Visio Web Access in SP2010 – In-browser view of Visio diagrams with nice Silverlight UI

SharePoint 2010 brings to us some really nice Office web apps that allow in-browser rendering (and editing)  of Office 2007/10 formatted documents and I took a brief look at Word and its co-authoring functionality last year.

This time I’d like to demonstrate Visio Web Access and its nice Silverlight UI that includes features like linking to sub-processes, presentation of the shape data via the shape information panel and the ability to switch between tabs. Visio 2010 now comes with the web drawing format (*.vdw) allows any diagram to be rendered in-browser and is easily done using the  ‘Save As’ function and selecting the *.vdw format.

The Silverlight rendering allows the viewer to ‘zoom and pan’ around the Visio canvas, negating the need for scroll bars and allows large diagrams to be easily displayed on a single page.

It is hard to see from the static picture above but the user can easily drag around the interface, zoom in and out and interact with individual elements within the diagram. In the screen grab above the ‘Rule 2’ decision has a blue highlight indicating it has been selected and would display the shape information in the information panel.

The image below attempts to show the user panning to right hand side of the image and exposing the blank canvas at the top and right of the diagram.

The new ‘linked sub-process’ feature allows shapes to be linked to a sub-processes on a separate and Visio web access maintains this connection through hyperlinks. Using this technique you can have great click-through diagrams linking areas that previously were only accessible by manually switching tabs.

The Shape Information Panel displays shape and hyperlinks data for the currently selected shape.

There is also an option to open in Visio allowing you make edits and save changes back to the document library. These updates are reflected in the rendered version as soon as the document is checked back in to SharePoint. The same result can be achieved by uploading a new version of the .vdw and overriding the existing file.

Visio Web Access  renders tabs in separate canvases and provides a drop down control to navigate through the tabs provides an alternative to linked sub-processes  (although I suggest you utilise this where possible – it’s very user-friendly!). The above screen illustrates this control.

That was a quick look at Visio Web Access and I intend to return to the subject when I have explored the data linking and other cool new features available in SP2010.