Flattening Visio Stencil Alternative (ie: converting to metafile or image)

Started by Gregory Jackson, February 14, 2012, 12:53:28 AM

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Gregory Jackson

I have see many post on how to flatten a Visio Icon or stencil as a common practice in most drawing applications. Well I did find a work around or alternative to flattening. If you select the element/icon/stencil you want to flatten and save it as a windows 'enhanced metafile" you can then insert that into you document as a picture. Once you have imported you can use it like any other icon/stencil/element it scales great does not blur it keep its aspect ratio and you can edit it in shapesheet like any other stencil... AND you can if need be still ungroup it. this works great and you can now decrease the size of those large stencils.

I'm not sure this was known but I have not found a solid solution to flattening stencils this seem to work best.

Some caveats if your stencil that you have has text associated with it erase all text before saving as the enhanced metafile.



Paul Herber

That might work if all you want is a picture of the contents of the shape. It would destroy functionality in 99% of cases though.
Electronic and Electrical engineering, business and software stencils for Visio -


Gregory Jackson

Destroy functionality? How so? You can double click it and ad text you can move the text anyplace, you can and connection points, you can encrease a decrease size and if you look at the drawing exporere when you open a Cisco shape that is what they have created.

So help me understand the "destroy functionality".. I've attached a server stencil I created and flattened saving as a enhanced  metafile, what functionality is missing?

Paul Herber

There is a lot more to a Visio shape than just adding text, resizing etc. Are you sure you are suggesting taking a Visio shape, converting to an image and then using that image instead?

Electronic and Electrical engineering, business and software stencils for Visio -



typically, I will copy/paste the native visio shape into office (libreoffice is reportedly going to offer similar support in 3.5).
Once in office (word, ppt, etc), right click the image and you can open visio up again to change simple/complex things
Simple:  color, text, etc
complex:  add a shape, change connection point, update alignment, etc

I found this approach easier to deal with than to have to go back to native visio and make changes, make an image, and copy/paste again.

making an image out of visio is really only for 2 cases:
   - you are absolutely sure you dont want make changes in the future
   - The visio shape is just too big (MBs) for PPT (mostly) and word (rarely) to deal with

<soapbox>  Of course this does beg the question of when MS will combine visio and PPT into 1 tool since neither has all the capabilities of the other <\soapbox>
                    (PPT university, animation, etc....and....visio precision and intelligence)