Formatting Individual Shapes

The right formattinga combination of attributes that makes up the appearance of a shape, diagram, or textcan add emphasis and interest to your diagrams and help you communicate more effectively. For example, you can draw attention to important steps in a process by adding high-contrast colors to individual shapes, or refine the overall look of your diagram by adding something as simple as a shadow to a shape. Every shape in Visio has attributes that you can format:

  • The weight (thickness), color, pattern, and transparency of the border around a 2-D shape; and the weight, color, pattern, and transparency of a 1-D shape. Use the Line command on the Format menu to change these attributes.
     
  • The color, pattern, and transparency of a 2-D shape's interior, called its fill. Use the Fill command on the Format menu to change these attributes.
     
  • The color, pattern, and transparency of a shape's shadow. Use the Fill command on the Format menu to change these attributes.
     
  • The line ends on a 1-D shape. Some examples of line ends are arrowheads, diamonds, and circles. Use the Line command on the Format menu to change these attributes.
     
  • The line caps (round or square) on a 1-D shape and the corners on a 2-D shape. Use the Line command on the Format menu to change these attributes.
     
  • The text size, style, color, and so on. Use the Text command on the Format menu to change these attributes.
     

When you drag any shape from a stencil onto the drawing page, it appears with the shape's default formatting. For example, the Box shape on the Blocks stencil has a gray fill color and a solid black border. Text that you type in this shape is black, the font size is 8 points, and the font name is Arial. By formatting a shape's attributes, you can change the look of a shape or an entire diagram to better convey your message.

Visio makes it easy to change the default formatting of any shape by using the Text, Line, and Fill commands on the Format menu, or the buttons on the Formatting toolbar. Most of these buttons have drop-down lists with options that you can select. To view the options for a specific button, click the down arrow on the button. For example, to change a shape's fill color, select the shape, click the Fill Color down arrow, and then click the color you want from the palette of colors that appears.

Tip

Pause the pointer over any toolbar button to display a ScreenTip that tells you the button's function.

In a diagram that includes many shapes, you can save time by formatting multiple shapes at the same time. Do this by clicking Select All on the Edit menu, and then specifying the attributes you want to apply. Visio applies the changes to all the selected shapes. If you want to apply the same formatting to only some of the shapes in a diagram, hold down the Shift key while selecting the shapes you want to format, and then specify the attributes you want to apply.

Tip

If you want to format an entire diagram with pre-defined, coordinated colors that Visio provides for you, use the methods covered in the "Applying Themes to Entire Diagrams" section later in this chapter.

If you want to apply the formatting of one shape to other shapes, you can copy the formatting from that shape and apply it to the others. The Format Painter tool copies the fill, line, and text attributes of one shape and applies them to another shape. When you click the Format Painter button on the Formatting toolbar, the format of the selected shape is copied. You then click the shape you want to format. If you double-click the Format Painter button, you can format multiple shapes on the drawing page.

In this exercise, you refine an unfinished diagram of the conference hall layout for a tradeshow hosted by Wide World Importers. Using the buttons on the Formatting toolbar, you apply a new fill color and line weight to a shape. Then you use the Format Painter tool to copy the formatting from one shape to another. Finally, you change the font size and color of some shapes.

OPEN the FormatShapes file in DocumentsMicrosoft PressVisio 2007 SBS3_Format.

1.

Click the China Booths shape on the drawing page to select it.
 

2.

On the Formatting toolbar, click the Fill Color down arrow.
 

Fill Color

A color palette appears.
 

3.

Pause the pointer over a color in the palette to see a ScreenTip that identifies the color.
 

4.

Under Standard Colors, click the blue color.

Visio fills the interior of the shape with the blue color. The shape remains selected.
 

Tip

After you choose a color from the color palette, you don't need to view the color palette each time you want to apply that color to a shape. Clicking the Fill Color button will apply the last color you selected from the palate to the shape.

5.

On the Formatting toolbar, click the Line Weight down arrow to display a list of line weights.
 

Line Weight

6.

Pause the pointer over a weight in the list to see a ScreenTip that describes the weight.
 

7.

Click the line weight that displays the Line Weight 9 ScreenTip.

Visio applies a thicker border to the shape. The shape remains selected.
 

Troubleshooting

You might need to zoom in on the China Booths shape to see the thicker border.

8.

On the Formatting toolbar, double-click the Format Painter button.
 

Format Painter

The pointer changes to a black color and a paintbrush appears next to it, indicating that the Format Painter tool is selected and you can now copy the formatting from one shape to another one.
 

9.

One shape at a time, click the Vietnam Booths shape, the Cambodia Booths shape, the India Booths shape, the Rest of Asia Booths shape, the Name A-M shape, and the Name N-Z shape.
 

Format Painter

Troubleshooting

You might need to zoom out of the drawing to see all the shapes on the drawing page.

Visio copies the formatting from the China Booths shape to the selected shapes, changing their fill color to blue and line weight to 9.
 

Troubleshooting

If you can copy the formatting from the China Booths shape to only the Vietnam Booths shape, you didn't double-click the Format Painter button. You must double-click the button to copy the formatting to more than one shape. Select the China Booths shape again, double-click the Format Painter button, and then copy the formatting to the rest of the shapes.

10.

Press the key to switch back to the Pointer tool.

The pointer changes back to the Pointer tool icon.
 

11.

Position the pointer above and to the right of the Name A-M shape, and outside the large, white, rectangular shape.
 

Troubleshooting

You might need to zoom out of the drawing to see all the shapes on the drawing page.

12.

Drag a selection box around the Name A-M and Name N-Z shapes.

As you drag, Visio draws the selection box. When you release the mouse button, the two shapes within the box are selected.
 

Troubleshooting

If you move the large, white, rectangular shape instead of selecting the two shapes, you didn't position the pointer correctly. Press to undo your action and try again. Make sure you position the pointer outside the large shape and over a blank area of the drawing page where you can see the grid, and then drag to select the two shapes within the selection box.

13.

On the Formatting toolbar, click the Font Size down arrow, and then click 10 pt. in the list.
 

Font Size

Visio decreases the text size for both of the selected shapes.
 

Tip

You can also type a number in the Font Size box to change the text size rather than clicking a size in the list.

14.

Click the top Enter auditorium shape.
 

15.

While holding down the key, click the bottom Enter auditorium shape and the two Enter Demo Area shapes.

The first shape you select (the primary shape) has a dark magenta selection box; the other shapes (secondary shapes) have light magenta selection boxes.
 

16.

On the Formatting toolbar, click the Text Color down arrow to display the color palette.
 

Text Color

17.

Pause the pointer over a color in the palette to see a ScreenTip that identifies the color.
 

18.

Under Standard Colors, click the dark blue color.

Visio changes the text in the four selected arrows to dark blue.
 

Tip

For quick access to all the commands on the Format menu, you can right-click a shape to display its shortcut menu, point to Format, and then click the appropriate command.

19.

Click the pasteboard to deselect the shapes.
 

20.

Hold down the key while you select both Potted Plant shapes to the left and right of the word, Entrance.
 

21.

On the Standard toolbar, click the Fill Color button, and then under Standard Colors, click the green color.
 

22.

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

Save

CLOSE the FormatShapes file.



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

Glossary

About the Authors

Choose the Right Book for You



Microsoft Office Visio 2007 Step by Step
Microsoft Office Visio 2007 Step by Step (Step By Step (Microsoft))
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