You can customize a master shape in a custom stencil, including changing the default fill color, adding points, changing the icon displayed in the stencil, selecting a different default font, and even applying default data fields.


  • To learn more about how to apply different fill colors, fonts, shadows, or other effects to shapes that are on your drawing page, see Format a shape.

  • Shapes in Visio stencils are often referred to as master shapes. When you drag a master shape onto a drawing page, you create a copy (or “instance”) of the master. The master itself remains on the stencil so that you can use it repeatedly to create new copies of the master on your drawing pages.

  • Visio master shapes supplied by Microsoft Corporation are copyrighted. You may copy and reorganize them for your own use, modify them for your own use, and distribute drawings that contain them. You may not sell or distribute original or modified Visio master shapes.

To edit a master shape, do the following:

  1. Open a new stencil, your Favorites stencil, the Document Stencil, or the custom stencil that contains the master shape that you want to edit.

    Important:  You can only make changes to master shapes that are in a new stencil, the Favorites stencil, the Document Stencil, or a custom stencil.

  2. If the stencil is not editable, right-click the stencil title bar, and then click Edit Stencil.
    The icon in the stencil title bar changes to A red asterisk indicates that a stencil is editable. (indicating that the stencil is editable).

  3. Right-click the master shape that you want to edit, point to Edit Master, and then do one of the following:

    • If you want to change how the master shape appears when placed on a drawing page, click Edit Master Shape.

    • If you want to change how the master shape appears on the stencil in the Shapes window, click Edit Icon Image.

      A new window will open up that contains the master shape or icon that you want to edit.

  4. Make the changes that you want to the master shape in the new window.
    For more information about how to make changes to the appearance of a shape, see Format a shape or Draw a shape with the Pencil, Line, Arc, or Freeform tools.

  5. Close the window when you are finished editing the shape. Visio asks you whether you want to update the shape. Click Yes to save the changes that you made to the master shape.

Top of Page

Need more help?

Expand your skills
Explore Training
Get new features first
Join Microsoft Office Insiders

Was this information helpful?

What affected your experience?

Thank you for your feedback!