Network Diagrams:Locking the Background Shape

The Problem

In a previous post, I covered how to create a shape that would create a type of 3D effect. You can read that article on Drawing a Background Shapehere.

It’s also worth looking at why you want to do this in “On the Art of Network Diagrams and Presentation” and see the full diagram we are trying to put together.

The problem with large shape on your diagram is that it keeps “getting in the way”. As you add other shapes it seems that you are always selecting the wrong element.

Shape Protection – Simple Method

The easiest way to solve the problem is to “lock” the shape that is in the background. Right click on the object and Format, Protection:


And you will have a list of options. I usually just select “All” and OK.


Just select OK for this.


And now when you select the object, the handles are grey (not green blocks) and you cannot move the shape.


This should make it easier to “draw over the top” of the background shapes.

Wrap up

There are better ways to do this, but this is a fast and easily explained solution and will work for most people.

If you have any suggestions or tips, don’t hesitate to send them in. I always have something to learn. Go to my contact page and send me some stuff.

Other Posts in A Series On The Same Topic

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

Greg Ferro is a Network Engineer/Architect, mostly focussed on Data Centre, Security Infrastructure, and recently Virtualization. He has over 20 years in IT, in wide range of employers working as a freelance consultant including Finance, Service Providers and Online Companies. He is CCIE#6920 and has a few ideas about the world, but not enough to really count.

He is a host on the Packet Pushers Podcast, blogger at and on Twitter @etherealmind and Google Plus

You can contact Greg via the site contact page.

  • Marko Milivojevic

    There could be more useful background elements on the page, like border, header, etc. All these shouldn’t get in the way. I prefer to put them in a separate layer and then lock it (View/Layer Properties). To prevent objects in this layer from interfering with the rest of the drawing, disable snap and glue in the same screen, too.

  • Raj

    Yes, I too prefer to use Layer to lock it. Protection seems to be very specific and not easy to undo.

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