Find more shapes and stencils

If you use the subscription version of Visio, new stencils and templates are regularly being added and automatically to your app.

Find shapes and stencils in Visio Plan 2

You can search for shapes and stencils that are local to your device. You can also find other stencils online that are created by third parties or Microsoft.

  1. In the search box at the top of the Shapes pane, enter a keyword or phrase (e.g. “triangle”).

    Note: If you don’t see the search box, you might need to activate it. Click the View tab, then select Task Panes > Shapes. Still don’t see the search box? Click the > symbol at the top of your ruler on the left hand side of your screen.

    • Under Local, the search results are displayed and categorized by their Visio stencil title.

    • Under Online, (which is available when you’re connected to the internet), you’ll see shapes on the web by other companies, including Microsoft. To access those shapes, do the following:

      a. Click the stencil to see a preview.

      b. To put the stencil in your My Shapes folder, click Download.

      c. After it has downloaded, click Open to display the stencil in the Shapes pane.

    Searching for shapes and stencils

  2. To reset the search in the Shapes pane, delete the search string in the search box so that it displays the prompt, Search shapes.

Note: If you can’t see the Search Shapes text box in the Shapes panel above More Shapes, then you need to check the Show Shape Search pane option in File > Options > Advanced > Shape Search.

Visio Options  Advanced  Shape Search settings

The default option for search is to search for text that matches All of the words (AND). Although the search is not case-sensitive, it does match on whole words. For example, “Air Cond” will not find the “Air Conditioner” shape when this is the selected option.

However, if the option is changed to Any of the words (OR), then the “Air Conditioner” shape will be matched because its name contains the word “Air”.

When you select one of the found master shapes in the Local results, and drag it onto the page, a copy of the master shape is first added to the Document Stencil. You can drag and drop this master shape from there subsequently, rather than searching for it again.

Check Shapes > More Shapes > Show Document Stencil to view the master shapes currently used in the document.

The search also checks the Keywords of the shapes. For example, searching for the word “Tile” appears to mistakenly match with “Square stone”, however, an examination of the Keywords of the master shape reveals that it does contain the word “tile”. 

Editions of Microsoft Visio that have an online subscription also have the ability to

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