Microsoft Visio 2010 : Changing the Drawing Scale

The drawing scale concepts in this section apply to all editions of Visio. However, the exercise in this section uses rack shapes that are only available with the Professional and Premium editions of Visio 2010.

Occasionally, after you have created a scaled drawing, you need to adjust the scale. As a simple example, you might have created a diagram containing a single rack. What happens when you want to add additional racks and there isn’t enough room on the page?

In this exercise, you will add additional racks to a diagram and rescale the page as required.

Set Up

  1. Drag a Rack shape from the Rack-mounted Equipment stencil and drop it to the right of the existing rack. Then drop another one on the left side.

    You could squeeze one or possibly two more racks onto this page but it would get very crowded. You could create a new page and add more racks there. But what if you want to fit one or two more racks onto this page without overcrowding? The trick lies in adjusting the drawing scale.


    When you create a scaled drawing page, it’s a good idea to include a shape on the page that shows the page scale.

  2. Right-click the Data Center Detail page name tab, and then select Page Setup.
  3. Click the Drawing Scale tab, and then select 1 : 20 in the list under Metric.


    If your drawing uses U.S. units, select ½”=1’0” under Architectural.

  4. Click OK, and then press Ctrl+Shift+W to view the whole page.


    Look at the ruler at the top of the graphic in Step 1 to see that that drawing represents approximately 3 meters of wall space in your data center. Now look at the ruler in the following graphic; your drawing page now represents 6 meters of wall space.

    After cutting the page scale by half, you can certainly fit more racks onto the page, but the racks are very small. In addition, you may not need this much space. The good news is that Visio is very flexible and you can specify your own scale factor to achieve the ideal balance.

  5. Right-click the Data Center Detail
     page name tab, and then select Page Setup.
  6. In the Page Setup dialog box, click Custom scale.

    You see that a scale of 1:20 means that 5 cm. on the page equals 1 meter on the ground. If you had looked when the scale was 1:10, you would have seen settings of 10 cm = 1 m. You need to create a scaling ratio that is in between the two values you’ve already tried.

  7. Type 7 cm. in the first box under Custom scale, and then click OK.

    The resulting page size represents just over 4 meters of data center wall space and is appropriate for adding several additional racks. You can enter any other scale factors in the future to enlarge or reduce the working area of the page.


    If your drawing uses U.S. units, try selecting ¾”=1’0” under Architectural.

Clean Up

Save your changes to the Network Diagram with Rack drawing and close the file.


Not all shapes were designed to respond to changes in the drawing scale of the page. If you change the page scale and the shapes don’t respond appropriately, either you’re out of luck or you’ll need to find replacement shapes.