I'm making a document in Visio where I'd like to insert a picture of a person, but masked so that it is within an oval. I could edit each picture outside of Visio to be an oval, but I'd rather not do that. Basically the only option I've found online is this guy's: http://www.visguy.com/2007/07/29/masking-images-in-visio/

Where he describes making your image a custom pattern and filling a shape with that pattern. That's...bad. I'd rather not have to do that for every image.

There does seem to be some way to do it, though, because if you open the Organizational Chart, there's an option for a "Coin": Visio Coin

There are a few problems with this, though - every available coin has text in it, and has protections so you can't remove it. I've attempted to mess with the protections or edit the master, but it won't let me. Also, you can't move the image around within that cut-off circular frame - instead, it fills the frame with the image and that's it.

Is there any way in Visio to draw a shape, fill that shape with an image, then resize that image to fit well within the mask? If the functionality for this doesn't exist, then Visio simply isn't the tool for me, which is fine. But it does make the diagrams pretty easy.

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    Visio shapes don't have the fill with image option. I really don't like Visio. It doesn't have visually appealing content. Some stencils are hard to get, or doesn't exist. On large diagrams it's even worse, because you have a limited # of shapes and I came across some annoying errors. I would rather do a diagram in PowerPoint or Illustrator. If you have some specific equipment stencil in .vss format you can save the shape as .emf and use it in another program. Just my opinion. :) – User552853 Oct 11 '16 at 13:23
  • It does have some cool options though, specifically with redrawing diagrams. As in, I draw two shapes and connect them with a line, and I can then drag one of the shapes and the line comes with. That's pretty much the reason I started with it. Illustrator has a ton of great options for global changes and things like that (and especially clipping masks...) and connections with Photoshop, but I had actually asked a previous question about the line movement thing and was told there was no plugin for that. – Jake Oct 11 '16 at 14:36
  • I don't like using PowerPoint for anything but slideshows - it's like writing an essay in an Excel cell - you can do it, but that's not what it's for. In any case, I may have to agree with you...but I'll see what other people answer, if anything. (Previous question: graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/questions/70620/…) – Jake Oct 11 '16 at 14:38

If your shapes don't have to be right next to each other, what about creating a knock-out of an oval in a larger background colored square (turn on developer tab in File>options>advanced>general, create both shapes, set fill to white, line to none, enter align H&V, developer > shape design > operations:combine)? Paste your picture over the square and "send to back" and only the oval picture remains. Group the picture and the shape so they move together.

To minimize the extra work for future projects, use the custom connector tool to add connectors to the knocked-out middle instead of the edges and save the shape as a stencil then when you want a new one, drag it onto the page.


I have found the answer! In the shape sheet, in the Foreign Image Info section, set "ClippingPath" to be "GeometryX.Path" where "X" is the number of the geometry section you wish to clip by. So, if you have a shape with just one geometry section, just set it to "Geometry1.Path" and you'll have a cropped image (this is what the Coin icon does to crop its image). This assumes that you already have the geometry of the clipping path present in one of the shape's geometry sections, which it won't by default when you insert the image onto the page.

If your shape is made up of more than one geometry section and you want to clip the image to bounds made up from the multiple sections, make a new geometry section that describes your desired clipping path and set its "NoShow" setting to "True".


If you just need to get a masked image into Visio (without needing to make it configurable by a theme or similar Visio feature), creating the item in Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, or Excel and then pasting into Visio is straightforward:

  1. Paste your image into one of the programs mentioned (I'm using Word).
  2. Select the image, then Picture Tools> Crop> Crop to Shape, and lastly the desired shape.
  3. Copy and paste the masked image into your Visio document.

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