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.