Visio Shape Stacking order

The Stacking Order in Visio refers to the way shapes are positioned when they overlap each other.  Like most software, Visio has a procedure for positioning shapes on top of each other, the latest to be added to the drawing being at the top of the “stack”.  This can cause problems if a shape that is being covered by another needs editing; how do you select it without selecting the one on top first?

Use Visio’s Stacking order to solve the problem

The answer lies in the Stacking Order.  In many examples of popular software, this is often located in the Arrange menu, but in the case of Visio it can be found in the Shape menu under Order.  To access this command, first select the shape you want to change the Stacking Order for – you might have to move the top shape in order to get to it first, but you can always move it back afterwards. In Visio 2010 the commands are found under the Arrange group of the ribbon, or by right clicking the shape and choosing the appropriate stacking order selection from there.

Using Shape stacking order

When the shape is selected, go to Shape, Order then choose one of the four stacking order options presented.  These are:

  • Bring to Front
  • Send to Back
  • Bring Forward
  • Send Backward
shape stacking order

These commands move the shape in the following sequence:

Bring to Front moves the shape to the top of the stack

Send to Back moves the shape to the bottom of the stack

Bring Forward moves the shape up one level

Send Backward moves the shape down one level

In this way you have complete control over where overlapping shapes are positioned in a stack, and  in fact this concept of stacking order is very similar to the z-index in a web page.

You can watch a tutorial video of this stacking order technique being demonstrated here.

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