Tips for hassle-free printing in Visio

Applies to
Microsoft Office Visio® 2003
Inside Out Visio 2003 Image This article was adapted from Microsoft® Office Visio® 2003 Inside Out by Mark H. Walker and Nanette Eaton, Chapter 8, "Saving and Printing Your Work." Visit Microsoft Learning to buy this book.

In this article

Printing diagrams of any size



Printing diagrams of any size

Most of the time, you can print a Visio diagram or drawing by choosing File, Print, and then clicking OK in the Print dialog box, shown in the following figure. Most Visio templates are set up so that the drawing page and printed page sizes are the same, so you don't have to change page settings to get the printed drawing you expect. Visio adjusts your diagram's colors to match your printer's capabilities. If your diagram uses color and you don't have a color printer, your output is displayed in shades of gray.

Print dialog box

In the Print dialog box, you can specify page ranges and other options, such as Properties.

To print a drawing, do one of the following:

  • Click the Print buttonButton image on the Standard toolbar.
  • Press CTRL+P.
  • On the File menu, click Print.

Printing in Visio frequently gives people headaches, primarily because the page you see can vary in size from the paper in your printer. How do you get one to fit the other? You might have to adjust settings when you print if you change the size, orientation, or scale of the drawing page — the page you see in Visio. It's not difficult if you remember that drawing page means the area you draw on in Visio, which might not be the same size and shape as the printed page, because it depends on the size of the paper in your printer.

 Note   An object must be on the drawing page to be printed. Shapes and objects outside the drawing page on the pasteboard (the gray area) won't be printed.

Most templates in Visio Standard assume that you're using a typical office printer and standard, letter-sized paper. If you're in the United States, letter-sized is 8.5 by 11 inches. Everywhere else, it's A4 paper. Some Visio Professional templates (notably those in the Building Plan folder) assume that you're working with larger architectural or engineering drawings that will be printed with a plotter using standard ANSI sizes (A through E).

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The following tips explain how to adjust printing options to suit your paper and drawing sizes:

  • The printer paper size option    To easily match the size of your drawing page and the size of the printer paper, use the Same As Printer Paper Size option. On the File menu, click Page Setup, click the Page Size tab, and then select this option. Although there are exceptions for technical drawings and diagrams, most business diagrams benefit from this setting.
  • Using nonprinting layers     Using layers in a Visio diagram gives you more control when you print, which is a great reason to use them. For example, you can assign shapes containing annotations or other details to a separate layer and set that layer to be nonprinting. Then when you print your diagram, only the parts of the drawing you want appear, without all the clutter. To make a layer nonprinting, on the View menu, click Layer Properties, and clear the check box for the layer in the Print column.
  • Using a slide show to preview your print job     You can preview Visio diagrams like a slide show by displaying them in full-screen view. This view hides the toolbars, title bars, status bar, menus, scrollbars, and stencils so that the drawing page takes up the entire screen. To do this, on the View menu, click Full Screen. To exit full-screen view, press the ESC key.

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The following sections describe common printing errors and their solutions.

The Print command causes a page orientation error

If the Visio drawing page is oriented differently from the printed page (for example, one is landscape and the other portrait), you will receive an error message.

Landscape orientation means the page is wider than it is tall. Portrait orientation is the opposite. If you change the orientation of your drawing, you need to change the orientation of your printer's paper as well, unless you specifically want the drawing to print on several pages. You can do one of two things:

  • Click OK to continue printing. The parts of the drawing that don't fit on one page will print on separate pages.
  • Click Cancel, and then set the drawing page and printer paper orientation so that they match. To do this, on the File menu, click Page Setup. On the Page Size tab, notice the setting under Page Orientation. Is the drawing page portrait or landscape? Then click the Print Setup tab, and make sure that the Paper Orientation option matches the orientation on the Page Size tab.

Your drawing prints on multiple pages, and you want it to fit on one page

To keep a drawing on a single page, try one or more of these methods:

