Editing network equipment shapes, cables, and connectors in Visio

Applies to
Microsoft Office Visio® 2003
Inside Out Visio 2003 Image This article was excerpted from Microsoft® Office Visio® 2003 Inside Out by Mark H. Walker and Nanette Eaton, Chapter 14, "Creating Network Diagrams." Visit Microsoft Learning to buy this book.

Editing network equipment shapes

Regardless of the number of equipment shapes in Visio, there never seem to be enough. You can customize any network shape to simulate a device that isn't included. Most of the network shapes are groups. If you open the shape in the group window, you can then use the Format, Special command to identify its type as the following figure shows. To edit the shape ungroup it so that you can work with its constituent parts. When you're done editing, you can regroup all the parts again.

The Special dialog box (Format menu) indicates which shapes are groups.


A connector line shows through text even though the text background is solid    If you added a solid-color background to a label, but the connector line still shows through, the problem might be with the shape's stacking order. The label needs to be on top of the connector. If the connector is on top, its line will continue to show. To adjust stacking order, select a shape, and then choose Shape, Order, Bring forward. If necessary, repeat until the line no longer appears.

Options for editing your shape

Now you're ready to edit your shape, but where should you do it? If you edit a shape on the drawing page, you're changing just that shape. If you want to make the same change to a dozen shapes, you don't want to edit them one by one. Here are some options:

  • Edit a master shape on the document stencil     If your diagram includes copies of a shape, and you want to change them all, you can edit the master shape on the document stencil. When you save your changes, every shape in your drawing that is an instance of that master will be updated. To display the document stencil, choose File, Shapes, Show document stencil. Right-click the shape on the document stencil that you want to change, and then choose Edit master.
  • Save an edited shape as new master shape     You can revise one shape, and then save it as a master on a stencil that you have created. That way, you can reuse the master to create copies of the shape in your diagram. To save the shape as a master, drag the shape onto a stencil that you have created.

 Note   You can make a custom stencil by selecting File, Shapes, and then selecting New stencil. You can add a shape to a stencil that you have previously created by selecting File, Shapes, My shapes, and then choosing a stencil.

Editing network cables and connectors

Methods for changing the look of connectors in a network diagram vary depending on the shape you use. All of the assorted connector shapes, including lines you draw with one of the drawing tools, are instances of what's called a 1-D shape in Visio. Among other things, this means that any topic in this book about 1-D shapes applies to network connectors as well. You can work with 1-D shapes or connectors as follows:

  • To label a connector, select the connector, and then type.
  • You can apply a line pattern to a network connector to show connections as dashed or dotted lines. Select a pattern from the Line Pattern tool Button image to format your connector.
  • You can change the connector color as you would any other line. Select the shape, and then choose a line color with the Line Color toolButton image .
Applies to:
Visio 2003