Quickly sketch a building plan with the Space shape in Visio

Applies to
Microsoft Office Visio® 2003
Microsoft Visio 2002

Space shape

Before you talk with an architect about your building needs, it helps to do a little space planning. At this early stage, you really don't need a detailed drawing with walls, doors, and windows. You just need a way to lay out spaces, label them, edit them, and calculate their areas quickly. Using the Space shape in Visio, you can do all this, and more.

The Space shape in Visio is designed to help you focus on spaces at an abstract level. You can use Space shapes to keep track of each space's intended use (office, conference, storage, or other), its name, its occupancy, and so on. You can enter all of these properties easily, and the area of each Space shape is calculated and displayed for you automatically.

You can change the color and fill pattern of each Space shape to help in the space planning process. Later, you can convert the Space shapes to walls and add doors, windows, and other openings to create a more detailed building plan.

You can find the Space shape on the Walls, Doors and Windows stencil. The Walls, Doors and Windows stencil opens with the Office Layout template automatically, but if you're not using the Office Layout template, you can open the Walls, Doors and Windows stencil directly.

To use the Space shape

  1. In Visio 2003, on the File menu, point to Shapes, point to Building Plan, and then click Walls, Doors and Windows.

In Visio 2002, on the File menu, point to Stencils, point to Building Plan, and then click Walls, Doors and Windows.

  1. From Walls, Doors and Windows, drag Space shapes onto the drawing page to designate rooms.
  2. To resize a Space shape, drag a selection handle.

The area is updated automatically.

  1. To create an irregularly shaped space, edit the Space shape manually.


  1. On the drawing page, right-click a Space shape, and then click Edit.

The Pencil tool appears.

  1. Click the vertex that you want to move.


  • When the pointer is directly over the vertex, it changes into a four-headed arrow.
  • When the vertex is selected, it turns magenta.
  • Press SHIFT while you click to select more than one vertex.
  • Press CTRL while you click to add a vertex to the Space shape.
  1. Drag the vertex to its new position.
  2. After you've finished editing the Space shape, right-click it, and then click Edit to turn off edit mode.
  1. Enter information about each space in the custom properties of each Space shape.


  1. Select the shape to which you want to add information.
  2. If the Custom Properties window is not already open, on the View menu, click Custom Properties Window.
  3. Click each custom property, and then type or select a value.


To enter the same value into the custom properties of several shapes, select the shapes first, and in the Custom Properties window, enter the value.

  1. When done, you can convert your Space shapes to walls.


  1. Select all the Space shapes you dragged onto the drawing page, and on the Plan menu, click Convert to Walls.
  2. Select the options you want in the Convert to Walls dialog box.

If you plan to edit your drawing, under Settings, select the Add guides check box. You can then resize the walls by dragging horizontal and vertical guides. Note that if you don't add guides, you can still resize the walls by manually resizing and reconnecting the wall shapes.

If you want to retain the Space shapes, under Original geometry, select Retain. If you don't select Retain, the Space shapes are deleted.

Applies to:
Visio 2003