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You know how easily Microsoft Word adopts your visual style of writing, like text color, size, etc and uses it for any subsequent text you write, right? Well, I can't get similar behavior with Visio, though. Whatever I tried, which is creating and reusing Visio templates, creating color and effects themes, Visio keeps using the same black 1pt line and black 8pt text for any new drawing element, not to mention other style properties that keep getting reset.

I find it very inconvenient that I have to use the Format Painter manually on every new element to preserve the visual appearance across my Visio drawing. Is there a way to avoid this and make Visio use the same visual style of my preference for every new shape and text?

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The recommended way of doing this to create a new Template that has the settings you want in the document's "styles".

First, create a new blank drawing.

Then, open the Drawing Explorer (This is on the Developer tab on the ribbon. If don't see the Developer tab on the ribbon, you need to enable it in Options > Customize Ribbon.)

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In the Drawing Explorer, expand the Styles node.

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Right-click on Normal and select Define Styles

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The Define Styles dialog will appear.

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Edit the Text, Fill, or Line properties as needed. In this case I illustrate making the default line color red.

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Save the diagram as a Template (VST nor VSD) into a folder. Typically I make my folder under c:\users\myusername\Documents\My Visio Templates. Give it a nice name like "My Default Template.VST"

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Close the document.

Go to File > Options > Advanced. At the very bottom click File Locations.

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Set the Stencils value to C:\Users\myusername\Documents\My Visio Templates

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Now from File > New you will see "My Default Template" in the The Template Categories list.

Just click on that template, and now any new documents will have the style

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Now when you try to draw a shape, the default line color will be red.

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Thanks a bunch! –  Desmond Hume Aug 23 '12 at 8:33
    
Any chance to achieve this for e.g. BPMN diagram elements? I've already tried making custom effects and even custom stencils (based on the BPMN .vss file I found in the installation folder) but still can't make new BPMN elements appear with custom line thickness, fill, etc. –  Desmond Hume Aug 23 '12 at 21:20
    
Too bad.. I use BPMN much more frequently than regular drawing. Can't believe there's no any workaround. –  Desmond Hume Aug 24 '12 at 17:30
    
@Desmond - It might work for you to copy the BPMN VST file from its location (mine is in C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office14\Visio Content\1033) into a custom templates folder (c:\users\myusername\Documents\My Visio Templates). For example, I was able to create a modified flowchart template (basflo_m.vst) that did have my custom formatting. –  saveenr Aug 25 '12 at 7:59

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