Document your Orchestrator Runbooks with the updated “Visio and Word Generator”!

Document your Orchestrator Runbooks with the updated “Visio and Word Generator”!

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Following a few customer enquiries, I am happy to post an update to the “Orchestrator Visio and Word Generator” tool.

The very first version of the tool was published nearly 3 years ago as a way to export and document Runbooks details in Visio, under the name “Opalis VSD Generator”… Wow, that doesn’t make me younger!

Since then, features were added to the tool along the way, including Orchestrator support and the option to generate a Word document as well.

This new version (1.5) adds support for Visio 2013 and Word 2013, as well as more detailed output in the Word document generated (including details on the published data being used in the activities). It also supports the ability to use a SQL Server listening on a non-default port, and a few bug fixes (for example, it now correctly excludes deleted activities from Visio exports)

This post merely contains a few explanations about what the tool does, and where to download it. You can also refer to past posts for more details, or to the documentation included in the package.

 Note : This tool has been replaced by the SMART Documentation and Conversion Helper 2.0 tool, see the blog post here. The download link below points to SMART Documentation and Conversion Helper 2.0

What do you get when running the tool?

The user interface looks like this. You can browse the folder hierarchy and select the Runbook you wish to generate documentation for:


In the screenshots below, you can see a Runbook and the associated Visio export generated by the tool:




It does work with more complex Runbooks too! And this examples also shows the Word document automatically generated by the tool:



Here’s the download link

Note : The download link has been updated to point to the SMART Documentation and Conversion Helper 2.0 tool, which replaces this tool and this version. Actual blog post for the SMART Documentation and Conversion Helper 2.0 is here.

Orchestrator Visio and Word Generator 1.5


Thanks for reading, and hope you enjoy the tool!

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  • Hi Bruno, very good job !!

  • Can you add functionality to allowed a non Default instance of SQL. When trying to connect to ourSQL instance "ServerName\InstanceName" it fails to connect and list the default instance databases.

  • @Bruno Saille [MSFT] : thanks for the update! but I've encounter a problem when the PC is in Format, in Region and Language Windows, other than English (United States) the program hang and display this error when he try to generate links between activities. System.Runtime.InteropServices.COMException (0x86DB0CE6): An exception occurred. at Microsoft.Office.Interop.Visio.CellClass.set_Formula(String lpbstrRet) It will be nice if you can fix it :) @Anonymous : You can do it by specifing the port number of your instance, because it does not retreive the port number dynamically

  • Thanks Anonymous and Neodolphin for the feedback. Based on this and other requests received, I uploaded an updated version (v1.51, same link) with a few tweaks: 1/ Adds a way to connect to a named instance without specifying the port (this still works, as you suggest Neodolphin, but it's now also possible to use a "servername\instancename" syntax without specifying the port. This is further explained in the documentation) 2/ Fixes a situation where the Visio export would fail when exporting Runbooks links, on a machine running non-English regional settings (this should fix the issue you were also seeing) 3/ Fixes an “index was out of range” issue in a specific situation with deleted objects still present in the Orchestrator database 4/ Enhanced the tool so it would not fail when loops do not have a duration specified in the Runbook Designer. I would also encourage you to look at this tool: It does not replace the Visio export functionality, but could definitely be used to replace the Word export documentation. Plus it is written in PowerShell, so easy to reuse and tweak for your own needs. The output has been enhanced compared to the current Word output in the Visio and Word Generator. Thanks!

  • Tool also work with Visio and Word 2013 x64. You just need to change path to Visio template "BASFLO_U.VSSX" in "Visio Settings" sections of "Configure..." dialog, which is in this case "Program Files".

  • Thanks for the note, Ivan! Yes, the tool was tested with Visio and Word 2013 32-bit versions in mind (most frequent configurations), but it's great to know you've had success in running it with 64-bit versions as well.

  • I have installed 1.51 and this works with Visio 2013 and Orchestrator 2012 R2.
    When I want to export to Word as well I get an .Net framework error. Unhandled exception has occured.... Call was rejected by callee. 0x800180001. I did some investigation and this error can be fixed (hopefully) by changing a little in you sourcecode:
    Can you pls fix this anoying error?
    On codeplex I didn't find the sourcecode, otherwise I should have tried it myself.

    Kind regards,

  • Hi Mark

    You should not encounter this error, can you please contact me offline (my email is in the documentation from the download package), so we can discuss at which moment of the Word export you face this issue? Thanks!

    By the way, for anyone using this tool for the Word export, I would also recommend looking at this tool : Even if you are not considering SMA yet, you could use this tool to export Runbooks to a PS1 format (it will use comments if the activities are not PowerShell based). The nice thing compared to the Word output is that the PS1 output keeps the structure too. And there are a few enhancements in the PS1 output compared to the one in Word.

  • FYI, just had a thread with Mark, and he confirmed he solved the issue. Word 2013 was not activated and, once activated. the error went away. Thanks for the follow up, Mark!

  • Why would i received "This machine cannot be reached" when i'm entering the Management Server. I tried disabling the firewall on the Management server. Also tried the "Let me override this value" and enter "\\servername\c$\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\Microsoft System Center 2012\Orchestrator\Extensions" but that does not Work either.

  • @RFalken : The tool tries to connect to the Orchestrator management server so it can export images. Beyond firewall, issues to connect to that remote box could include DNS name resolution, user rights, or another firewall between the management server and the machine running the tool. The goal of the "override" option is just to use a different path if the actual remote Orchestrator installation folder is different, but the machine needs to be reachable first. Feel free to ping me offline if the issue persists, my contact information is in the tool's documentation. Thanks!

  • Hi

    Is it possible to fix the region/language issue in version 1.31 (that supports office 2010) as I'm trying to document the runbooks for a customer but keep getting the problem generating the links.


  • Hi Alex
    Apologies for the late reply. Unfortunately, as this is a community tool, we're keeping test cases as streamlined as possible, now focusing on updating the latest version (v1.51 and higher. That being said, we're exploring ways to enable easier updates by the community, for example by possibly converting the tool to PowerShell (but no guarantees at this stage). Some workarounds in the meantime would be to use v1.51 with Visio 2013 or a trial version, or temporarily setting the regional settings to US.

  • Nowhere in the smart tool does it even mention exporting to visio. Why was the download link removed to this? I think the definition of "replace" needs to be clarified here. This is most certainly not a replacement.

  • Hi CVP

    As part of SMART, the "Documentation and Conversion Helper Tool" includes a Visio export. You can see the description at the download link (also pasted below), and there is also documentation with sample screenshots in the download package.