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Note: You will need to run Visio in developer mode to be able to work on patterns in Drawing Explorer. To do that, click the File tab. Under Visio, click Options. Click Advanced, and scroll down to the General section, and then select Run in developer mode.

  1. Do one of the following:

    • To make the pattern available only in the current drawing, on the Developer menu, click Drawing Explorer.

    • To save the pattern with an existing stencil so that you can open it in any drawing, open the stencil: In the Shapes window, point to My Shapes, and then either click Favorites or open a stencil. If the stencil cannot be edited, right-click the stencil title bar, and then click Edit Stencil. Then, click Developer > Drawing Explorer.

    • To create a new stencil with which to save the pattern (to make it available in any drawing): In the Shapes window, click More Shapes, and then click New Stencil. Then, click Developer > Drawing Explorer.

  2. In the Drawing Explorer window, right-click Fill Patterns, Line Patterns, or Line Ends, and then click New Pattern.

  3. Under Details, in the Name box, type a name for the pattern, and then click the pattern type you want.

  4. Under Behavior, choose an option.

    Behavior options

    Pattern type



    Fill pattern

    Create multiple copies of the image to fill a shape (tile the image)

    Tile image button for fill pattern

    Use a single, centered, image.

    Single, centered image button for fill pattern

    Stretch a single image to fill the shape.

    Single stretched image button for fill pattern

    Line pattern

    Bend the pattern to the line so that the pattern is tiled and distorted along the path of the line.

    Tile and distort an image along the path of the line for a line pattern

    Tile multiple images along the line without distorting them.

    Tile images along line for a line pattern

    Stretch a single image along the line.

    Stretch an image along a line for a line pattern

    Tile multiple images along the line without distorting them, while still retaining the line’s original formatting.

    Tile images on original line for a line pattern

    Line end pattern

    Orient the line end to the direction of the line.

    Orient line end to direction of line button image

    Orient the line end so that it is always upright.

    Orient line end to always be upright button image

  5. To adjust the pattern as the drawing page scale changes, select the Scaled check box.

    Note: An unscaled line pattern or line end pattern will adjust itself to the line’s weight (or thickness).

  6. Click OK.

  7. In the Drawing Explorer pane, open the appropriate folder, right-click the new pattern, and then click Edit Pattern Shape.

  8. Create the shape or shapes you want to designate as a pattern. You can create shapes from scratch, modify existing shapes, or insert bitmaps.

    Note: If you use a bitmap to create the fill pattern, the pattern will not have transparent areas where the background shows through. However, if you use Visio shapes to create the fill pattern, the background will show through the pattern.

  9. Close the window, and then click Yes in the prompt to update the pattern.

See Also

Open the Drawing Explorer window

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