Our favorite Visio Tips & Tricks

For this blog post, we put together a list of some of our favorite Visio tips & tricks. Learn these to save time and improve the look of your diagrams.

Quickly create evenly spaced shapes

Let’s say you’d like to make a grid of shapes like the following:


To create this, first make a copy of the individual shape (e.g. using Control+Drag):


Then, press Control+Y to repeat that operation:


In a similar manner, you can then copy this row multiple times to create a grid.

Keep shapes aligned

To keep multiple shapes aligned on a vertical or horizontal line (which can be challenging particularly when they are far apart), drag a guide from the horizontal or vertical ruler onto the drawing page:


You can then also glue shapes to this guide. More on this feature here.

Select an overlapped shape

If a shape is covered by other shapes, as is the case with the yellow square below, it can be hard to find a clickable region to select it:


An easy way to select this shape is to click on the blue shape 3 times, pausing in between so as not to double-click. Visio will cycle through selecting each shape that overlaps at your mouse’s location.

Reset a connector

Let’s say you manually changed the path of a connector, but don’t like the result:


You can reset its path by right-clicking the connector and clicking “Reset Connector”:


Add and position text on connectors

If you want to label a connector, you can add and move text on it the same way that you add and move text on other shapes:

  1. Select the connector.
  2. Type your text.
  3. To move your text, move the control handle on the connector (clip_image012). This is useful when you want to fix an overlap:
Before After
image image

Create connections that reposition dynamically

Let’s say you have two connected shapes:


Sometimes when you reposition those shapes, you may end up with an undesirable jagged connector like this:


This happens because the connector stays fixed to its original connection points on the shapes. To prevent this from happening, Visio has a feature called dynamic glue that lets connectors automatically reroute to the nearest pair of connection points. When creating your connector, drag the connector endpoint not to an individual connection point on the shape, but rather toward the middle of the shape until a red box appears around the entire shape, like this:


The result is a more direct connector when you reposition the connected shapes.


Drag AutoConnect arrows (new in Visio 2010)

Many people know that you can connect neighboring shapes quickly by clicking on the blue AutoConnect arrows around a shape:


Visio 2010 adds a feature where you can also drag a new connector from an AutoConnect arrow to a shape of your choosing:


In the sequence above, after hovering over the AutoConnect arrow to the right of shape #1, a connector is dragged and connected to the target shape #3. You can read more about this feature in this blog post.

Collapse the shapes window (new in Visio 2010)

If you need more screen space for your diagram, you can collapse the Shapes Window by toggling the small arrow on the top right of the window, which still lets you drag shapes out:


You can read more about this feature in this blog post.

Work faster with keyboard shortcuts

Some of our favorite keyboard shortcuts are described here.

Those are some of our favorite Visio tips & tricks. If you have one you’d like to share, please leave a comment below.

Comments (6)

  1. Kalven says:

    Hi, thanks you for sharing such a wonderful post. This post is really helpful to everyone especially to those who have started using Visio in order to learn tips & tricks. Since I have just started using Visio Professional, while searching for more tips and tricks and understand Visio, I had come across a link that allows to download many Visio templates, add ins and more. I have shared the link so that if anyone is searching for Visio downloads can get it easily


  2. Denise K. Yancey says:

    Very well written and practical!  Thank you!

  3. Sonny says:

    I liked the "Quickly create evenly spaced shapes." That will be used a lot. One of the things that I would to find a solution to is, I have a photographs of the components on Electronic Test gear, things like buttons, coaxial connectors, etc. If I cut and paste, the background color surrounding the object is different than the background color I am using in the drawing. What I would like to do is surround a circular object with the background color of choice. I started teaching myself Visio about 2 months ago. The article that I mentioned above seems a lot like an array in CAD.

    My E-Mail address is sirchr@sbcglobal.net.

    Thanks for your examples


  4. Ron Jacobs says:

    I would like to overlap the 2 images, the front and back side of a router. My goal is to be able to switch between the images with a click. Is that possible?

    Thanks in advance

  5. Mark says:

    Thank you, love visio.  These tips are very nice and will help me out.

  6. Liberty says:

    In our company, we have to add flags to various process boxes to indicate their progress – use the "Group" feature on a right-click menu to be sure that the flags move with the process box.  It's terrible when you missing moving the flag and end up with an incorrect diagram and a flag that doesn't have a home.  Some of our diagrams are really complicated and this leads to alot of work "grouping" is the way to go!

Skip to main content