One of my customers asked me about wood-grain fill patterns for Visio.
I had thought that Visio shipped with some wood-grain custom patterns, but when I went looking, I didn’t find much.
I built my own.
Now, I didn’t spend a lot of time on it, but it turned out to be fairly decent. I wouldn’t say this is the ultimate wood grain pattern, but for twenty-two or so lines and v-shapes, it turned out nicely.
Let’s just call it a medium-quality wood-grain pattern. And you can download it for free and use it to add texture to your technical drawings.
Details About the Wood Grain Pattern
This is what the Visio wood grain fill pattern looks like in it’s rawest, simplest form.
You can see that if you duplicate it in all directions, the lines…er…line up well:
Luckily, Visio does that for you. By turning this pattern tile into a Visio Custom Fill Pattern, you can apply it to your shapes using the Fill dialog. See how the Wood-Dark Grain item shows in the Pattern field below?
Custom patterns show as text at the very bottom of the list. Custom patterns from all open Visio documents will show in your list. So you can just open the drawing from this article’s download and the patterns will be available to your other drawings. When you’re done, just close the wood grain pattern-containing drawing.
It is important to note that you can’t change the grain color of the pattern. For that reason, I’ve provided three patterns: Wood-Dark Grain, Wood-Light Grain and Wood-Black & White.
But you can change the fill color of the shape you are applying the pattern to. You have to set the Pattern color, as shown in the dialog above. Below, I demonstrate the three patterns, using different background colors. You can see that with only three patterns, we can get quite a few variations!
This pattern has a very dark brown line color. I think it works best with darker fill colors, but let your imagination wander:
Here the wood’s grain color is a lighter brown, almost orange.
Wood-Black & White
If you’re not into burning up too much color toner in your printer, there’s a black and white option. The line color is a medium shade of gray. Here we vary the fill color in shades of gray, 10% at a time, from white to black. Note that the grain disappears with 20% gray (the third block.) That is because the fill color and the wood grain line color are the same!
Applying the Pattern
You can use the Fill dialog to apply the pattern, but you’ll have to experiment a lot to get good-looking background colors. If you like the colors that are in the demo drawing that comes with the download, it might be easier to just use the Format Painter tool.
With the Format Painter, you just select one of the wood shapes, click the tool, the click the shape you want to apply the formatting to. Here you can see that the Format Painter can be a bit Draconian. With power comes responsibility:
Using the Pattern
If you’ve read this far, you probably really need a wood grain pattern, and don’t need me to tell you what to do with it. Nevertheless, my table is always laden with food for thought.
You can mix and match various color combinations and orientations to make, say, a wooden crate:
Or perhaps a bit on the frivolous side, this wacky flowchart. Wacky, that is, unless you work in Pulp & Paper, in which case, this makes for a compelling business process management diagram: