Tips for Copy/Paste in Visio 2010 (Including How to Copy a Page)

One of the things we all do a lot is reuse shapes or groups of shapes in several places and often the best way to do that is to Copy the existing shape and Paste it elsewhere. Even though you use it daily, there may be some behavior you’re not familiar with, especially with the Copy/Paste improvements in Visio 2010. So, here is a brief summary…

Where to find it

Copy and Paste is available in more than one way. Depending on your normal workflow and the result you want, you may want to use some or all of them.

The Ribbon,


the context menu,


and from the keyboard using CTRL+C to copy and CTRL+V to paste.

Pasting using the context menu, will always paste the object at your mouse cursor location, with the center of the shape where your cursor was when you right-clicked. This can be very useful when you want to copy items to specific places in your diagram.

Paste from either the Ribbon or using CTRL+V will paste the new object at the location of the object you originally copied. If you are pasting on the same page, the object will be offset slightly, to avoid “losing” it.


If you paste something onto a separate page and use CTRL+V or the Ribbon control, this puts the pasted object in the same location that it was on the original page. This can be very useful for ensuring that parts of a diagram are in the same location on multiple pages.

Duplicating with Drag

A quick way to make copies of selected items is to hold down CTRL and the left mouse button. This lets you drag a copy of the selected item to a specific location. This allows you to make multiple copies of a shape or a group of shapes you’ve selected very quickly.

Hint: This works with grouped shapes or multi-selected shapes, so it’s a really quick way to reuse a group of shapes in multiple locations on a page.

Duplicating from the Ribbon

You can also duplicate objects that are selected using the Duplicate option in the Ribbon. Click on the arrow below the Paste icon to show the Duplicate option. Clicking on it will make a duplicate of the selected object or objects and drop them near the original, offset slightly, just like CTRL+V does on paste.

Hint: Note that if you duplicate multiple objects some of them may end up covering up the originals. As an example, if I selected the two rectangles above and did a Duplicate, the result might look like the example below. Though you can’t see it, there are really four shapes here, but one is exactly below the brightly highlighted shape. Hitting one of the arrow keys a few times while the newly duplicated items are still selected will move them enough to expose the shape underneath.


Copying a page

Since pasting using CTRL+V or the Ribbon will place objects on the same location on other pages, it becomes much easier to make a copy of a whole page.

First, insert a new page. You can either add a page by clicking the “add page” icon on the last page tab, or by clicking a page and right-clicking to insert a page immediately after it.


Once you’ve got a new page, go back to the page you want to copy. You can drag-select the whole page by left-clicking at one corner of the diagram and dragging the selection to the opposite corner. You can also select everything on a page by pressing CTRL+A. With everything on the page selected, copy it by using CTRL+C, or Copy from the right-click menu or the Ribbon. Navigate to the blank page you created, and press CTRL+V or click on Paste in the Ribbon (Remember that if you use Paste from the right-click context menu, everything will be pasted with the center around your mouse position, so the new page may not look like you expect). That’s it, a duplicate page in just a few clicks.

Hint: if you want to duplicate a whole page with the exception of one or two shapes, CTRL+A to select everything and then CTRL+left mouse click to deselect just the object you don’t want. Then you can CTRL+V everything else to the new page.

Pasting to other Office applications

Of course, Office applications “play nicely” with each other, so you can paste objects you’ve copied from Visio to other applications, as well. In most applications your pasted Visio objects will remain Visio objects and you can still edit them by double-clicking. This can be very useful when you want to be able to fine-tune a diagram in a Word document or a PowerPoint slide.


Hint: If you would prefer the diagram not be editable, you can use the Paste Special option to paste it as a static image. You can find Paste Special on the menu that drops down when you click the arrow below Paste in the Home Tab.

Happy pasting

Those are the basics of Copy/Paste.

Post a comment if you have any other tips you’d like to share and please let us know if you have any feedback on Visio 2010, Visio Services, or suggestions for other blog posts you would like to see.

Comments (53)

  1. Ken Newlon says:

    Is there any way to disable the paste offset when pasting using the Ctrl+V keyboard shortcut?

