Have you ever tried to find cool graphics for conceptual diagrams but find yourself coming up empty handed? Sure, sites like istockphoto.com make icons available inexpensively. But no matter what the cost, if you work for a company you still have to submit an expense request, get it approved by management, and then subtract the cost from a dwindling budget. It's a pain in the neck, and you're usually in a time crunch, right?
Never fear, Visio is here. Visio has tons of great-looking icons. And they're all vectors, so they resize seamlessly. There's only one problem: they're stuck in Visio.
With a little manipulation, however, you can unfree them from Visio and keep them looking sharp for insertion in InDesign. You need a power app (namely, Adobe Illustrator), but that's it.
To extract images from Visio and insert them into InDesign, here's what I do:
If it's absolutely necessary, you can convert it to a GIF, but the edges will look jagged. Open up the file in Photoshop and go to Image > Mode. Make sure RGB color and 8 bit are selected. Now save it as a GIF file or a Photoshop (.psd) file. The edges will be a bit jagged, but as long as you don't resize it, the edges won't be too bad.
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I'm a technical writer based in the California San Francisco Bay area. Topics I write about on this blog include technical writing, authoring and publishing tools, API documentation, tech comm trends, visual communication, technical writing career advice, information architecture and findability, developer documentation, and more. If you're a professional or aspiring technical writer, be sure to subscribe to email updates using the form above. You can learn more about me here. You can also contact me with questions.