Some shorcuts for working in Visio…

I spend a lot of my 9-5 working in Visio.  I found it a bit of a bugger to start with, but the more I became familiar with it the easier it became (like most things I suppose).
I wanted to share some of the keyboard shortcuts and tips that I’ve found help me push shapes around all-day-long.

Keyboard shortcuts

I am one for using a keyboard shortcut when I can, as long it doesn’t involve more than three fingers (Photoshop).  Here’s some I use all the time:

  • Ctrl+g = centers and displays the whole page
  • Ctrl+PgDn = move through your tabs
  • Ctrl+PgUp = move the opposite way through your tabs
  • Ctrl+Left mouse button = will create a duplicate of the selected shape
  • Shift+Left mouse button = will move the selected shape inline with its starting point
  • Ctrl+Shift+a = select all
  • Ctrl+g = group all selected shapes
  • Ctrl+Shift+u = ungroup selected
  • Ctrl+Mouse wheel = zoom in or out depending direction
  • Ctrl+Shft+v = paste in place (see macros)


Visio lets people (more able than I) to write macros and speed up a lot of stuff.  Here’s some that I use:


I personally think the best templates I’ve seen are the ones created by Garrett Dimon.  These Visio templates and stencils are great and I have used them as a basis for the ones I use today.  They are also a good reference for pulling apart to see the stuff you can do with Visio.


  • Use annotations for marking up your drawings.  Dan Brown’s annotations article on Boxes & Arrows is great and Garrett created a shape based on this for his stencils.
  • Edit Garrett’s annotation shape in Visio and put it all on a layer called “annotations”.  This way when you drag it on to your drawing it will create a layer on that drawing called “annotations” which you can turn on or off.
  • Use background pages for the basics and build foreground pages off of them.  This makes it nice and easy to update elements without going through all your pages.

Blogs etc.

Here are some blogs that I reference when I have Visio or wireframing questions.

Hope you find some of these as useful in your day-to-day as I do.  As I don’t have a copy of Visio on my home laptop I tend to use Fireworks to create wireframes which is good too.
Technorati tags: visio, shorcuts, tips, macros, keyboard, templates

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