Plan customizations and options for Visio 2010


Applies to: Office 2010

Topic Last Modified: 2011-07-15

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

Learn about the customizations and options that are available in Microsoft Visio 2010.

In this article:

  • Application settings

  • Diagram templates

  • Customize Quick Shapes

  • Trusted documents

  • SharePoint and the Repository

Application settings

In Visio 2010, there are several ways to customize the application settings that you work with, from the application’s appearance and behavior, to the rules that help you manage the work that you create.

Backgrounds and Borders & Titles galleries

The Backgrounds and Borders & Titles galleries on the Design tab are populated from the built-in stencils. However, the galleries can be customized by putting a stencil in the user’s My Shapes folder (which is in the Documents or My Documents folder).

The stencils must be named as follows:

  • _BCKGRND.VSS for the Backgrounds gallery

  • _BORDERS.VSS for the Borders & Titles gallery


The files names must begin with an underscore.

If Visio finds a stencil that has this exact file name (which must be the same file name in all languages) in the My Shapes folder, it will use it to populate the gallery, instead of the stencil that was included with Visio 2010.


The Shapes in these galleries have special behaviors that require knowledge of the Visio ShapeSheet to replicate.

To get a basis for the customized gallery content, follow these steps:

  1. Find the stencils that are included with Visio 2010, found in \Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office14\Visio Content\1033 (for English).

  2. Copy the files to your \My Shapes folder:

    1. Backgrounds (US and Metric)



    2. Borders & Title (US and Metric)



  3. Rename and customize the files.

Custom themes

In Microsoft Office Visio 2007, the introduction of the Themes feature made it easy to apply a professionally designed look to a diagram. In Visio 2010, the Themes feature takes advantage of the Microsoft Office Fluent user interface (UI) and is one of the features that demonstrates the Live Preview capability.

Visio custom themes are stored in the document, not in an external file. The way to deploy a custom theme is to define it in a Visio document and then save it as a template (*.vst) for use in the organization. The way that you create templates in Visio 2010 has not changed from Office Visio 2007 or earlier versions.

To create a custom theme that will be stored as a template, follow these steps:

  1. Click the Design tab.

  2. Click Colors.

  3. Click Create New Theme Colors.

  4. Select the theme name and colors, and then click OK.

  5. Click Effects.

  6. Click Create New Theme Effects.

  7. Select the desired effects, and then click OK.

All users will have to start their new drawings from that template to use the custom theme.

Custom validation rules

In Visio 2010, you can deploy custom templates that contain validation rule sets and rules to ensure that diagrams comply with certain company standards. A validation rule represents one kind of requirement that your diagram should follow. When a user runs validation, Visio displays a list of issues for requirements that have not been met.

A validation rule defines a logical test to be performed against the contents of the diagram. The validation rules are packaged together in rule sets. There can be multiple rule sets in a document. Each rule set can be active or inactive (off) and multiple sets can be active at the same time. Each rule set in a document has a unique name. The same rule might appear in multiple rule sets in a document, and the same rule set can appear in multiple documents that use the application. Microsoft Visio Premium 2010 provides rules in the Basic Flowchart, Cross-Functional Flowchart, Six Sigma Diagram, Microsoft SharePoint Workflow, and BPMN diagram templates. Custom rules and rule sets can be added to any template.

When validation is performed, Visio checks each rule active in the document against all the targets found in the document. For each target that does not meet the requirements specified by the rule, Visio creates a validation issue. All issues found during validation are displayed for the user in a single list.

Validation can be initiated by the user via the command button on the ribbon when the user wants to check their document for issues. These issues can be left unfixed or specifically ignored, which will suppress the issue for subsequent validation runs.

To access the validation feature, follow these steps:

  1. On the Process tab, select the Issues Window. This will open the Validation Window below the drawing.

  2. Then, on the Process tab, click the Check Diagram button.

When validation is triggered, there is no particular order of rules processed or shapes processed. However, a progress bar is shown after the operation takes longer than three seconds. The operation is stoppable, and Visio will display any issues found to this point.

