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What template in Microsoft Visio would one use to lay out a digital design?

I draw up many schematics for the Adv. Digital Design course I'm in and cannot find the right template. Flow charts are too generic and electrical circuit templates are too detailed.

I just want to be able to draw boxes with wires/buses connecting them with the occasional logic gate.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ After coming back to this question after many years, the answer is that there is no good capture tool to capture digital logic designs (i.e. gates, memory, flip flops, arithmetic units, (de)muxes, et al, with the Vdd and GND as implicit to the design). \$\endgroup\$ – Phyllostachys Apr 23 '15 at 11:27
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If you're diagramming the high level workings of digital circuits then you could use the "Circuits and Logic" template under Engineering templates (Visio 2007). If you need more shapes you can import the libraries from the other templates (just I can't remember how). This way you can import any of the more general or more complex shapes you need.

After you have all the shapes you need in a drawing you can save it as a template. You can also look into building your own shapes but that's something that can get really complicated.

Only thing to watch for are shapes that have code embedded in them. For example you might notice that some text boxes will automatically resize to fit the text you enter. This is all programmed in (and can be edited with some know how). But using these shapes for purposes other than intended can be a headache because inevitably you will want to change an aspect controlled by code.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I think the problem I have with the Circuits and Logic template is that the boxes are a little too specific or hard to detail. I want to customize the amount of inputs and outputs so that I can slap a block down and call it my display driver. \$\endgroup\$ – Phyllostachys Oct 1 '11 at 0:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ You should be able to customise the shapes for your needs. I had done this a few times over the years but never really learnt how to do it 'by the book'. However, if you go to the menu View > Drawing Explorer Window you will see a folder called Masters (there will be items in it so long as you have shapes on the page). If you double click a shape in the masters folder it will let you edit it. I'm not sure how to save the master from there on in but it shouldn't be difficult to Google. \$\endgroup\$ – snoopen Oct 3 '11 at 12:01
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I don't know that much about Visio, but it sounds inappropriate to drawing schematics. Use a real schematic capture package. Surely there are some free or low cost packages out there. The free version of Eagle might be good enough. Your university may already have a license to one or more electronics packages.

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    \$\begingroup\$ like These \$\endgroup\$ – Kortuk Sep 25 '11 at 21:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ He already said that electrical circuits are too detailed. I don't see how using a schematic capture program helps with this at all. It sounds like he wants a detailed block diagram. \$\endgroup\$ – Kellenjb Sep 25 '11 at 23:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ I agree with Kellen here, Olin. For block diagrams you don't need individual components, less refdes's and net names. Visio is better suited for this than a schematic capture soft. \$\endgroup\$ – stevenvh Sep 26 '11 at 6:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Kellenjb, I disagree, there are schematic capture programs that can support dealing with just that. They allow you to draw blocks that are your own "pieces" and logic gates and will be ready to deal with electrical nets automatically. I think just getting used to schematic drawing software is worth the time. You already know though I often use visio for block diagram functional decomposition of projects. \$\endgroup\$ – Kortuk Sep 26 '11 at 9:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Kortuk What makes me say what I did was "Flow charts are too generic and electrical circuit templates are too detailed.", "draw boxes with wires/buses connecting", and "the occasional logic gate". All of those point directly to a block diagram. Even with being able to draw your own blocks in a schematic capture program, it still doesn't seem like what he wants. \$\endgroup\$ – Kellenjb Sep 26 '11 at 13:47

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