Video – Using Visio shapes

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Stencils are a collection of related shapes, which are the building blocks of all Visio diagrams.

Browse for shapes

  1. In the Shapes pane, click More Shapes.
  1. Direct your cursor to a category to browse the stencils in that category.
  1. Choose the stencil that contains the shapes you want.
  1. Pick a blank area of the drawing page to close the menu.
  1. Press the name of a stencil to see its shapes.

Search for shapes

  1. In the search box, type in a keyword that describes your preferred shape, and choose the magnifying glass Search icon .
  1. Pick Local to view shapes displayed and categorised by their Visio stencil title. Or press Online to check shapes available on the web.

Add shapes

  • Drag the shape you want from the stencil onto the drawing page.

Tip: To find out how to use a shape, point to it to present instructions.

Delete shapes

  • Click the shape and press Delete.

Want more?

Create a shape

Find more shapes and stencils


Shapes are the basic building blocks of Visio diagrams.

For example, this box is a shape and this diamond is a shape.

Shapes are connected by lines.

Both shapes and lines can include text.

Diagrams can include pictures, too.

When you select a shape, its handles tell you a lot about it.

Lines, or connectors, have two handles—a beginning point and an endpoint.

Lines usually connect two other shapes.

Some shapes are two-dimensional. They have eight resize handles around the edge. Two-dimensional shapes represent people, places, objects, and other things.

You’ll find plenty of shapes to choose from.

Stencils are collections of related shapes.

Choose a stencil to see all of its shapes.

Point to a shape in the stencil to find out how to use it.

Or, in the blank area under search, right-click and select Icons and Details, to see how to use all the shapes.

Choose a shape and drag it into place in your diagram.

Guidelines help you line things up perfectly.

If you don’t see the shape you want in the list of stencils, select More Shapes and browse through the categories.

Choose a category to see a list of related stencils.

Then select a stencil to see the shapes it contains.

Or, in search, type a keyword to search for a shape—in Visio, or in online stencils from Microsoft and third-party providers.

In the search results, find the shape you want, and drag it onto your drawing.

Then, in search, select Close to return to the list of stencils.

Now that you understand shapes, you’re ready to start creating meaningful and informative diagrams.

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