Measure shapes in Visio

There are several different ways to measure shapes in Microsoft Visio 2010. Which way is best depends on the type of measurements that you need and whether you want to display the measurements in your drawing.

What do you want to do?


View the overall width, height, and angle of a shape

  1. Select the shape in your drawing.
  2. Look at the status bar to see the width, height, and angle of the shape.

Display the width, height, and angle of a shape inside the shape

If you want to display the overall measurements of only a few shapes, you can quickly add measurement fields to shapes that have text boxes.

  1. Click the shape that you want to add fields to.
  2. On the Insert tab, in the Text group, click Field.
  3. In the Field dialog box, in the Category list, click Geometry.
  4. In the Field name list, click the measurement that you want to display.

 Tip   To add units such as feet to the numbers, click Data Format, and then choose new units in the Data Format dialog box.

  1. Click OK.
  2. Repeat the steps for each field that you want to add.

 Tip   To display the height and width with an x between them, insert the first field in the text box of the shape, and then type a space, type x, type another space, and then insert the second field.

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Display the width, height, and angle of a shape next to a shape

 Note   The data graphics features are available only in Visio Professional and Premium editions.

Data graphics provide a quick way to display the height, width, and angle of shapes as well as other shape data. This article describes how to display measurements.

  1. On the Data tab, in the Display Data group, click Data Graphics.
  2. Click Create New Data Graphic.
  3. In the New Data Graphic dialog box, click New Item.
  4. In the New Item dialog box, in the Data field list, click More Fields.
  5. In the Field dialog box, in the Category list, click Geometry.
  6. In the Field name list, click the measurement that you want to display, and then click OK.
  7. In the New Item dialog box, in the Displayed as list, click Text.
  8. Under Details, in the Label box, type a name for the measurement (such as Width or Height), and then click OK.
  9. Repeat the steps for each measurement that you want to display.
  10. In the New Data Graphic dialog box, click OK.

The new data graphic appears in the Data Graphics gallery, under Available Data Graphics.

  1. Select the shapes in your drawing that you want to display measurements for, and then, in the Data Graphics gallery, click the data graphic that you created.

The new data graphic is applied to the selected shapes.

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Display the measurements of parts of shapes

A cubicle shape with dimensioning shapes showing measurements.

 Note   The dimension shapes are available only in Visio Professional and Premium editions.

You can use dimension shapes to measure other shapes. When you glue a dimension shape to the shape that you want to measure, the shape's measurements are displayed on the dimension shape. The measurements are updated automatically as you resize the original shape.

There are many dimension shapes, and each one measures a different aspect. You can get a good idea of what the different dimension shapes can measure by looking at the stencils, such as the Dimensioning - Engineering stencil.

To give you an idea of how dimension shapes work, the following procedure demonstrates how to use one of the dimension shapes to measure a pathway in a home plan.

  1. Click the File tab, click New, click Maps and Floor Plans, and then double-click Home Plan.
  2. Click the title bar of the Garden Accessories stencil, and drag the Concrete pathway shape onto the drawing page.
  3. Click the title bar of the Dimensioning - Architectural stencil, and drag the Horizontal dimension shape to the drawing page above the pathway shape.
  4. Drag the shape handle on the right side of the Horizontal dimension shape to the right edge of the pathway shape, until the red box appears indicating that the shapes are glued together.
  5. Drag the shape handle on the left side of the Horizontal shape to the left edge of the pathway shape.
  6. Drag the yellow diamond that is on the right side of the dimension shape to a position above the pathway so that the dimension lines do not obscure the pathway shape.

 Note   To change measurement units, right-click the dimension shape and click Precision & Units on the shortcut menu.

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Applies to:
Visio 2010