Find most-used shapes easily with Quick Shapes

You can rearrange the order of shapes in stencils by dragging them where you want them. You can put the shapes you use most at the top of each stencil so you can find them quickly. In fact, a section at the top of every stencil has been designed as the Quick Shapes area. Shapes that are in this area are also accessible from two other locations:

  • The Quick Shapes stencil that is always available in the Shapes window.

    The Quick Shapes stencil in the Shapes window.

  • The mini toolbar for shapes. It appears when you hold the pointer over a shape that has AutoConnect capability, and then point at one of the arrows that appear.

    Visio AutoConnect arrows and toolbar

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Quick Shapes area of stencils

A thin divider separates the top few shapes from the others in every stencil. The shapes above this line are the Quick Shapes for the stencil. There are typically two to six shapes in this area, but you can add and remove shapes by dragging them in or out of the section.

Quick Shapes stencil

Near the top of the Shapes window is a title bar labeled Quick Shapes. This stencil contains only the Quick Shapes for the stencils in the diagram. The Quick Shapes stencil is a dynamically generated collection of the Quick Shapes in all the stencils that are currently open.

If there is more than one stencil in the diagram, the Quick Shapes are separated by the names of the stencils they belong to. If you usually use only a few shapes from each stencil in a diagram type, you can put those shapes in the Quick Shapes area, open the Quick Shapes stencil, and not have to switch between stencils while you work.

Quick Shapes stencil

Quick Shapes in AutoConnect

  1. Drag a starting shape from the Shapes window to the page, if there are no shapes on the page yet.

  2. Hold the pointer over the starting shape until blue AutoConnect arrows appear around the shape.

  3. Hold the pointer over the arrow in the direction you want to add a shape.

    A mini toolbar appears that contains up to four Quick Shapes. A shape preview appears on the page.

    Visio AutoConnect arrows and toolbar

  4. Move the pointer over the four shapes in the mini toolbar to see a preview of each shape on the page.

  5. Click the shape you want to add.

If you have more than one stencil, you can change which Quick Shapes appear on the mini toolbar. In the Quick Shapes stencil, select a shape in the set of Quick Shapes you want.

Alternatively, you can drag the stencil that contains the shapes you want to appear first and drop it just below the Quick Shapes title bar. You can change the order of other stencils by dragging them higher or lower in the Shapes window; they appear in the Quick Shapes stencil in the same order.

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Visio for the web has Quick Shapes in AutoConnect—a small toolbar filled with shape suggestions that appears on the drawing canvas while you're adding shapes to your diagram. Read on for the details. 

Note: By default, Quick Shapes is turned on. You can turn off Quick Shapes by clearing View > Quick Shapes.

  1. Open the diagram for editing.

  2. Drag a shape from the Shapes pane to the page, and then release the mouse button.

    Dragging a shape from the Shape pane to the page
  3. Hold the pointer over the shape so that the blue arrows show.

    Cursor resting over shape, blue arrows appearing
  4. Move your pointer on top of the blue arrow that points toward where you want to place the new shape.

    Moving pointer to desired arrow
  5. On the mini toolbar, click one of the four shapes.

    Hovering over an AutoConnect arrow displays a toolbar of shapes to add.

    The new shape is added to the diagram, and automatically connected to the original shape.

  6. Keep adding shapes by hovering over the new shape until the mini toolbar appears.

    Hovering over the newly added shape displays AutoConnect arrows for adding another shape.

Tip: If the shape you want to add isn’t on the mini toolbar, drag the shape you want from the Shapes pane and drop it on a blue arrow. The new shape is connected to the original shape as if you had clicked it on the mini toolbar.

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