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In Visio 2010, how can I change the shape of a single element?

If I create a new one, I'd have to re-apply text, connections and format.

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I am fairly sure there is no way to directly do this in Visio. It may be possible to come close to this feature by writing some code using Visio's VBA support - however that would be a relatively complex task. Can you explain more about why it is you need to do this? Perhaps we can find some other options that will help. – saveenr Oct 11 '11 at 3:33
up vote 11 down vote accepted

I asked this question directly to the Program Manager of Visio 2010 at Microsoft during an internal MS event on campus and the answer was: "This is not possible". I have been missing this feature since Visio 2003 and hope that it will be finally added in the next version of Office.

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An update: this feature was added to Visio 2013


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Thanks for the info! Oh finally! Good thingI'm already on Office 2013. – peterchen Feb 8 '13 at 10:30

Following is an Excerpt from here :

Visio 2013 introduces a "Change Shape" feature that enables you to swap out a selected shape or group of shapes in the drawing with another type of shape. The new shapes can retain the position, connections, formatting, shape text, and/or shape data of the originals.

Note: You can only replace 2D shapes with other 2D shapes (like a Decision shape for a Process shape) and 1D shapes with other 1D shapes (replacing one type of connector with another). You cannot replace a connector with a rectangle, as an example.

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Does anyone know how to use this functionality using VBA - the Shapes.ReplaceShape does not seem to handle existing connectors. – Hightower 2 days ago

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