If Visio finds more errors in the document than it can display in the Issues Window (currently 32767), validation is stopped automatically. A dialog box will display the message: “Diagram validation has been stopped because there are too many issues for Visio to track.”

Once validation has stopped (complete or incomplete), if issues are found, Visio opens the Issues Window if it is currently not open and displays the issues.

Diagram templates

When you start Visio 2010, the first thing that you see is the new screen in the Microsoft Office Backstage view, where you can choose a template for the diagram that you will create. It resembles the Office Visio 2007 Getting Started screen. Visio 2010 documents are created in either U.S. units or metric units. The only SKU that contains both U.S. units and metric units is U.S. English (en-us). When you use this SKU, and create a new diagram, you can choose which units that you want to use. There is a setting and a Group Policy that can be customized to create the default as one of those two units when it is available and when the installation is en-us.

Customize Quick Shapes

The Shapes Window is redesigned in Visio 2010. Within the Shapes Window is a group named Quick Shapes. Quick Shapes is a subset of shapes that are used more frequently in a given stencil.

Quick Shapes can be customized through the user interface and these customizations are stored in the registry. The Quick Shapes count information for stencils is stored in the published components table and is the count used by default.

When a user customizes the stencil through the UI, Visio saves the Quick Shapes count and the master sort order in the registry under HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Visio\Quick Shapes by using the following format:


Full file path of the stencil file




The Quick Shapes count and the sequence of master IDs, represented in binary form. The Quick Shapes count and each master ID are represented in 4 bytes

Trusted documents

Trusted documents is an improved feature in Office 2010 that interacts with document security features. It enables active content (for example, macros and ActiveX controls) in a document, based on the trust decision on the file, and can remember the selection every time that you open the document. Office versions earlier than the 2007 Office system prompted you for macros and other kinds of active content prior to opening a document every time.

In Office 2010, if you create or open a document that contains a macro, or receive a document that uses a data connection to a trusted server, and you have enabled the content in the trust record, you will not be prompted with a security notification for the content any more. When you use trusted documents, the trust is recorded on a per-file basis. The trust record is added to the Current User section of your local registry and contains the file’s full path and other data, such as the creation time of the document.


Trust records are stored on a specific computer, so you will get prompted again if you open the file on another computer.

There are two entry points to make a document trusted. To make a document trusted, follow these steps:

  1. On the Message Bar, click Enable Content.

  2. Click the Message Bar for details. This will open the Backstage view.

    In the Backstage view, click Enable Content. This will display two additional options:

    1. Enable all content and make it a trusted document.

    2. Click the Advanced Options button to enable content for one time (similar to the 2007 Office system).

Trusting documents on a network share is riskier than trusting documents on your local hard disk drive because other users who have access to the network locations can modify the contents of your file. For this reason, a security warning is displayed the first time that you try to trust a document on a network location. In the Trust Center, you can disallow documents on a network location from being trusted. This causes Office to show you the security notification every time that you open a document on a network location.

In the Trust Center, you can modify settings to allow or disallow documents on a network from being trusted, disable the trusted documents feature, or reset all trusted documents so that they are no longer trusted. All these settings can be configured by the administrator by using Group Policy.

SharePoint and the Repository

In Visio 2010, you can save files to Microsoft SharePoint 2010 Products by using the Backstage view. To save files, follow these steps:

  1. Click the File tab.

  2. Click Save & Send.

  3. Click Save to SharePoint.

  4. Save the drawing as:

    Drawing (*.vsd) or Web Drawing (*.vdw)

  5. The Save As dialog box lets you confirm or refine your selection.

    If you select Web Drawing (*.vdw), ensure that you have SharePoint 2010 Products and Visio Services to have your diagram display in the browser.