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Inheritance and Inserted Pages

Pages in Visio 2002 take their initial set of properties from the active page. That is, the page that is showing passes its properties on to a newly inserted page. For example, to insert a new page, simply right-click on the page tab (it's at the bottom of the Visio diagram, with a default name of Page-1), and then select the Insert Page option at the top of the untitled menu that appears. When the Page Setup dialog box appears, just click the OK button to save your newly created Visio diagram page. This new page will have all the properties of the one shown before it. To view these properties, click File, Page Setup in the menu bar. The passing on of page properties is called inheritance. The properties that are inherited from the active page are as follows:

  • Paper size

  • Paper orientation

  • Print zoom

  • Page size

  • Page orientation

  • Scale

  • Page type

  • Name

  • Measurement units

  • Shadow offset

  • Layout and routing

Print Setup Tab

Please refer to Figure 3.1 for the many different print setup options available in Visio 2002.

Figure 3.1 Use the Print Setup tab to fit your drawings to a custom size.

As you work with the various options on the Print Setup tab, the first option you encounter is Paper Size. This refers to the size of the paper used by your printer. There are nine paper size choices by default, as well as "custom," which enables you to set your own paper size. 8 1/2-x11-inch paper is most common. Next up is the Paper Orientation option. This option refers to how the paper is laid out. Portrait turns the paper so that the longer side goes up and down. Landscape turns the paper sideways for a longer horizontal dimension.

Just below Paper Orientation come the Print Zoom options. Print Zoom is used to adjust a drawing to make it fit to either a certain percent of normal or a certain number of paper sheets. Normal Print Zoom is 100%. Changing Print Zoom to 400% "blows up" the drawing to four times its original size for printing purposes only. You may set the print zoom as low as 1% of normal and as high as 947% of normal. You may set the number of paper sheets a drawing will be printed to by setting the Fit To properties. You'll need to tell Visio 2002 how many pages across and down you want to fit the drawing on. These options, Adjust To or Fit To, are mutually exclusive: You may set one but not both.

Page Size Tab

Clicking the Page Size tab of the Page Setup dialog box takes you to the tab shown in Figure 3.2. The purpose of this tab is for setting the options of a drawing page to a size different from that of the physical paper.

Figure 3.2 Use the Page Size tab to customize the drawing page size.

Page Size is the size of a Visio drawing page. It does not need to be the same size as the paper. Instead, you may determine how many physical pieces of paper make up one drawing page in Visio 2002. Your diagram might only need one Visio drawing page but require 16 sheets of paper to display it properly.

The page size options include matching the drawing page to the paper size, predefined sizes, custom sizing, and fit to contents. Choosing Same As Printer Paper Size sets not only the size but the orientation of your drawing page to match that of the printer paper.

Invoking a predefined size is done by first marking the radio button next to Pre-defined Size. There are four categories of sizes and a total of 20 page sizes within those four categories. The four categories are Standard, Metric (ISO), ANSI Engineering, and ANSI Architectural. The specific page sizes are listed in the drop-down menu beneath the category listings.

Custom Sizing enables you to set as large or as small a drawing page as you might need, whereas Size to Fit Drawing Contents is used after the drawing is constructed. In other words, create a drawing, and then select Size to Fit Drawing Contents and the page size shifts to accommodate your drawing.


ISO stands for International Standards Organization and ANSI stands for American National Standards Institute.


Pieces of paper are called tiles if you make your drawing page such that two or more pieces of paper are required to display or print the drawing.

The page orientation section describes how the Visio drawing page is displayed. The same two options, Portrait or Landscape, apply here as in Paper Size. Portrait sets the drawing page so that the longer edge is displayed vertically, and Landscape sets the paper so that the long edge is displayed horizontally. Each Visio drawing page can have its orientation set independently of any others.


It's possible to set the paper orientation and page orientation differently. You may say that the paper will be oriented to portrait and at the same time have the Visio drawing page set to landscape. To prevent confusion, Visio shows a preview of the Page Setup properties so that you see the paper size and orientation relative to the drawing page size and orientation. Refer to Figure 3.2 for the preview area.

Drawing Scale Tab

By clicking on the Drawing Scale tab, you are able to define the scale of your Visio diagram. As you probably are already aware, scale is a conversion of distance. It's used to name how far in the real world a line segment in Visio 2002 represents. A scale of 1 inch = 10 feet means that a 3-inch line on a Visio 2002 drawing represents 30 feet in the real world. Each drawing page can have its own scale.

