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Use Visio Services with external lists in SharePoint 2013

SharePoint 2013
 

Applies to: SharePoint Server 2013

Topic Last Modified: 2013-12-18

Summary: Connect to an external list in Visio by using Microsoft Business Connectivity Services and render the diagram in a browser by using Visio Services.

This document describes the procedures necessary to connect a Visio diagram to an external list in SharePoint Server 2013.

An external list is a data source outside SharePoint Server (for example, a SQL Server table) that has been connected to a SharePoint list by using Microsoft Business Connectivity Services. The data connection and the external list are both created by using Visual Studio 2012 or SharePoint Designer 2013. The connection information is managed and stored by using the Business Data Connectivity service, a component of Business Connectivity Services in SharePoint Server 2013.

The following service applications must be running and configured on your SharePoint Server 2013 farm:

  • Business Data Connectivity service

  • Visio Graphics Service

  • Secure Store Service

You also need the following domain accounts:

  • An account that has read access to your data source. This account is stored in Secure Store for use by Microsoft Business Connectivity Services.

  • A user account that has Design permissions to the SharePoint site where you want to create the external list.

  • An account that has Farm Administrator permissions to configure various settings on the SharePoint Central Administration website.

The Business Data Connectivity service External Content Type uses credentials that are stored in Secure Store to access the data source. You must create a Secure Store target application for the External Content Type to use in accessing these credentials.

Use the following procedure to create the target application.

To create a Secure Store Target Application
  1. In Central Administration, in the Application Management section, click Manage Service Applications.

  2. Click the Secure Store service application.

  3. In the Manage Target Applications group on the ribbon, click New.

  4. In the Target Application ID box, type a unique identifier for this target application. Note the name that you use here; you will need it when you create the External Content Type.

  5. Type a Display Name and Contact E-Mail address.

  6. From the Target Application Type list, select Group.

  7. Click Next.

  8. On the Field Names page, keep the default settings and then click Next.

  9. In the Target Application Administrators box, type the names of the users whom you want to be able to administer this target application.

  10. In the Members box, type the names of the users whom you want to allow to trigger data refresh. (That is, the users who will be viewing the Visio diagram that you create.)

  11. Click OK.

After the target application has been created, you must set the credentials that are to be associated with this target application. In this case, you must use a domain account that has read access to the data source that you want to connect to through Microsoft Business Connectivity Services.

To set the credentials for the target application
  1. On the Secure Store administration page, select the check box next to the target application that you just created.

  2. In the Credentials group on the ribbon, click Set.

  3. In the Windows User Name box, type the domain account that has access to your data source.

  4. Type and confirm the password for that account.

  5. Click OK.

You must create the External Content Type with a user account that has permissions to the Business Data Connectivity service metadata store. Use the following procedure to grant a user permissions to the Business Data Connectivity service metadata store. (You can skip this step if you already have a user account that has these permissions.)

To grant a user permissions to the Business Data Connectivity service metadata store
  1. In Central Administration, in the Application Management section, click Manage Service Applications.

  2. Click the Business Data Connectivity service service application.

  3. In the Permissions section of the ribbon, click Set Metadata Store Permissions.

  4. Type the user account to which you want to grant permissions, and then click Add.

  5. Select the user account that you just added, and then select the Edit and Execute check boxes.

  6. Click OK.

Note that Edit is a highly privileged permission that is required to create or modify External Content Types in Business Data Connectivity service. We recommend that you set Edit permissions when the site is first designed or changed and then remove the Edit permissions for users who do not require it. Execute permissions are required to query the External Content Type.

After your user account has permissions to the Business Data Connectivity service metadata store, you can create the External Content Type. To complete the procedures in this section, your account must also have Design permissions on the SharePoint site where you plan to create the external list. If you want to set permissions on the list (an optional step) you must have Full Control permissions on the site.

External content types for Business Data Connectivity service are created and managed in SharePoint Designer 2013 or Visual Studio 2012. This example uses a SQL Server data source, and the external content type is created by using SharePoint Designer 2013.

The following procedures describe how to create and configure an External Content Type. Follow these procedures on a computer that is running SharePoint Designer 2013.

To create an External Content Type
  1. Log on to a computer by using an account that has Design permissions on the SharePoint site where you want to create the external list and permissions to the Business Data Connectivity service metadata store.

  2. Open SharePoint Designer 2013.

  3. In the Open SharePoint Site section, click Open Site.

  4. In the Site name box, type the URL of the site where you want to create the external list, and then click Open.

  5. In the left navigation, click External Content Types.

  6. In the New section of the ribbon, click External Content Type.

  7. Type a Name and Display Name for the content type.

  8. Click Click here to discover external data sources and define operations.

  9. Click Add Connection.

  10. Select your data source type from the Data Source Type list. (This example assumes a SQL Server data source.)

  11. In the SQL Server Connection dialog box:

    • In the Database Server box, type the name of your database server.

    • In the Database Name box, type the name of your database.

    • Select the Connect with Impersonated Windows Identity option.

    • In the Secure Store Application ID box, type the ID of the Secure Store target application that you created.

    • Click OK.

  12. In the Data Source Explorer, find the table that you want to connect to.

  13. Right-click the table and then click Create All Operations.

  14. Complete the All operations wizard.

  15. When you have completed the wizard, on the File menu, click Save.

After you have created the External Content Type, the next step is to create an external list based on it.

To create an external list
  1. In SharePoint Designer, in the left navigation pane, click External Content Types. (If the External Content Type that you just created does not appear in the list, you may have to refresh the list.)

  2. Right-click the External Content Type that you created, and then click External List.

  3. Type a name for the list, and then click OK.

  4. Optionally, click Permissions for this list to set list permissions. (By default, the list inherits permissions from the site.)

Users who will be using the external list in SharePoint or who will be viewing a Visio diagram connected to that list must have permissions to the External Content Type. Use the following procedure to grant the users permissions to the External Content Type in Business Data Connectivity service.

To grant a user permissions to the Business Data Connectivity service External Content Type
  1. In Central Administration, in the Application Management section, click Manage Service Applications.

  2. Click the Business Data Connectivity service service application.

  3. Click the External Content Type that you created.

  4. In the Permissions group on the ribbon, click Set Object Permissions.

  5. Type the user account or an Active Directory group to which you want to grant permissions, and then click Add.

  6. Select the user account that you just added, and then select the Execute check box.

  7. Click OK.

The external list is now available on the SharePoint site. You can now connect to the list from Visio.

To connect to an external list in Visio
  1. In Visio 2013, on the Data tab, click Link Data to Shapes.

  2. Choose the Microsoft SharePoint Foundation list option, and then click Next.

  3. On the Select a site page, type the URL for the SharePoint site where your external list is located, and then click Next.

  4. On the Select a list page, choose the external list that you created, and then click Finish.

The data from the external list is now available in Visio and you can link it to your shapes. After you have linked the data to shapes, the next step is to save the file to a SharePoint document library.

To save a diagram to a SharePoint document library
  1. In Visio, click File, and then click Save.

  2. Click Computer, and then click Browse.

  3. Type the URL of the SharePoint document library in the location box at the top of the Save As dialog box, and then press Enter.

  4. Type a file name, and then click Save.

After the diagram has been saved to the SharePoint document library, you can go to the document library and click the Visio file to render it in a browser by using Visio Services.

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