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Managing Diagrams from Visio (or Any Other Diagraming Tool)

By Adrian Rolufs posted 11-05-2015 00:44


The development of products typically leads to drawing many diagrams to capture ideas, architecture and implementation. While the built-in diagram editor in Jama Software is suitable for simple diagrams, many engineers turn to more sophisticated drawing tools for their diagraming needs.  

Start by drawing your diagram in your favorite tool.  Microsoft Visio, is by far the most common, but these instructions will work for any tool you prefer. Once you have a complete drawing, follow these steps to make it available in Jama Software:

  1. Save the Visio file in your document management system (DMS) or revision control system (RCS) (If you don't have such as system, see below for instructions on saving the file in Jama Software instead)
  2. Highlight the entire drawing in Visio using the select tool
  3. Copy the drawing to the clipboard
  4. Create a new item or edit an existing item in Jama Software
  5. Paste the drawing into the Description field (if the resulting image is not high enough resolution, see below for instructions on creating higher resolution images)
  6. Below the image, insert a URL, using the Link button on the toolbar, to the source file in the DMS or RCS. If possible, insert a URL to the specific version of the file that corresponds to the image in Jama Software.
  7. Save the Jama Software item

To edit an existing drawing:

  1. View the item with the drawing in Jama Software in the single item view
  2. Click on the URL below the image to download the source file
  3. Open the source file in Visio
  4. Edit the Visio drawing
  5. Repeat steps 1-7 above the save the changes

Storing Source Drawings in Jama Software

If you don't have a document management system or revision control system, or you would prefer to keep the source files in Jama Software, you can attach the source file in Jama Software instead:

  1. Copy and paste the image into an item in Jama Software
  2. Save the Jama Software item
  3. Use the attachment widget in the single item view of Jama Software to add the Visio source file as a new attachment
  4. Edit the item again
  5. Below the image, insert a URL to the attachment in Jama Software using the Link button on the toolbar and the attachments tab
  6. Save the item

Editing an existing drawing is the same as the instructions 1-5 above, however you'll upload the new source file by editing the existing attachment in Jama Software:

  1. Locate the existing attachment
  2. Click Edit
  3. Upload the new version of the source file
  4. Edit the Jama Software item
  5. Update the URL to the attachment in the Description field to point to the new source file

See How to Best Work with Attachments in Jama Software for more details on working with attachments.

Creating Higher-Resolution Images from Visio

If you find that the image you pasted into Jama Software is not high enough resolution, you can increase the resolution by saving a PNG file from Visio instead of using copy-and-paste:

  1. Click Save As... in Visio
  2. Select the PNG as the format
  3. Click Save
  4. In the Resolution section of the Output Options dialog box, select Printer instead of Screen
  5. Click OK
  6. Add the resulting file to Jama Software by dragging the file from your file system to a Rich Text box in Jama Software or by clicking on the Add Image button on the Rich Text Editor toolbar
  7. The resulting image will likely be far wider than your screen.  Double-click on the image and set the width to 1000.
  8. Click OK



08-07-2020 05:47

I am late to the party as normal.. We have a team that before ingesting their document into Jama had embedded over 100 visio flowcharts.

On ingesting into Jama, those visio drawings do not come in cleanly. I went through and converted all the images into SVG format and replaced the non working images with the svg. They look fine in Jama, but on export (both from velocity and the native word exporter) they fail. Native work exports a unrecognizable mess, and velocity just says cant display image in the word document. I attempted to use the workaround described in the video, and does a pretty great job of making it look like the original drawing. After cut-n-pasting in Jama, the image is garbage. All flowchart items become rectangles, (decision blocks, start/stop bubbles)
Basically, I am asking is there a fresher way of successfully bringing visio documents into Jama?

04-12-2017 14:09

I agree with Swoo. Any chance we might be able to get to the point where double-clicking on an image from edit automatically opens it up in Visio? We could even restrict it to certain image types, like svg.

10-12-2016 19:06

An update for anyone following this thread: Preston has created a video detailing a way to bring Visio diagrams into Jama's diagram editor for further editing. You can find that at the bottom of Adrian's post.

11-05-2015 01:33

Hi Adrian, thanks for sharing this tip.Frankly I like to dream big. I like to dream a day when a user can directly embed and edit a Visio diagram in Jama's rich text description field. Jama might consider making this enhancement to allow exceptional user experience. I know Jama prides itself with outstanding walk-up usability. Anything that requires more than 2 clicks I consider an opportunity for enhancement. Do want to thank you for sharing your tips though. I assume lots of organizations use Visio rather than Jama's built-in drawing tool. Have a good day. swoo