There are four predefined scales in Visio 2002: architectural, civil engineering, metric, and mechanical engineering. These all have several scales that can be selected from a drop-down menu. Additionally, you'll have the option of devising your own custom scale. When you set your own custom scale in Page Setup, on the Drawing Scale tab (as shown in Figure 3.3), you'll see the total real-world area that your page represents.


To print the drawing page scale, open File, Stencils, Visio Extras. Two stencils, Title Blocks and Annotations, contain master shapes that display the page scale and will update automatically if the scale is changed. Place these shapes anywhere on the drawing page to display the scale when the page is printed.

Figure 3.3 Visio 2002 converts the drawing scale to show how much real-world space is represented by the drawing page. Notice the Pre-defined scale and the page size (in measurement units) fields.

Page Properties Tab

By clicking on the Page Properties tab, you can set the type for your Visio diagram. There are two types of pages: foreground and background. A foreground page is the page on which drawings are constructed. Backgrounds are just that: pages that serve as a backdrop to another page. Backgrounds enable you to place shapes on a background and have those shapes appear on all pages that use that background page. A foreground page can use only one background page. A background page can be applied to many foreground pages. A background page can have its own background page. You may create a layer-like effect using multiple background pages. Finally, a background page can have many layers assigned to it.

The layer-like effect is achieved by inserting a new page and making it a background. Place a shape on that page. Insert a second new page and make that page a background, also. When you are setting the new page as a background, you may also assign a background page. This enables you to have many background pages contribute to one overall background.

Within each type is the name of a page, which appears on the tab in the drawing page. Set the name in the Name field. You may rename a page from here or by right-clicking the page name tab and selecting Rename Page. A final way of changing a page name is by double-clicking the page tab.

Also found within each type are the measurement units, which appear in the scale rulers in the Visio drawing area. There are 20 possible units. Fifteen are for distance including inches, feet, meters, and miles. Five are for time, including weeks, days, hours, minutes, and seconds. This information also sets the Page Size fields on the Drawing Scale tab.


There are four measurement units with which you may not be familiar: Didots, Ciceros, Points, and Picas. These are all typesetting measurements. Didots and Ciceros are used mostly in Europe (metric-based), whereas Points and Picas are used mostly in the United States. The relationships between these units and their abbreviations are shown as follows:

1 Didot (d) = .375 mm. = .015 in.

1 Cicero (z) = 4.5 mm = .18 in. = 12 Didots = 12.839 Points

1 Point (t) = .01388 in

1 Pica (p) = 12 Points

1 inch = 72.27 Points = 6 Picas

Shape Shadow Offset is the final configurable setting found on this tab, which determines how far to the left or right and up or down a shape's shadow will appear. You might notice that you may set a value for only Right and Down. Placing negative values here will place the shadow above and to the left. You may also format how a shadow appears in the Format, Shadow menu. By default, no shadow is applied to a shape. See Figure 3.4 for all options on this tab.


There are two color settings for the shadow: Shadow Color and Pattern Color. Selecting a pattern is the same as using two colors in a shadow. When you select a pattern, Visio will enable the pattern color drop-down menu. If you choose a red shadow color and a blue pattern color, and then use the pattern drop-down box, you will see the two colors—red and blue—used together to format the shadow.

Figure 3.4 Use background pages to display objects such as a company logo, shapes, or text on every foreground page.

Layout and Routing Tab

The Layout and Routing tab in the Page Setup dialog box, shown in Figure 3.5, determines how shapes placed on the page and their connectors appear. There are up to five settings for Routing:

  • Style—Style determines how the connectors appear between shapes.

  • Direction—Direction is available only with certain styles. When it is enabled, it determines how the shapes are laid out—top to bottom, bottom to top, left to right, and right to left.

  • Separate—Separate refers to which connector lines should be displayed separately. Related lines share a common shape. By default, Visio 2002 does not separate related lines. This means that if you place successor shapes that share a common predecessor near one another, the lines will merge because they are related.

  • Overlap—Overlap determines which lines can lie on top of others. Overlap reduces visual clutter but can cause difficulty interpreting your drawing.

  • Appearance—Appearance sets whether the connection lines between shapes will be either straight or curved.

Figure 3.5 Line jumps make following connections within your drawings easier.

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