Customizing the Title Block in Visimation QuotePix

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QuotePix report in Excel

Many technical drawings require a title block.  There are various ways to construct a title block and to automate its contents.  We’ll discuss some useful methods in the context of one of our Visio add-ons.

Visimation’s QuotePix Visio add-on generates bill of materials (BOM) reports from your Visio drawings such as the adjacent sample.  It has many task-easing features such as a BOM window that dynamically shows quantities of parts and the ability to enter project data that are shown in the drawing’s title block.  Here we’ll discuss how to modify the title blocks that we provide in the default templates that come with QuotePix.  It will be helpful if you have some basic knowledge of the Visio ShapeSheet but we’ll do our best to explain it adequately for users new to the topic.

Title block

The templates we provide with QuotePix include a Title Block background page that displays the title block on all of the other pages in the file.  We have pre-entered “fields” into the title block shapes so that information entered into QuotePix’s Project Data dialog will appear there.  QuotePix enables you to modify the Project Data.  However, you need to take some special steps if you want the modified data to appear in your title block.

Visimation QuotePix for Visio screen

Visimation QuotePix for Visio screen

One of Visio’s powerful features is Shape Data… fields of text information that may be attached to any piece of geometry.  Many premade shapes from Visimation’s ShapeSource have pre-entered shape data for information such as manufacturer, part number, location, etc.  You can create your own or modify what we’ve provided.  Each Visio object (shape) has a ShapeSheet which is a spreadsheet-like mechanism for programming intelligent behavior into the shapes.  Shape Data are one of the behaviors stored in the ShapeSheet.

When you enter Project Data, Visio stores them as Shape Data in the Document ShapeSheet which is a special ShapeSheet for the entire document.  We’ll explain how to access the Document ShapeSheet in a bit.  With QuotePix, these Shape Data are inserted under a different name than the label you may have entered into the QuotePix Project Data dialog.  For example, we will add a Project Data field called “Department Name” but Visio does not store it under an obvious name such as “Prop.Department_Name”.  Instead, it adds a row to the Document ShapeSheet with some default name such as “Prop.Row_9”.

Use the Drawing Explorer in Visio to access Document shape data

Drawing Explorer

To modify the title block shapes so they display Project Data, you need to look at the Document ShapeSheet’s Shape Data section.  In Visio 2007, you can access the Document Properties to identify the actual Prop row name with the following steps:

  • Select View > Drawing Explorer Window
  • In the Drawing Explorer window, right click on the drawing page name.  This is the Document, or in ShapeSheet formulas, “TheDoc!”
  • Select Show ShapeSheet.
  • In the ShapeSheet window, scroll down to the Shape Data section where you can find “Department Name” in the Label column.  Note that in this example, “Department Name” is stored as Prop.Row_9.  It may be different in yours.
Visio Document Shape Data

Document ShapeSheet

  • Note the Prop.Row, close the ShapeSheet window, and go to the Title Block page.  Click to highlight the Customer text box.
Title block with Customer box selected

Select Customer box in Title block

  • Select Insert > Field and highlight Custom Formula in the Category frame.  Then enter “=TheDoc!Prop.Row_9” in the Custom Formula field, but substitute whatever your actual Shape Data field row name is for the Department Name.
Insert Field dialog box

Insert Field dialog box

  • Click OK and the value you have entered in your Department Name Project Data field should appear.
  • Now you will want to change the text label for this box in the Title Block.  The title block shape consists of several grouped shapes so you will need to “sub-select” the proper text box.  Click once to highlight the Customer group as above and click again on the Customer text.  You should see the highlight as this:
Title block with Customer text box selected

Sub-select the Customer text

  • Press F2 to put it into text editing mode (double clicking won’t work here) and type in “Department”

Title Page

The templates that we provide with QuotePix contain a Title page as well where you can enter cover page type information.  The concept is similar here where you can insert Document Properties into the default text box to automatically place Project Data information into the page.

  • Select the text box on the Title Page and press F2 to put it into editing mode
  • We’ll use Description as an example so place your cursor under the Description text
  • Select Insert > Field, then Custom Formula, and enter “=TheDoc!Prop.Project_Description” into the Custom formula field.
  • In many of our templates, the Prop.Project_Description is a row name in the Document Properties so this formula places that value into the text box on the Title page.  In this case we entered “TEST” in the QuotePix Project Data dialog so here it is.  Note that the text box already has a field in it that shows the last revision date: 
QuotePix Title page text box

QuotePix Title page text box

We suggest that you save your changes as a Visio template (.vst) file.  Save the .vst file in My Documents\My QuotePix Templates so that it will appear in the QuotePix New Document dialog list that you can use to start a new project document with the changes you have made. 

For more QuotePix questions please contact support@visimation.com.

© 2010, Visimation. All rights reserved.

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