Shape Stacking Order in Visio 2010

2010 stacking orderOne of the most common tasks you will come across when using Visio is to arrange shapes that overlap each other; this is called their stacking order. Any software that allows objects to be placed on top of one another has to have a set of rules, or protocol, to work to which tells it where to position them. Visio is no exception.

Stacking order in Visio 2010

The shape stacking order refers to the way shapes sit when they overlap. It is a very common feature of many types of software, and you may also see it referred to as the z-index in programs like Dreamweaver. The best way of describing the stacking order is to imagine a set of table mats or coasters placed on a table; the one directly on the table is the furthest back and the one on the top is the nearest to you, so it must be the one at the front. In order to re-position one of these mats we need to physically move it, either further forward, or closer to the front or further backwards, or nearer to the table. In Visio this is called “sending forward” or “sending backward”.

Adjusting the Stacking Order in Visio 2010

In Visio 2010, unlike the commands for stacking order in Visio 2007, all the commands for moving a shape backwards or forwards are contained in the “Arrange” group on the “Home” tab of the ribbon.

TIP: To move a shape to the back of a stack you need to use the “Send to Back” command; to move it to the top of the stack, use the “Bring to Front” command.


Alternatively, if you only want to move a shape one position forwards or backwards you use the “Send Backward” or “Bring Forward” commands instead. In this tutorial we look at a quick way of duplicating shapes and also how the stacking order works in practice in Visio 2010.

Visio 2010 stacking order