Additional tricks for building UI mockups with Visio

In this post, Mai-lan talks about how we use Visio to build mockups of the UI for new features. Of course, when you are building these types of mockups, it is usually important to show the flow through the feature. In other words, you create a number of screens and click through them (possibly using hyperlinks) to show how a user will interact with the feature. If you are doing this, here are a few tips to make your life easier:

  • Try using F5 to go into full screen mode. Once you are in this mode, you can use the arrow keys to navigate back and forth between the pages. Hyperlinks still work in this mode.
  • Visio doesn't have a built-in way to duplicate pages (really useful when you are building a number of screens that are similar) but this great page shows you how to do that in a macro. The macro for "Setting the zoom factor of all pages to 'fit to page'" is useful as well. One caveat is that you are often better off using background pages instead of duplicating everything on every page.
  • It is also frequently useful to paste a shape onto the same place on a different page (by default, Visio pastes into the middle of your window). To do this, create two macros, one with each of the following commands. If you use them instead of the normal copy paste you'll get the behavior you want. The visCopyPasteNoTranslate flag indicates that the shape should be pasted in the same location.
    • ActiveWindow.Selection.Copy (visCopyPasteNoTranslate)
    • ActivePage.Paste(visCopyPasteNoTranslate)