If you want more, you have to group separate, differently-colored shapes together. In fact getting more colors is one of the major reasons that shapes become groups in the first place.
But if two were the actual answer, well, this article would over.
You see, Visio-Guy-friend Saveen Reddy has been up to his usual tricks of pushing Visio beyond the obvious and into the intriguing…
Saveen has come up with a creative technique that allows you to stuff four colors onto a single Visio shape! And he gets them to blend in eerily hypnotic ways that will make your Visio diagrams shine with sophistication.
This cool technique takes advantage of features that appeared in recent versions of Visio: transparency and more shadow-options.
The basic recipe to create a four-color shape, like that seen in the thumbnail at top is as follows:
- Apply a shadow to your shape
- Ensure that its size exactly matches the size of your shape
- Give the shadow zero offset, so that it is directly behind your shape
- Apply gradient-patterns to both the fill and shadow
- Apply transparency to both the fill and shadow so that you can see all four colors
If you want the detailed recipes, check out Saveen’s articles:
- Visio 2007 Trick: 3-Point Gradient Fills with Transparency
- Visio Trick: One-Color and Two-Color Glows
I’ve included some Visio SmartShapes for you to download that take advantage of this technique. The shapes are loaded with options that you access via Smart Tags. These are little drop-down icons that appear when you select the shape.
You can choose from three directions ofpatterns, which I’ve named “+“, “V” and “\“:
There are also 16 built-in colors for you to choose from. Since the shape has four colors, there are four little palette-icons that appear roughly where each color originates are on the shape. So for the “V” pattern, the icons appear near the corners of the shape, since the gradient-fills cross each other:
Note: you can assign various theme-based colors so that your shape will match the current Theme that is applied to your drawing. These are the colors with names such as “Background”, “AccentColor1”, “FillColor”, etc. If you use the 4-point Gradient Fill shape as a background, you can get subtle effects like this:
The following graphic breaks down each pattern option, and shows how the fill-pattenrn combines with the shadow-pattern: