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Glossary (Visio XML Reference)

Office 2010

DTD (Document Type Definition)

The early form of a schema definition file that specifies rules for XML document elements, attributes, and containment relationships.


Inheritance relationships established in a DatadiagramML file by means of attributes. The DatadiagramML schema includes attributes that establish inheritance between shapes, masters, and styles.

Instance shape

A shape that is based on a master. Instances inherit many of their characteristics from the master. In the Microsoft® Office Visio® user interface, an instance shape is created by dragging a master from a stencil onto the drawing page.


A master appears as a shape in a stencil that you use to create instances, or shapes, based on the master. A master can be made of a single shape, multiple shapes, or a group. Instances inherit many of their characteristics from the master.


The Microsoft XML/XSL parser.


A naming convention to use in order to avoid name collisions. In DatadiagramML documents, xmlns statements specify a schema. For example,


Non-instance shape

A shape that is not an instance of a Master; for example, a shape that is created by using the Line tool in the user interface, or by an Automation method such as DrawRectangle.

Non-void cell

Cells that have known and dedicated result types, such as Boolean, color, distance, angle, and so on.


The process of reordering existing elements, adding missing elements, and removing unused elements when Visio loads text data from an XML file that is created or edited outside of Visio (an untrusted file).


Opening a Visio document (or an XML file created outside of Visio), saving it as a DatadiagramML document, and then reopening the DatadiagramML document with no loss of information between the binary version and the DatadiagramML version of the Visio document.


Another term that describes the contents of a sheet. This term is commonly found in the user interface, and the window in which you can view its contents in the user interface is called the ShapeSheet window.


An internal spreadsheet that contains the cells, rows, and sections that define a document, page, style, or shape object.

Solution XML

User-defined XML that is contained within a SolutionXML element and stored in one of the following containers: VisioDocument; the A, B, C, or D elements contained in a Scratch element; or the Value element contained in a User or Prop element.

Sparse instance

An instance shape (such as for a master that is a group) that does not have all its elements specified. Creating a sparse instance of a shape means specifying the top-level shape in the instance without listing its subshapes.

Trusted XML file

A DatadiagramML file that contains a key that identifies the document as being unchanged since it was last saved by Visio. The key allows Visio to skip some unnecessary recalculations when it opens a document, and is only present in files that have been saved by Visio.

Unknown XML

User-defined XML that can be contained within VisioDocument, DocumentSheet, PageSheet, Shape, and StyleSheet elements. This XML is not understood by Visio but is round-tripped with a Visio file.

Untrusted XML file

An XML file that follows the Visio schema, but has been created or edited outside of Visio. If an untrusted file does not carry a key that indicates whether the document has changed since it was saved by Visio, or if the file carries a stamp that indicates that the file has been modified outside of Visio, Visio checks that the XML is well-formed and valid.

URN (Uniform Resource Name)

Identifies a persistent Internet resource. A URN can provide a mechanism for locating and retrieving a schema file that defines a particular namespace. While an ordinary URL could provide similar functionality, a URN is more robust and easier to manage for this purpose because a URN can refer to more than one URL.

Unlike URLs, URNs are not location-dependent.

A URN uniquely identifies a document in the same way that an ISBN number uniquely identifies a book. You see "URN" in the tag that identifies the schema document.

Valid XML

An XML document that contains elements and attributes that match the logical structure and data types defined in a particular schema.

VDX (Visio Drawing XML Format)

A peer to the binary Visio drawing file format (.vsd).

Void cell

Cells that have no intrinsic result type and are intended to hold any type of result; for example, the A through D cells in a Scratch row.

VSX (Visio Stencil XML Format)

A peer to the binary Visio stencil format (.vss).

VTX (Visio Template XML Format)

A peer to the binary Visio template file format (.vst).

Well-formed XML

XML that has accurate beginning and ending tags and containment relationships; that is, the XML conforms to the Worldwide Web Consortium (W3C) XML specification.

XML (Extensible Markup Language)

Extensible Markup Language (XML) is a meta-markup language that provides a format for describing structured data. XML provides basic syntax; all other elements are defined as needed. Visio drawings, stencils, and templates can be saved in XML format with the file name extensions .vdx, .vsx, and .vtx, respectively.

XPath (XML Path Language)

The part of XSLT that defines access to data through the tag hierarchy by pattern matching and searching.

XSD (XML Schema Definition defined by W3C)

The later form of the Schema definition file.

XSL (Extensible Stylesheet Language)

A language used to transform XML-based data into HTML or other presentation formats for display in a Web browser. The transformation of XML into formats, such as HTML, is done in a declarative way, often making it easier and more accessible than when done by scripting. In addition, XSL uses XML as its syntax, freeing XML authors from having to learn another markup language.

XSLT (XSL Transformations)

A programming language that provides commands that transform XML into something else, for example, HTML or more XML.