Create a diagram in Excel with the Visio Data Visualizer add-in

Create stunning, high-quality diagrams with the Visio Data Visualizer add-in for Excel with an Office 365 subscription.

You can create basic flowcharts, cross-functional flowcharts, and organizational charts. The diagrams are drawn automatically from data in an Excel workbook. If you then edit the diagram in Visio, your changes are synced back to Excel.

This means you don't need a Visio subscription to make stunning diagrams in Excel. View, print, or share your diagrams with others for free in the web version of Visio. For additional editing capabilities, you need either a Visio Plan 1 or Visio Plan 2 subscription.

Note: The Visio Data Visualizer add-in is available only in Public Preview and in English for now. When this feature becomes generally available, it will be available in all supported languages.

Start with the Visio Data Visualizer add-in

The Data Visualizer add-in is available for Excel on PC, Mac, and the browser with a work or school account.

  1. Open Excel and create a new Blank workbook.

  2. Save the workbook to a OneDrive or SharePoint location for seamless sharing and the optimal experience. You can also save your file locally to your computer.

  3. Ensure that an empty cell is selected in the workbook.

  4. Select Insert > Get Add-ins or Add-ins. In the Office Add-ins Store, search for “Data Visualizer", and then select Add. If you see a security message regarding the add-in, select Trust this add-in.

  5. Sign in with the account associated with your Office 365 or Microsoft 365 work or school subscription or select Sign in later.

    Note: When you're signed in, you unlock capabilities in Visio for the web such as printing, sharing, and viewing in the browser. You don't need a Visio subscription to use this add-in, but if you have one, you'll also be able to make edits to your diagram.

    If you see a permissions prompt, select Allow.

    Sign in with your account or sign in later.

Modify the data-linked table to customize your diagram

  1. Choose a diagram type and then select the template you'd like to work with. This will insert a sample diagram and its data-linked table. That process may take a minute. The templates come with different layout and theme options that can be further customized in Visio.

    The Data Visualizer add-in has several types of diagrams to choose from.

  2. If you're signed in, the diagram is saved as a Visio file in your OneDrive or SharePoint location. If you're not signed in, then the diagram is part of your Excel workbook instead. You can always choose to create a Visio file by signing in.

  3. To create your own diagram, modify the values in the data table. For example, you can change the shape text that will appear, the shape types, and more by changing the values in the data table.

    For more information, see the section How the data table interacts with the Data Visualizer diagram below and select the tab for your type of diagram.

  4. Add or remove shapes for steps or people by adding or removing rows in the data table.

  5. Connect shapes to design the logic of your diagram by entering the IDs of the connected shapes in the corresponding table column for your diagram type.

  6. After you've finished modifying the data table, select Refresh in the diagram area to update your visualization.

    Note: If there is an issue with the source data table, the Data Checker will appear with instructions on how to fix the issue. After you modify the table, select Retry in the Data Checker to confirm the issue is resolved. Then you'll see the updated diagram.

Tips for modifying the data table

  • Save the Excel workbook (if you're working in the Visio client) and Refresh frequently.

  • Consider sketching out the logic of your diagram on paper first. This may make it easier to translate into the data table.

View, print, or share your Visio diagram

You can open the Data Visualizer flowchart in Visio for the web to view, print, or share your diagram with others. Learn how:

  1. To view the diagram outside of Visio for the web, select the ellipses (. . .) in the diagram area and select Open in web.

    Note: If you're not signed in yet, you'll be prompted to sign in with your Microsoft 365 or Office 365 work or school account account. Select Sign in and then Allow or Accept on any permission prompts.

  2. After the Visio file is created, select Open file.

  3. In Visio for the web, select the ellipses (. . .) > Print to print your diagram.

  4. To share your diagram, select the Share button to create a link or to enter the email addresses of those you want to share with.

Select the ellipses (...) for more options and then select Open on the web.

Edit the diagram with a Visio subscription

If you have a subscription to Visio, you can do more with the diagram. Add text or images, apply design themes, and make other modifications to customize the diagram. 

Do basic editing with Visio for the web

Use Visio for the web for basic editing in the browser, such as changing themes, modifying layouts, formatting shapes, adding text boxes, etc.

  1. In the diagram area in Excel, select Edit The Edit button in the Data Visualizer add-in for Excel. .

    Note: If you're not signed in yet, you'll be prompted to sign in with your Microsoft 365 or Office 365 work or school account. Select Sign in and then Allow or Accept on any permission prompts.

  2. Make your changes to the diagram in Visio for the web.

    To do this

    Use

    Add and format text

    Home > Font options:

    The Font options on the Home tab in Visio for the web.

    For more details, see Add and format text.

    Change the theme

    Design > Themes Themes icon

    Design > Theme Colors Themes Colors icon

    For more details, see Apply a theme or theme color.

    Change the diagram's layout

    Design > Layout The Layout icon

    For more details, see Re-layout a diagram.

    If you want to add or modify a shape while still keeping the source data in sync, then edit the diagram with the Visio desktop app. Such changes made in Visio for the web can't by synced back to the Excel source file. 

