Visio: Change Default Fonts, Shape Line Color, Shape Fill, Arrow colors

Allen Pitts
Allen Pitts used Ask the Experts™
Hello expert,

There are many things I love about how Visio helps me
create graphics and UML diagrams quickly.

And there are things that drive me bat stuff crazy:
Heres one going back to 2014

Another one is that it wants me to use Calibri, which I dislike. Visio will not default
to using the grand master of modern sans serif, Helvetica (or Arial).

Saw an article 'How do I create a new theme in Visio 2013?'
but  it says to select the Variants option in the Design group. Cannot find
Variants or find anything called Variants using search in Visio.

Found ton of stuff on Visio 2010 and 2016. Only other thing I can find is
This also refers to Variants.

I can create shapes and text boxes with Arial instead of Calibri  and then be very careful to only
copy existing shapes but this pretty restrictive. And if large sections of a drawing are copied into
a new drawing : Boom everything is Calibri again.

And the default is everything is this sort nasty blue with white color font. UGH!

Anyway to get off Calibri slave trail?


 Allen in Dallas
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Visio Consultant, Trainer, Author, and Developer
Most Valuable Expert 2011
The short answer is that some defaults in Visio, especially font choice, are very difficult to change on a global basis. However, you can create c custom stencil that contains masters you've created, each of which is preset with any attributes, including fonts, that you choose.

There are two keys: 1) knowing how to create a stencil, and 2) understanding the difference between a normal stencil and a special stencil called the Document Stencil. The latter is particularly important when you want to customize the defaults used on dynamic connectors.

Creating a stencil is easy: Click More Shapes in the Shapes window, select New Stencil, and then drag your custom shapes into it. One tip: save your stencil directly in, or in a subfolder of, the My Shapes folder that Visio created when it was installed. You'll find My Shapes in your My Documents folder. The advantage of putting your stencils in this location is that it is a "known" location for Visio. Click More Shapes and you'll see My Shapes right at the top of the flyout menu.

Re point #2, refer to an article I wrote for EE a few years ago.

As for variants -- they are located on the Design tab. Each theme you select includes two-to-four variants, which are located to the right of the themes gallery on the Design tab. You can customize some aspects of variants by clicking the More button in the bottom right corner of the Variants gallery.
Allen PittsBusiness analyst


Hello Mr. Helmers

Took me a while to reply because have been covered up on new project.
Great answer.
Will dig into creating stencil


Allen Pitts, Dallas Texas

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