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Text Outline

Started by swimd01, August 24, 2009, 02:56:39 PM

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Hi, I am new to the forum. I have looked around for this, but can't seem to find anything that applies directly.

I am looking for a way to outline text in Visio. For example, I would like white text with a black outline, similar to the font "Outlined." Ideally, I would like to be able to use any font, and modify the text like a shape in Visio (i.e. use different color fills and outlines, etc).

Canyone help? Thanks

Paul Herber

That's a feature of the font itself rather than anything Visio can do to the font.

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

Visio Guy

Hi swimd,

There's another thread on this forum that has just what you're looking for! Paul is right that this isn't a feature of Visio, but JuneTheSecond has written some clever VBA code that uses MS WordArt to get the job done.

Please read: Visio-WordArt
For articles, tips and free content, see the Visio Guy Website at
Get my Visio Book! Using Microsoft Visio 2010


After all of these years - I had a need to outline a font. I used a trick I used in other programs that did not support outline.  So I am presenting this answer HERE so anyone who wants to make an outline font in ANY graphics program will now know exactly how to do this.

One caveat - your mileage may vary on just how nice the outline font looks. I use Visio 2003 exclusively. Which means if you are using a later version this trick should work flawlessly for you and fulfill all of your dreams about outline fonts, make you wealthy beyond your wildest dreams, and give you a thousand yaks to stand around and chew cud. :-)

Ok - here is how you do it:

1. Pick a font - any font. Now - don't tell me which one you picked.  Ok?
2. Create a text area like "Mary had a little lamb".
3. Remember that the lamb's wool is white as snow - but that's neither here nor there. Copy/paste the text you just created.
4. And that lamb was a little weird - it followed her everywhere. You know - like a stalker!  Brrrrr!!!!  Anyway, change the font size from whatever you have it at to one size larger (so if you have 72pt you make it 73pt).
5. Make the copy BOLD faced. Sort of like the lamb - very bold.
6. Send the copy to the background. (Like - chase that darn lamb away!)
7. Make your original text WHITE. The one in the background should be BLACK. (Thinking of lamb chops now...)
8. Move the black text to be on top of the white text. (Now I'm thinking of Shari Lewis and lamb chops.)
9. Position the white text so you just see the outline of the black text behind it. (I haven't seen Shari Lewis in years.)
10. Once you have the text somewhat aligned you will see that the larger black text doesn't really quite fit around the white text. (Ah! I just looked. She died in 1998. :-( )
11. So - reselect the black text. Go to the Format->Text area and then the Character tab. Adjust the letters to be CONDENSED by -0.1. (Well, what can I say? She was a wonderful person. Sad that she is gone.)
12. Keep adjusting the amount to condense the letters down by in -0.1 increments until you get a nice looking outline. (Heh. Might as well have lamb chops.)
13.Once you have it looking really nice - GROUP everything together so it doesn't get messed up.


1. If you change the font size you will have to readjust the background font.
2. The smaller the font the worst this will look. That's because you have fewer pixels to work with.
3. Italics is very hard to do this with because a bold faced italicized font looks a bit blocky.


Many years ago I read a story in the Reader's Digest about Shari Lewis. She was flying out to New York City from Los Angeles. There were these two kids on board. A small boy and girl. The young boy was crying. Shari asked the the young boy for a sheet of paper. So he gave a piece. She took it, folded it, tore off a couple of pieces, and make a really terrific swan (She loved Origami). She handed the swan to the young boy after showing him that its wings would move up and down and the head went up and down too. This caused the young boy to cry even harder. So Shari asked what was the matter. The little boy said "My sister got more signatures than I did and now I don't have any!" The morale - as Shari Lewis said it - Always ask first!

Have fun everyone! :-)

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