If you’ve ever used MS Visio you know that it’s an amazing app for creating diagrams and it’s undoubtedly among the top diagramming apps out there. It’s versatile and offers many tools and functions for creating top-notch diagrams and flowcharts for many different purposes. With that being said, there are some tools and tricks you probably didn’t know about, even if you’ve been using Visio for a long time. I’ve worked on that tool for some years now and understand it better than most people, which allows me to know it's tricky sides and be able to give tips to all kinds of users! Here are 5 nifty tips and tricks to help you out with using MS Visio and make your work more pleasant, fast and enjoyable.

 

 # 1: DRAW YOUR OWN SHAPES

That’s right - you can draw anything you like and add it to your flowchart or diagram! If you are using the 2013 version of Visio, you can find the drawing tools right next to the Pointer Tool on the Ribbon. When you click on the little arrow, a drop-down menu will show up and you can pick the shape you want to draw. You can choose from: rectangle, ellipse, line, freeform, arc and pencil. Just click on one of them and start drawing different shapes. You can also combine shapes to make more complex ones. With the pencil tool you have complete freedom when it comes to your drawing so you can create intricate, one-of-a-kind shapes to suit your needs.

 

 # 2: SAVE YOUR STENCILS

 Let’s say you’ve created a shape, a label or a drawing that you want to use later, but it’s not a part of the default stencils that Visio offers. You don’t need to try to recreate it every time you need it, because Visio gives you the option to save it and use it every time you need it. All you need to do is go to the left toolbar, then to “More shapes” and click on “New Stencil”. After that, just drag and drop the shape you’ve created into the empty space in the toolbar, right-click on the stencil and click on “Save as...” to rename and save it. And there you go! You have just added your custom stencil to the Visio library for later use.

 

# 3: EDIT TEXT EASILY

 Editing text in apps that are not specifically for text editing can be quite frustrating sometimes, especially when you have tried everything, but you just can’t find the text editing tools. There is a simple way of doing that in MS Visio and it requires just a few clicks. If you have added text to a shape and want to edit it, simply click on the shape and press the F2 button on the keyboard. Simple as that! This command will show the editing tools, so you won’t have to go through numerous tabs and menus to find them. And when you’re ready with customizing the text, all you have to do is press “Esc” to exit the text editing mode.

 

# 4: ADD DIFFERENT TYPES OF FILES

MS Visio gives you the option to copy anything from other MS Office apps and paste it as it is, which is a great function if you want to incorporate a part of an Excel table or diagram into your Visio flowchart. You don’t have to go through the process of manually drawing a table and filling it in again in Visio. Just copy it from your Excel file and paste it into your Visio file.

You also have the option of inserting images to your diagram or flowchart and you can edit them with a variety of editing tools. You can crop the images, resize them, rotate them, fix the brightness and contrast and incorporate them into a shape of your diagram, so if you need to move the shape, it moves along with the image it contains.

 

# 5: SHORTCUTS FOR FASTER WORK

 When it comes to using any type of software, one thing you need to know is that there is always an easier and faster way to do things. That’s the case with MS Visio as well: I have found many shortcuts to help you get to the commands and tools you need, without having to go through numerous tabs and menus. Here is a list of some helpful keyboard shortcuts for your convenience:

 

  • Crtl+1 - switch to the default "selector" cursor
  • Ctrl+2 - select the text tool
  • Crtl+3 -  go to connector lines
  • Easily copy and paste an object by holding Ctrl, clicking on it and dragging it to a different place.
  • Hit Crtl+PageUp or PageDown to go between sheets in the same file.
  • To zoom in and out - simply press Ctrl and scroll up or down with the mouse.
  • Press Alt to go to the main toolbar at the top of the screen.
  • Press F3 to open the Format Shape task pane.
  • Press Tab to switch between shapes on the drawing page.
  • Press F1 to open the help window.

            I personally hope that you will find those tips and tricks helpful as they will become part of your routine from now on when using MS Visio. It is important to remember that the key to successful work is to be time-efficient and know tricks and tips that others don’t. This will always give you the edge in today’s competitive world! 

Be sure to check out some additional help on How to Download and Install Visio onto your PC for easy installation support when you buy Microsoft Visio 2016, 2013 or 2010.