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About Units of Measure (Visio)

office 365 dev account|Last Updated: 6/12/2017
1 Contributor

When you insert fields into text or build formulas, you often specify units of measure for the values you type.

Visio evaluates the result of a formula differently depending on the cell in which you enter the formula. In general, cells that represent shape position, a dimension, or an angle require a number-unit pair that consists of a number and the qualifying units needed to interpret the number. Many other cells don't require units and evaluate to a string, to TRUE or FALSE, or to an index. For example, the same formula that in the FillForegnd cell means color 5 from the drawing's color palette means TRUE (and locks the shape's width) in the LockWidth cell.

Always specify a unit of measure when you enter a formula in a cell that expects a dimensional value. If you do not specify a unit of measure, Visio uses the default unit for that cell, which can be page units, drawing units, type units, duration units, or angular units.

Units of measure

When indicating units of measure in ShapeSheet formulas, use the abbreviations listed in the following table.

To specify these units of measureUseAutomation constant
CentimeterscmvisCentimeters (69)
CiceroscvisCiceros (54)
Date or timedatevisDate (40)
DegreesdegvisDegrees (81)
DidotsdvisDidots (53)
Elapsed weeksewvisElapsedWeek (43)
Elapsed daysedvisElapsedDay (44)
Elapsed hoursehvisElapsedHour (45)
Elapsed minutesemvisElapsedMin (46)
Elapsed secondsesvisElapsedSec (47)
FeetftvisFeet (66)
InchesinvisInches (65)
KilometerskmvisKilometers (72)
MetersmvisMeters (71)
MilesmivisMiles (68)
MillimetersmmvisMillimeters (70)
Minutes'visMin (84)
Nautical milesnmvisNautMiles (76)
Percent%visPercent (33)
PicaspvisPicas (51)
PointsptvisPoints (50)
RadiansradvisRadians (83)
Seconds"visSec (85)
YardsydvisYards (75)

Compound units of measure

In formulas, you can express units of measure for compound numbers using the abbreviations in the following table. Visio simplifies the results and displays them in the compound units.

For example, if you enter 45.635°, Visio displays the equivalent value as 45° 38' 6".

To specify unitsUse this abbreviationAutomation constant
Ciceros and didotsCICERO/DIDOTvisCicerosAndDidots (52)
Degrees, minutes, and seconds°visDegreeMinSec (82)
Feet and inchesFEET/INCHvisFeetAndInches (67)
Picas and pointsPICAPOINTSvisPicasAndPoints (49)

Fractional units of measure

You can specify fractional units of measure in the DrawingScale cell to affect the number of ruler subdivisions that Visio displays in the drawing window. By default, Visio divides distances into tenths when drawing its rulers. If you use fractional units of measure in the DrawingScale cell, Visio divides distance into the following:

  • Eighths for visInchFrac and visMileFrac

  • Twelfths for visFeetAndInches

Fractional units of measure have no effect in cells other than in the DrawingScale cell.

To specify fractional unitsUse this abbreviationAutomation constant
Inches in fractionsIN_FvisInchFrac (73)
Miles in fractionsMI_FvisMileFrac (74)
Feet and inchesFEET/INCHvisFeetAndInches (67)

Multidimensional units of measure

In formulas, you can express units of measure for multidimensional numbers using the abbreviations in the following table. Visio simplifies the results and displays them in the multidimensional units.

To specify multidimensional unitsUse this abbreviationAutomation constant
AcreACREvisAcre (36)
CentimetersSQ. CM., SQ CM, CM.^2, CM^2visCentimeters (69)
FeetSQ. FT., SQ FT, FT.^2, FT^2visFeet (66)
HectareHECTARES, HECTARE, HA., HAvisHectare (37)
InchesSQ. IN., SQ IN, IN.^2, IN^2visInches (65)
KilometersSQ. KM., SQ KM, KM.^2, KM ^2visKilometers (72)
MetersSQ. M., SQ M, M.^2, M ^2visMeters (71)
MilesSQ. MI., SQ MI, MI.^2, MI ^2visMiles (68)
MillimetersSQ. MM., SQ MM, MM.^2, MM ^2visMillimeters (70)
YardsSQ. YD., SQ YD, YD.^2, YD^2visYards (75)

Universal strings

In localized versions of Visio, the set of recognized strings changes with the language. If you want your program to work with multiple languages, use the universal strings for units of measure.

Ciceros and didotsCICERO/DIDOT
Date or timeDATE
Degrees, minutes, seconds°
Elapsed weekEW
Elapsed dayED
Elapsed hourEH
Elapsed minuteEM
Elapsed secondES
Feet and inchesFEET/INCH
Inches in fractionsIN_F
Miles in fractionsMI_F
Nautical milesNM
Picas and pointsPICAPOINTS

Implicit units of measure

When Visio parses and stores a number-unit pair, it can use explicit units or implicit units. A number expressed in explicit units always is displayed in the units of measure that were originally entered. A number expressed in implicit units always converts to the equivalent value in the drawing, page, or angular units appropriate for the cell.

For example, suppose you enter the equivalent of 1 inch in cell A using explicit units and in cell B using implicit units, and that both cell A and cell B use drawing units. Next, you change the default units for the page to centimeters. Cell A still displays 1 in., because it uses explicit units that don't change with the defaults. Cell B now displays 2.54 cm, the equivalent value in the default units.

To enter units implicitly, use the following syntax.

number [unit, flag]  

| number|The original value, such as 3.7, 1.7E-4, or 5 1/2.| | unit|The units in which number originally is expressed.| | flag|The measurement system to use when the implicit-value unit is displayed. See below for values.| The element flag is one of the following letters (either uppercase or lowercase) indicating the measurement system that should be used when the implicit-value unit is displayed.

flagMeasurement systemExample
a, AAngular=5[deg,A]
d, DDrawing=5[in,D]
e, EDuration=5[eh,E]
p, PPage=5[in,P]
t, TType=5[pt,T]

Additionally, you can use the implicit units DL, DP, DT, DA, DE for implicit drawing-, page-, text-, angular-, and time-units, respectively. These units assume the associated value is internal units. For example, if the current measurement system is centimeters, =2 DL would be interpreted as 2 internal units (inches) and displayed as 5.08 cm.

Using the implicit syntax described above, this expression (=2 DL) is equivalent to 2[in,d]. The implicit syntax gives you the choice of how to interpret the value, so you could also specify 2[ft,d], which would be interpreted as 2 feet, and displayed as 60.96 cm. The implicit units DL, DP, DT, DA, and DE are universal, and do not have localized counterparts.

Default units of measure

Following are the default units of measure along with their equivalent settings in the user interface.

Default unit of measureUser interface equivalent
visDrawingUnitsThe units in the DrawingScale cell of the page or master containing the cell.
visPageUnitsThe units selected in the Measurement units box on the Page Properties tab of the Page Setup dialog box (on the Design tab, click the Page Setup arrow).
visTypeUnitsThe units selected in the Text box under Display on the Advanced tab of the Visio Options dialog box.
visAngleUnitsThe units selected in the Angle box under Display on the Advanced tab of the Visio Options dialog box.
visDurationUnitsThe units selected in the Duration box under Display on the Advanced tab of the Visio Options dialog box.
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