About custom properties

A Microsoft Office Visio drawing is more than a picture―it's also a valuable way to store data. A shape can act as a visual database field that stores data you can retrieve in a report. For example, a flowchart shape can store data about the cost, duration, and resources involved in the process step the shape represents.

Show me an example

ShowMany shapes already have custom properties

Many Visio shapes have predefined custom properties so you can associate data with or affect the appearance of the shape. For example:

Many of the flowchart shapes have custom properties in which you can enter cost, duration, and resources information. Some office layout shapes have custom properties in which you can enter information such as inventory number and owner. Some shapes have properties that change the appearance of the shape, such as the dimension, type, and offset properties of the shapes on the Walls, Doors and Windows stencil.

You can enter the data into these properties if you want to track that information, or leave them blank.

ShowAdd or edit custom properties

You can edit custom properties in existing shapes, add new properties, or delete properties you don't need. You can also add custom properties to new shapes you create. For example, you can add a new custom property to furniture shapes to store the cost of the item.

Where you edit custom properties depends on what you intend to do with the shapes.

To edit custom properties for only a single shape, edit the shape on the drawing page. To edit custom properties for a shape that you will reuse in several drawings, edit the master (master: A shape on a stencil that you use repeatedly to create drawings. When you drag a shape from a stencil onto the drawing page, the shape becomes an instance of that master.) shape on a custom stencil (stencil: A collection of masters associated with a particular Visio drawing type, or template. By default, stencils that open with a template are docked on the left side of the drawing window.).

ShowCustom property sets

To add a group of the same custom properties to many shapes on a drawing or on a custom stencil, create a custom property set. For example, to add Employee Number, Start Date, and Salary properties to the shapes in an organization chart, you could create a custom property set with those properties and then add it to all of the shapes in an organization chart.

ShowLinking custom properties to a database

You can link the data in custom properties to a database so that changes in the database are reflected in your Visio drawing.

ShowCustom properties in the ShapeSheet spreadsheet

Custom properties are stored in their own section of the shape's ShapeSheet. If you are developing your own shapes, you can add or edit custom properties in the ShapeSheet window.

Show me an example

You can also use the custom properties of a shape to control the shape's behavior. For example, you can develop a door shape that changes appearance when you choose a door type in the Custom Properties dialog box.

ShowGenerate a report on custom properties

You can create reports on the custom properties of shapes in your drawing. For more information, see About property reports.