  3. When you're done editing the diagram, go back to the Excel file and select Refresh The Refresh button in the Data Visualizer add-in for Excel. to see your changes.

Do advanced editing with the Visio app

Use the Visio desktop app for advanced edits, such as adding new shapes, modifying connections, and other changes to the structure of the diagram. The Visio app supports two-way sync, so any changes you make can be synced back to your Excel workbook where you can see your diagram changes after refreshing.

Note: To edit in the Visio app, you need a Visio Plan 2 subscription.

  1. In the diagram area in Excel, select Edit.

  2. Save and close your Excel file.

    To edit in the Visio app and successfully sync changes, the Excel file with the data table and diagram must be closed.

  3. In Visio for the web select Edit in Desktop App in the ribbon.

  4. Select Open to confirm. If you receive a security warning asking if this Visio file is a trusted document, select Yes.

  5. Make your changes to the diagram in the Visio app.

  6. When you're done, select the diagram container to see the Data Tools Design tab in the ribbon, and then select Update Source Data.

    Select the diagram, under Data Tools Design select Update Source Data.

    Note: If you try to update the source data and the link to the Visio data is broken, Visio prompts you to relink. Select the diagram area in Visio, and under the Data Tools Design tab select Relink Source Data. Browse to the Visio workbook with the source table, select Relink, then Update Source Data again.

  7. Now that your data has synced back to your Excel workbook, save your Visio file—preferably in the same location as your Excel file.) Close the Visio file.

  8. Open the Excel file and select Refresh in the diagram area to see your changes.

    Note: If you run into a Refresh Conflict, you can refresh the diagram. You'll lose any edits you've made, but any formatting changes to the shapes or connectors inside the container are preserved.

Office 365 subscribers who have Visio Plan 2 can use Data Visualizer templates to get more advanced diagramming features, such as those listed below. See Create a Data Visualizer diagram for more details:

  • Create a diagram using custom stencils

  • Create sub-processes

  • Bring your diagram to life with data graphics

  • Have two-way synchronization between the data and the diagram

How the data table interacts with the Data Visualizer diagram

Each column of the table uniquely identifies an important aspect of the flowchart that you see. See the reference information below to learn more about each column and how it applies and affects the flowchart.

A number or name that identifies each shape in the diagram. This column is required, and each value in the Excel table must be unique and not be blank. This value does not appear on the flowchart.

The Process step ID uniquely identifies each shape.

This is the shape text that is visible in the diagram. Describe what occurs in this step of the process. Consider also adding a similar or more descriptive text to the Alt text column.

Description for the process step that displays in the shape.

The Process Step ID of the next shape in the sequence. A branching shape has two next steps and is represented by comma-separated numbers such as P600,P400. You can have more than two next steps.

The next Process step ID in the logic of the diagram.

For branching shapes, connector labels are represented as text separated by a comma, such as Yes,No. Yes corresponds to P600 and No corresponds to P400 in the example. Connector labels are not required.

A name for a specific connector label.

The type of shape you want to represent in the Visio diagram, such as Process or Decision. Select a cell in the column and choose from the list of Shape Types.

For more information on flow charts and their shapes, see Create a basic flowchart and Create a cross-functional flowchart.

Determines the type of shape.

The function (or swimlane) that each shape belongs to. Use the Function and Phase columns to help you organize different stakeholders in your flowchart. This column only applies to a Cross-Functional Flowchart and isn't included as part of the Basic Flowchart diagram.

The function or swimlane in which a step occurs.

The phase (or timeline) that each shape belongs to. Use the Function and Phase columns to help you organize different stakeholders in your flowchart. This column only applies to a Cross-Functional Flowchart and isn't included as part of the Basic Flowchart diagram.

The phase or timeline in which a step occurs.

Alt text is used by screen readers to assist those with visual impairments. You can view alt text you've entered as part of the Shape Info of a shape. Entering descriptive alt text is not required, but recommended.

Each column of the table uniquely identifies an important aspect of the organization chart that you see. See the reference information below to learn more about each column and how it applies and affects the diagram.

A number that identifies each employee in your organization chart. This column is required, and each value in the Excel table must be unique and not blank. This value doesn't appear in the diagram.

Enter a unique number that identifies each employee in your organization chart.

Enter the full name of the employee you want to associate with the employee ID number. This text displays in the diagram as shape text.

Enter the full name of the employee you want to associate with the employee ID number.

Provide additional details for the employee by entering the job title or role. This text displays in the diagram shapes underneath the employee's name.

Enter the job title or role for the employee.

To create the structure of the organization chart, use this column to identify the manager of each employee. You can leave it blank for those who don't report to anyone. You'll enter the corresponding employee ID from the first column. You can also separate multiple managers using a comma.

Enter the employee ID of the manager of the employee.

Organization charts in the add-in come with different role types for you to choose from. Select a field under the Role Type column to choose a role that best describes the employee. This will change the color of the shape in the diagram.

Choose the role types that best describes the employee.

See Also

About the Data Visualizer add-in for Excel

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