About Units of Measure (Visio ShapeSheet Reference)
Last modified: January 05, 2012
Applies to: Office 2013  Visio 2013
In this article
Units of measure
Compound units of measure
Fractional units of measure
Multidimensional units of measure
Universal strings
Implicit units of measure
Default units of measure
When you insert fields into text or build formulas, you often specify units of measure for the values you type.
Microsoft 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 numberunit 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 don't 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.
When indicating units of measure in ShapeSheet formulas, use the abbreviations listed in the following table.
To specify these units of measure 
Use 
Automation constant 

Centimeters 
cm 
visCentimeters (69) 
Ciceros 
c 
visCiceros (54) 
Date or time 
date 
visDate (40) 
Degrees 
deg 
visDegrees (81) 
Didots 
d 
visDidots (53) 
Elapsed weeks 
ew 
visElapsedWeek (43) 
Elapsed days 
ed 
visElapsedDay (44) 
Elapsed hours 
eh 
visElapsedHour (45) 
Elapsed minutes 
em 
visElapsedMin (46) 
Elapsed seconds 
es 
visElapsedSec (47) 
Feet 
ft 
visFeet (66) 
Inches 
in 
visInches (65) 
Kilometers 
km 
visKilometers (72) 
Meters 
m 
visMeters (71) 
Miles 
mi 
visMiles (68) 
Millimeters 
mm 
visMillimeters (70) 
Minutes 
' 
visMin (84) 
Nautical miles 
nm 
visNautMiles (76) 
Percent 
% 
visPercent (33) 
Picas 
p 
visPicas (51) 
Points 
pt 
visPoints (50) 
Radians 
rad 
visRadians (83) 
Seconds 
" 
visSec (85) 
Yards 
yd 
visYards (75) 
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 units 
Use this abbreviation 
Automation constant 

Ciceros and didots 
CICERO/DIDOT 
visCicerosAndDidots (52) 
Degrees, minutes, and seconds 
° 
visDegreeMinSec (82) 
Feet and inches 
FEET/INCH 
visFeetAndInches (67) 
Picas and points 
PICAPOINTS 
visPicasAndPoints (49) 
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 units 
Use this abbreviation 
Automation constant 

Inches in fractions 
IN_F 
visInchFrac (73) 
Miles in fractions 
MI_F 
visMileFrac (74) 
Feet and inches 
FEET/INCH 
visFeetAndInches (67) 
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 units 
Use this abbreviation 
Automation constant 

Acre 
ACRES 
visAcre (36) 
Centimeters 
SQ. CM., SQ CM, CM.^2, CM^2 
visCentimeters (69) 
Feet 
SQ. FT., SQ FT, FT.^2, FT^2 
visFeet (66) 
Hectare 
HECTARES, HECTARE, HA., HA 
visHectare (37) 
Inches 
SQ. IN., SQ IN, IN.^2, IN^2 
visInches (65) 
Kilometers 
SQ. KM., SQ KM, KM.^2, KM ^2 
visKilometers (72) 
Meters 
SQ. M., SQ M, M.^2, M ^2 
visMeters (71) 
Miles 
SQ. MI., SQ MI, MI.^2, MI ^2 
visMiles (68) 
Millimeters 
SQ. MM., SQ MM, MM.^2, MM ^2 
visMillimeters (70) 
Yards 
SQ. YD., SQ YD, YD.^2, YD^2 
visYards (75) 
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.
For 
Use 

Centimeters 
CM 
Ciceros 
C 
Ciceros and didots 
CICERO/DIDOT 
Date or time 
DATE 
Degrees 
DEG 
Degrees, minutes, seconds 
° 
Didots 
D 
Elapsed week 
EW 
Elapsed day 
ED 
Elapsed hour 
EH 
Elapsed minute 
EM 
Elapsed second 
ES 
Feet 
FT 
Feet and inches 
FEET/INCH 
Inches 
IN 
Inches in fractions 
IN_F 
Kilometers 
KM 
Meters 
M 
Miles 
MI 
Miles in fractions 
MI_F 
Millimeters 
MM 
Minutes 
' 
Nautical miles 
NM 
Percent 
% 
Picas 
P 
Picas and points 
PICAPOINTS 
Points 
PT 
Radians 
RAD 
Seconds 
" 
Yards 
YD 
When Visio parses and stores a numberunit 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, 1.7E4, or 5 1/2. 
unit  The units in which number originally is expressed. 
flag  The measurement system to use when the implicitvalue unit is displayed. See below for values. 
The parameter flag is one of the following letters (either uppercase or lowercase) indicating the measurement system that should be used when the implicitvalue unit is displayed.
Flag  Measurement system  Example 

a, A  Angular  =5[deg,A] 
d, D  Drawing  =5[in,D] 
e, E  Duration  =5[eh,E] 
p, P  Page  =5[in,P] 
t, T  Type  =5[pt,T] 
Additionally, you can use the implicit units DL, DP, DT, DA, DE for implicit drawing, page, text, angular, and timeunits, 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.
Following are the default units of measure along with their equivalent settings in the user interface.
Default unit of measure 
User interface equivalent 

visDrawingUnits 
The units in the DrawingScale cell of the page or master containing the cell. 
visPageUnits 
The 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). 
visTypeUnits 
The units selected in the Text box under Display on the Advanced tab of the Visio Options dialog box (click the File tab, and then click Options). 
visAngleUnits 
The units selected in the Angle box under Display on the Advanced tab of the Visio Options dialog box. 
visDurationUnits 
The units selected in the Duration box under Display on the Advanced tab of the Visio Options dialog box. 