Today, Microsoft is excited to announce Data Visualizer, a new Visio feature that automatically converts process map data in Excel into data-driven Visio diagrams. This update, which is available to Visio Pro for Office 365 users, helps reduce manual steps while giving business analysts even more ways to create process diagrams in Visio.
Automatically create process diagrams from Excel data
Diagrams don’t always start in Visio. They often begin as hand-drawn sketches or—in today’s data-driven age—in Excel. Using Data Visualizer, business analysts can represent process steps and associated metadata in a structured Excel table and quickly convert that information into a visualized Visio diagram. You can do this by either using a premade Excel template or an existing spreadsheet of your own design. The premade templates—there’s one for basic and one for cross-functional flowcharts—provide a sample mapping table to populate with diagram metadata. The table includes predefined columns for process step number, description, dependencies, owner, function, phase and more. You can also customize the table with your own columns to meet specific business requirements.
Once the table is populated, Visio’s wizard helps you complete the remaining steps to transform your Excel data into a Visio process diagram. If you customize the premade template or create one of your own, the wizard helps you map certain flowchart parts, like swim lanes and connectors. The resulting diagram is linked to the Excel table, so if the underlying process data is modified, the diagram updates accordingly. Likewise, shape modifications in Visio are preserved if the Excel data changes.
Additionally, analysts can save their Visio diagrams and the underlying Excel mapping table as a single package using the “Export as a Template Package” feature. These packages can be shared and reused by others, eliminating the need to recreate the same diagram from scratch while encouraging process consistency across the organization.
No matter your preference—whether creating diagrams from a template or your own spreadsheet—the underlying Excel data travels with the related Visio Pro for Office 365 file, helping ensure your team always has the latest diagram version.
Start a free trial of Visio Pro for Office 365 to try Data Visualizer today, and visit our support page for step-by-step instructions to create your first process diagram from Excel data.
Please visit our UserVoice page to submit suggestions for new capabilities, and follow us on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter for the latest Visio news.
—The Visio team