7.x Documentation

features description for

Shapes, Stencils & Templates


A shape (in German a “form”), is the graphical representation of an object on a diagram.

Shapes can be managed through the stencil and always match the name of a class. Thus, new shapes, as soon as they are placed on a diagram become a (new or existing) object of the respective class.

See also: 

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The shapes in the Stencil “RACIVS (DE)”


A stencil (in German “Schablone”), is a thematic or otherwise combined collection of shapes, which can be used then in the Graphical Visio Modeler for modelling.

Stencils are separate files (* or * .vss .vssx), which can be connected to templates and then are always available when a diagram is created with this template.


A template (in German a “Vorlage”), is the custom, adjustable base of new diagrams. Templates include the desired shapes as stencils, but are created and managed as separate files (.vst * or * .vstx). They also provide the opportunity to provide diagrams in the background with the custom corporate identity (logo etc.), with diagram properties (e.g. name, approval status, etc.), as well as required structures of the selected method (e.g. RACI), before the modelling takes place in the foreground.

The default template path for new diagrams will be set separately for each database in DBConfig.

It is useful to use a structure equal to the unit hierarchy in the Repository for the setting up of the Windows directories for storing the stencils and templates. Parallel folders are used for the distinction between different languages or methods, hierarchies allow the inheritance of stencils and templates from top to bottom.

See also: Login as Windows User


Please make sure that the templates and stencils of a database are saved in a format appropriate for the version of Visio used.


A generic RACI template from the demo database

Individual template path per Unit

On the contrary to specifying the default template path in DBConfig, you can define in the Database Designer a separate template path per unit  that should apply to the diagrams of the respective Unit. When creating new diagrams in the corresponding unit, only these stencils and templates are used. By using different templates (incl. stencils) per Unit, it is e.g. possible to create different notations and modelling methods in a common database on the unit level. 

To set up a custom template path for a unit, proceed as follows:

  1. In the designer open the properties window of the unit in which you want to make the change

  2. Enter in the property group “Administration”, in the property “template path”, the path that directs to the desired templates and stencils for this unit. This path should be entered in relation (“.\Organization\”) to the standard template path which is specified in DBConfig.


    When specifying paths that contain subdirectories, the stencils and templates in these subdirectories will also be available for modelling in the selected unit. 

  3. After logging out and re-logging in to the database, the path will be taken over and you can create a new diagram now based on the selected template in this unit.

Functions for managing templates

In the context menu of a Unit in the Database Designer, you can select the following options under “Diagram templates”:

  • Check-out from the DB (as a locked local working file) and Check-in to the DB (as an unlocked central file in the DB)
    These options are necessary in order to be able to edit the stencils and templates stored in the database and become active when stencils and templates are stored in the SQL Server (see: Change the diagram storage). Select “Check-out from the DB” to check stencils and templates out of the database, to lock them for other users and unlock them for editing. A corresponding selection window opens to select the stencils and templates for editing. Once editing is complete, click “Check-in to the DB” to check the stencils and templates back into the database and unlock them for other users.
  • Manage the local templates (add or edit them)
    This option allows you to open all stencils and templates defined for the unit in order to be edited. A selection window with all stencils and templates defined for the unit, provides more options for editing:

    • Change the selected item
      This option allows you to open the selected stencil or template in Visio for editing.
    • Change the duplicate of the selected item 
      This option allows you to open a new stencil or template based on the existing one. Edit this stencil or template and save it under a different name, so a new template is created.
  • Select the folder for the templates
    Allows you to define a different template folder for the selected unit.
  • Open the folder of the templates in the file explorer
    Opens the default template path which was defined in DBConfig, in Windows Explorer.

328726 Context menu for Diagram templates


Two options for editing templates and stencils