  2. Visio User says:

    Yes you are right – this is really annoying copying on right of the page, then navigating to the left side and after use of ctrl + v pasted element is on right of the page (so once again navigating to the right to find the element, change zoom, move element …..

    in Visio 2007 it worked much better

  3. SK says:

    A COPY from the visio page and paste in Word truncates the templates. Also SELECT ALL does not seem to select the page template

  4. Nicole says:

    CTRL-V now places whatever I am pasting far, far away from where the original shape was.  This is very annoying.  If it were offset near the original shape that would be fine.  Instead I have to scroll through the page or zoom in and out, then in and out again, in order to find my shape.

    Using a mouse click to bring up a context menu and then clicking again just so I have some control over where the shape goes is very user unfriendly and slows down ones workflow considerably.  Plus, the fact that I have to Google to figure this out despite being a long time Visio user isn't user friendly either.

  5. Alex says:

    The paste offset is terrible, as is the slow "scrolling" effect that happens when you have moved somewhere else in the diagram and then a paste forces you to go back to where the original item was located.

    Is there a workaround for this?

  6. Pouya says:

    Anybody knows how to copy a visio drawing and paste it into OneNOte as an OLE?? cause OneNote missing Paste Special

  7. Pedro says:

    Copy & Paste into a new page makes you lose your layers. A duplicate page feature would be preferable.

  8. Visio user 2 says:

    There is an error in your text. It says: " the object will be offset slightly" This needs to be changed to say: " the object will be offset greatly" or words to that effect. I start with a letter size drawing, CTRL-C and CTRL-V to duplicate an item 10 times, and I have to navigate an E size drawing to gather up the items I just duplicated. How can this offset be turned off to have Visio behave like the previous version?

  9. Kevin W. says:

    The new paste feature is terrible. I often copy an object zoom/center to another and paste. In previous versions the coppied object would be perfectly centered on the new object. Now I have to copy, right-click, paste, select shapes, and align. An option should be provided to turn this "feature" off.

  10. Valdemort says:

    You obviously don't use your own software.  It does not cut / paste with good results.  A user should be able to select a new location to insert a copied page, much like Excel, and completely duplicate everything on that page, including text, lines, and shapes.  

  11. Patrick Campbell says:

    This article does not address loss of data. For example, when I copy a whole page and paste it on a blank page all the text in my callouts are lost and replaced with P-### where ### is some number. I don't like this behavior because it forces me to retype everything. A quick Google search for "Visio loses data" will show you that many people have this problem. I am having a lot of difficulty finding it in the Microsoft knowledge base.

  12. Tom says:

    It's very frustrating in Visio 2010 how a cut and pasted shape (when duplicating a shape) is located a long way from the original. You have to zoom out, locate the shape and drag it back to the proximity of the original. This annoying 'feature' is compounded on small shapes. The paste location is miles from the copied shape. Visio automatically pans to bring focus to the new shape. This takes you well away from where you want it. Usually just next to the copied shape. It wasn't like this in Visio 2007.  

  13. Claudia says:

    When I try to copy an entire drawing, including the text, from one visio file to another, not all the text gets pasted into the new file.

    Can you assist please?

  14. Visio user says:

    This doesn't appear to work if you want to move/copy an entire page from one Visio document to another.  Yes, it selects everything on the page, but it doesn't adjust the paper size, etc.  I basically need to combine 2 Visio documents into one. This is extremely easy to do in Excel, but a real pain the butt in Visio.  I agree that a duplicate page option would be helpful.

  15. slop says:

    PLEASE ADD A DUPLICATE PAGE FEATURE IN VISIO!!! copying all on the page does not duplicate margins, orientation, etc

  16. Fiona Murray says:

    Is it possible when creating an entity-relationship diagram in Visio to have one instance of a certain entity which when updated updates across different pages?  

    i.e. I want to create various views of the database which I will eventually amalgamate and am building up the entities and their attributes incrementally as I go along.  Some entities only appear on one page as they are only in one 'view' of the database.  Others however, appear in multiple views (represented on different pages). When I add new attributes to a particular entity (e.g. Client), I don't therefore want to have to update the attributes in all instances of the Client entity for example, where it is visible on multiple pages.

    I hope that makes sense?  



  17. JohnE says:

    I also was hoping of turning off this annoying paste feature. I don't want paste to remember where the shape was as I'm assembling components in new locations and I want them to appear in front of me, not elsewhere on the page where I have to scroll.

