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Making new templates visible to Visio

For Visio 2003 Microsoft added a feature folder named 'My Shapes'. Any Visio stencil placed in this folder will appear in the list of available stencils on the (Visio 2003/2007) menu File -> Shapes or (Visio 2010/2013/2016) More Shapes -> My Shapes menu. This feature is very useful when distrubuting Visio stencils to other users. All you have to do is to tell them to put them in their 'My Shapes' folder and they can use them immediately. You can even create new folders under the 'My Shapes' folder and Visio will see the name and use it to help sort your stencils. Useful.

Unfortunately, there is no similar automatic facility for Visio templates. But there is a work around ...

Open the Options menu:

  • Visio 2003/2007:
    Menu -> Tools -> Options -> Advanced -> File Locations
  • Visio 2010/2013/2016:
    Ribbon -> File -> Options -> Advanced -> File Locations (button hidden right at the end of the screen)
will get you to a dialog box like this:

Visio file locations dialog

You will see that there is a file path in the My Shapes section, just copy and paste that into the My Templates section. Click OK and close all the dialogs. You may need to restart Visio.

Job done.
Any template in the My Shapes folder will now show up in the File -> menu or the template categories. And any folder will appear as a new category of templates!

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