Add a shape to a stencil

A stencil (.vss file) is a collection of shapes associated with a particular Microsoft Office Visio template (.vst file). You can add any shape in your drawing to an editable stencil by dragging the shape from the drawing page to the stencil. You can also copy a shape from a stencil to an editable stencil by using the Add To My Shapes command on a shape's shortcut menu. Your Favorites stencil and custom stencils that you create are editable. The stencils provided with Visio templates are not.

What do you want to do?

Add a shape from the drawing page to a stencil

Copy a shape from one stencil to another

Add a shape from the drawing page to a stencil

  1. Open a new stencil, your Favorites stencil, or another custom stencil that you previously created:

    • To open a new stencil, on the File menu, point to Shapes, and then click New Stencil.

    • To open a custom stencil, on the File menu, point to Shapes, point to My Shapes, and then click the name of the stencil.

  2. If the stencil is not editable, right-click the stencil title bar, and then click Edit Stencil.

    The icon in the stencil title bar changes from Read-only stencil image (indicating that the stencil is read-only) to Editable stencil image (indicating that the stencil is editable).

  3. On the drawing page, select the shape that you want to add to the stencil.

  4. Do one of the following:

    • To move the shape from the drawing to the stencil, drag the shape from the drawing page to the stencil.

    • To copy the shape, press the CTRL key while you drag the shape to the stencil.

      The shape is now on the stencil. The shape appears as an icon, labeled "Master.x," where x is a number.

  5. To rename the shape, right-click the shape icon, point to Edit Master, and then click Master Properties. Type a name in the Name box.

  6. To save your changes, right-click the stencil title bar, and then click Save.

Top of Page

Copy a shape from one stencil to another

  1. Open the stencil that contains the shape you want to add to another stencil:

    • On the File menu, point to Shapes, and then point to My Shapes or another folder that contains the stencil.

  2. In the open stencil that contains the shape you want to copy, right-click the shape, point to Add To My Shapes, and then click Favorites, Add To New Stencil, or Add To Existing Stencil.

  3. To open the stencil that contains the copied shape, on the File menu, point to Shapes, and then point to My Shapes or another folder that contains the stencil.

    Tip: If both stencils are editable, you can copy and paste the shape from one stencil to the other instead of using the Add to My Shapes command.

    Notes: 

    • Shapes in Visio stencils are often referred to as master shapes. When you drag a master shape onto a drawing page, you create a copy (or “instance”) of the master. The master itself remains on the stencil so that you can use it repeatedly to create new copies of the master on drawing pages.

    • Visio master shapes supplied by Microsoft Corporation are copyrighted. You may copy and reorganize them for your own use, modify them for your own use, and distribute drawings that contain them. You may not sell or distribute original or modified Visio master shapes.

Top of Page

Share Facebook Facebook Twitter Twitter Email Email

Was this information helpful?

Great! Any other feedback?

How can we improve it?

Thank you for your feedback!

×