Improvements to multi-page document support in Visio 2010

In this post, we’ll talk about the improvements we’ve made in Visio 2010 to make it easier to work with multi-page documents. With these changes, Visio provides more control when you copy and paste shapes between pages, as well as more efficient page tab management and navigation.

Copying and pasting shapes

The biggest change with copy/paste is that if you copy shapes from one page and paste them to another, the shapes will paste to exactly the same location as on the first page. In prior versions of Visio, the shapes would always paste to the center of the window. This change makes it easier to make an identical copy of a page or to create a multi-page document that has incremental changes between pages. For example, you might have a series of flowcharts that begin with the same set of steps or a storyboard that walks through a UI design.

If you want the pasted shapes to go to a certain location on a page, rather than to the position they were copied from, you can right-click on the page at the location you want them to be placed, and choose “Paste” in the right-mouse menu. The shapes will paste to the spot where you right-clicked:


Managing page tabs

We’ve made several improvements to the page tabs to make them easier to use and more consistent with the sheet tabs in Microsoft Excel.

First, there is a new Insert Page button at the end of the page tabs, which lets you quickly add a series of pages to the end of the page tab order:


If you right-click on a page tab and choose Insert Page, the new page is inserted immediately after the page tab you right-clicked on, rather than at the end of the tab order. So you can insert the page where you want it, rather than having to add the new page at the end before dragging it to the desired location:


Since the settings in the Page Setup dialog box apply to the currently active page, we’ve added the Page Setup command to the page tab’s right-mouse menu to provide quick access to that page’s settings:


Pages in Visio can be either foreground or background pages. Foreground pages are the pages you build your diagram on. Background pages have special behaviors and are intended as a place to put objects that you want to appear on multiple foreground pages. To help you distinguish between background and foreground pages, the names on background page tabs are italicized as a hint that they are different:


Right-clicking on the forward/backward navigation buttons to the left of the page tabs brings up a menu of all of the pages in the document, so you can move quickly from one page to another:


Finally, if you want to make all the pages in your document the same orientation or size, you can apply the same setting to all of them at once, instead of having to set it for one page at a time. Click on the Orientation or Size buttons on the Design tab in the ribbon, and then right-click on the setting you want in the menu. Choose to apply it to all the pages in your document or only the current page:


All of these improvements were in direct response to feedback we heard from customers, so please continue providing us with more great feedback. Drop us a comment on the blog or use the Send a Smile feature in the Visio 2010 Beta to let us know what you think.

Comments (22)

  1. Juras Vetrau says:

    I have a trouble with backgrounds of Visio documents created in previous versions. My multi-page VSD has several background pages. They’re protected to not be shown in a list of pages. In Visio 2007 I’ve accessed them via Drawing Explorer. Now here’s nice and useful window in the bottom left corner with a list of pages. But I couldn’t select my protected backgrounds! Drawing Explorer is also absent 🙁

    How could I edit protected backgrounds? Thanks in advance!

  2. Visio Team says:

    Hi Juras,

    You can still get to your protected background pages via the Drawing Explorer. In Visio 2010, the Drawing Explorer is on the Developer tab, which is not shown by default. Go to File > Options and click on Customize Ribbon. Click the checkbox next to Developer in the right column.

    Thanks for reading the blog!

  3. Juras Vetrau says:

    Thanks for your tip and the great blog! BTW, could I ask you more questions about Visio 2010 beta? I couldn’t find answers in help. (I can move them into suitable post if you wish)

    1. I’ve suddenly closed my stencils associated with a document so it opens without them now (just plain stencils pane proposing to open a stencil). Stencils weren’t been moved on hard disk. I’ve tried to open them again and save document then but it doesn’t help — when I open my VSD next time my stencils are closed.

    2. Some menu items can’t be put onto ribbon. It was very useful to put specific align commands out of submenus but now I have to go all the submenu routine.

    Thanks in advance again!

  4. Art Braune says:

    Can we get on option on Auto-Size to Apply to All Pages?

  5. Visio Team says:

    Hi Juras,

    As far as issue 1, there is a setting that determines whether or not stencils are saved with a document so that they’ll open when the document is opened. With your document open, click on the File tab and then Info. Over on the right side, click on Properties and then Advanced Properties. Make sure the "Save workspace" checkbox is checked. Then, open the desired stencils and save the document. The stencils should open with the document.

