Okay this is driving me nuts. I'm using Visio 2010 in a completely blank template. Here is what I'm doing:

  1. I'm drawing a simple rectangle
  2. I draw a second simple rectangle
  3. I'm trying to drag rectangle 1 over rectangle 2.

Every time I try to drag rectangle 1 over rectangle 2, the 1st rectangle snaps to some spot an inch or so away from the second rectangle. Basically, I can't place rectangle 1 over rectangle 2 at all, meaning I can't layer shapes at all.

What the heck is causing this idiotic behavior and how can I disable it?

  • 1
    Visio is not for painting, its for diagramming, so it never makes sense to do that in a diagram.
    – soandos
    Jun 8, 2011 at 18:01
  • 1
    You were able to do this in 2k7, why would they make such a big change in 2010? Jun 8, 2011 at 18:03
  • It works for me in 2010...
    – soandos
    Jun 8, 2011 at 18:14
  • Thanks soandos, it seems then it is some sort of setting, but I can't seem to figure out what it is. Jun 8, 2011 at 18:29
  • 1
    Visio is not for painting or for diagraming. It is a tool that should make life easier, not drive users crazy. It makes no sense? Says who? I am using the UML sequence diagram template, and when I try to extend life lines or move message arrows, it completely confounds my entire model. Visio is a ridiculous tool. Too bad they don't make OmniGraffe for Windows! Jul 3, 2014 at 18:15

10 Answers 10


What you want is Layout and Routing.

On the Design tab there is a section labeled Layout on the right.

In the bottom right corner of that section is a small box with an arrow, if you click that you will get to Layout and Routing , and on the bottom, under Other, uncheck Move other shapes away on drop.

You may also need to uncheck Enable connector splitting which is on the same tab.

  • 3
    Un-checking this option doesn't prevent other shapes from moving-away... I want to overlap shapes.
    – PeterX
    Sep 25, 2013 at 6:31
  • 3
    This worked for me! Finally! Did I mention I HATE Visio! Jul 3, 2014 at 18:30

The following works for Visio 2013 and I think 2010 works same way (but I don't have 2010 so can't be certain).

  1. Go to File-> Options-> Customize Ribbon and then enable/check the Developer tab.
  2. On Developer Menu, locate Behavior in the Shape Design group.
  3. From Behavior window, click Placement tab.
  4. From Placement tab, change Placement Behavior to "Do not lay out and route around.
  5. You may also need to set the dropdown "Move other shapes away on drop" to "Plow as page specifies". Review other checkboxes whether any apply to your objective.

@shimpossible's solution did not work for me.

However, that particular property seems to be tied to the document.

I use Visio to overlay images and was having the same issue using 2013 from a much older version of Visio. Solution was just opened a new "blank" document and then had no problem overlaying images (in this case pictures) one on top of another, or drawing over them.

It looks like the "diagram" option may also work, but I have not tried. Apparently it defaults to flow chart settings if you just open it up and it will not let you keep one image/shape over another.


The following solution works for 2013 and 2010 as well. I found this thread looking for the answer to a similar question (placing objects on top of lines - without them re-routing). I knew this could be done in Visio 2003 by a simple right click on the shape and changing the shape properties. But I could not find that in Visio 2010.

Go to File->Options->Customize Ribbon and then enable the Developer tap.

Now on the Developer Menu you should see Behaviour in the Shape Controls (2010) or Shape Design (2013) group. Use that to tinker with the properties. The one you are looking for is on the Placement tab. 1. Either under "Move other shapes away on drop", set it "Plow no shapes".
Or 2. Change Placement Behavior to "Do not lay out and route around".

This might be tedious if doing many layered shapes. For my original search (placing objects on top of lines - without them re-routing) set the Placement behaviour to: Do not lay out and route around. This will allow placing shapes on top others.


I had this same problem. While all of the above suggestions are helpful, so are these options which I discovered:

On the Home tab, under Arrange, make use of Bring to Front and Send to Back.

  • Not really relevant to the issue at hand. Jul 3, 2014 at 18:26

I had the same frustrating issue with the grouped shapes in my diagram.

I have an old Visio 2003 but I fixed it by doing the following:

  1. Right-click shape
  2. Format > Behavior..
  3. Placement tab : Do not lay out and route around
  • This is identical to the highest upvoted answer.
    – Judith
    Mar 5, 2015 at 19:41

The best solution I have found for this is to make a group of the elements that should be on top of another shape. Then cut (Ctrl+x) them from the page. After that create the shape that should be under the previously cut elements. Then paste (Ctrl+v) the elements on-top of the created shape.


Try locking the first rectangle. Right click on first rectangle, then select Container and then lock. Now you can drag any other object on the first rectangle at your desired position.


For Visio 2003 users:

  1. File - Page Setup - Layout and Routing tab - Clear the "Move other shapes away on drop" checkbox

This is different than other answers because in Visio 2003 the "Page Setup" option in not available on the right-click menu - you have to go in through the File menu to find it (and Some People (me) can look at the File menu 1000 times and still not see it :-).


what works for me click on the rectangular you would like to bring back from the Home tab on arrange choose send to Back it should go back now

  • When giving an answer it is preferable to give some explanation as to WHY your answer is the one. In other words, how does this differ from the many other three year old answers that are already here? Mar 30, 2017 at 4:37
  • Your answer is like a comment kindly give more information
    – yass
    Mar 30, 2017 at 6:43

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