Book Release: Tips on Using Visio To Make Network Diagrams

Back in 2009, while working on a network diagram in Visio, a fellow worker asked me to show him how I did certain things. I thought this a bit strange at the time, but when other co-workers started asking the same questions I was surprised. Some of them got quite excited and said nice things and it became a recurring item at the weekly team meeting to share my Visio “tip of the week”.

I have many blog posts  which were enormously popular and came to the conclusion that small book would address this in the best possible way. Here it is, 4 years later. I wrote this as if I was sitting next to you, showing how to get things done. I have used practical examples, and put all the menu options in and worked through practical examples on how to create diagram elements that are useful for networking. It is highly visual so that you can work through the book very quickly because you need to get things done, not because you want to understand the theory behind it.

I don’t claim that this book is a definitive guide. It’s just the way that I do it and people told me that these tips are good advice. So I wrote it down, and here it is. (Click the image to buy a copy, please :)

Network diagrams with visio title page resized 1

About LeanPub Publishing

The book is published at LeanPub to offer you a DRM-free and multi platform book. When you purchase you get a PDF, ePub and Mobi versions so that you can load it on any reading device. Also, 90% of the purchase price goes to providing my family with shoes and dresses. When you buy one of my books I actually receive nearly all of the purchase price.


This book was mostly written in 2010 for Microsoft™ Visio 2003 and 2007. I don’t plan to update this book (unlike my other books).

After a review, nearly of the concepts are quite valid for Visio 2013 but some of the menus have changed around. Since I don’t use Visio today and don’t own a license for it, I have no plans to update this book. Just wanted to draw your attention to this key issue.

Table of Contents

  • 1 Network Diagrams with Microsoft Visio 2003/2007
    • 1.1 Introduction
  • 2 Visio Interface and Layout
    • 2.1 Clearing the Visio Interface
    • 2.2 The Shape Window
    • 2.3 Turn off the Rulers and Gridlines
    • 2.4 Removing Buttons from the Toolbar
    • 2.5 Reset the Toolbar and Buttons to Default
    • 2.6 Turn off the Status Bar
    • 2.7 Setting Some Defaults
  • 3 Page and Printing Tips
    • 3.1 A Blank Page
    • 3.2 Printing and Paper Size
  • 4 Some Network Diagrams Basics
    • 4.1 Creating Network Diagrams
    • 4.2 Drawing a VLAN Connector
    • 4.3 Connecting Network Shapes with Shape and Glue
    • 4.4 Glue is vital to your Diagrams
    • 4.5 Setting the Snap and Glue Options
    • 4.6 Why Grouping and Glueing Don’t Work Well Together
    • 4.7 Connection Points
    • 4.8 Creating Connection Points
    • 4.9 Connecting Two Shapes
    • 4.10 Using the Straight Connector
    • 4.11 Working With Straight Connectors
    • 4.12 Curve Connectors
    • 4.13 Dynamic Connector Tool or Lines
    • 4.14 Why use Dynamic Connectors
  • 5 Working with Text
    • 5.1 The Text Box
    • 5.2 Overriding the Default Text Box Style
    • 5.3 Choosing Fonts
  • 6 Freehand Lines
    • 6.1 Basic Freehand Lines
    • 6.2 Working the Endpoints Directions
    • 6.3 Creating Directional Mid Points
  • 7 Shape Ordering and Backgrounds
    • 7.1 Shape Ordering
    • 7.2 Grouping Objects
  • 8 Advanced Tips and Features
    • 8.1 Title Blocks, Fields and Static Information
    • 8.2 Page Border
    • 8.3 Getting More Shape Stencils
    • 8.4 Starting your own Shape Stencils
    • 8.5 Cisco Shape Stencils (Icons)
    • 8.6 Using Right Stencils and Shapes
    • 8.7 Using Callouts for Key Features
    • 8.8 Using Format Painter
    • 8.9 Interface Shortcuts, Repeat Last Action
  • 9 Suggested Idea for Drawing Network Diagrams
    • 9.1 Using Transparent Shapes for Functions
    • 9.2 Appealing Background Shapes
  • 10 Wrap Up
    • 10.1 More On Network Diagrams
    • 10.2 More Network Content
  • 11 Feedback

You can download a sample of the book and see the first few pages to check if the book is relevant to you.

Other Posts in A Series On The Same Topic

  1. Free Custom Handwriting Font for Network Designs (14th August 2014)
  2. Network Diagrams: Font Selection and Production Context. Choosing Slab or Thin fonts (9th June 2014)
  3. Book Release: Tips on Using Visio To Make Network Diagrams (27th March 2014)
  4. Network Diagrams: Drawing Overlay Network Layers (14th March 2014)
  5. Network Diagrams: Choosing Better and Free Fonts (10th January 2014)
  6. My New Diagram Colour Scheme "Old Disco Style" (24th September 2013)
  7. On Diagrams and Information (10th September 2013)
  8. Colour Blindness, Network Diagrams and Reliability (3rd March 2011)
  9. Designer or Engineer, Artist or Painter (19th January 2010)
  10. Network Diagrams: Rotating Text on a Line (1st October 2009)
  11. Network Diagrams: Tips for Printing from Visio (22nd September 2009)
  12. Network Diagrams:Zones on a diagram with Visio shape union (31st July 2009)
  13. Network Diagrams: Drawing complex VLAN Networks with IP Addressing (7th July 2009)
  14. Network Diagrams: Drawing Freehand Curves (and then fixing them) (23rd March 2009)
  15. Network Diagrams:Aligning Shapes (12th March 2009)
  16. Network Diagrams:Locking the Background Shape (10th March 2009)
  17. Network Diagrams: Labelling an VLAN/IP Segment (9th March 2009)
  18. Network Diagrams: VLANs and IP Subnets (8th March 2009)
  19. Network Diagrams: Drawing the Background Shape (6th March 2009)
  20. On the Art of Network Diagrams and Presentation (4th March 2009)
  • Marcos

    Greg, your book is an instant buy. Thanks for publishing it. But a Omnigraffle version would be way more welcome!

  • Trevor Little

    You mentioned you’re not using Visio anymore. What do you use now for network diagrams?

  • Ruslan Fomin

    Everybody want Omnigraffle “version”! :)

    • Etherealmind

      I hear you, I will add it to my list of possible things to write !