Shape selection tools

To make changes to a shape, you typically need to select it first, and for some types of changes, you need to select multiple shapes simultaneously. This topic describes several methods of selecting shapes in Quick Tasks.

Note: If you are unable to select, move, resize, or rotate a shape on your diagram, it might be part of a locked layer.

To unlock a layer
  1. On the Home tab, in the Editing group, click Layers, and then click Layer Properties.

  2. In Layer Properties, in the Lock column, clear the check box associated with the type of shape that you want to select.

Quick Tasks



Select a single shape

  • Click the shape.

Select multiple shapes

Use area selection by clicking and dragging in the page. Shapes are selected that are completely inside the rectangular area that is defined by where you click and drag the mouse pointer.

Click and drag to select shapes in a rectangular area.

Select multiple shapes with Lasso Select

  1. On the Home tab, in the Editing group, click Select, and then click Lasso Select.

    Click Lasso Select in the Editing group on the Home tab.
  2. Drag a freeform lasso around the shapes that you want to select.

    Lasso selection uses freehand drawing to select shapes.
  3. Release the mouse button after you have surrounded the shapes. The lasso doesn’t need to be completely closed to select the shapes.

Select shapes that are partially within a selection area

By default for both the Area Select and Lasso Select tools, each shape must be completely within the selection area specified by those tools to be selected. If you want more flexibility, you can also include shapes that are partially within the area.

To configure Visio to select shapes that are partially within the selection area
  1. Click the File tab, and then click Options.

  2. In Visio Options, click Advanced.

  3. Under Editing options, select Select shapes partially within area.

    Select shapes partially within area specifies inclusion of shapes partially within a selection area.

Select multiple shapes on a page by using keyboard shortcuts

Press and hold Shift or Ctrl while clicking shapes to select multiple shapes one at a time.

You can also use these keys to add another shape to a current selection. For example, if you want to add a shape to a selection that you created by using the Area Select tool, you can hold down Ctrl and then click the shape

After making a selection, press & hold Ctrl to add another shape by clicking it.

Select all the shapes on the drawing page

On the Home tab, in the Editing group, click Select, and then click Select All.

Click Select All to select every element in the drawing or diagram.

Select all a particular kind of object

  1. On the Home tab, in the Editing group, click Select, and then click Select by Type.

  2. In the Select by Type dialog box, check the type of object that you want to select, such as shapes, connectors, or containers, and then click OK.

    In Select by Type, specify selection by type, role, or layer.

Deselect one or more shapes

To deselect all shapes
  • Click a blank area on your drawing, or press Esc.

To deselect a single shape when several are select
  • Press Ctrl and click a shape to cancel its selection.

    Press and hold Ctrl to click a shape and remove it from a group of selected objects.
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