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Applying a Background or Border Design in Visio 2010

Applying a Background or Border Design in Visio 2010

  • Comments 28

Visio 2010 introduces a new way to apply a background or border and title design to your diagrams. The new Backgrounds and Borders & Titles galleries on the Design tab in the ribbon let you choose from a variety of styles and apply them with one click.



For several versions, Visio has provided a way to apply a background design to diagrams using shapes that you drag out from the Backgrounds stencil that opens with many of the templates. In Visio 2010, you can do this by clicking on a preview thumbnail in the Backgrounds gallery.


When you apply a background, Visio creates a background page (named “VBackground-1”, if it’s the first one), drops the background shape on it, and assigns it to the foreground page.


If you right-click on the preview thumbnail in the Backgrounds gallery, you can choose to apply it to all the pages in the document or just the current page.

Apply al all or current page

Once the background page is created, you can click on its page tab to put additional items on it that you want to appear on all the foreground pages it’s assigned to, like your company name or logo.

The color of the background can be defined by a theme. After a background is applied, additional themes with background colors appear in the Themes gallery. When one of these themes is applied, the background takes the color from the theme.

Themes with dark backgrounds

You can also click on the Background Color command at the bottom of the Backgrounds gallery to pick a color.

Background Color Picker

Borders & Titles

You can apply border and title designs to your pages in a way similar to backgrounds, using the Borders & Titles gallery on the Design tab. As with the Backgrounds gallery, a background page is created to hold the border shape. And you can right-click on the gallery thumbnail to choose to apply the border to all the pages in the document or just the current page.


You can edit the border’s title by clicking on the background page tab, selecting the border shape, and typing a title. This title will appear on all the foreground pages that the background page is assigned to, so it works best as a document title rather than a title for individual pages.

Title Editing

If you don’t want the border’s footer (which usually includes a page number) to appear at the bottom of the page, you can right-click on the border shape on the background page and choose Hide Footer.

Hide Footer 

Let us know what you think about the new Backgrounds and Borders & Titles features in the Visio 2010 Technical Preview using Send a Smile or a comment on the blog.

Leave a Comment
  • Please add 5 and 7 and type the answer here:
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  • I prefer you make use of PowerPoint's Master Slide Editor "on a separate view".

    This will leave the bottom tabs exclusively for real content.

  • How do you save a modified border & title back into the gallery?

  • I need to be able to have a different title on each page.

  • I need an easy way to add page numbers!!!!!!!!

  • I HATE IT! 30 minutes to figure out how to add page numbers. Obviously whoever designed this does not wok with the software on a daily basis or they would have seen how cumbersome this approach is.

  • Any tips on how to create a custom backgroud page?


  • I am searching for way to either move the position of the page field on the Background tab or insert a new one in the location I need in the background page.

    It does not appears one is unable to do either.  :-(

  • This is very badly thought out. Visio already had a way to handle backgrounds that needed better integration - this instead integrates power point type versions of backgrounds so you now have two totally different types of backgrounds in Visio. The real useful backgrounds, after some quick use, still appear to be handled in a sub dialogue box whilst the visual not so useful background are in the main nav bar. Terrible user experience.

  • I never comment on things. but this is so badly thought out I HAD to.

    I've always used my title and my Page Names in my header and footer.  If I make a Page Name change, the header automatically updates.  Now I have to make a static header for every page and remember to update if a change is made.  Excel is better than Visio for presentation?  How is this possible?

  • First of all, when I add a background, or borders and titles, the "VBackground" tab is not being created. I can still make changes to the shapes (borders and such), but it's very cumbersome.

    Second, how do I move a page number box? Even if I try to change its location via "size and position" pane, it does not work. Any ideas?

  • How do I create a custom background or border, similar to that of the quickparts available in Word?


  • I share the frustration of some of the other commenters.  All I want to do is add page numbers.  Works great in MS-Word.  Why does Visio behave so radically different?  Was it written by Google ex-pats?

  • I am about to throw this out the window.  I JUST WANT PAGE NUMBERS!

  • What happened to the old backgrounds???

  • DONT delete the background tab BEFORE removing a background from a page - it will become permanent and you cannot ever remove it

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