3D Visioner Documentation 2016 / 2014

This documentation applies for 3D Visioner 2016 and 2014.
For the documentation of old version 3D Visioner 2013 please proceed here.

What’s new in Visioner 2016

  • Capability to change vertical size of any shape’s model in 3D scene
  • Shape properties context menu for easy access of “Height and Base Elevation” dialog
  • Support for connectors’ end-points display in 3D scene (beta)
  • Control of visibility of any drawing items in 3D scene
  • Stability fixes related to occasional D3D-related crashes
  • License Revoke feature for convenient license transfer from old PC


System Requirements

Software prerequisites

Note: You don’t need to install these prerequisites. Please establish Internet connection and the installer will do it automatically.

  • Microsoft Visio 2010, 2013 or 2016 (supported by Visioner 2016)
  • Microsoft .Net Framework 4
  • Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Tools For Office Runtime
  • Microsoft Office 2010 Primary Interop Assemblies Redistributable
  • SlimDX Runtime .NET 4.0

Hardware requirements

  • Processor: 1.5 Ghz or greater CPU
  • Memory: 1 GB (2GB or more preferred)
  • Graphics: DirectX 10 or capable graphics card, 1280 x 720 minimum resolution (1680 x 1050 or higher preferred)
  • Operation System: Any Windows version compatible with Microsoft Visio 2010, Visio 2013, Visio 2016
  • Virtualization environments may work, but are not directly supported



Exit all running instances of Microsoft Visio. Check that you are connected to Internet and run the 3D Visioner exe package you have downloaded. Setup can take time depending of the speed of your internet connection and installed prerequisites. Open or create new drawing in Microsoft Visio and find 3D Visioner Tab on Visio Ribbon.
After installation you can at any moment close 3D Visioner window (via “cross” button in top right corner), or you can temporarily disable it in MS Visio.


How to buy

3D Visioner is trial ware and in order to continue using it after the end of the 14-day evaluation period you will be asked to purchase the license of your choice in our E-Shop at shop.samposoftware.com. As soon as your order has been processed (usually within and hour), you will receive your personal license code. To activate it please either enter it in window displayed when Visio starts, or open “About” box in 3D Visioner Ribbon menu. Just enter or paste your personal License Code and press Register, as illustrated below:



Transferring your license to a new PC

Note: This applies to 3D Visioner 2016

In a case when your existing installation of 3D Visioner has to be replaced because of, for example, upgrading to a new hardware, you will need to activate your 3D Visioner license key on another machine. 3D Visioner licenses are single-user and single-installation (computer-bound). In order to activate your license that has been in use, you need to revoke it from your current installation, so that it will be released on license server. After a short period of time – typically, 2 days – your license key willl be ready for activation on a new PC.

To revoke you license, start 3D Visioner with online connection and open its “About” panel. Press “Revoke License” button. If transaction with the license server succeeds, you will see the confirmation dialog and your existing copy of 3D Visioner will be deactivated.



Creating 3D scene

To create 3D Scene of the active drawing, just open your project and 3D Visioner window automatically will render it as 3D scene. If you wish to add another perspective and see the scene from different angle, you can click Build Active Drawing on 3D Visioner ribbon.


Change 3D Scene background colors

Click on small arrow on 3D Visioner ribbon and change background colors from Settings dialog that will pop up. Select the desired color for each corner and 3D Visioner will automatically render gradient fill for the scene background.

image003   image004-300x253


Add, remove and change shapes in 3D Scene

3D scene is always in sync with your Visio drawing, everything is automatic. Just keep 3D Visioner window open and do all you want in Visio and all your changes will be performed in 3D.


Control what items are visible in 3D Scene

Note: This applies to 3D Visioner 2016

If you wish to have some items to be present on Visio drawing without being visible in Visioner 3D scene, you can control visibility of any shapes, lines or connectors via specific Layer: select any shape or a set of shapes and assign them to the drawing Layer named “no3d” and the will disappear from Visioner 3D view.

To do this, go to ribbon bar: “Home” -> “Layers” -> “Assign to Layer” and check mark “no3d” layer. For the first time you just need to create a layer with the name “no3d” if it does not yet exist inside the drawing. To return back visibility of shapes in 3D, un-assign them from “no3d” layer by removing the check mark in “Assign to Layer” dialog.

This feature is very useful to keep clean your 3D View from unnecessary connectors and lines or walls & structures.

