Scratch Section

Office 2013 and later

Last modified: March 09, 2015

Applies to: Office 2013 | Visio 2013

A work area for entering and testing formulas that can be referred to by other cells.

You can add this section by using the Insert Section dialog box. Right-click in the ShapeSheet window, and then click Insert Section.

The Scratch section is typically used to isolate repeated complex calculations. If your solution has a well-defined purpose, it's wiser to use a cell in the User-Defined Cells section for clarity because User cells can be named.

Cells in the Scratch section use units in two different ways. X and Y cells use drawing units; A through D cells don't use units. (In C programmers' jargon, X and Y cells are "typed," and cells A through D are "void.") The Scratch X and Scratch Y cells are often used for deriving x- and y-coordinates, such as PinX and PinY, or the X and Y cells found in a Geometry section cell. Scratch cells A through D can display whatever units you specify.

A further difference is the way these cells store point values. A point in Visio is a single data package for an (x,y) coordinate. When a formula returns a point value, that value is interpreted in one of three ways, depending on the ShapeSheet cell the formula is in. Cells that relate to x-coordinates (for example, PinX, or cells in the X column of a Geometry section) extract just the x-coordinate part of a point value. Cells that relate to y-coordinates extract just the y-coordinate part of a point value.

For example, Visio extracts the formula PNT(3,4) in these three ways.


If you enter

Visio treats it as





3.0000 in.




4.0000 in.




PNT(3.0000 in., 4.0000 in.)