The Microsoft Office Visio environment

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You start a Microsoft Office Visio diagram by opening a template. A template opens one or more stencils to the left of the drawing page. The stencils contain the shapes you need to create your diagram.
Templates also include all the styles, settings, and tools you need to create a particular diagram type. For example, when you open a flowchart template, it opens a drawing page and stencils that contain flowchart shapes. The template also includes tools for creating flowcharts, such as a tool that numbers your shapes, and appropriate styles, such as arrowheads.

Stencils and shapes

After you open a template, you drag shapes from stencils onto the drawing page to create your diagram. The shapes on stencils are designed specifically for the particular drawing type, and many of them are "smart"—meaning they have built-in behavior that makes sense in the drawing context.
For example, you can:
  • Add text that moves with a shape.
  • Add doors and windows that move with walls.
  • Connect two shapes with a connector that repositions automatically if you move one of the shapes.
  • Drag a control handle on an arc connector to change the arc.
  • Drag a control handle on a chair shape to rotate the chair.
  • Specify the number of slices in a pie chart 

The drawing environment

After you open a template, you'll see the Microsoft Office Visio drawing environment, which includes menus, toolbars, stencils with shapes, the drawing page, and a task pane to the right of the drawing page.
You create your drawing on the drawing page, which represents the printed page and includes a grid to help position shapes.
You use the task pane to access various types of information quickly while you work or collaborate with other team members.
Visio menus and toolbars are similar to those in other Microsoft Office System programs, so you'll find familiar ways to open, print, and save your diagrams.

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