Provide a key to the symbols in your diagram with the Legend shape in Visio

Applies to
Microsoft Office Visio® 2003

Legend shape

Have you ever needed a table or list that explains the symbols in your drawing or map? Rather than create it manually, wouldn't it be great if you could have it created automatically, along with a count and description for each symbol?

With the new Legend shape in Visio 2003, you can do all this and more. For example, you can add a Legend shape to a building plan to explain symbols for various points of interest, such as the location of a fire extinguisher or first aid kit.

After adding the Legend shape to your diagram, you can edit the text in the legend and change how the shape actually looks.

The Legend shape appears in the Brainstorming Diagram, Network Diagram, and Building Plan templates, but you can use it in any Visio drawing.

To use the Legend shape

  1. On the File menu, point to Shapes, point to Brainstorming, and then click Legend Shapes.
  2. From Legend Shapes, drag the Legend shape onto the drawing page.

 Note   If there are symbols already on the drawing page, they automatically appear in the Legend shape, along with a count and description.

  1. Add symbols to your diagram.

Each symbol should automatically appear in the Legend shape. If it doesn't, you can make it appear.


  1. Drag the shape you want to appear in the legend directly onto the Legend shape on your drawing page.
  2. In the message box that appears, click Yes.


To make multiple shapes appear in the legend at the same time, hold down the SHIFT key while you select the shapes, and then drag them directly onto the Legend shape.

  1. Edit the text in the Legend shape.


  • Double-click the text you want to edit and type.

 Note   If the Legend shape is already selected, just click once and type.

  1. Change the appearance of the Legend shape.


  1. Right-click the Legend shape, and then click Configure Legend.
  2. In the Configure Legend dialog box, do any of the following:
    • Show or hide particular legend symbols in the Legend shape using the check boxes under Visible.
    • Show or hide the subtitle, column names, or quantity using the check boxes at the bottom of the dialog box.
    • Change the order of legend symbols using the Move Up and Move Down buttons.

 Note   Legend symbols must be set to Visible in the Configure Legend dialog box for changes resulting from Move Up or Move Down to persist.

  1. Click OK.


You can use more than one Legend shape per drawing page and customize each one.

Applies to:
Visio 2003