Panning and Zooming in Visio 2013


A data-diagram displays information visually, but you often need to focus on detail or follow connections quickly. So, increase your efficiency by learning the ins and outs of panning and zooming in Visio.

Panning and Zooming in Visio 2013

When I am viewing or editing Visio diagrams, I need to be able to move easily around them, by re-positioning the diagram to the left, right, up or down; or by zooming in and out. This allows me to see greater detail or to follow a flow via connections between shapes. There are many ways that a user can traverse and navigate diagrams, and knowing some of these methods can greatly enhance the experience, improve efficiency, and increase the understanding of the content. This article describes various techniques that I use so that I can concentrate on the content rather than the application.

The Pan and Zoom Window

The Pan and Zoom Window, which can be opened from the VIEW Show Task Panes drop-down menu, is a great visual aid. It provides a window that can be moved and docked in the Visio interface, and always displays the complete page within it. Not only will it display a blue rectangle that covers the area currently on display in the drawing pane, but also provides zoom in/out buttons and slider control. I can click and drag a rectangle within it to zoom to an area, or move the blue rectangle to pan around the drawing.

Using the Status Bar, Keys and Mouse

There are a series of items in the status bar along the bottom of the Visio interface that can assist in navigating a Visio document.

In the bottom left corner, clicking on the PAGE X OF Y text will open a dialog to allow you to select a page to activate.

In the bottom right corner, I can perform some actions by clicking on the item in the status bar. These are listed, from left to right, in the table below, along with the alternative shortcut keys or the relevant mouse actions:

Other Pan and Zoom actions

The Visio drawing window does have vertical and horizontal scrollbars that can be used with the mouse left button click or mouse left button click and drag, but there are other essential pan and zoom actions that are not in the status bar.

Altering Zoom settings with FILE Options Advanced

The Keys + Mouse Wheel behaviour will be different if I tick the Zoom on roll with IntelliMouse Advanced Option. In this case, I will also need to hold down the CTRL key to get the Pan movements.
Ticking Center selection on zoom will do just that … if I have any shapes selected in the diagram, then they will be centred in the drawing window when I zoom in or out.

Opening Multiple Windows

It is often overlooked, but I can have multiple views of the same drawing open in Visio. This can remove the need to keep moving around the diagram if I need to look at two or more parts of the same page simultaneously, as shown in the next screenshot.

I use VIEW Window New Window to create these extra windows, and either Arrange All or Cascade to automatically arrange them. I can simply close the extra windows when you have finished with them.

Useful Command Buttons

Another way that I can make the Visio interface more useful, is to add in some of the commands that are not in either the Quick Access Toolbar or the Ribbon. For example, the 100% and Last Zoom commands are useful buttons whilst zooming around your diagram. In the following screenshot, I have opened the Visio Options dialog to add these to my Quick Access Toolbar.


I have listed some useful techniques for panning and zooming around Visio diagrams. Once learnt, I can concentrate on the content rather than having to fumble around the interface wondering how to follow a connecting line across the page or read the text on a shape.