  18. Using your own software says:

    "You obviously don't use your own software"

    LOL. How embarrassing.

  19. Sean Rogers says:

    Can anybody please tell me how I can retain the size, shape and format of a shape in an organizational chart when copy/pasting. My shapes all revert to the original size of the organizational position when copied.

  20. PEJ says:

    Isn't there any one out there to answer all these fine questions??

    I also find it very annoying with the offset copy/paste problem. But I can't find a solution.

  21. Terry Davies says:

    "Paste from either the Ribbon or using CTRL+V will paste the new object at the location of the object you originally copied."

    Is this a bug that has been reclassified as a feature?

    Imagine what Word would be like if this "feature" was introduced.

  22. Harry says:

    how we can insert visio shape into ms word…

  23. Dave says:

    I would like to be able to copy without getting duplicates in the Model Explorer.  Also, I would like to be able to find unused elements in the Model Explorer.  I don't think I understand the Model Explorer collection.  When I copy an interface for example, I end up with multiple instances in the Model Explorer where it seems like 1 would be more reasonable.

  24. kiran says:

    is there a way to copy multiple pages at a time and paste them in excel?

  25. TheBori says:

    You can select the entire contents of the page by simply right-clicking on any empty space on the page and selecting "Copy". Create a new page and ctrl-V and, voila!

  26. Simon Brock says:

    One thing I haven't seen mentioned is that line gaps / jumps (wher two unconnected lines cross) are missing when the image is pasted as Visio or even directly from Visio as a picture.

    The only way to prevent this is to save the drawing as a graphic (jpg, png etc.) from Visio and then insert as an image into Word, PowerPoint etc. so it's not completely true that Office applications “play nicely” together.

  27. Joel says:

    Did microsoft think, "How can we make this software completely unuserfriendly?" and voila, Visio 2010.  They could have at least made it possible to turn off all of their GREAT modifications.  Thanks Microsoft for making this part of my job alot harder!!!

  28. Roy says:

    Office 2010 Sucks.  This used to be very easy to do in previous versions of office. And now we have to look stuff like this up.  Office 2010 Sucks.

  29. Elena says:

    Why, please someone tell me, WHY can I not duplicate the sheet with the drawing? Why do I have to go through the complicated dance of inseting the page, pressing Ctrl+A, copying, pasting and then trying to figure out why the orgchart boxes have changed their sizes?!..

    Is it too much to ask, really?

  30. Office 2010 Sucks says:

    The fact that anyone has to come here to figure out how to do this, is proof that Office 2010 Sucks!!!

  31. mrfuku says:

    unbelievable when you copy a shape in visio 2010 standard it doesn't copy the dimensions. what a pos!

  32. Mike G. says:

    How do you make Visio keep the same aspect ratio and font size of the object your are copying? When you copy something and paste it, it looses all formatting of the copied object.

  33. Rob says:

    It used to be a simple task to copy an entire page (including any background) into the clipboard, and then paste it into a word document. It seems that this is no longer possible with 2010… or did I miss something?

  34. Joy says:

    Does anyone know how to prevent a column from resizing itself?  Auto resize is off yet I can't make the column a width of 1.25.  It keeps going back to 1.7688.  I can't take this version much longer–I copy and paste all the time but this version is screwing with my standard sizes!

  35. Matt M says:

    It's bad enough that the pasted object is dropped light years from the part of the screen you're looking at (as in older versions), but the arrow keys move the object at a glacial pace.  The arrow keys are useful because sometimes, the object(s) only need to move in one dimension.

  36. Steven Ssamba says:

    Does someone care to answer the fundamental issues raised here. If I copy a box with three lines of text in it and take it to another page [or sheet as would be the case with excel], two of the lines are not copied and one has to type them again. Can you add a feature to duplicate a page then I can take out what i do not want in the new page [duplicate] or make the paste feature work like in other office applications so that one doesn't lose data on pasting. it is so time consuming. This paste function only works well if you are copying something in the same page.

  37. Peter S. says:

    Spacing options:

    My current problem at Visio 2010 is not loosing the composition at copy-paste or unwanted auto-glue. My problem is auto-spacing. I cannot switch auto-spacing off. Is there any trick? There is a menu item: Home > Arrnge > Position > Spacing Options… But whatever value below 0.2953 inch I choose it allows me to click OK, but when I look the value up at Spacing Options again it is still at 0.2953 inch.

