Friday, April 23, 2010

Opening Visio 2007 docs in Individual Windows

I repeatedly disagree with Microsoft UI designers. Ok, they think it's nice that Visio treats many diagrams with a single instance. That I can live with. But shouldn't they enable the user to quick swap between them, maybe by using tabs, etc.?

Anyway, Visio is actually a great tool, so I'm not ready to ditch it just yet. Not surprisingly, there's a way to make sure Visio opens a new instance every time you open a new file, which results in a taskbar item for each document, which essentially mimics the effect that I desire, because it enables the user to quickly see whichs  files are open. Not surprisingly as well, the method it's obscure, requiring some tweaking with Windows registry:
  1. Open Visio and go to Tools->Options, select the Advanced tab and check "Put all settings in the Windows Registry".
  2. Open regedit by typing regedit in the Windows->Run interface.
  3. Make a registry backup by selecting the upper node in the tree on the left panel, and selecting File->Export. Make sure to add a date to the file, so that you now how long it was since the backup was made.
  4. Navigate the left tree to HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Software/Microsoft/Office/12.0/Visio/Application.¹
  5. On the right panel, find the "SingleInstanceFileOpen" value. Double click it, and change it's data from "1" to "0".
Just one thing. This will increase memory usage by Visio, since each document now has to run a full application.

¹ - This applies to the 2007 version of Visio. Other versions might store the value somewhere else, so if you are running something different, try Edit->Search and look for SingleInstanceFileOpen, but make sure this is a Visio value.

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