  • If your printer can use different sizes of paper, specify larger paper For example, print on legal-sized paper instead of letter-sized. To do this, click Properties in the Print dialog box, and then choose a paper size option.
  • Shrink the drawing when you print This is like using a copy machine to create a copy at a reduced size, such as 75 percent. The size of the original drawing or diagram doesn't change. To do this, on the File menu, click Page Setup, and then click the Print Setup tab. You can either click Adjust To and then specify a percentage, or click Fit To and then specify 1 Sheet Across By 1 Sheet Down.
  • Change the drawing page orientation to see if your drawing fits For example, if your drawing is too wide to fit on the page, use landscape orientation, where the page is wider than it is tall. To do this, on the File menu, click Page Setup, and click the Page Size tab. Click Custom Size, and then click an option under Page Orientation. Click the Print Setup tab, and then make sure that the Paper Orientation option matches the Page Orientation you just selected.
  • Apply a drawing scale that reduces all the shapes on the drawing page You tend to get better results when you specify a drawing scale before you begin using shapes. Applying a drawing scale later can cause shape and text alignment to get out of whack. However, if all else fails, it's worth a try. (You can undo the results if necessary.) On the File menu, click Page Setup, click the Drawing Scale tab, and then choose a predefined or custom scale. For example, try a custom scale of 1 in. or 1 cm to 1.5 in., or 1.5 cm for a business diagram.

Enlarging a drawing causes unnecessary blank printed pages

Depending on how you resize the contents of your drawing page, you might find that when you print a large drawing or diagram, several extra pages are printed as well — and some of them might be blank. Even when your file's contents print on one page, this can happen, and the extra pages can be a nuisance. Extra pages indicate that the drawing page size is larger than your printer's paper, and Visio is tiling your drawing across several pages. Although they are blank, those pages are a part of your drawing page.

To avoid this problem, do one of the following:

  • Resize the drawing page so that it encompasses the page's contents only. To do this, on the File menu, click Page Setup, and then click the Page Size tab. Select the Size To Fit Drawing Contents option, and then click OK. Your drawing page still might not match your printed page, but this solution should reduce the number of extra pages printed.
  • Specify a smaller drawing page size. If you have extra white space around your drawing, you can remove it by choosing a standard page size that's smaller — but still large enough for your diagram's contents. Follow the technique just described, but select Same As Printer Paper Size or a predefined size, depending on the paper size options your printer supports.

Text in the drawing looks different than it did in previous versions of Visio

The printer fonts found in much earlier versions of Visio are not supported by current versions. If you open a drawing file created in one of these earlier versions, a Microsoft Windows font is substituted. Try changing the font in your drawing to any available TrueType, OpenType, or PostScript font. Visio distinguishes between these fonts in the Text dialog box. The logo to the left of the font name tells you what type of font it is.

Text in the drawing file won't display in a transparent color

You can't make text formatted with a PostScript font transparent. Format your text with a TrueType or OpenType font instead.

Some shapes don't appear in the printed drawing

The printer driver might have translated the color of the shape's line and fill as white. On the File menu, click Print, and then select the Color As Black check box.

The lines and fills of all shapes are converted to black before sending them to the printer, so shapes are visible in the printed drawing. This is helpful if you can't determine which shapes are missing from the printed drawing.

The shape might be set as a nonprinting shape, or it might be on a nonprinting layer. Select the shape, and then on the Format menu, choose Behavior. If a check mark appears for Non-Printing Shape, clear it. To find out what layer a shape is on, select the shape, and then on the Format menu, click Layer. To make sure the layer prints, on the View menu, click Layer Properties. Make sure that the Print column is selected for that layer.

Saving a file causes it to print

In the past, Visio had a known problem with certain printers. When you saved your drawing file, the diagram automatically printed. Visio must communicate with the printer driver to share font and page settings, but sometimes that communication is misinterpreted as a command to print. Some users find that assigning a different version of a printer driver to their printer is a successful solution. For more details, either search the Internet for Visio user groups or check the Microsoft Knowledge Base for the most up-to-date information.

Past versions of Visio (2000 and earlier) required a manual entry in the Windows Registry to change a printer driver setting, but Visio 2003 no longer requires this repair.

Printed text looks different from text on the screen

Visio 2003 includes type display functionality that makes text and lines look crisp on the screen, so your printed output should resemble the screen more closely. However, text might print in the wrong font or look rough when there is a conflict with the printer driver. Here are some things to try:

  • If your drawing file contains TrueType fonts, you can download them to the printer as a bitmap font, which might resemble your diagram more exactly. This option is available for some printers in the Advanced Options dialog box for the printer driver. For example, on the File menu, click Print, and then click Properties. Look for an Advanced button, Advanced tab, or Fonts tab that contains TrueType options, such as Download As Soft Font or Download TrueType Fonts As Bitmap Soft Fonts.
  • If your printer supports font substitution, try turning it off.
  • Verify that you have the latest printer driver for your printer. Check the Web site of the printer manufacturer or call your printer vendor for verification.
  • If the printer driver is set to emulate another printer, try turning off emulation.

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Applies to:
Visio 2003