Shape Stacking Order

In this Tutorial Video, the last of the Basic Shapes series, we look at how Visio treats shapes placed on top of each other – their Stacking Order.  Visio uses a protocol similar to other image-editing software that tells it where to place an object if another overlaps it. Other Microsoft Office programs also use a similar method, as does Photoshop and Fireworks, so understanding the concept is useful outside of Visio as well.

Stacking Order is also called z-index

You may also have come across the expression “z index” if you have done any web development, but it is actually the same thing – where an object sits in a pile of others, or its “stacking order.” The same term is used throughout graphics editing and it refers to the order of the object in the stack.

Visio’s shape stacking order

The position of any shape can be changed by moving it forward or backward – in other words, nearer you or nearer the background of the page. There are two commands for each direction; you can either send a shape backwards or send it to the back – exactly the same applies to the forwards direction.

Many of our readers are confused about the difference between the “Send to Back” and “Send Backwards” commands and their corresponding “Forward” equivalents.  This short tutorial explains how it all works in a clear and unambiguous way by using coloured shapes and changing their stacking order to illustrate the different options.

Shape stacking order

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