8 Mar 2007
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|How the Visio Document Stencil contents can affect your Visio file|
Several posts in Visimation's Visio Forums have related to issues that can be explained through an understanding of the Document Stencil. This explanation may help you understand how the contents of the Document Stencil, which is unknown to typical Visio users, affects your drawings.
The Document Stencil carries all masters that are in the drawing which makes it possible for you to send your drawing to another users that may not have masters of the shapes on your page. If not for the Document Stencil, you'd need to send both the drawing and the stencil to enable others to view it.
Problems that can relate to the Document Stencil are:
1. The drawing file size seems much larger than one would expect based on the contents of the drawing page
2. An updated master dropped onto the drawing seems to still have characteristics of the previous version that was dropped into the drawing earlier but deleted.
So let's discuss the Document Stencil and also how it relates to a tool called the Drawing Explorer. The Drawing Explorer is simply a tree view of the objects in the entire document... no shapes exist in the Explorer. The geometry is either on the Visio page or a stencil. When you drag a master shape from a stencil to the page, that shape will show in the Document Stencil. If you delete the shape from the page it will still be in the Document Stencil. You can delete it from the Document Stencil by either opening the Document Stencil (File>Shapes>Show Document Stencil) or from the Masters section of the Drawing Explorer. To see this clearly, try this:
- Start a new Basic Drawing
- Open the Drawing Explorer Window (View>Drawing Explorer Window)
- Open the Document Stencil (File>Shapes>Show Document Stencil)
- Drag a triangle to the page
You will see the triangle on the page, on the Document Stencil, and in the Drawing Explorer in 2 places; under Page-1/Shapes and under Masters. Now, delete the triangle from the page. It is no longer under Shapes in the Drawing Explorer but it is still under Master and also on the Document Stencil. Now select and delete it from the Document Stencil. It is no longer in the Master section of the Drawing Explorer.
The Drawing Explorer gives you a view of the contents of your file but shapes are not located there. One can delete masters listed in Drawing Explorer under Master or in the Document Stencil. In the simple example described, it's easy to see the relationship because it's only one shape.
Now imagine a drawing with hundreds of shapes on the page. The document Stencil contains masters of every shape on the page as well as every shape that has ever been deleted. The challenge here is to rid the file of "unused masters", those that are no longer needed but that may be affecting new instances of updated masters you are adding to the drawing that have the same name. These unused masters also increase the file size.
How do you identify those that are still in the drawing? Sure, you can go to the Document Stencil and manually select each master and delete them. If there is no instance of a master on the page, then it simply disappears. If the master does have at least one instance on the page, you will see a message, "Master(s) to be deleted are linked to objects on a drawing page. Break these links and delete the master(s)?" The same is true when you delete the master through the Drawing Explorer but Visio is really saying, "Hey, go delete this sucker from the Document Stencil!"
What you really want to do is remove only the masters from the Document Stencil that are unused. Visimation offers a free tool called VisiClean that accomplishes this. It compares the contents of the Document Stencil to the contents of the page and removes all unused masters. The result is a smaller file size and also no conflict with updated masters with the same name that you add later.
PS: In Visio 2007 the clean feature is built in under the File menu, Remove Hidden Information. In the File Size Reduction tab, you can check "Remove unused master shapes". VisiClean does the same thing for previous versions of Visio.
|posted by administrator at 18:26|