Virtualization, Cloud, Infrastructure and all that stuff in-between

My ramblings on the stuff that holds it all together

The Art of Network Diagrams – Visio 2007


I bow to the Visio skills of Greg Ferro at Ethereal Mind for his series on producing good, easy to understand network diagrams and visual aids – I thought I was a Visio wiz with my nice gradient fills 🙂 but his series of posts has shown me some tricks I didn’t know existed in Visio.

To-date my diagrams have been mainly 2-D, flat (several of which have been used on this blog).. but in this post Greg shows how to make a network diagram look 3D.. when I tried this in Visio 2007 I couldn’t adjust the background shape – the steps described in Greg’s post here don’t work on Visio 2007 (but do on Visio 2003).

To do this on Visio 2007 you need to add the Pencil tool image  which wasn’t on my default toolbar – you can add it via the drawing tools menu as shown below.image image

Now, when you draw a rectangle (or hit CTRL-8 to switch to the rectangle tool) the default selection is like this (square edges)


now, select the Pencil tool, and they turn into diamonds, meaning you can adjust the shape at each point as per Greg’s post to turn it into almost any shape you need.

 image image   imageimage  image

Hope that helps someone else, in terms of my own tips – there is an excellent range of detailed Visio stencils for common hardware at; I use the HP ones a lot for detailed build diagrams (as below) .image image







I’d strongly encourage you to think about what is the most appropriate diagram for the job and your audience, these detailed stencils are ideal for where you need to document a physical build for your support teams, but are useless when trying to explain how an environment logically fits together… a simple block/stack diagram often says a 1000 words to management, and is quicker to do 🙂

7 responses to “The Art of Network Diagrams – Visio 2007

  1. Vladan March 10, 2009 at 5:12 pm


    looks like a great to use for a schema designs. I bookmark… -:)


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  3. Dan C March 12, 2009 at 9:52 am

    If you’re feeling really swish (and lazy), then take a look at these –

    The ISO-A4 template is a great starting point for 3D network diagrams and they have free isometric shapes for a handful of named vendors.

  4. Pingback: Netowrk Diagrams « The Blog That Should Not Be

  5. alexis July 27, 2009 at 8:22 pm

    Great article, It has been a great help for me.


  6. Jbrad95706 August 26, 2009 at 12:55 pm

    Thanks! Visio 2007 was giving me a hard time… =[

  7. Loco February 25, 2010 at 6:17 pm

    I am using Visio 2k3 SP3 and this DOES work for me–I tried the way they suggest for 2k3 and it doe.s NOT work–wierd. anyway thanks very cool stuff.

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