Add the United States shape to a diagram

Applies to
Microsoft Office Visio® 2003

United States shape

With the Search for Shapes feature in Visio 2003, it's easy to enhance your diagrams with shapes showing the United States, individual states, and other countries and regions. Whether you're presenting sales reports, marketing campaigns, network designs, or business process analyses, map shapes can help you convey a lot of information quickly and clearly.

Visio geographic map shapes are provided only through the Internet. You can download and save the shapes to your local hard disk on a Visio 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.) and reuse them whenever you want. The map shapes are created from the same geographic data that is used in Microsoft MapPoint®.

To use the United States map shape

  1. In Visio, open the Shapes window, if it's not already open, by clicking Shapes Window on the View menu.
  2. In the Search for Shapes box, type United States, and then click the arrow next to the search box or press ENTER.

The results appear in a search results stencil. You'll see individual state shapes as well as an overall shape of the United States. You might have to scroll through the stencil to locate the United States shape.

  1. When you find the shape that you want, drag it onto the drawing page.

Shapes may appear larger or smaller than expected, because they are designed in proportion to each other. You may need to resize the shape to work with it easily.

  1. To resize the shape, drag a selection handle Icon image.


To zoom in on a shape or specific area, press CTRL+SHIFT while clicking. To zoom out, press CTRL+SHIFT while right-clicking.

  1. To label the shape, select the shape and then type the name. You can reposition the text by dragging the control handle Icon image in the center of the shape.

It's a good idea to type the name of any map shape as soon as you drag it onto the page, so you can easily identify it later. Doing this is particularly useful when you're adding many map shapes or working with map shapes that aren't immediately familiar to you.


If you leave the shapes unnamed but want to identify them later, you can find the name of each shape in the shape's custom properties list. Right-click the shape, point to Shape, and then click Custom Properties.

  1. To keep the shapes you found, you can either save the entire search results stencil or save individual shapes to a custom stencil. Do one of the following:

ShowSave the search results stencil

  1. Right-click the search results stencil title bar and click Save As.
  2. In the File name box, type a name, and then click Save.

By default, stencils are saved in your My Shapes folder. To quickly access stencils in this folder, on the File menu, point to Shapes, and then point to My Shapes.

ShowSave shapes to a custom stencil

  • Right-click the shape, point to Add To My Shapes, and then click Favorites, a stencil that you have named, Add to New Stencil, or Add to Existing Stencil.
  1. Add color to the shape.


  1. Drag the shapes to the page.
  2. Select the shape that you want to color.
  3. On the Format menu, click Fill.
  4. In the Color list, click the color that you want.

To create a custom color, click More Colors, and then click the Custom tab.

  1. Select any other options that you want.
  1. Format the text of the shape.


  1. Select the shape that has text that you want to format.
  2. On the Format menu, click Text.
  3. Select the formatting options that you want.


If you are using the U.S. English version of Visio (U.S. units), Search for Shapes will return two United States map shapes — one that outlines the country and another that also outlines the boundaries of all 50 states.

To determine whether you have the metric or U.S. units version of Visio, on the Start menu, click Control Panel. Double-click Add or Remove Programs, click Microsoft Office Visio 2003, and then click Change. Click Next and then click the plus (+) sign next to Microsoft Office Visio to expand the tree. A red X next to Solutions (US Units), Solutions (Metric units), Add-ons (US units), or Add-ons (Metric units) indicates that option is not installed, and thus you have the other version without the red X. For example, if there is a red X next to Solutions (Metric units), you have the U.S. units version of Visio. Click Cancel to close the dialog box.

Applies to:
Visio 2003