About locking shapes and preventing changes to files

If you plan to share drawings, stencils, or templates with other people, you may want to protect what you create to help prevent inadvertent changes.

You can prevent changes to individual shapes or groups of shapes. You can prevent changes to an entire drawing by making it read-only, or you can lock drawing file attributes individually.

You can prevent changes to shapes and drawings by using the following methods:

ShowLock shapes to prevent them from being modified in specific ways

You can lock shapes to prevent anyone from resizing, repositioning, rotating, deleting, and selecting them. You also can lock shapes to prevent anyone from editing the text and formatting.

When a shape is locked against resizing or rotating, its resizing and rotation handles appear grey, to indicate that those handles cannot be selected.

A shape that is locked against resizing and rotating

Grey handles on a shape indicate that the shape is locked against changes.

In addition, the Protection section in a shape's ShapeSheet spreadsheet provides protection options not available in dialog boxes, such as locking against cropping, editing with any drawing tool, text editing and formatting, and group editing.

ShowLock a layer so that no shape on that layer can be modified

For example, if you give an office layout to an electrical wiring planner, you can lock all layers except the one that contains the wiring so that no other aspects of the layout are available for editing.

ShowSave files and stencils in read-only format

For example, you can send out an organization chart for review to your company in read-only format so that only you can make changes to it.

When you work on a drawing or open a stencil separately, the stencil opens in read-only format by default. That way, if you share a stencil with other Microsoft Office Visio program users, you can prevent them from accidentally changing stencil masters. However, unless you save the stencil as read-only, other users can open it in an editable format.

ShowPrevent changes to drawing file attributes

You can restrict access to certain attributes in a drawing file so that other users cannot change them.

For example, you can:

Prevent changes to a background that you created so that people who edit shapes on the drawing page will not inadvertently change the background. Prevent changes to a drawing file's styles so that only certain people can change the way shapes look. Prevent changes to a file's shapes or masters so that people can add shapes to the drawing but not change the existing shapes or masters. Prevent changes to the file's preview image. If you are a content developer, and if you want to create a template preview, add the shapes to the page that you want for the preview, save your file, protect the file's preview image, and then delete all of the shapes on the template pages.