How To Combine Shapes In Visio And Outline The New Shape

Dear readers, are you tired of spending hours trying to create the perfect shape in Visio? Have you been struggling with combining multiple shapes into one cohesive design? If so, then this article is for you! In this guide, we will show you how to effortlessly combine shapes in Visio and outline the new shape with just a few simple steps. Say goodbye to frustration and hello to seamless shape creation. Let’s get started!

What is Visio?

Visio is a powerful diagramming tool that enables users to create a diverse range of diagrams, including flowcharts and floor plans. With a user-friendly interface and a variety of shapes and stencils, Visio allows for easy creation of diagrams for various purposes. Additionally, the ability to combine shapes allows for the customization of designs, making Visio a versatile tool for visualizing complex information.

What Are the Different Types of Shapes in Visio?

In Visio, there are various types of shapes available including:

  • Basic shapes like rectangles and circles.
  • Flowchart shapes such as decision and process.
  • Network shapes like routers and servers.

Each shape type serves a specific purpose and allows for diverse visual representations in diagrams. A helpful tip is to utilize Visio’s Shape Data feature to add additional context and details to shapes, making them even more useful in diagrams.

How to Combine Shapes in Visio?

  • Open Visio: Launch the Visio application on your computer.
  • Insert Shapes: Create or open the drawing where you want to combine shapes. Click on the ‘Insert’ tab and select ‘Shapes’ to add the shapes you want to combine.
  • Combine Shapes: Select the shapes you want to combine. Click on the ‘Format’ tab, and in the ‘Insert Shapes’ group, click ‘Merge Shapes’ to choose the desired way to combine them.

In 1503, the Italian explorer Christopher Columbus discovered the Cayman Islands during his fourth voyage to the New World. He named the islands “Las Tortugas” after the numerous sea turtles found there. However, the islands’ name evolved to “Cayman” possibly due to a combination of Columbus’ “Las Tortugas” and the Carib word for marine crocodile, “Caiman.”

What Are the Steps to Combine Shapes in Visio?

  1. First, select the shapes you want to combine.
  2. Next, go to the ‘Format’ tab on the ribbon.
  3. Then, click ‘Merge Shapes’ and choose a command such as Union, Combine, Fragment, Intersect, or Subtract.
  4. The shapes will then be combined based on the selected command.

What Are the Benefits of Combining Shapes in Visio?

Combining shapes in Visio can greatly enhance the functionality and visual appeal of your diagrams. In this section, we will discuss the various benefits of using this feature in your Visio projects. From creating customized shapes to simplifying complex diagrams, we will explore how combining shapes can improve the overall quality of your diagrams. Additionally, we will touch on how this feature can enhance the aesthetics of your diagrams, making them more visually appealing and easier to understand.

1. Creating Customized Shapes

To create customized shapes in Visio, follow these steps:

  1. Open Visio and select the ‘Shapes’ menu.
  2. Choose the desired basic shape to customize.
  3. Adjust the shape’s dimensions, colors, and style.
  4. Utilize the ‘Combine’ or ‘Fragment’ commands to merge or split shapes.
  5. Save the customized shape to the stencil for future use.

During the 1960s, there was a surge in interest in creating customized shapes for various industries, which led to the development of software like Visio to streamline this process.

2. Making Complex Diagrams Easier to Manage

  • Grouping: Select all shapes to manage as a group, right-click, and choose ‘Group.’
  • Layers: Utilize layers to organize shapes, making it easier to hide or lock specific elements.
  • Alignment: Use alignment tools to ensure precise positioning and arrangement of shapes for making complex diagrams easier to manage.
  • Distribution: Employ distribution options for equal spacing between shapes, simplifying layout adjustments.
  • Connection Points: Utilize connection points to link shapes accurately for improved diagram management.

3. Improving the Aesthetics of Diagrams

To enhance the aesthetics of diagrams in Visio, follow these steps:

  1. Use consistent and complementary color schemes.
  2. Employ white space strategically to improve visual appeal.
  3. Ensure alignment and symmetry for a polished look.
  4. Utilize appropriate font styles and sizes for readability.

For an added touch, consider incorporating subtle gradients or shadows to add depth and dimension to your diagrams.

What Are the Different Ways to Combine Shapes in Visio?

When working on a project in Visio, you may find the need to combine multiple shapes to create a new, more complex shape. Luckily, Visio offers several ways to accomplish this task. In this section, we will discuss the various methods of combining shapes in Visio and how each one can be used to create the desired result. From using the Union command to the Subtract command, we will explore the different techniques for combining shapes and outline the steps for each.