Assign to 'no3d' Layer Assign to 'no3d' Layer


Set shapes elevation

Shapes that can be put at height off the floor have corresponding parameter in their Properties data. Right click on Visio shape and select “Properties”. Usually it is Base Elevation, though it may differ for some specific shapes. For example it is Window Header Height for windows and Beam Top Elevation for beams. Change those parameters in shape properties and see it changing in 3D Scene.



Set shapes vertical size and elevation

Note: this applies to 3D Visioner 2016

Right mouse click a shape on the drawing and to open shape context menu. Select “3D Visioner -> Change Height and Elevation in 3D Scene”. Using this dialog it is possible to set scaling of the model vertical size in 3D scene. Also this dialog contains Base Elevation value for quick adjustment of the hight position where this model appears in 3D scene.



Change color and transparency of shapes

3D Visioner models made to react on parent shape color properties – just change the Fill Color and Transparency of shapes in Visio and find them changed in objects in 3D scene. Some models have elements that maintain static color where it is logical: for example hot and cold water knobs will always be red and blue, while you can have kitchen sink in any color you wish!



Apply backgrounds and styles to 3D scene

Just apply background and styles in Visio and find them applied in 3D.



Insert images into 3D scene

You can insert any raster image into 3D scene. Drag and drop the picture you want into your MS Visio drawing, select it with right mouse click to open Shape Properties context menu. In the menu, select “Container -> Add to New Container” and the picture will appear in 3D scene on the floor level.


Disable 3D Visioner

You can temporarily deactivate 3D Visioner from MS Visio: in Visio ribbon menu go to File -> Options -> Add-ins.
Select “Manage“, press “Go…” and check or uncheck “3D Visioner” in the list.


Making walls and windows


Create walls from space shapes

Using the Space shape in Visio, you can do all this, and more. The Space shape in Visio is designed to help you focus on spaces at an abstract level. You can find the Space shape on the Walls, Doors and Windows stencil. You can create any structure using Space shape and 3D Visioner will render all your actions automatically, making 3D walls, windows, doors and floors. 3D view will automatically follow your actions.

Please read “Quickly sketch a building plan with the Space shape in Visio” tutorial from Microsoft and create you rooms. Another useful hint is to draw and outline with the Line tool and convert it via “Convert to Wall” Visio feature.



Add windows and doors

Just insert doors or a windows shapes into your drawing and they will be added in 3D automatically, creating gap inside the wall at proper position to fit.



Create floors using pages

You can create each floor on a separate page and then place them on the top of each other with Stack page layout feature of 3D Visioner. If you then uncheck Show Pages button and set the Interpage space to None, you will see the whole building with all floors. Pages can be represented in different modes: stacked on top of each other (Stack), on the sale level one-by-one (Tape), or filled as flat grid (Plane). Use Arrangement button on ribbon menu to select what suits you best. With just one click you get your floors arranged in one plane or vertically as you designed for your building. To modify gaps between the floors, change selection in the Space button from 3D Visioner ribbon.



Create shape-to-page connection

You can create connection from a shape to a shape on another page: Hold the Ctrl+Shift and click a shape in 3D followed by click a page. To remove this kind of connection, find connected shape on Visio drawing, right click – Properties, select “Edit Hyperlinks”, find the link to another shape inside the list and select “Delete” button:


Navigate in 3D view

3D Visioner offers easy control mode for viewing 3D scene supporting both mouse actions and keyboard shortcuts. As you see the whole project in 3D, it is very convenient to navigate by selecting objects between 2D drawing and 3D scene. To enable this feature check Sync Selection button on 3D Visioner ribbon. Now, when you click on an object in 3D, it will become selected and centered in Visio drawing, so you don’t need to waste time to find a required object by switching from page to page.


Zoom, rotate and pan 3D scene

Set focus on 3D Visioner window by clicking on any part of it and use mouse wheel to zoom the scene in and out. You can also press “+” and “-“ keys or move mouse with left and right buttons pressed together to get the same functionality.
Rotate the view using the left mouse button: click and hold left mouse button and move the mouse. The scene rotates around a rotation center. Initially the rotation center is set at the center of the scene. You can set it to the center of the active page (“pin the page”) by double clicking the left mouse button on required place on that page. In this case the scene will rotate around the center of the active page. The same for any other 3D object, you can pin it with double-click to be the new rotation center. To set the pivot back to the center of the entire scene, double-click left mouse button on an empty space of the scene. To pan the view, move your mouse holding right mouse button pressed and the scene will follow your moving.

View from different points

Use “Left”, “Right”, “Up”, “Down’ arrows and “Page Up”, “Page Down” keys to change the view in 3D scene. To reset the view to default, press “Home” key. You can do the same from drop-down menu in 3D Scene window.



