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Changes in Visio 2010 (for IT pros)


Applies to: Office 2010

Topic Last Modified: 2012-04-05

Banner stating end of support date for Office 2010 with link to more info

IT Pros can learn about the new, changed, and deprecated features of Microsoft Visio 2010 and how these changes can impact migration plans. If you are migrating from Microsoft Office Visio 2003, we suggest that you review Changes in Office Visio 2007 (

In this article:

  • What’s new

  • What’s changed

  • What’s removed

  • Migration considerations

What’s new

This section highlights new features in Visio 2010.

Fluent UI

The Visio 2010 user interface is redesigned and now uses the Microsoft Office Fluent user interface (UI). First introduced in the 2007 Microsoft Office system, the Fluent UI is designed to make it easier for people to find and use the full range of features that Office applications provide, and to preserve an uncluttered workspace. For more information about the Fluent UI, see the resources in Microsoft Office Fluent User Interface Resource Center (

The ribbon

The ribbon, part of the Fluent UI, was designed to optimize key Visio design scenarios to make them easier to use. The ribbon provides quicker access to all the commands in Visio 2010 and allows for easier future additions and customizations. You can also customize the ribbon. For example, you can create custom tabs and custom groups to contain frequently used commands. To help maximize the editing of your presentation space on the page, the ribbon can also be hidden while you write. All existing Visio Software Development Kit (SDK) sample applications will be changed to use the RibbonX extensibility framework.

Backstage view

The Microsoft Office Backstage is part of the Fluent UI and a companion feature to the ribbon. The Backstage view, which can be accessed from the File tab, helps you find frequently used features for managing your Visio drawings. (The File tab replaces the Microsoft Office Button and File menu that were used in earlier release of Microsoft Office.) The Backstage view is used to manage files and the data about the files, such as creating and saving files, inspecting for hidden metadata or personal information, and setting file options.

ShapeSheet IntelliSense

If you are new to ShapeSheet formulas in Visio, they are similar to the formulas in Excel, except you can use them to program and recalculate shapes. A ShapeSheet spreadsheet stores information for every Visio shape. Within a ShapeSheet, formulas from previous versions of Visio are still valid.

The IntelliSense is new to Visio 2010. This feature does an automatic lookup and auto-complete for formulas.

Some of the benefits of ShapeSheet IntelliSense are as follows:

  • Keyword lookup

  • Keyword auto-complete

  • Keyword definition pop-up

  • Function signature hints pop-up

  • Parenthesis matching

  • Multi-line formula input for developers

  • Supports local and cross-sheet references

What’s changed

This section summarizes the changes in Visio 2010.

Status bar

The following status items are removed from the status bar in Visio 2010, but still appear in the Size & Position window:

  • X

  • Y

  • Begin X

  • Begin Y

  • End X

  • End Y

Customize ink pens

The Customize Pens dialog box is removed in Visio 2010 and replaced with the new Pens model that is used by OfficeArt and OneNote. Visio 2010 no longer persists settings for five distinct pens in the registry. Users can no longer see an entry point for the Customize Pens dialog box or access the dialog box by any means. Instead, users can customize ink pen properties by using the controls on the Ink Tools tab.

Color by Value

The Color By Value add-on no longer functions in Visio 2010. It is replaced by the Data Graphics feature set, which provides more functionality. You can no longer see the Color By Value add-on in the Add-Ons hierarchical control. Shapes no longer contain right-click actions to open the add-on. Object model calls from shapes that invoke the legacy Color By Value add-on result in an alert about the new Data Graphics functionality and a suggestion to view the Data Graphics Help files.

Visual Studio Add-in/Add-on Wizard

The Visual Studio Add-in/Add-on wizard, which is included with the Visio 2010 SDK, was changed from the earlier version. The wizard in Visio 2010 SDK creates Visio add-on projects, but no longer creates add-in projects. Wizard support for Visio 2010 VSTO add-in projects is available natively in Microsoft Visual Studio 2010.

What’s removed

This section provides information about removed features in Visio 2010.


The ShapeStudio tool available in previous versions of the Visio SDK has been removed from the Visio 2010 SDK.

Status bar

The following status items are removed from the status bar in Visio 2010:

  • Begin

  • End

  • Dx

  • Dy

  • Snap

  • Top

  • Bottom

  • Left

  • Right

  • Tile

  • Tile Row

  • Tile Column

  • Ancestor

The status bar in the Fluent UI focuses on higher priority status items, many of which have the added utility of being actionable.

