Create, save, and share a custom stencil

A stencil (.vss file) is a collection of shapes associated with a particular Microsoft Office Visio template (.vst file). You can create a new stencil to hold shapes that you use often and want to find quickly. After you have created your new stencil, you can then save it to reuse later or share it with other people.

For more information about how to open and use stencils, see Use the Shapes window to organize and find shapes.

 Important   

  • You cannot directly edit any of the built-in stencils that come with Visio. To create a new custom stencil based upon a built-in stencil, see Create a new stencil based on an existing one.
  • The Visio shapes on stencils supplied by Microsoft Corporation are copyrighted. You may copy and reorganize them for your own use, modify them for your own use, and distribute drawings that contain them. You may not sell or distribute original or modified Visio shapes.

What do you want to do?


Create a new stencil

  1. In the Shapes window, click More Shapes, and then select New Stencil.
  2. In the Shapes window, right-click the new stencil and select Save As.
  3. Type a name for your stencil, and then click Save.
    By default, custom stencils are saved in your My Shapes folder.

 Notes 

  • To learn about how to add shapes to your custom stencil, see Add shapes to a custom stencil.
  • To open your new custom stencil in another drawing, in the Shapes window, click More Shapes, select Open Stencil, select the stencil that you want, and then click Open.
  • To edit your new stencil, right-click the stencil title and click Edit Stencil. The icon in the stencil title bar changes to A red asterisk indicates that a stencil is editable. (indicating that the stencil is editable).
  • To share your stencil with someone, see Share a custom stencil.

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Create a new stencil based on an existing one

  1. Open the stencil that you want to make a copy of.
    To learn about how to open stencils, see Use the Shapes window to organize and find shapes.
  2. Right-click the stencil and select Save As.
  3. Type a name for your new custom stencil, and then click Save. The new custom stencil appears in the Shapes window.
  4. Make any changes that you want to the stencil.
    To learn about how to add shapes to your custom stencil, see Add shapes to a custom stencil.
  5. To save your changes, right-click the stencil title bar, and then click Save.

 Notes 

  • To learn about how to add shapes to your custom stencil, see Add shapes to a custom stencil.
  • To open your new custom stencil in another drawing, in the Shapes window, click More Shapes, select Open Stencil, select the stencil that you want, and then click Open.
  • To edit your new stencil, right-click the stencil title and click Edit Stencil. The icon in the stencil title bar changes to A red asterisk indicates that a stencil is editable. (indicating that the stencil is editable).
  • To share your stencil with someone, see Share a custom stencil.

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Add shapes to a custom stencil

  1. Open the custom stencil that you want to add shapes to.
  2. Drag a shape from another stencil or from the drawing page onto the custom stencil. A new master shape will be added to the stencil.
  3. To edit the name of the master shape, right-click the shape and select Rename Master.
  4. Type a name for the master shape and press ENTER.

 Notes 

  • To add shapes to a custom stencil, the stencil must be editable. A stencil is editable if the icon in the stencil title bar is A red asterisk indicates that a stencil is editable.. To edit a custom stencil, right-click the stencil title bar and click Edit Stencil.
  • To learn about how to create new shapes, see Create a shape.

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Save a custom stencil

  • To save changes to a stencil, right-click the stencil title bar, and then click Save.
  • To save a copy of a stencil with a new name, right-click the stencil title bar, click Save As, type a name for the new stencil, and then click Save.
    By default, custom stencils are saved in your My Shapes folder.

 Notes 

  • To open your new custom stencil in another drawing, in the Shapes window, click More Shapes, select Open Stencil, select the stencil that you want, and then click Open.
  • To edit your new stencil, right-click the stencil title and click Edit Stencil. The icon in the stencil title bar changes to A red asterisk indicates that a stencil is editable. (indicating that the stencil is editable).
  • To share your stencil with someone, see Share a custom stencil.

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Share a custom stencil

You can share a custom stencil with other people who have Visio in the same way that you share other Microsoft Office files. For example, you can save a custom stencil file (.vss) to a removable media (USB device or DVD as examples) and distribute it, or you can send the stencil as an attachment to an email.

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Applies to:
Visio 2010