    Issue 2 – You are correct that you can’t put the individual commands under the Position button into the ribbon. You can add the "Align" command, which brings up the Align dialog box, but not the individual alignment commands.

  6. Visio Team says:

    Hi Art,

    Thanks for the Auto-Size suggestion.

  7. Jim Gasperini says:

    Before I saw this post, I commented elsewhere asking for exactly these improvements. Hurrah!

  8. AdamV says:

    "if you copy shapes from one page and paste them to another, the shapes will paste to exactly the same location as on the first page"

    Thank you thank you thank you.

    I often do things like multiple proposed office layouts and it’s nice to be able to "onion skin" between them to show different plans or the stages of fit out.

    This is just so much easier to do now.

    I like the new page navigation too, since I use Excel a lot it is nice to see these things being more consistent between apps which have a similar metaphor (pages/sheets as tabs at the bottom).

    Keep it coming!

  9. JaneAnnC says:

    Regarding:  If you right-click on a page tab and choose Insert Page, the new page is inserted immediately after the page tab you right-clicked on, rather than at the end of the tab order. So you can insert the page where you want it, rather than having to add the new page at the end before dragging it to the desired location

    Will this apply to background pages also?  Or just foreground pages?

  10. Visio Team says:

    Hi JaneAnnC,

    No, background pages still have some restrictions, including the fact that they can’t be reordered. If you insert a new background page, it will always go to the end of the order.

    Thanks for reading and commenting on the blog!

  11. Brian Patterson says:

    Is there a way to flow multi-page amounts of text for a proposal document like Word does – creating pages until the content fills the needed pages?

  12. Steven says:

    How do I select multiple pages at once?  For instance, say I want to paste multiple pages from Visio into Powerpoint (or Word, etc.) and I don't want to do one page at a time?  (I used to be able to do this using Ctrl or Alt or something).

  13. StefanC says:

    Nice improvements! However there is a problem with copy/paste: backgrounds are displaced somehow. If you copy an entire page including background and paste it in Word or Paint, the background is displaced. The way you paste the page (Visio object, EMF) doesn't matter.

    This is a vital function for me and my colleagues as we create diagrams and mock-ups in Visio and use them as illustrations in Word documents.

  14. jscot says:

    I'm having trouble with Visio drawings created in 2007… when I open them in 2010, the foreground objects on many pages are strewn across the work area. Text-filed shapes (such as the expanded drop-down shape for UI design) are squeezed – each letter of each word stacked vertically. This makes for some very time-consuming and annoying clean up if I want to use anything I created in the previous version of the application.

    You've got to be kidding me!

    anyone have any insight on this? Is anyone else experiencing the same?

  15. jscot says:

    btw… many apologies for flaming. 😐 It's just that, as a result of the issues, I'm now a bottleneck in the process because it takes me longer to update a drawing (I have to go clean it up first).

    any help or insight is very much apprecaited. 🙂

  16. Rob says:

    Are you kidding – the ribbon idea is cumbersome.  There is no longer a copy page feature so you can duplicate the drawing on another tab, lines do not raw straight and have a mind of there own.

    Things were fine the way they were.  Improve existing features or add subtle one, but turning this upside down on its head was in poor form.

    At least give me a classic or ribbon menu option.

  17. Henk van Wandelo says:

    How may pages can I open in one (1) visio file?

    I use Visio for making instruction drawings for 1000 different shapes a machine should cut into our product. It would be nice to have that in one single file.


  18. Randym says:

    Can I have multiple templates in one visio workbook?  I'm attempting to have a UML diagram (with UML template) and a database diagram in the same workbook – different pages of course.

  19. kumar says:

    how do i navigate between these tabs via keyboard??please reply me on

  20. Maria says:

    I'm having trouble adding a header/footer to a multi page Gantt Chart in Visio without having the chart block the header/footer.

  21. JediSQL says:

    Thanks, the "Right-clicking on the forward/backward navigation buttons" was the kind of tip I was looking for (it can be pretty hard to read that microscopic font on the sheet tabs).  It would be nice if the View tab on the ribbon had a "Sheet" section similar to the "Window" section.

  22. Consultant says:

    Hi – I have a query on Visio 2010 and thought would check with the group. I am currently working with a Healthcare Client where we need to convert huge Business Process Models to Visio.

    1. Is there anyway to change the tab color in Visio 2010 ?

    2. If I have multiple tabs in one visio file, is there a way to do mass change for document characteristics for example, Zoom, Page Size, Theme etc.

    Highly appreciate any help.

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