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Microsoft Visio 2010 : Introducing Automation and VBA Code (part 2) - Using the Macro Recorder to Generate Code

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4/18/2014 9:37:02 PM

Using the Macro Recorder to Generate Code

The Immediate window allows you to quickly try bits of code, and the IntelliSense drop-down lists make it even easier to discover functions for Visio objects.

Visio also has a macro recorder that generates VBA code while you manipulate objects onscreen. You can then modify and reuse this code. Using the recorder is a great way to learn how to program Visio, too.

Recording a Macro
1.
Start with a page that contains the notes shape.

2.
Click the macro recording button located at the bottom left of the main Visio window. The icon is a rectangle with a blue header and red dot. The Record Macro pop-up appears.

3.
Leave the suggested name—Macro1—and click OK to begin recording.

4.
Duplicate the notes shape by Ctrl+dragging a new copy.

5.
Click the stop recording button at the bottom of the screen. This is the same button as the record macro, but now it has a blue square for an icon.

6.
Switch over to VBA and locate the Modules folder in the Project Explorer on the left. Expand the Modules folder. The NewMacros code module appears.

7.
Double-click on NewMacros. The code window on the right should display your new macro called Sub Macro1().

8.
The code for duplicating your shape is in the subroutine Macro1, as shown in Figure 4. You can copy this and paste it into your own Subs or slightly modify it. The sky’s the limit!

Figure 4. Overly verbose macro recorder code for duplicating a shape.

Here are a few things to note about the code in Figure 4 and macro recording in general:

  • Two lines start with an apostrophe and appear green in the VBA editor. These are comments that have no effect on how the code runs, but remind humans of the intent of the code. Comments are a good thing. Use them to document the purpose of your code blocks.

  • When you record macros in Visio 2010, six lines are added regarding DiagramServices that aren’t really related to the actions you performed. In Figure 4, these are the first four lines and the last two lines. Don’t worry about understanding them right now.

  • The macro recorded the selection of a particular shape. In Figure 4, find the line that ends with ...ItemFromID(4), visSelect. (It’s the longest line.) If you try to reuse this macro for a page that doesn’t have a shape with ID=4, the code fails. Note: this ID is the same ID that we have talked about earlier when referring to shapes in ShapeSheet cells.

  • To make a macro that duplicates selected shapes and moves them a specific amount, just delete this line plus the two lines that end with ...DeselectAll.

  • Visio wraps the macro in an “undo scope.” This creates a named set of commands that can be undone in one action. Even if the code performs many operations, one undo restores your drawing to its original state. The name of the undo scope is shown in the Undo/Redo buttons at the top left of the Visio window.

  • Macro code isn’t perfect. You’ve just seen that Visio inserted a bunch of extra stuff like Diagram Services and undo scopes that muddy the code. Plus, selecting a shape by ID is not something you can easily re-use without modification. So use the macro recorder to learn which commands are needed for particular operations. However, be prepared to clean up the code that is generated, and modify it for general use.
 
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