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SmartArt Files and Tools

Office 2007

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This topic describes how to access and edit the XML files that control SmartArt graphics.

By default, programs in the 2007 Microsoft Office system save files in a compressed format called the Open XML Format. A developer can access the XML that is used to create a SmartArt graphic by saving the graphic in a Microsoft Office file, and then decompressing it. The easiest way to decompress a Microsoft Office file is by renaming the file so that it ends in a .zip extension. You can then examine the file by double-clicking it.

Generally, it is not very productive to unpack Microsoft Office files and look at the finished SmartArt graphic XML code. For more information about creating new SmartArt templates and about the SmartArt XML files found in compressed Microsoft Office files, see File Structure.

You can package SmartArt graphic layout, style, and color variation definitions separately as templates that you can reuse or distribute. These template packages are compressed files. Each type of definition is packaged in a separate file with one of the following file extensions:

  • .glox — Packages graphic layout definitions.

  • .gqsx — Packages style definitions.

  • .gcsx — Packages color variation definitions.

SmartArt templates must be in a specific file location so that 2007 Office programs are aware of them. The following table shows the default locations for the SmartArt user template directory.

Operating system


Windows Vista

\\Users\UserName\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Templates\SmartArt Graphics

Windows XP

\\Documents and Settings\UserName\Application Data\Microsoft\Templates\SmartArt Graphics

To change the user template directory, set the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\Common\General\UserTemplates registry subkey to a folder on your computer or on the network. Changing this key changes this location for all template files in 2007 Office programs.

Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 users can download a set of tools that provide IntelliSense technology and XML validation for SmartArt XML files. For more information, see Microsoft Visual Studio Tools for the Office System Power Tools v1.0.0.0.

SmartArt graphics write errors to an error log. The file captures errors and warnings for layouts, styles, and color transforms. Only serious errors display a message to users. All other errors are silently logged. The log file is not created until the first error is generated.

The following table shows the locations of the XML log file.

Operating system


Windows Vista


Windows XP

\\Documents and Settings\UserName\Application Data\Microsoft\Office\SmartArtGraphicsLog.xml

For more information about the error log file, see the “Test the Graphic Layout” section of Constraints.

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