, open the Ribbon’s Data tab and then click Link Data to Shapes.  Step through the wizard to select your data source. The External Data Source window will appear on screen. You can now drag a record from this window onto a shape.  The shape will be associated with that record.

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