You can edit existing styles, create your own from scratch, and delete styles you no longer need. Editing existing styles is a quick way to simultaneously format any shapes with that style in your diagram. Defining new styles is useful when you're building your own templates or can't find a style in the template you're using. You can revise, create, and delete styles by choosing Format, Define Styles, as shown in Figure 23-9.
Figure 23-9. Choose Format, Define Styles to display this dialog box, where you can edit, create, and delete styles.
The Define Styles dialog box is set up to make it easy for you to chug through multiple style definitions. You can edit or define a style and then apply your changes without closing the dialog box, so you can edit or define the next style. The dialog box also shows you whether a style defines more than one attribute: in the Includes area, a check mark appears beside the types of formatting defined by the style.
Visio saves your edited or new styles with the diagram. If you want your styles to be available in other diagrams, you can copy the styles to that diagram. For details, see "Copying Styles and Color Schemes to Other Diagrams." Or you can save your work as a template, which you can use again. When you save a diagram as a template, the styles will be included in every new drawing you create using that template.
Styles in Visio are always based on other styles. In effect, you're never starting entirely from scratch when you create a new style. Your custom style inherits baseline attributes from a "parent" style, which you specify in the Define Styles dialog box by choosing an option in the Based On list, as Figure 23-10 shows.
The advantage to basing a style on another style is that you can specify a particular attribute, such as 10-point Verdana text, only once. Then, as long as your new styles are based on the parent style with 10-point Verdana text, you won't have to keep repeating the Text settings every time you create a new style. If you suddenly decide that your diagrams would look better with 12-point Verdana text, you can edit the parent style definition, and all other styles based on the parent will inherit the new formats.
The disadvantage to basing one style on another is that if you delete the parent style, the remaining style will instead be based on the parent's parent. When you don't want to deal with style inheritance, you can base your style on one of the four built-in styles that cannot be deleted: Normal, None, Text Only, and No Style.
Figure 23-10. A style is based on the attributes of the style selected in the Based On list.
A fast way to define a new style is to format a shape with all the attributes you want your style to have and then define a style based on the shape. That way, you can see the results of your choices.
To create a new style based on a shape, follow these steps:
Follow these steps to create a new style from scratch:
An easy way to make sweeping changes across your diagram is to edit an existing style. All shapes formatted with that style are updated to reflect the changes you make to the style.
Follow these steps to edit a style:
Deleting styles is a clean-up task that helps keep your diagram file tidy. Mostly, this doesn't matter much unless you plan to save your diagram as a template, in which case you don't want extra styles lying around. Deleting styles is also a good way to change style inheritance, a concept introduced earlier. When you delete a style, any other styles based on that style will inherit from the deleted style's parent instead. If the new parent specifies different formatting attributes, you can see a ripple effect as new attributes are inherited by the remaining styles, and shapes formatted with those styles change.
Follow these steps to delete a style:
You can easily copy your customized styles to other diagrams. When you copy a shape with a style and then paste it in another Visio diagram, Visio also adds the style to the new diagram. You can then delete the shape, but the style remains in the new diagram.
The only hitch is if the new diagram already has a style of the same name. If it does, when you paste the shape, Visio applies the diagram's existing style. Similar behavior happens when you copy shapes that have a color scheme applied to them. When you paste the shapes into a diagram that does not use the same color scheme, the shapes change their fill color unless they're locally formatted.