Draw a shape with the Pencil, Line, Arc, or Freeform tools

You can create your own custom shapes by using the rectangle, ellipse, arc, freeform, and pencil shapes in Visio.

If you want to be able to apply fill colors to your new shape, you need to create a closed shape. If you use the Rectangle tool or the Ellipse tool, you get closed shapes automatically. By default, closed shapes are filled with a solid color.

A closed rectangle and an open triangle

Fig. 1  In this example, the green rectangle is a closed shape because it is filled with a solid color. You can tell that the triangle is not closed because it is not filled with a solid color and you can see the drawing background through the shape.
What do you want to do?


Draw a rectangle or circle

  1. On the Home tab, in the Tools group, click the arrow next to Rectangle The Rectangle tool, and then do one of the following:
  2. On the Home tab, in the Tools group, click the arrow next to Rectangle The Rectangle tool, and then do one of the following:

The Tools group on the Home tab

  • To draw a rectangle, select the Rectangle tool.
  • To draw a circle or oval, select the Ellipse tool.
  1. Drag to draw the shape on the drawing page.
  2. To return to regular editing, in the Tools group, click the Pointer Button image tool.

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Draw a custom shape

  1. On the Home tab, in the Tools group, click the arrow next to Rectangle The Rectangle tool, and then do one of the following:

The Tools group on the Home tab

  • To draw a straight line, select the Line tool.
  • To draw an irregular shape, select the Freeform tool.
  • To draw a curved line, select the Arc tool.
  1. To draw the first segment, point to where you want to start the shape, and then drag until the segment is the size that you want.
  1. To draw the second segment, point to the endpoint (endpoint: Either of the square handles that appear at the beginning or end of a selected line, arc, or other one-dimensional (1-D) shape.) of the first segment, and then drag.
  2. To draw additional segments, point to the vertex at the end of the last segment that you added, and then drag to draw the next segment.

 Note    To undo a segment, press CTRL+Z. Segments are deleted in the reverse order in which they were drawn.

  1. To close the shape, drag the endpoint of the last segment that you create over the vertex at the beginning of the first segment. The shape becomes opaque, which indicates that it is a closed shape (closed shape: A shape that is surrounded by a continuous outline, such as a rectangle or circle. You can fill a closed shape with a color or a pattern.).
  2. To return to regular editing, on the Home tab, in the Tools, click the Pointer tool Button image.

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Edit a shape

You can edit most shapes in Microsoft Visio 2010 by adding, deleting, and reshaping segments in the shape.

Delete a segment from a shape

  1. On the Home tab, in the Tools group, click the arrow next to Rectangle The Rectangle tool, and then click the Pencil tool The Pencil tool.

The Tools group on the Home tab

  1. Select the shape that you want to delete a segment from, click the vertex A shape vertex that you want to delete, and then press DELETE.

Add a segment to a shape

  1. On the Home tab, in the Tools group, click the arrow next to Rectangle The Rectangle tool, and then click the Pencil tool The Pencil tool.

The Tools group on the Home tab

  1. Select the shape the shape that you want to add a segment to, point to where you want to add the segment, and hold down the CTRL key and then click.

A new vertex appears where you clicked the shape, creating a new segment.

Reshape a shape

  1. On the Home tab, in the Tools group, click the arrow next to Rectangle The Rectangle tool, and then click the Pencil tool The Pencil tool.

The Tools group on the Home tab

  1. Select the shape, click the vertex A shape vertex that you want to move, and then drag the vertex to a new position.

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Create a new master shape

You can reuse your custom shape in other drawings by making it a master shape. To turn a custom shape into a master shape, do the following?

  1. In the Shapes pane, click More Shapes, and then select a custom stencil or create a new custom stencil by selecting New Stencil (US units) or New Stencil (Metric).
  2. On the drawing page, select your custom shape and drag it into the new stencil in the Shapes pane.
  3. To rename your new master shape, right-click the shape, select Rename Master, and then type a name for the new master shape.
  4. In the Shapes pane, on the custom stencil, click Save to save the changes to the custom stencil with the new master shape.

For more information about how to create a new master shape, see Create a shape or Edit a master shape.

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Applies to:
Visio 2010