Video: Draw lines and custom shapes

If you want to use a custom shape, create one using the drawing tools in Visio.

Find and use the drawing tools

  1. Pick Home.
  1. Choose the More arrow beside Rectangle to check the list of drawing tools.
  1. Press a tool, and drag on the drawing page to draw the shape.

Draw a custom shape

  1. Click Home.
  1. Pick the More arrow and then choose the Freeform tool, the Arc tool, or the Line tool.
  1. To draw the first segment of the shape, drag on the page.
  1. Click the vertex ( Vertex icon ) at the end of the final segment you added, and drag to draw the following segment.
  1. To seal up the shape, drag the endpoint of the last segment over the vertex at the start of the first segment.
  1. To apply a colour to your shape, choose Fill and select a colour.
  1. If you’d prefer to strip off the border from your shape, pick Line > No Line.

Create an identical shape

  1. Pick Copy > Paste to replicate the shape.
  1. If you’d want to reverse the shape, click Position > Rotate Shapes > Flip Horizontal.

Edit a custom shape

  1. Find Home, and press the Pencil tool.
  1. Pick a shape.
  1. Edit the shape:
  • To delete a vertex, select it and press Del.
  • To add a vertex, press Ctrl and select the spot where you want to add a vertex.
  • To move a vertex, drag it to a new position.

Rotate a shape

  1. Select the shape.
  1. Select Home > Position > Rotate Shapes, and choose the rotation you want.

Group shapes

  1. Choose the shapes.
  1. Click Home > Group > Group.

Add a custom shape to your favourites

  1. Click More Shapes > My Shapes > Favourites.
  1. Drag the custom shape onto the stencil.
  1. To change the stencil, press Yes.
  1. Pick the custom shape on the stencil, and write a descriptive name to rename it.
  1. Press Save Stencil.

Want more?

Draw a line

Draw lines and shapes with the Pencil, Line, Arc, or Freeform tools


When you want to create a custom shape, use the drawing tools.

Start by going to Home and selecting the More arrow next to Rectangle to find drawing tools that create lines, circles, curves, rectangles, and freeform shapes.

Then, combine them to create complex shapes.

And, when you’re finished, save the shape so you can use it again.

I’m creating a couple of decorative elements to use in maps.

First, I’ll create a compass rose using the Line tool.

I’m starting with a triangle, which I’ll duplicate to create the shape.

At the end of each segment, I release the line and then start the next segment in the same spot.

To close the triangle, I end the final segment on the beginning of the first segment.

I’ll select Fill and choose a fill colour and select Line and then No Line to remove the line.

Now I find an identical shape, but reversed.

I’ll select Copy and Paste to duplicate the shape.

Then I’ll change the fill colour, select Position, select Rotate Shapes, and select Flip Horizontal to reverse it.

Now I’ll position the two shapes next to each other.

I’ll select both shapes, select Group, and select Group to combine the two shapes into one.

I need three more copies of this shape to complete the primary arrows in my compass rose.

With shapes selected, I go to Home, select Copy, and then select Paste three times.

I’ll rotate the shapes and position them in compass rose pattern.

For the remaining directional arrows, I’ll select and copy these four shapes, paste a copy into the drawing, drag the resize handles to reduce its size, and rotate it 45°.

A circle in the centre will cover up the edges of the triangles.

I’ll select the Ellipse tool and hold Shift as I draw a circle.

You can do the same thing with the Rectangle tool to create a square.

I’ll change the color of the circle and remove the line to finish the shape.

I want to add this shape to my Favourites stencil so I can use it in other drawings.

I’ll select More Shapes, select My Shapes, and select Favourites, drag my shape onto the stencil, and rename it by selecting the name and typing a new one.

I’ll select Save Stencil so it’s ready to use in other diagrams.

I want one more custom shape—a spiral.

I’ll draw it with the Freeform tool.

I start at the centre, and then draw the spiral inward.

When it’s done, I’ll select Home, select Weight to choose a different line thickness, and change the colour.

I want this spiral to look hand-drawn, so I’m going to adjust it a bit using the Pencil tool.

To adjust a custom shape, I select it and move points, or vertexes.

I delete points to flatten and simplify a line segment, and add them to make it more complex.

To delete a point, I select it, and then press Delete.

To add one, I hold Control as I click the shape outline.

I’ll save my spiral the same way I saved the compass rose.

Now my custom shapes are in my Favourites stencil, ready to use in other diagrams.

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