Many files you import into Visio drawings as graphic or OLE objects are stored as Microsoft® Windows® metafiles, an exchange format used to store vector-based graphics. Raster-based graphics from BMP and DIB files are stored as bitmaps. You can edit both metafiles and bitmaps on the drawing page much like other shapes by moving, rotating, resizing, and adding text, geometry, or custom properties. And you can create a master from a metafile or bitmap. However, to provide additional editing capabilities, you can convert metafiles (but not bitmaps) to Visio shapes.

Importing Graphic Images

The simplest way to bring graphic images into a Visio drawing is to insert, or import, them. The result is a graphic object in either metafile or bitmap format, depending on the format of the original image.

To import a graphic image

  • On the Insert menu, point to Picture, and then click From File. Select the file you want to import and then click Open.
    The image is imported as a new graphic object in metafile format (if the original graphic was vector-based) or bitmap format (if the original graphic was a BMP or DIB file).

You can also open graphic files directly by clicking Open on the File menu, and then choosing the appropriate format for Files of type.

For most files you import, an import settings dialog box is displayed, where you can specify how you want the imported file to appear in a drawing. For example, if you’re importing a file in PCT format, you can specify whether to retain gradients and background and how to translate colors.

To find out if an imported graphic object is a metafile or a bitmap

  • Right-click the object, point to Format, and then click Special. The dialog box indicates Type: Metafile or Type: Bitmap.

Because the data can go through up to two translations before it appears in the Visio drawing—one when you export from the other program, and one when you import into the Visio drawing—the picture might not look exactly the way it does in the original program.

With some vector-based graphics, such as Adobe Illustrator (.ai) and Encapsulated PostScript (.eps) files, lines might appear jagged in the Visio drawing. You may get better results with these file formats if you convert them to Visio shapes.

Tip You can import files in more than 20 formats. For a complete list, click Open on the File menu or click Picture on the Insert menu, and see the Files of type list.

Editing Imported Metafiles and Bitmaps

You can work with imported metafiles and bitmaps, as well as OLE objects, in much the same way you do any Visio shape. Type to add text, use the drawing tools to rotate and resize objects, and so on. You can apply a line style to change the appearance of the object’s border. If the object includes some empty space, such as a background, you can also apply a fill style, color, or pattern.

Bitmap images have additional properties that you can set via the ShapeSheet® window to control brightness, contrast, and other attributes.

To access image properties

  1. Select the imported bitmap.
  1. On the Window menu, click Show ShapeSheet.
  1. In the ShapeSheet window, scroll to see the Image Properties section.
    Note If the Image Properties section is not visible, right-click the ShapeSheet window, click View Sections, select the Image Properties check box, and then click OK.

Converting Imported Metafiles to Shapes

You can convert a graphic object in metafile format to a group or individual Visio shapes that can be formatted. Convert a metafile when you want to edit its component objects like individual shapes, apply fill color and patterns, or create intershape dependencies by writing formulas. Typically, you would convert a metafile to a group so that you could move it as a unit; however, if that’s not an issue, convert it directly to shapes.

Note If a metafile contains a bitmap as a component, it cannot be converted. Bitmaps cannot be converted to Visio geometry because, in a bitmap, Visio cannot determine what part of the object is a line, what is text, and so on.

To convert a metafile to a Visio group

  1. Select the metafile.
  1. On the Shape menu, point to Grouping, and then click Convert to Group.

To convert a metafile to Visio shapes

  1. Select the metafile.
  1. On the Shape menu, point to Grouping, and then click Ungroup.

To convert a shape back to a metafile

  1. Select the shape, and then press CTRL+C to copy it.
  1. On the Edit menu, click Paste Special, and then click Picture (Enhanced Metafile).

Post By Gishore J Kallarackal (2,121 Posts)

Gishore J Kallarackal is the founder of techgurulive. The purpose of this site is to share information about free resources that techies can use for reference. You can follow me on the social web, subscribe to the RSS Feed or sign up for the email newsletter for your daily dose of tech tips & tutorials. You can content me via @twitter or e-mail.

Website: → Techgurulive