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About Programming Visio Viewer

Last modified: October 17, 2012

Applies to: Office 2013 | Visio 2013

In this article
Programming Visio Viewer in Microsoft Visual Basic 6.0
Programming Visio Viewer on an HTML (Web) page
Programming Visio Viewer in managed code

Visio Viewer is an ActiveX control that lets you open, view, or print Visio drawings, even if you do not have Visio 2013. You cannot, however, edit, save, or create a new Visio drawing in Visio Viewer. For that, you need Visio 2013.

Visio Viewer provides an application programming interface (API) that lets solution developers perform numerous tasks, among them the following:

  • Load and unload Visio drawings.

  • Select shapes.

  • Follow hyperlinks.

  • Display various Visio Viewer dialog boxes to the user.

  • Customize the size and position of the Visio Viewer window.

  • Customize the user interface by changing foreground and background colors and displaying or hiding the grid and the scroll bars.

  • Control the color and transparency of layers in the drawing.

  • Control the color and visibility of reviewer markups (comments).

  • Customize the toolbar by adding or removing buttons.

  • Respond to user actions in the Visio Viewer interface.

You can use Visual Basic 6.0 to instantiate the Visio Viewer control in various containers (for example, a Windows form). Before you can do so, you must get a reference to the Visio Viewer API.

Use the following steps to get a reference to the Visio Viewer API in a Visual Basic 6.0 project.

To get a reference to the Visio Viewer API in a Visual Basic 6.0 project

  1. Open Microsoft Visual Basic 6.0. In Windows Vista or Windows 7, right-click the program shortcut, and then click Run as administrator

  2. In Visual Basic 6.0, open a new Standard EXE project.

  3. In your project, right-click the Toolbox, click Components, select Microsoft Visio Viewer 14.0 Type Library, and then click OK.

  4. Before you compile your code, on the Project menu, click [your project name] Properties.

  5. On the Make tab, verify that Remove information about unused ActiveX controls is not selected.

The following code shows how to instantiate Visio Viewer in a form in Visual Basic 6.0. It creates a Visio Viewer control, displays the Properties and Settings dialog box, sets the location, size, and visibility of the control within the form, and loads a document named "MyFile.vsd" into the control.

Add the following code to the project you created.

Dim Viewer1 As VisioViewerCtl.Viewer

Private Sub Form_Load()
    Set Viewer1 = Form1.Controls.Add("VisioViewer.Viewer", "Viewer1", Form1)

    Viewer1.Visible = True
    Viewer1.Left = 200
    Viewer1.SRC = "C:\Users\<variable>username</variable>\Documents\MyFile.vsd"

    Viewer1.Height = 5000
    Viewer1.Width = 5000

End Sub

You can use the Visio Viewer control to embed a Visio drawing into a Web page, by manually inserting tags and parameters in the source code of the page. To write the source code, you can use a text editor, such as Notepad, or any other application that creates Web pages, such as Microsoft Expression Web 3 or Microsoft SharePoint Designer.

You can set any of the properties of Visio Viewer by using the PARAM tag, as shown in the following sample code, which sets the Src property of Visio Viewer.

Remember that because Visio Viewer is an ActiveX control, its behavior is influenced by Internet Explorer security settings.

The following code shows how to open a Visio drawing file in a Visio Viewer control on a Web page. It sets the height and width of the Visio Viewer control on the page and loads a source document into the control.

Copy the code into a file in a text editor, and save the resulting document as an HTM file. The Visio document "SalesData.vsd" referenced by the Src parameter should be in the same folder as the HTM file.

<OBJECT id="DrawingControl1"
    classid="clsid:279D6C9A-652E-4833-BEFC-312CA8887857" VIEWASTEXT>
<PARAM NAME="Src" VALUE="SalesData.vsd">

You can use managed code to instantiate the Visio Viewer control in various containers, such as a Windows form, for example. Before you can do so, you must get a reference to the Visio Viewer API.

Use the following steps to get a reference to the Visio Viewer API in a Visual Studio 2008 project.

To get a reference to the Visio Viewer API in a Visual Studio project

  1. On the Start menu, point to All Programs, click Accessories, and then click Command Prompt to open the Command Prompt window.

  2. In the Command Prompt window, navigate to the Microsoft Office/Office 14 subfolder of the Program Files folder.

  3. Copy the file VViewer.dll to a folder location to which you have permission to write new files (for example, your user folder).

  4. Close the Command Prompt window, and then open the Visual Studio 2008 Command Prompt window. (On the Start menu, point to All Programs, click Microsoft Visual Studio 2008, click Visual Studio Tools, and then click Visual Studio 2008 Command Prompt).

  5. In the Visual Studio 2008 Command Prompt window, navigate to the folder to which you copied the Visio Viewer DLL file.

  6. In that folder, type AxImp.exe vviewer.dll to generate several files, including AxVisioViewer.dll.

  7. In Visual Studio 2008, open a new Windows Forms Application project.

  8. In your project, on the Project menu, click Add Reference, and then click Browse.

  9. Browse to the folder where you created the AxVisioViewer.dll file, select that file in the list, and then click OK.

In your Visual Studio project, in the Form1.cs file, add the following code to instantiate the Visio Viewer control, set some of its properties, and load a test file into the control. This code assumes that you have a Visio file named "test.vsd" in your Documents folder, at the path shown. Modify the path and file names accordingly for your computer.

<code language="CS" type="developer">public partial class Form1 : Form
        private AxVisioViewer.AxViewer viewer;

        /// &lt;summary&gt;
        /// The Visio Viewer OM
        /// &lt;/summary&gt;
        public AxVisioViewer.AxViewer Viewer
                return this.viewer;

        public Form1()
            this.Resize += new EventHandler(this.UpdateSize);
            this.viewer = new AxVisioViewer.AxViewer();

            this.viewer.Location = new Point(0, 0);
            this.UpdateSize(null, null);

        public void UpdateSize(object obj, EventArgs ea)
            this.viewer.ClientSize = new Size(this.ClientSize.Width - 150, this.ClientSize.Height - 150);

        private void Form1_Load(object sender, EventArgs e)


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