SpatialNeighbors Property [Visio 2003 SDK Documentation]

Returns a Selection object that represents the shapes that meet certain criteria in relation to a specified shape.

objRet = object**.SpatialNeighbors**(Relation, Tolerance, Flags, [ResultRoot])

objRet     A Selection object.

object     Required. An expression that returns a Shape object.

Relation     Required Integer. An integer describing the type of relationship to be used.

Tolerance     Required Double. A distance in internal drawing units with respect to the coordinate space defined by the parent shape.

Flags     Required Integer. Flags that influence the type of entries returned in results.

ResultRoot     Optional Variant. A Shape object that represents a page or group.

Version added



For values of the Relation argument, see the SpatialRelation property.

The Flags argument can be any combination of the values of the constants defined in the following table. These constants are also defined in VisSpatialRelationFlags in the Visio type library.

Constant Value Description



Considers a guide's Geometry section. By default, guides do not influence the result.



Orders items front to back.



Orders items back to front.



Considers hidden Geometry sections. By default, hidden Geometry sections do not influence the result.



Does not consider visible Geometry sections. By default, visible Geometry sections influence the result.

Use the NoShow cell to determine whether a Geometry section is hidden or visible. Hidden Geometry sections have a value of TRUE and visible Geometry sections have a value of FALSE in the NoShow cell.

If Relation is not specified, the SpatialNeighbors property uses all the possible relationships as criteria.

Beginning with Visio 2002, if Flags contains VisSpatialFrontToBack, items in the Selection object returned by the SpatialNeighbors property are ordered front to back. If visSpatialBackToFront is set, the items returned are ordered back to front. If this flag is not set, or if you are running an earlier version of Visio, the order is unpredictable. You can determine the order by using the Index property of the shapes identified in the Selection object.

If you don't specify ResultRoot, this property returns a Selection object that represents the shapes that meet certain criteria in relation to the specified shape. If you specify ResultRoot, this property returns a Selection object that represents all the shapes in the Shape object specified by ResultRoot that meet certain criteria in relation to the specified shape. For example, specify ResultRoot to find all shapes within a group that are near a specified shape.

If ResultRoot is specified but isn't on the same page or in the same master as the Shape object to which you are comparing it, the SpatialNeighbors property raises an exception and returns Nothing.

When it compares two shapes, the SpatialNeighbors property does not consider the width of a shape's line, shadows, line ends, control points, or connection points.


This Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) example shows how to use the SpatialNeighbors property in an event handler for the ShapeAdded event to determine if one shape is contained within another.

Before adding the following code to your VBA project, add at least one shape to your drawing. Then add another shape to your drawing, either by dragging it from a stencil or drawing it, positioning it so that it is completely contained within an existing shape.

Public Sub Document_ShapeAdded(ByVal Shape As IVShape)

    Dim vsoShapeOnPage As Visio.Shape 
    Dim intTolerance As Integer
    Dim vsoReturnedSelection As Visio.Selection 
    Dim strSpatialRelation As String
    Dim intSpatialRelation As VisSpatialRelationCodes 

    On Error GoTo errHandler 

    'Initialize string 
    strSpatialRelation = "" 

    'Set tolerance argument 
    intTolerance = 0.25 

    'Set Spatial Relation argument 
    intSpatialRelation = visSpatialContainedIn 

    'Get the set of spatially related shapes
    'that meet the criteria set by the arguments.
    Set vsoReturnedSelection = Shape.SpatialNeighbors _ 
        (intSpatialRelation, intTolerance, 0) 

    'Evaluate the results.
    If vsoReturnedSelection.Count = 0 Then

        'No shapes met the criteria set by
        'the arguments of the method. 
        strSpatialRelation = Shape.Name & " is not contained." 


        'Build the positive result string.
        For Each vsoShapeOnPage In vsoReturnedSelection 
            strSpatialRelation = strSpatialRelation & _ 
                Shape.Name & " is contained by " & _ 
                vsoShapeOnPage.Name & Chr$(10) 

    End If  

    'Display the results on the shape added. 
    Shape.Text = strSpatialRelation 


End Sub

Applies to | Shape object

See Also | DistanceFrom property | SpatialRelation property | SpatialSearch property