Using Microsoft Command Line Switches with CrossOver

8 April 2014 by Caron WillsCaron Wills
Most Microsoft Applications have a series of command line switches that can be used to make life easier in various scenarios.

Today we're going to apply once such command line switch to Microsoft Visio 2010 via CrossOver. While this topic will be Mac-centric, a few instructions for our Linux users will be provided so they can accomplish the same task.

Let's set this up right. I'm using Microsoft Visio 2010 to make a flow chart:

(with apologies, I'm not a Visio power-user by any stretch of the imagination)

When something outside of CrossOver happens...

I need to see some of my other windows... or

I had an external monitor attached and was working with Visio 2010 on that monitor... or

I stepped away and my overly curious child "helped" mom...

OR SOMETHING... else (I don't know what happened...)

And now, Microsoft Visio 2010 looks like this:

(and if you can't tell, all of the menus and parts of the toolbars for Visio are gone, eaten because Visio is too far up on the screen)

And while I may know the hotkey to save, I don't know the hotkey to open a file or perform any of the other tasks that one may need to do in Microsoft Visio 2010 (because I'm not a Visio power user, ha!). And I feel stressed because on Windows, I can fix this. I can right click my task bar and select "move" to adjust the window or I can hold down "ctrl-space" and then move the window or so many other things. If I were on Windows, I COULD FIX THIS!!!!!

But I'm not. I'm on my pretty, shiny MacBook Pro and I'm running Mavericks and I'm using CrossOver and really I love it except for this one little thing...

This can be fixed on the Mac as well. It's not as easy, it's not as intuitive and the reason is that the Mac controls are different than Windows and when something like this happens, the best thing we can do is offer a solution. So, I save by hitting command + s and I shut down Visio 2010 by right clicking or control + clicking on the Visio icon in the dock to bring up the context menu and choose "Quit"... it looks like this:

With Microsoft Visio 2010 closed, click on the CrossOver Icon to place "CrossOver" on the menu bar and then choose the "Programs" drop down menu to locate "Run Command..."

Pardon me, before I forget, on Linux the easiest way to get to the "Run Command" dialogue is to open a terminal and issue the cxrun command:




It looks like this:

Visio 2010 is on one of my Macs, not on my Ubuntu 14.04 system... but I do have Hearthstone!

And on the Mac, the "Run Command" window looks like this, you'll want to click the "Browse..." button

Within the Microsoft Visio 2010 bottle, navigate to VISIO.EXE, select it and choose "open":
drive_c, Program Files, Microsoft Office, Office14, VISIO.EXE

Don't press run yet! We still need the switch!

At the very end of the line, after the quotes, add the switch. In this case "/safe" to force Visio into safemode. It should look like this:

Now click "Run" and Visio 2010 launches in "fullscreen" mode:

Click the window controls in the upper left to bring it to windowed mode:

Move it around. Close.

On next launch, Visio 2010 will be in a more sane position. Occasionally it still launches near the top of the screen but enough of the menu bar is visible to grab and adjust placement.

The truth is, many of the command line switches do the exact same thing they would do on a Windows system. It's possible to open with a specific profile, launch in safemode, reset the view of an application, open a document as a template and much, much more.

More importantly, I can go back to working on my fabulous flowchart in Visio.

About Caron Wills

Caron has been working in the computer software industry for over 10 years. She joined
CodeWeavers in 2008 and became the Quality Assurance Manager for CodeWeavers in 2009. Contact Caron at and learn more about her professional accomplishments on LinkedIn.

About CodeWeavers
Founded in 1996 as a general software consultancy, CodeWeavers focuses on the development of Wine – the core technology found in all of its CrossOver products. The company's goal is to bring expanded market opportunities for Windows software developers by making it easier, faster and more painless to port Windows software to Mac and Linux. CodeWeavers is recognized as a leader in open-source Windows porting technology, and maintains development offices in Minnesota, the United Kingdom and elsewhere around the world. The company is privately held.

The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.

New Comment

J-P Simard
J-P Simard
Posted 2014-04-08 15:20
In XFCE, I just right-click on the panel where the windows button is, and select "move" which does exactly that. I used to do it in gnome, so I figure other desktops have that function for Linux folks. I'll keep the command in mind, but a right-click seems more efficient in this case.
Silviu Cojocaru
Silviu Cojocaru
Posted 2014-04-08 15:48
J-P, on any machine using X11 you can usually just press the Alt key, grab a window and move it around. It also does not matter where you click on it to drag it around as long as Alt is pressed. I believe that an alternative is to use Spaces to re-position misbehaving windows on OS X.

I may be wrong, of course but from what I see Spaces behaves very much like Unity or Gnome for managing desktops and windows inside desktops.
J-P Simard
J-P Simard
Posted 2014-04-08 16:15
Huh? Alt key? I tried every idea I could come up with, Alt doesn't allow me to move any window. Either I screwed something in my desktop (wouldn't be the first time), or I'm seriously lacking imagination.

Anyway, I'm happy with a right-click...
Silviu Cojocaru
Silviu Cojocaru
Posted 2014-04-08 16:30
Hmm, maybe it's a Gnome 2 and Unity thing (KDE maybe?). Probably window manager dependant. Just read that the feature is disabled by default on Gnome 3:

Eh, I've been taking features for granted. Go figure...
Caron Wills
Caron Wills
Posted 2014-04-09 11:43
It really seams like Spaces could do the job, doesn't it? That's what I thought too...

When this question came through to us, I tried to replicate it first on Ubuntu 12.04. That's currently my "go-to" box. If it happens on the LTS of Ubuntu, we are in 'trouble' so to speak. I found the controls were very intuitive with Ubuntu and there were multiple ways to fix the problem. I almost believed the concern was minimal.

Then I turned to my MacBook Pro.

I'll illustrate what happens with Spaces. This is with a single monitor.

Microsoft Visio 2010 is stuck:

Here's Spaces open, I've made a second desktop:

Here's Spaces open and Visio 2010 is placed on the second desktop:

Here I am selecting the second desktop:

There's not a bit of pleading that allows one to adjust the window position with Spaces with a single monitor.

We also tried changing the resolution of the monitor and simply closing and opening Visio. We were hopeful for a simple solution.

That said, here's where it gets "tricky" and Spaces comes in handy...

If I plug in a second monitor and then open Spaces and then drag Visio 2010 to the second monitor, a more desirable Window position is reached and the problem is solved. I can try to retain the broken window position in this scenario by holding down the command key while I drag the application to my second monitor. For this scenario, the second monitor is more insistent about not losing applications and forces Visio 2010 into view just below the menu bar on the second screen.

I can also really get Visio stuck by trying to drag it to the second monitor without Spaces by letting go in mid monitor change.

Using an additional monitor adds countless complexities to the position of application windows on the MacOS with and without CrossOver's involvement.

Beyond that, I don't know that everyone has an additional monitor to plug into their system.
J-P Simard
J-P Simard
Posted 2014-04-09 12:56
I really like to have a view of other OS out there, as I can geek out on just about all tech. Strangely stuff like this only tends to confirm my choice of Linux, as Macs seem to have so many odd quirks that I couldn't bear. All systems have quirks, but those on OSX are just as bad to me as those of Windows. I can only imagine how a Mac would act if I had 4 screens on it like my Arch box. Like I said originally, this OSX issue is complicated. I find the word "tricky" to be a polite euphemism for a big ol' mess. No wonder this was announced as "Mac-centric".
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