This article was previously published under Q258458
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When you select a 2-D shape and try to add a fill pattern or color, nothing happens. (On the Format menu, click Fill, or click the Fill Color button on the Format toolbar).
NOTE: In some cases when you try to fill a shape, you receive a message that the shape's formatting attributes are protected against changes. This article does not address that issue because, in those cases, the Visio program behaves as intended.
Shapes That Visio Can Fill
Visio can apply a fill pattern or color to closed 2-D shapes; it cannot add a fill to 1-D shapes or open 2-D shapes. A closed 2-D shape has a continuous outline without a beginning or end. For example, a circle or square is a closed shape.
How to Draw Closed 2-D Shapes
To draw a closed shape, you can use the Rectangle or Oval tools. You can also use the Pencil, Line, or Freeform tools to draw the shape one segment at a time. However, if you create a shape segment-by-segment, to close the shape, you must drag the end point of the last segment to the starting point of the first segment. You will know a shape that you create is closed when Visio gives the shape a white fill.
If you create a shape by drawing individual segments and then positioning them to form the shape, Visio does not consider the shape to be closed, even if you connect the lines' endpoints or group the segments. However, you can change the structure of the shape so that Visio recognizes it as a closed shape. The next section explains how to do this.
How to Change the Structure of a Shape to Add a Fill
If you create a shape with several segments and want to fill the shape, use the Fragment command to "trick" Visio into converting the segments into a single closed shape. To do this, follow these steps:
If the shape or any part of it is grouped, select the shape,point to Grouping on the Shape menu, and then click Ungroup.
Select all parts of the shape, point to Operations on the Shape menu, and then click Combine.
Click the Rectangle tool. Draw a rectangle that completely covers all parts of the shape that you want to fill.
While the rectangle is selected, click Send to Back on the Shape menu, to make the shape that you want to fill visible.
Select the rectangle and all parts of the shape that you want to fill.
On the Shape menu, point to Operations, and then click Fragment.
After Visio fragments the shapes, drag the shape that you created from the rectangle.
The rectangle displays a "hole," as if Visio cut your shape out of it. Your shape is now a closed shape to which you can add a fill color or pattern.
How to Use the ShapeSheet Window to Fill an Open Shape
For certain open 2-D shapes, you can modify a cell in the shape's ShapeSheet window to add a fill attribute to the shape, without having to close the shape first. For example, you can fill a 3-sided square.NOTE: The following procedure works only if the open 2-D shape is a single shape, and is not made up of several individual segments that are grouped. The ShapeSheet window must apply to the entire shape.
To create a fill attribute in the ShapeSheet window, follow these steps:
Select the shape. On the Window menu, click Show ShapeSheet.
In the ShapeSheet window, scroll down to the Geometry section, and in cell A1, change TRUE to FALSE or 0 (zero).
Close the ShapeSheet window.
The shape displays a white fill.
For more information about closed shapes, click Search on the Help menu, type closed shapes in the What would you like to know? box, and then click Search to view the topics.