Find Shape feature

The Find Shape server feature previously available in Visio enabled users to search for shapes installed on Microsoft Web sites. Additional, new, and updated shapes were then made available together with those already on the local computer.

The Find Shape feature no longer connects to the Internet to look for additional Visio shapes as did in previous versions. The Find Shape feature no longer connects to additional Web servers that an administrator might have set up to host additional shapes. Instead, users must download the content from Office Online. Users can access download instructions by using the Find Shapes Online command on the More Shapes menus.

With this change, the Find Shape feature will display search results found only on the local computer.

In Visio 2010, the user can toggle the user interface on and off by using the Search for Shapes toggle available on the More Shapes menu.

Stencil docking

The redesign of the Shapes Window in Visio 2010 is now optimized for the vertical orientation of the window. Therefore, in Visio 2010, stencils are docked on the left or right of the Shapes Window with docking in the top and bottom positions no longer allowed.

Migration considerations

This section provides information about features and changes that administrators should consider when migrating from Microsoft Office Visio 2007 to Microsoft Visio 2010. A noticeable change is that Visio has joined the rest of the Microsoft Office products design and uses the Microsoft Office Fluent user interface (UI). In Visio 2010, you navigate the features by using the ribbon, the Quick Access Toolbar, and the Microsoft Office Backstage view.

Process Repository

In Visio 2010, you can easily manage collections of process diagrams that are typically stored on network file shares. You can ensure that you are editing the most recent version and updating a user if any changes were made to the process diagrams. For many administrators and managers who supervise these document repositories, ensuring diagrams comply with internal standards and tracking all the processes involved can be overwhelming. The Visio Process Repository, a new site template that is included with Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010, uses the collaborative features in SharePoint Server 2010, including:

  • Check in/Check out

  • Versioning

  • Workflow

These features integrate with several new process management features in Visio 2010. The result is that, in a few clicks, a SharePoint administrator can create a Visio Process Repository that is preconfigured for easy storage and management of Visio process diagrams. A Repository site contains a library for documentation, a task list, and a discussion board. The Process Diagrams document library is designed to store processes and comes prepopulated with several templates that can be used to create new process diagrams.

Publish a process diagram to a repository

You can check a diagram for validation issues prior to publishing by using the Validation feature. When you are ready, you can save the document back to the repository by using the Save to SharePoint billboard in the Backstage view. To save a document to the repository, follow these steps:

  1. In the Backstage view, click the File tab.

  2. Click Save & Send.

  3. Under Save & Send, click Save to SharePoint.

  4. Select the desired Process Diagrams document library and file type.

  5. Click Save As to save the document.

  6. The process diagram will be listed in the Process Diagrams document library at this point. The document library has two special columns:

    1. Keywords   This column displays the swim-lane headings of each cross-functional flowchart in the document library.

    2. Category   This column displays the validation status of each document. When used with the Diagram Validation feature in Visio 2010, it is easier for administrators and managers to monitor whether the processes in the repository meet their organization’s standards.

Because the Process Repository is built on top of SharePoint Server 2010, you can take advantage of other SharePoint features. For example, you can:

Visio Viewer

Visio Viewer 2002 and Visio Viewer 2003 have been discontinued. If you use Visio Viewer 2007, ensure that you have the latest upgrades or you can move to the Visio 2010 (Beta) Viewer. The Visio 2010 Viewer has all the functionality of the previous viewers, and includes all the security fixes. If you do not want to update to the Visio 2010 Viewer, you must update your existing viewer by following these steps:

  1. If you use Viewer 2002 or Viewer 2003, uninstall it and install Visio 2007 Viewer.

  2. Install Visio Viewer 2007 Service Pack 1.

  3. Install the security update for Visio Viewer 2007. For more information, see Microsoft Knowledge Base article 973709: Security Update for Microsoft Office Visio Viewer 2007 (

You can also update the view by using Microsoft Update. However, it might involve multiple runs of Microsoft Update to download the relevant updates.

Customization and options

In Visio 2010, there are many settings and customizations that can be made to personalize the user experience. For more information, see Plan customizations and options for Visio 2010.

VBA settings migration

In Office 2010, Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) 6.0 was updated to VBA 7.0. VBA 7.0 settings were reset to their defaults after migration instead of automatically repopulating. This occurred because the registry settings for VBA are in a different hive in Office 2010, as shown in the following table.

Version Registry subkey

Office 2000 through Office 2007


Office 2010


To correct this problem, copy the VBA 6.0 registry keys from the 6.0 hive to the 7.0 hive.

For more information, see User registry settings to migrate to Office 2010 and Compatibility Between the 32-bit and 64-bit Versions of Office 2010 (