Visio Insights
The official blog of the Microsoft Visio product team

Automatic Page Sizing in Visio 2010

Automatic Page Sizing in Visio 2010

  • Comments 47

When you start a new diagram, you typically begin with a single drawing page that is the size of a standard piece of printer paper.  Many diagrams grow beyond the size of a single printed sheet.  Visio 2010 adds a dynamic page sizing capability that responds as you draw, so you no longer have to manually adjust your page size to your diagram.

As you draw beyond the edge of the current page, Visio expands the page in that direction by one additional tile, or printer paper sheet.



If you live preview adding a shape with AutoConnect, Visio also previews the tiles that will be added.  As you drag shapes outside the current page or drag shapes from the Shapes window, Visio shows a translucent preview of the new tiles that will be added if the shape is dropped in its current location.


All sorts of things can affect the size of your diagram when printed, including adding shapes, deleting shapes, moving shapes, adding or removing text and changing text properties.  Any of these will alert Visio to update the page larger or smaller to keep the drawing within full tiles.

Start with this: image
Add more text: image
Delete the shape: image

You may also notice that the depiction of page breaks and margins is different than in Visio 2007.  We simplified the look of page breaks and many people will find them similar to Excel’s.  Margins are now a clear white area around the entire page.  We think you will find this much more clear than the grey bars in past versions of Visio.  We also enable showing page breaks and margins by default in new drawings, to help make it clear how Visio is adjusting your page.

This auto sizing behavior is controlled using the Auto Size toggle button on the Design tab.  If you click the dialog launcher and open the Page Setup dialog, you’ll see we replaced the now-defunct “Same as printer paper size” option with “Let Visio expand the page as needed”.  The sharp-eyed Visio expert will notice that the “Size to fit drawing contents” option is also gone from the dialog.  Since that item was more of a one-time action than a persistent state of tightly fitting the page to the diagram, we moved it to the Page Size dropdown and renamed it “Fit to Drawing”.

image image

Since we’re talking about page sizing, it’s also worth taking a quick look at manual page adjustments.  The Orientation and Size dropdown buttons on the Design tab surface the most commonly-used items from the Page Setup dialog.

image image

When Auto Size is enabled, these reflect the orientation and size of the printer paper (the tiles in the drawing page), because Auto Size controls the size of the page based on the printer paper settings.  Changing them changes the orientation and size of the printer paper settings.  If you change these, the number of tiles required to contain the diagram may also change, so your drawing page may change size.

Size = Letter (8.5” x 11”)
Orientation = Landscape
Size = Letter (8.5” x 11”)
Orientation = Portrait

When Auto Size is disabled, these reflect the orientation and size of the drawing page, because you are controlling it, not Visio.  Changing them sets both the drawing page and the printer paper settings, to keep them in sync.

Size = Letter (8.5” x 11”)
Orientation = Landscape
Size = Letter (8.5” x 11”)
Orientation = Portrait

Essentially, we made Orientation and Size work as expected depending on context – whether Auto Size is on or off.  That is, whether you have Visio taking care of the page size or if you are doing it.

We hope these additions will help you to more easily, and more fluidly, build and edit your diagrams.  As usual, send us any feedback you have using Send a Smile or through a comment on the blog.

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  • I concur - this feature needlessly creates additional work undoing what it has 'helpfully' done for you (many hours and many documents in my case), and it needs the option to be set 'off' by default.

  • Horrible horrible. Causes endless problems moving pages around. What idiot came up with this feature, and the bigger moron who didn't back-test it need to go.

    I hope IT will uninstall and let be go back to Visio 2007.

  • I agree, this option to be set 'off' by default!!!

    in Visio2003, in Page Setup Settings was option "Same as printer paper size"

    (Page Setup => PageSize). This option more usefull…

  • Hi folks.  I too, like you, have an extreme dislike for this feature. I found a simple solution for those of you importing older docs that want to turn this off page by page.  Go to developer mode and page through the foreground pages using the arrow key while pressing the toggle button for each page.  Took me ~ 2 mins for a very large document.  

    Now that I know what to look out for, I have a post it note next to my monitor to remind me to ***always**** make sure this horrid feature is always turned off.

  • I agree with all those who say this is a terrible feature. I have yet to determine how to globally turn it OFFFFFFFF.  It really sucks, and has wasted hours of my time.  Brilliant MS, just brilliant.  I often think there really must be a special place in he11 for many MS programmers.

  • Ribbon interface sucks.  Before the ribbon, I never had to Google a solution to hidden and stupid unneeded unwanted changes.  

  • How can it be 2 years later and no solution from Microsoft for this? I just went through hell fixing an older Visio that 2010 decided needed larger pages throughout through autosizing. How does something like this get through test or beta without change? I'm the first in our org to use 2010 and I'm telling everyone to stay with 2007.

  • this is costing our organization time and money. Please provide a way to turn this misfeature off.

  • It's Decemeber 2012, we just upgraded to 2010 and I had to Google "autosize". Like the previous posters - every Visio 2007 file that we open has autosize ON by default. We work on fixed size documents and are used to using the blank space beyond the page as a scrap area.

    Now we have to change the setting for EVERY page of EVERY document?

    Ugh. Ugh!

  • I think this feature might be fun for children who are exploring boundless creativity or for people who have a work-optional lifestyle and can afford to spend their days drawing with no purpose.  With the latter case, “letting Visio expand the page as needed” can help facilitate enormous time wasting.  For professionals using Visio in the real world, however, having a fixed size drawing sheet is crucial to efficiency since all of my drawings need to be within set margins.  Ideally this feature would be exorcised from Visio immediately with an update *and* a sincere apology issued.  In lieu of the ideal solution, this feature should at least be buried extremely deep within advanced settings such that auto sizing the page is not a default setting and only accessible after some dialog box warnings.  Sadly, lack of way to permanently disable this feature was a deal breaker for me.  So now I will uninstall Visio 2010 and reinstall Visio 2007.  I plan to stick with Visio 2007 for as long as I can.  I will most likely be using Visio for years, so I really hope this feature gets removed or fixed.

  • This is a horrible, horrible, horrible feature.  It is hard enough making diagrams that are neat with varying, changing grids, without the diagram suddenly changing size, meaning that everything is now on a different grid, and any changes made do NOT line up with the old parts of the diagram.

    Honestly, I think that Word 97 was a better drawing program for diagrams if you insert a word drawing to keep everything together.

  • I despise this feature and the Visio 2010 interface in general. Assuming that MS hires "Human Factor" engineers, they should all be fired. If they don't have them, they should. It is not at all surprising that Windows 8 is bombing.

  • This "feature" still sucks. There needs to be a way to globally turn it off for all pages in Visio 2010. The global control should be located in Visio Options, General, so that it can be prominently seen. It is a natural fit under User Interface options. The "feature" needs to go away.

  • This feature, while useful for certain contexts, produces horrible side effects in fixed-size document drafting, which is the majority of my work these days. I've been a user of Visio since 99...nearly all of the 2010 changes have made Visio more difficult and less of a power tool than it once was. This page resizing issue especially goes in the negative column.

    Surely there must be some way to change this default state, globally? Going through and wrestling down every page and multiple backgrounds of a 100+ page is NOT a valuable use of my time.

  • How do I get rid of the big white margins around each page? I need grid to the edge of each page. This "feature" has broken Visio for me - petitioning our IT to give us back 2007. TERRIBLE!!!

    In every other M'soft product, there's a menu to set margins. What happened here?

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