If you can’t find the shape you’re looking for in Visio, it may be available online. There are several sets of shapes available only on the Web. In this post, we’ll talk about these shapes and how to find them.
The online shapes can be accessed using the Search for Shapes feature in Visio 2003 or Find Shape in Visio 2002. You’ll need to have an Internet connection, and you’ll need to check the Visio Web Shapes option on the Shape Search tab in Tools > Options.
Geographic Map Shapes
There are Visio shapes representing most of the country/regions of the world (some are omitted because their boundaries are in dispute). These shapes are available to users of English, French, German, and Japanese language versions of Visio 2002 and 2003. In addition, the individual U.S. states are available to users of U.S. English Visio.
The best way to get the whole set of world map shapes is to enter “World Maps” (including quotes) in the Search for Shapes field at the top of the Shapes window. If you’re using U.S. English Visio, enter “United States Maps” (including quotes) to get the shapes for all the states.
Once you’ve added these shapes to your drawing by dragging and dropping them from the search results window, you can format them like any other Visio shapes and you can right-click on them to arrange them in their correct geographic locations using the “Arrange To Page” and “Arrange To Shape” commands on the right-mouse menu. See the articles on the Microsoft Office Online site for more details on working with these shapes. There are separate instructions for Visio 2002 and Visio 2003.
Business Process Modeling Notation Shapes
There is a set of Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN) shapes available online to users of English Visio 2003. Enter “BPMN” in the Search for Shapes field to see the full set of shapes available.
Note: The BPMN shapes were based on a pre-1.0 version of the BPMN specification, and there have been a number of changes to the specification since then so they aren’t completely up to date. However, several third-parties have created BPMN templates for Visio.
Six Sigma Shapes
For the Six Sigma practitioners, there are three sets of shapes available online for English Visio 2003:
- Six Sigma House of Quality: Lets you assemble a House of Quality matrix diagram. Enter “House of Quality” in the Search for Shapes field to get these shapes.
- Six Sigma graphs: Shapes for graphs commonly used in Six Sigma, such as curves, histograms, and box plots. Search for “Six Sigma graphs”.
- Six Sigma formulas: Includes some of the mathematical formulas used in the Six Sigma methodology. Search for “Six Sigma formulas”.
Other Sources for Shapes
There are other sources for third-party shapes in a wide variety of industries. These include the list maintained by Visio MVPs (Microsoft “Most Valuable Professionals”) as well as the Visio Cafe site.