Adding Decorative Elements to Diagrams

In addition to formatting individual shapes, you can add decorative elements, such as borders, title blocks, and backgrounds, to diagrams:

  • Border A border is a design that appears around all or part of the drawing page.
  • Title block A title block is a formatted title that can include information such as the date created.
  • Background A background is a pattern that appears behind a diagram, much like the background of a Microsoft Office PowerPoint slide.

Borders, title blocks, and backgrounds are all special types of shapes that can add a professional look to your diagram. You'll find many of these shapes on the Backgrounds stencil and the Borders and Titles stencil that opens with many of the business-oriented templates in Visio, including the Block Diagram template. You can add a border, title, or background at any time, but these shapes are usually added as finishing touches just before you print or distribute your diagram.

Visio includes dozens of border, title block, and background shapes. You can add them to a diagram the same way you would add any other shapeby dragging. When you drag a border onto the drawing page, Visio sizes it to fit the drawing page. Most borders include text, such as a title and page number. Visio adds the page number and generic text as a title placeholder, which you can replace with the real title. Some borders and title blocks display the date as well; like page numbers, dates are added by default.

When you add background shapes to your diagrams, Visio sizes them to fit the drawing page. However, they are different from borders in that when you drag a background shape onto the drawing page, Visio first creates a new background page named Vbackground. The background shape is placed on the new background page so it doesn't get in the way as you move and format the shapes in your diagram. Although it is on a separate page, the background shape on the background page appears on the drawing page and is printed with the diagram.

In this exercise, you fine-tune the appearance of the tradeshow layout by adding a border, title block, and background shape to the diagram.

OPEN the FormatDecorate file in DocumentsMicrosoft PressVisio 2007 SBS3_Format.


Click the Borders and Titles stencil to display the shapes on the stencil.


From the Borders and Titles stencil, drag the Border Classic shape onto the drawing page.

Visio centers and snaps the border shape into place. The shape includes generic title placeholder text, the date at the top of the page, and the page number at the bottom of the page.


Hold down , and then drag a selection box around the generic title placeholder text to zoom in on it.

Visio zooms in on the text.


Press the key to open the shape's text block and select the shape's text.


Double-click the word Title in the text block to select just that word, and then type Tradeshow to replace the placeholder text.

Visio replaces the placeholder text with the new text.


If you select a title block shape and type, you can inadvertently replace the automatic date text as well as the title. If this happens, immediately press , and then try again. Make sure you select only the word Title, and then type.


Click the date to select it.


Type November 1015, 2006.

Visio replaces the old date with the new date.


Press to zoom out and view the whole drawing page.


Click the Backgrounds stencil to display the shapes on the stencil.


From the Backgrounds stencil, drag the Background web shape to the drawing page.

Visio inserts a new page named Vbackground-1 and adds the Background web shape, which appears behind the drawing page, to the background page. Notice the new Vbackground-1 page tab at the bottom of the drawing window.


If you add a background shape to your diagram that you don't like, you can immediately undo your action by pressing .


On the Standard toolbar, click Save to save your changes to the diagram.


CLOSE the FormatDecorate file.


Using Shapes that Include Dates

Many of the title block and border shapes display a date when you add them to the drawing page. This special type of text is called a fielda type of text that Visio updates with the current date, for example, based on your computer's date and time settings. A date field can display the date in several formats, which are predetermined by the shape you select. However, you can edit date fields to display the date in a different format. Fields can contain other information, such as page numbers, document information, and custom formulas. To insert a field into a shape, select a shape, and then on the Insert menu, click Field.

Quick Reference

Getting Started with Visio 2007

Adding Shapes to Diagrams

Formatting Shapes and Diagrams

Connecting Shapes

Creating Project Schedules

Creating Organization Charts

Laying Out Office Spaces

Creating Network Diagrams


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Microsoft Office Visio 2007 Step by Step
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