    Anyone can help me?

  38. Dannis Melanson says:

    I was trying to copy layers onto a new visio page.

    This is how I accomplished it.

    1. Made a new page.

    2. Inserted my drawing onto that page.

    3. Went back to page 1 turn off the layer (visible) of oringal drawing

    4. Click OK.

    5. Copy

    6. Highlighted what needed to be copied over to new page.

    7. Went to new page.

    8. Paste

  39. Bob says:

    Wow, this copy and paste behavior is terrible.  Quite frankly, what clown thought this up?!?  I am starting with a new laptop that has Visio 2010.  It so unusable to me (and yes, I am reading help and trying to learn the updates – which is why I am here) but am running out of patience. This terrible copy and paste behavior may be the last straw.  Using CTRL-C and then CTRL-V should drop the object where I am looking right now.  Having to use the mouse to go to the ribbon to use the PASTE there is an incredible waste of time and effort – to the point I ask "What clown thought this up?"

    Going back to Visio 2007 is looking attractive or maybe I should go ahead and learn how to use Illustrator…

    Give us a fix for this terrible behavior!

  40. MS Hates Responding to Customers and Partners says:

    FYI everyone – Microsoft will not respond to anything related to this garbage paste behavior in any forum anywhere.  Just revert to Visio 2007 like our company did and you'll be happy as a clam again.  We are an IT company and an MS partner but we have actively been recommending that customers do not update to Visio 2010 primarily for this reason but for a couple others as well.  

    For those that have already upgraded, an irate call directly from the customer to MS can often get you a free key for a reinstall of 2007.

  41. sharon says:

    why when i copy and paste some of my figures are not showing

  42. srihari rajole says:

    There is another way to duplicate the entire page.

    1. Add a new page.

    2. Select the page which you want to duplicate

    3. Ctrl+C

    4. Go to new page

    5. Ctrl+V

    6 Done…

  43. Scott Collins says:

    Very helpful tips — thank you for taking the time to post this.

  44. Joe Marfice says:

    "Paste from either the Ribbon or using CTRL+V will paste the new object at the location of the object you originally copied."

    This is a blatant lie. Please use your own program before writing usage tips on it.

  45. Sajjaad says:

    The copy area of visio 2013 cuts off the diagram in word 2013…that's crazy terrible

  46. David says:

    Is there a way to duplicate a tab from one-Visio drawing to a new Visio?  

  47. Richard Barnes says:

    Sounds good but I've discovered that when using some things like organisation charts it will paste the original text you used in the boxes rather than what you see on the page.  Quite where it remembers the old data going back years ago from is beyond me.  Oddly, it doesn't behave this way if you copy it into Word.

  48. Thomas Kluge says:

    If I paste a Visio 2007 sheet into a MS Word 2007 document, There are missing elements (a stencil).

  49. Dejan Mladenovic says:

    $ pages of questions and not a single response from Microsoft? MS killed all the competition, in order to rule the market. Then, they decided to go bacwards with all applications. Visio was never at par with say, Lotus Freelance or Harward Graphics, especially when MS took over. Same goes for Word compared to MS Perfect, Excel and Lotus, actually, Excel vs any of the spreadsheets vailable few years ago. MS project? Don't get me started.

    Is this really how the business world will look in teh future? Not being able to maintain the way Cut/Paste works? unfortunatelly, tehre is nothing to switch to, teh market is empty, thanks to MS…..

    Good job, indeed.

  50. Steffi says:


    I am trying to copy a whole page onto a new tab. I can paste it on, but after it has been pasted the shapes change size. Do you know how I amend this to allow an EXACT duplicate?

    I'm using Visio 2013, sorry if you don't know

  51. KMP says:

    Very frustrated because when I copy onto a new page, the shapes don't retain the same dimensions. My rectangles become shorter, and my carefully aligned rows are farther away.

  52. Copying Grouped Objects Produces Black Objects says:

    When I copy and paste a grouped object from one Visio diagram to another, the pasted version is entirely black for some reason. When I ungroup the object elements and copy and paste, the object pastes normally. Anyone know why this happens?