Add and connect shapes in Visio Online

Visio Online has many shapes that are organized into Shape sets. Each diagram has starting Shape sets. But you can also add Shape sets to the Shapes palette, so you can quickly access other shapes you want. For example, to create an informal process diagram, you can add the Basic Flowchart Shapes set. When you use Quick Shapes to create a diagram, you can add and connect shapes together as quickly and as smoothly as possible without a lot of back and forth between the Shapes palette and the diagram canvas. You can also create two types of connections: point-to-point and shape-to-shape. And when connector lines cross, you can add or remove line jumps. You can even change the type of line to straight, angular, or curved.

Here are the basic ways to get a diagram on the right track, right away.

What do you want to do?   

Manage shapes in the Shapes palette

Add and connect shapes with Quick Shapes

Connect shapes using connection points

Change the connector line to a different type

Show or remove connector line jumps

See Also

Manage shapes in the Shapes palette

Use the Shapes palette to add, view, and remove Shape sets.

Shapes palette

Add a Shape set

  1. Open the diagram for editing. For more information, see View, create, and edit a diagram in Visio Online.

  2. In the tabs region, select Add Shapes Add icon .

  3. To see what’s available, scroll through the list of Shape sets.

    List of shape sets
  4. To show the available shapes in a Shape set, select Preview Preview icon .

  5. To add the Shape set, select Add.

View a Shape set that’s already added

You already added a Shape set, but it may not be currently visible.

  1. Open the diagram for editing. For more information, see View, create, and edit a diagram in Visio Online.

  2. In the tabs region, select the Shape set icon. You can hover over the icon to see the name of the Shape set.

    Shape set icons

Remove a Shape set

You may want to remove a Shape set to unclutter the Shapes palette. You can always add back a Shape set later.

  1. Open the diagram for editing. For more information, see View, create, and edit a diagram in Visio Online.

  2. In the Shape tabs region, right click the shape set icon, and then select Remove.

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Add and connect shapes with Quick Shapes

Use Quick Shapes to smoothly create diagrams. Each Shape set has Quick Shapes designed to accelerate the flow of your work with appropriate suggestions.

  1. Open the diagram for editing. For more information, see View, create, and edit a diagram in Visio Online.

  2. Drag a shape from the Shapes pane to the page, and then release the mouse button.

    Dragging a shape from the Shape pane to the page
  3. Hold the pointer over the shape so that the blue arrows show.

    Cursor resting over shape, blue arrows appearing
  4. Move your pointer on top of the blue arrow that points toward where you want to place the new shape.

    Moving pointer to desired arrow
  5. On the mini toolbar, click one of the four shapes.

    Hovering over an AutoConnect arrow displays a toolbar of shapes to add.

    The new shape is added to the diagram, and automatically connected to the original shape.

  6. Keep adding shapes by hovering over the new shape until the mini toolbar appears.

    Hovering over the newly added shape displays AutoConnect arrows for adding another shape.

Tip    If the shape you want to add isn’t on the mini toolbar, drag the shape you want from the Shapes pane and drop it on a blue arrow. The new shape is connected to the original shape as if you had clicked it on the mini toolbar.

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Connect shapes using connection points

You use connection points between shapes to glue shapes together and keep them together even when a shape moves or rotates. Connection points become visible when you move the pointer over a shape.

Making connection points visible

Tip: Use the Zoom feature to better see small details and to have more fine-point control: Zoom In (or press CTRL++) and Zoom Out (or press CTRL+-).

Overview of connection types

There are two types of connections:

  • Point connection    Also called static glue, it connects point-to-point. Use a point connection when the location of the connection point must remain the same, as in a detailed floor plan where the location of the electrical, telephone, and network outlets is important.

  • Dynamic connection    Also called dynamic glue, it connects shape-to shape. When a shape moves or rotates, the connection is rerouted and the shortest path is used. This helps streamline updates to shapes and diagrams.

You can have both point and dynamic connections between two shapes. For example, in a PC/router diagram, the specific connection point on the router shape matters and is a point connection, but the specific connection point on the PC shape doesn’t matter and is a dynamic connection.

In the following diagram, shape A has a point connection to shape C, and whenever C is moved, the connector from A stays connected to the same point on C. By contrast, shape B has a dynamic connection to C, and the connector from B moves to whichever connection point on C is closest.

A has a point connection to C, but B has a dynamic connection to C.

Create a point connection

  1. Open the diagram for editing. For more information, see View, create, and edit a diagram in Visio Online.

  2. Move the pointer over a shape until its connection points appear.

    Making connection points visible
  3. Move the pointer to a connection point on that shape until it’s enclosed with a green rectangle and the pointer changes to a cross The cross pointer (or precision selecton) .

    Connectino point enclosed with green rectangle and pointer changes to crosshair
  4. Drag the pointer to a target shape until all its connection points become visible, and then move the pointer to a specific connection point until it is enclosed by a green box and the tooltip Glue to Connection Point appears.

    Target shape shows tooltip: Glue to Connection Point
  5. Release the pointer to complete the point connection.

Create a dynamic connection

  1. Open the diagram for editing. For more information, see View, create, and edit a diagram in Visio Online.

  2. Move the pointer over a shape until the auto-connection points (the four triangles) appear.

    Reveal a shape's autoconnections
  3. Move the pointer to an autoconnection point until it changes to a cross icon The cross pointer (or precision selecton) .

    Isolate the autoconnection point on the shape
  4. Drag the pointer to the target shape until all its connection points appear.

    Drag the connector to the target shape
  5. Adjust the pointer position until the target shape is enclosed by a green border and the tooltip Glue to Shape appears.

    Connect to the target shape with a dynamic connection
  6. Release the pointer to create the dynamic connection.

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Change the connector line to a different type

By default, a connector line is solid with one arrow pointing to the connected shape, although it may be different if you have applied a theme. You may want to change the type of connector line.

  1. Open the diagram for editing. For more information, see View, create, and edit a diagram in Visio Online.

  2. Select the connector line.

  3. On the ribbon, select Home, select the Connectors Type button, and then select Straight, Angular, or Curved.

    Types of connectors

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Show or remove connector line jumps

As you edit a diagram and add more shapes, Visio Online may need to create line jumps when connector lines cross. You can show or remove these line jumps.

  1. Open the diagram for editing. For more information, see View, create, and edit a diagram in Visio Online.

  2. On the ribbon, select Home, and then select Connectors Type Connector Type icon .

  3. To show jumps over crossing lines, select Show Line Jumps.

    Showing line jumps
  4. To remove jumps over crossing lines, select Remove Line Jumps.

    Removing line jumps

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See Also

Visio Online help

Select, copy, and move shapes in Visio Online

Change the size, rotation, and order of a shape in Visio Online

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