The Drawing Tools in Visio 2010

Visio 2010 drawing tools

A lot of people have commented that one of the most frustrating aspects of Visio 2010 is the way Microsoft have moved some regularly-used tools and put them in inaccessible places. The drawing tools are a prime example of this; many people have struggled to find these tools in the new version, and I am one of them.

Hours of fruitless searching, including searching through the Visio help files failed to lead me to the solution. However, I did stumble upon it eventually, and this tutorial describes not only where the drawing tools have moved but also how to access them. In addition, I will show you how to ensure that the drawing tools can be easily accessed in the future.


What are Visio Drawing Tools?

If you are unfamiliar with the drawing tools offered by Visio they include commands like “Union”, “Combine”, “Fragment”, “Intersect” and “Subtract” in addition to the “Join”, “Trim” and “Offset” tools. All of these drawing tools can be used in different ways to combine or manipulate shapes in Visio, to create new shapes, edit shapes and lines and trim dimensions to precise measurements.

If you have watched any of my “custom shape” tutorials in the Visio 2007 series, you will remember that I used the drawing tools extensively to create new shapes; I also edited existing shapes by joining, splitting and combining them with the drawing tools to create new ones.

Finding the Drawing tools in Visio 2010

The tools were previously available from the Shapes menu, but since the standardization of all Office components to use the Ribbon, this has disappeared. The drawing tools are now accessed from the Developer tab which is not enabled by default.

This drawing tools tutorial is over 10 minute long, and covers:

  • Accessing Visio 2010 Options window
  • Turning on the Developer tab
  • Revealing the Shape Design group
  • Selecting shapes simultaneously
  • Using the Union tool
  • Using the Combine tool
  • Using the Fragment tool
  • Using the Intersect tool
  • Using the Subtract tool
  • The importance of Shape Selection order
  • Using the Join tool on a Line
  • Using the Trim tool on a Line
  • Using the Offset tool on a Line
  • Using the Offset tool on a circle
  • Adding the drawing tools to the QAT
  • Moving the QAT

Advanced tips – customize the ribbon by adding a Drawing Tools group

The video explains how it can be enabled and also how the drawing tools can be added individually to the Quick Access Toolbar. It continues by describing and demonstrating how each of the drawing tools can be used and the effects that using each one produces.

These drawing tools featured quite prominently in the Intermediate series of 2007 tutorials, so this tutorial brings them up to date.

The Drawing Tools in Visio 2010