Navigation modes

3D Visioner implements two navigation modes: Scene Rotation and First Person View. Scene Rotation mode is the default and it works as explained before. Second navigation mode, First Person View can be switched via “View->First Person View” menu. It simulates observer moving through space, viewing 3D scene from own eyes. Scene floor stays horizontal all the time. When in First Person mode, hold right mouse button and set direction by mouse. Press and hold “W” key to move forward, “A” to strafe left, “D” to strafe right, “S” to move backward. Roll mouse wheel up or down to float higher or lower in vertical axis. To change movement speed to faster or slower, press Space. You can switch back to “scene rotation” navigation method by activating “FirstPerson View” selection in menu again, un-selecting the checkbox next to it.

If you wish to set First Person mode as default navigation method in 3D Visioner, change it 3D Visioner Preferences (opens from ribbon menubar). “Invert vertical axis” option switches the way how viewing direction changes up and down when moving mouse forward and backward.



Look through walls

There is a very useful feature in 3D Visioner that lets you look throw the walls and wall objects: columns, spaces, pilasters, slabs, beams etc. Use this feature to see the interior of rooms and buildings without need of 3D scene rotation. Just check Glass Walls on 3D Visioner ribbon and get the result. To make walls again solid, uncheck the button. This doesn’t affect already transparent walls with transparency set from Visio.



Use multiple windows for different 3D views

You can open as many 3D windows as you need in each Visio project. All 3D Visioner windows are usual Visio “Anchor Windows”, so you can dock them and work as you get into the way of using them. Rotate, scale and pan the 3D scene of each window to set the most convenient angle of view. Also when you edit your Visio project (add, delete or move Visio shapes, create or delete connections, etc.), all changes are immediately reflected in all opened 3D windows.



Fit scene into the view and Full Screen mode

Press Fit Scene into the View button on 3D scene window toolbar or just press F inside 3D window and the scene will fit the view. You can also quickly switch scene view to Left, Right, Front, Back or enter Full Screen mode using buttons nearby.



Keyboard shortcuts

Action Keyboard Mouse
Default View (Home) Home
Left View Left Arrow
Right View Right Arrow
Front View Up Arrow
Back View Down Arrow
Top View Page Up
Bottom View Page Down
Fit Scene Into The View F
Zoom In + Mouse Wheel or
Mouse Move with Left and Right buttons pressed
Zoom Out Mouse Wheel or
Mouse Move with Left and Right buttons pressed

Keyboard control in First Person Mode:

Action Keyboard Mouse
Move forward W
Move back S
Strafe left A
Strafe right D
Movement Hold Left Mouse Button
Fly up/down Mouse Wheel
Speed slow/fast Space


Export options

You can output created 3D scene in the form of a static image or distribute it is in complete 3D-viewable form.


Print 3D scene

Press “Print” button on 3D scene window toolbar to print the visible area of 3D scene. For printing optimization there is an option to switch gradient background on or off. Use it if you are printing in monochrome, to save ink or get clearer view of objects.



Save 3D scene as an image

Press “Save As…” button on 3D scene window toolbar to save the visible area of 3D scene in JPEG or PNG image formats. As for printing, there is an option to switch gradient background on or off.



Share 3D view of your project with others

You can save the 3D scene of your project in Wise Dimensions 3D file and send it to others. To view it, point them to download free Wise 3D Viewer from our site. The Wise 3D Viewer is a standalone application that does not require Visio. It includes all of the viewing functionality of 3D Visioner without editing and saving capabilities. To save the project in *.w3s press “Save As” button on 3D scene window and choose Wise3D Project (*.w3s).



Import options


Custom 3D models

“Custom Models” feature available in Enterprise edition allows you to import your own 3D models, associate with Visio shapes and use them in your drawings to visualize any design that is relevant to your domain. 3D Visioner 2014 supports .X and OBJ formats for models import.

X format is the former native DirectX 3D format. See “X File Reference” in MSDN for the specification. Stock 3D models are available in the Internet, commercial or free, on digital media catalog sites, for example, Turbosquid.com is one of well-known such sources.

OBJ format is more common and it is available as an export option in many 3D design applications. In 3D Visioner 2014 you can select “.obj” as a file type in import dialog and point to a model in OBJ format. Texturing is supported via .mtl files. Pay attention to keep .mtl files together with related .obj file. In case if textures not showing properly during import, modify invalid path references to .mtl files inside .obj files and restart import.


