Linking Data to a Visio Drawing

Quote of the Day

Loyalty to a petrified opinion never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul.

— Mark Twain


Figure 1: Solar Viewing Angle as Seen From the Planets.

Figure 1: Solar Viewing Angle as
Seen From the Planets.

I enjoy collecting and occasionally creating pins for my Pinterest collection. There was one pin that I saw (Figure 1) that I thought would be a good exercise to use when I conduct training classes in Visio and Excel. This post will use a simple Excel table of planetary orbit data to drive the creation of similar graphic in Visio. I will make one change to the information contained in Figure 1 – I will add Pluto because I still like to think of it as a planet. I will also remove the black background because I find black a bit harsh for a background color.

I regularly use Excel to drive Visio drawings. For example, I often handout a graphic of the United States that shows the average cost of a kiloWatt (kW) of  electricity for each state. This is useful for customers who want to know how much operating a piece of electronic gear is going to cost them in annual electricity charges.


The only background material required is a table of the mean orbital radii of the nine planets.

Figure 2: Screenshot of My Excel Table of Mean Planetary Orbit Radii.

Figure 2: Screenshot of My Excel Table of Mean Planetary Orbit Radii (Source).

The table was constructed using US customary units because the first table I found was in US customary units.

All files used here are attached at the bottom of the post.



My approach was simple:

  • I copied the data from the source web page to an Excel workbook.
  • I computed the relative angular diameter of the Sun from each planet and put that data into a column. I set the largest circle diameter equal to 10 inches and scaled the rest proportionally.
  • I saved workbook.
  • I opened a Visio workbook and created a drawing with nine circles.
  • I linked the Excel table to the Visio workbook.
  • I linked each circle to a relative angular diameter.
  • I then arranged the circles in a pattern similar to Figure 1.


Figure 3 shows my Visio results. It looks reasonably similar to Figure 1.

Figure M: My Version of the Angular Diameter Figure.

Figure 3: My Version of the Angular Diameter Figure.


This will be a nice exercise to use in my training classes.

If you are interested, here are my source files.


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