Agile Requirements Designer

Tech Tip: Common Mistakes when Importing Visio Files into Agile Designer

  • 1.  Tech Tip: Common Mistakes when Importing Visio Files into Agile Designer

    Posted 03-21-2017 10:10 AM

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    In Agile Designer, you will be able to import your existing Visio flows with the Visio (.vsdx with Dynamic Connectors) import tool. This allows users to bring any existing process or application models created in Visio into Agile Designer to accelerate the model creation process. 



    How to do this is explained in our online documentation here and below: 



    To import a file into CA Agile Requirements Designer, do the following:

    1. Launch CA Agile Requirements Designer.
    2. Click File, New.
    3. Title the flow. You can use the same name you had in Visio.
    4. Click Finish.
    5. Click Import in the Toolbox Dock.
    6. Choose the file type to import, for example, Visio.
    7. Browse to the file you want to import, for example a Visio file with .vsdx suffix.
    8. Click Open.
      The file is imported into CA Agile Requirements Designer.

    Sometimes when using this import process you may notice you received unexpected results or even error messages in Agile Designer. Often some re-work is required to transform the flows into a model based representation suitable for testing. This document will go over some of the common issues experienced when importing Visio files into Agile Designer and how to fix them.



    CA Agile Requirements Designer (ARD)- Agile Designer
    Microsoft Office Visio 2013 & 2016



    Here are a few things to check for when using Visio and ARD together:

    1. What importer are you using: Visio (.vsdx with Dynamic Connectors) or BPMN 2.0? 

    • Sometimes users will use these tools/terms interchangeably because they are both graphical representations of your process models, but each tool uses different file formats.
    • BPMN is an open source standard for business process models. 
    • MS Visio uses the .vsdx file format for Visio models.


    2. How are you importing the file?

    • Method 1: Toolbox Dock-> Import-> Visio/BPMN
    • Method 2: Tools-> Import-> Visio/BPMN
    • Sometimes there can be a defect with one method of importing, but not the other, so it is good to try each option and open a support case if one or both are not working.


    3. Are you using 'Dynamic' connectors in Visio?

    • Using Dynamic connectors means that the arrows in Visio need to be connected to an actual block, and not another line.
    • If the blocks are not connected with dynamic connectors, then you could end up with unconnected blocks once imported.
    • You can also experience a situation where each block receives its own end block since it is not connected originally in Visio.


    4. Are you seeing many blocks with an 'End' block, instead of just one?

    • When you import your Visio flow, you are usually asked if you would like to choose a Start/End block for your flow.
    • You can choose the correct blocks from your Visio flow, and then connect the blocks that are not connected to anything after the import is finished. 


    5. Are you seeing many unconnected blocks after importing?

    • This is most likely caused by not using Dynamic connectors in Visio, as discussed above.
    • An easy way to check if Dynamic connectors are being used is to move a process or decision in Visio. If the arrows stay connected and move with the block, then Dynamic connectors are being used. 
    • You can either fix this directly in Visio by connecting the arrow to the block, or by using the ARD validation method as described below.
    • To make sure all you blocks are connected in Agile Designer, you can use the 'Validate' button.
      1. In Agile Designer, click on the green checkmark icon in the toolbar.
      2. A column will pop up showing the following:
        • Validation State 
        • Summary
        • Unconnected Blocks (No Outputs)
        • Unreachable Blocks (No Inputs)
      3.  From here you can see which blocks you need to connect to or rearrange.


    6. Are you seeing many blocks with numbers [1] instead of names?

    • If you have any 'blank' end blocks in your Visio flow, they will appear with a number like [1] after being imported. 
    • The reason you are seeing this is because ARD cannot import blocks without a name or description, so it changes these multiple blank end blocks to have unique identifying names.
    • The way to resolve this would be to make sure each of your end blocks in the Visio flow have unique names, and then ARD will import them correctly.


    7. Are you unable to import your Visio flow at all?

    • This may be caused by the type of file extension you are using for your Visio flow. 
    • The file must have a VSDX file extension.
    • That is the only format Agile Designer can read. 
    • In order to correctly change the Visio file from VSD to VSDX, you need to do the following: 
      1. From within the Visio file, click on the 'File' tab. 
      2. Choose 'Save As' from the drop down list. 
      3. From the file extension drop down list, choose 'Visio (*.vsdx)'. 
      4. Click Save.


    8. Are you seeing many duplicate blocks or blocks that do not belong in this flow?

    • You may have 'hidden layers' turned on in Visio.
    • This could cause multiple blocks to be stacked on top of each other.
    • If you have this turned on, when you import, you will see many duplicate blocks or blocks that you did not think existed in your flow.


    9. Are you seeing many blocks listed as A[1], A[2], etc.?

    • ARD cannot import blocks with duplicate names, so it changes these blocks to have unique identifying names.
    • You can either edit the blocks to have unique names before importing to Visio or after using the ARD block editing tools.
    • To edit in ARD, you can right click on the drawing canvas and select view descriptions. 
    • Only the name of the block has to be unique. 
    • The description always takes the imported value.


    10. Is your Visio flow too hard to read after importing?

    • You can use the 'Re-layout Diagram' tool to arrange the flow so that it is more legible. 
    • To re-arrange your flow, do the following:
      1. Click on the 'Tools' tab.
      2. Choose the 'Re-layout Diagram' option.
      3. Under the 'Layout Method' drop down box, choose an option that best suits your needs.
      4. Click the 'Update' option.
      5. Your flow should now be re-arranged.


    Additional Information:

    If you experience any further issues, please open a support case on or call support at one of these numbers