Creating 3D models

For best results, please fulfill those conditions for custom 3D models:

  • Model must be located at Origin (0,0,0) vertically standing along Z axis
  • Model “floor” projection must match the aspect ratio of the target Visio 2D shape for model scaling to work correctly
  • Low/medium number of polygons is preferred to achieve optimal 3D scene rendering performance
  • For .X models, use simple material coloring with no textures


Coloring 3D models

3D Visioner supports Fill Color and Transparency for Shapes so that it applies the same style and color to 3D object as set for its parent 2D shape in Visio drawing. This makes possible to have a wall, a sofa or a shelf in any color you choose. However for many objects some parts should retain certain color, such as green color for plant leaves, red and blue for water knobs, et cetera.

In this example image kitchen sink has purple tint as set on its Visio shape, while knobs and metal parts have fixed colors. To achieve the same and make your model reacting on Shape colors, please use following principle:

  • Materials of those parts of your 3D model that you wish to follow the Fill color of to its Visio shape, define Emissive color as “0.003922;   0.003922;   0.003922;;”

Please refer to the following code fragment of 3D model .X file:

template Material {
  ColorRGBA faceColor; // Face color = ambient color
  FLOAT power;
  ColorRGB specularColor;
  ColorRGB emissiveColor;
  Material Material__0 {
  0.639216;0.886275;0.854902;1.000000;; // Metal parts, always gray
  Material Material__1 { // Red knob, always red
  Material Material__2 { // Blue knob, always blue
  Material Material__3 { // Sink, will be painted in the Fill color of its Visio shape 


Importing 3D models

1. Create a Visio drawing and include some shapes in it
2. In 3D Visioner tab, select Shape Manager in menu
3. Select desired shape, click “Edit or assign…” button
4. Click “Add..” and point to the 3D model’s .X file or .OBJ file



Rotation control

During import it is possible to change axis alignment and rotate 3D model to change its orientation in relation to the target shape. You can set the model in any position, changing its orientation with “Rotation angle” options: “X” menu selector changes tilt position, allowing to tumble it or invert upside down, “Z” menu selector rolls it around vertical axis.



Camera FlyView

 Visioner 2014 FlyView edition brings possibility to establish a waypoint route through the scene and launch camera to follow it and record video. You can see in 3D Visioner “About” dialog the label of your edition in “Available features” line.


Setting camera path

To create a path that your camera will follow and fly through in the 3D scene add a number of waypoints in your 2D scene, using “Add Waypoint”. Select waypoint parameters according to your needs, defining Elevation and Pitch & yaw angles. Values of Pitch and Yaw are in degrees, range from -180 to 180.

Waypoints will form trajectory line, traversing through them as a spline curve. Speed of a waypoint will influence speed change when camera passes through.

You can edit a waypoint by selecting needed waypoint and then activating “Edit Waypoint” choice from the 3D Visioner ribbon menu.

Note: elevation is in relative units, try to use larger drawing scale (1:200) in Page Setup so that you have more range of values to select into elevation field. Meaning that otherwise you get elevation 0 is on the floor, and elevation 2 is already too high. To avoid this and get better range, use larger drawing scale (File->Print->Page Setup->Drawing Scale).


You can move waypoint shapes and the camera path trajectory will change accordingly. When a waypoint is selected, a camera wireframe model is shown over its marker in 3D scene. You can select “Camera View” button on the ribbon menu and 3D Visioner window will show the perspective of the camera at this waypoint. Select next/previous waypoint using toolbar buttons or manually selecting them with mouse click on their markers on the drawing or 3D scene.


Show Route options allows to show or hide waypoint markers and trajectory line in 3D scene:



Playback camera path

Pressing Play button will launch the camera on the waypoint path. If Camera View button is switched, the scene will be shown from the perspective of the camera. In normal view mode, you will see the camera traveling in 3D scene along its path.


Video recording

Pressing Record button will open selection for video frame size. After selecting the Visioner will block the controls, resize its 3D window to the selected size and start generation of video frames. After this stage it will show system prompt with available video compressors. Select compatible compressor from the list to initiate video file compression. At this point 3D Visioner will pass video frames generated at the previous step to the video compressor library.

Please note that with the sophisticated camera route with large number of waypoints video creation may take considerable amount of time, up to several hours.

Following codecs are recommended: Lagarith and  x264vfw. Lagarith is a lossless codec with high efficiency, while x264vfw is an implementation of MPEG-4 standard.

When encoding via x264vfw, options “Zero Latency” and “VirtualDub Hack” must be set:


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