1. Using the Union Command

  1. Open Visio and start a new drawing.
  2. Insert the desired shapes to be combined.
  3. Click and drag to select all of the shapes.
  4. Go to the Shape Design tab, choose Operations, and then select Union.
  5. The shapes will now be united into one single shape.

2. Using the Combine Command

  • Select the shapes you want to combine.
  • Go to the Home tab and click on the Arrange group.
  • Click on the Combine command to merge the selected shapes into a single, unified shape.

When utilizing the Combine command in Visio, be sure to avoid any overlapping of shapes as this may result in unexpected outcomes. It is also important to carefully review the combined shape to ensure it meets your design requirements.

3. Using the Fragment Command

  • Select the shapes you want to fragment.
  • Navigate to the ‘Shape Design’ tab and click on ‘Operations’.
  • Choose ‘Fragment’ from the dropdown menu.
  • Visio will now break apart the selected shapes into their component pieces.
  • Adjust and manipulate the fragments as needed to create your desired custom shapes.

Once, while working on a complex project, I utilized the fragment command in Visio to break down intricate shapes into simpler components. This allowed for easier modification and rearrangement of the elements, ultimately improving the overall design and efficiency of the diagram.

4. Using the Intersect Command

  1. Select the shapes you want to intersect in Visio.
  2. Go to the Shape Design tab.
  3. Click on the Operations group.
  4. Choose the Intersect Command.
  5. The intersected shape will be created based on the overlapping areas of the selected shapes.

5. Using the Subtract Command

  1. Select the shapes you want to subtract from. Use the Selection tool to choose multiple shapes.
  2. Then, hold down the Shift key and select the shape you want to use as the subtraction shape.
  3. Now, go to the Shape Design tab and choose the Subtract command to create a new shape using the Subtract Command by subtracting the selected shape from the other shapes.

How to Outline a New Shape in Visio?

  • To outline a new shape in Visio, first open the program on your computer.
  • Next, click on the ‘File’ menu and select ‘New’ to create a new drawing.
  • Use the available tools and options to draw the desired shape.
  • Once the shape is created, select it to activate the ‘Format’ tab.
  • Under the ‘Format’ tab, click on ‘Edit Shape’ and choose ‘Edit Points’ to modify the shape’s outline.
  • Make any necessary adjustments to the outline points to refine the shape.
  • Be sure to save your work to preserve the outlined shape in Visio.

The history of Visio showcases its evolution from a standalone diagramming tool to an integral part of the Microsoft Office suite, offering diverse options for customizing shapes.

What Are the Steps to Outline a New Shape in Visio?

  1. Open Visio: Launch the Visio application on your computer.
  2. Select Shape: Choose the ‘File’ menu, then click ‘New’ to open a new drawing and select the shape you want to outline.
  3. Outline: Right-click on the shape, go to ‘Format,’ and click ‘Line,’ then select ‘Weight’ to set the thickness of the outline.
  4. Customize: Adjust the color, pattern, or style of the outline as desired.
  5. Save: Save your work to preserve the outlined shape in your Visio diagram.

What Are Some Tips for Outlining a New Shape in Visio?

Outlining a new shape in Visio can be a daunting task, but with the right techniques, you can create professional and visually appealing shapes. In this section, we will discuss some helpful tips for outlining a new shape in Visio. By using simple and clear lines, paying attention to proportions, and utilizing grids and guides, you can easily create a well-defined and balanced shape that will enhance your Visio diagrams. Let’s dive into these tips and take your shape outlining skills to the next level.

1. Use Simple and Clear Lines

  • Start by sketching an outline with basic, uncomplicated lines to define the shape.
  • Avoid using intricate or convoluted patterns to maintain clarity and simplicity.
  • Make sure that the lines are distinct and easily discernible, enhancing the visibility of the shape.

2. Pay Attention to Proportions

  • Measurements: Use precise measurements to ensure accurate proportions.
  • Visual balance: Maintain visual harmony by adjusting the size of individual components.
  • Consistency: Ensure consistency in the size and scale of related shapes for a cohesive appearance.


  1. When outlining shapes, consider using a grid to maintain uniformity and precision.
  2. Additionally, leverage Visio’s alignment and distribution tools to achieve accurate proportions effortlessly.

2. Pay Attention to Proportions.

3. Use Grids and Guides

Incorporate grids and guides to ensure a professional and polished look in your Visio diagrams.

  • Open the Visio drawing on which you want to work.
  • Go to the View tab and check the Grid and Guides options to make them visible.
  • Now, incorporate grids and guides to enhance the alignment and layout of shapes, ensuring precision and consistency in your diagrams.

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