Visio Shapes pane is missing in Visio 2010

If you don’t see any shapes window on the left of a new drawing after you upgrade to Visio 2010 go to the View tab, click on Task Panes, and click on Shapes


Shapes window missing above


You should now have the shapes pane. This is a toggle, on/off setting. If you click on the Shapes option again it turns the shapes pane off.


I’ve seen this with several customers upgrading from a previous version, like 2007, to 2010. I haven’t been able to recreate the issue on any of my systems with an upgrade from 2007 to 2010.

Comments (35)
  1. Anonymous says:

    Many thanks. MS Help is completely useless.

  2. Barb [MSFT] says:

    For you folks who are still experiencing the problem, please try a couple of things.

    First, try using the keyboard shortcut <Alt><F1>.  (Hold the Alt key and then press the F1 key) This is a toggle of the visibility of the Shapes pane.  There are 3 states: Off, Minimal, and Full.

    If that still doesn't work, then a more draconian measure is to close Visio 2010, and use the Regedit app to remove the 'Application' registry settings for Visio.

    1. Close Visio

    2. Open Regedit (need to have Administrator permissions)

    3. Go to the following location and delete the "Application" folder to clear the settings:


    (You may want to back these up first in case you choose to restore them)

    Then test Visio, and if the Shapes pane is still not present, try the <Alt><F1> step again.

    If this still doesn't help, a deeper removal of ALL of the Visio settings would be the next thing to try.

  3. Robert says:

    THANK YOU, THANK YOU… I have been messing with the applications for days. I have another issue, I have V2000 that will not print, I upgraded because I figure the OS does not handle the code. I can open Files(V2000) in 2010 but they do not print, even if I paste into ie WORD. Is there some bug that will not allow MS VISIO to apply older versions? I hate having to redo all the work I did in the older version..


  4. Ishan says:

    Thanks a lot…..

  5. lynne says:

    Thank you, was the first article I pulled to resolve this issue for a user and it worked! Good job.

  6. Kevin says:

    Thanks this helped.  Adding key words – "shapes window not showing up visio 2010" "visio 2010 how to open stencil"

  7. jbp says:

    yeah, I've clicked it on.  I've clicked it off.  I've looked for at least 2 hours for an answer as to why I cannot get the shapes pane to appear.  I've reinstalled Visio 2010.  I've downloaded the patch.  and still,…. nothing.   SO frustrated right now.

  8. CGB says:

    The same issue for me.  Toggling on or off the shapes in the task panes doesn't do anything at all.  My shapes are still missing.  I was using this version of Visio for about a year and this happened out of the blue.

    Long time Visio user.  I have had 4 fellow developers look at it and they can't figure it out either.  reinstall or repair does not fix it.  

    Very frustrating to pay hundreds of bucks for something that can't seem to work.

  9. Bill D says:

    Thanks, I was freaking out there for a minute! lol

  10. Jackie Lothian says:

    Great thank you, been trying to work out this all day.  Brilliant!

  11. Victor Shinozaki says:

    Thank you very much for your help.

  12. R.C. says:

    thank you!  

  13. Dario Navaro says:

    Worked exactly how you said. :-)) Thanks very much for sharing this information which is not on the Visio Help.

  14. Sus says:

    Thank you !!

  15. Melissa says:

    thanks a was agreat help….:-)

  16. Biju says:

    Thanks a lot !

  17. Frank M says:

    Thank you.  Now why couldn't the boneheads at MS cover this in the online help.

  18. Susie says:

    Thank you!!

  19. bill says:

    worked!. had upgraded from WinXP Visio 2007 to Win7 Visio 2010.

  20. Krista says:

    thank you!!!! I agree…MS Help is pretty helpless

  21. BarbaraNH says:

    THANKS!!! Couldn’t find it anywhere or in help!

  22. Lionel says:


  23. Chris says:

    Thanks for the Alt F1 tip – struggled for ages before I found this!

  24. Dave says:

    Thank you. That was exactly what I needed to find. I have now solved about 1.5% of my problems with Microsoft programs after wasting hours of my time searching online for answers to questions that the people who create and manufacture these programs should
    be answering in a single location called Help or Index. Microsoft has really screwed the people who made them rich by deciding to stop telling us, their customers, how to use their products.

  25. Justin Case says:

    It worked for me! 🙂 Thank you!

  26. sanjeev says:


  27. Debra says:

    Phew! Thank you – saved me from several more hours of repeatedly rephrasing the problem in the hope the Help would help!

  28. Jim Evanoff says:

    When I click task panes and then shapes nothing happens.

  29. ashick says:

    gr8 thank you keep up your good work

  30. nik says:

    Thank you so much!!!..i have tried every thing but wasn’t able to identify the missing shapes option in the visio.

  31. Barbara V says:

    Thank you so much! I thought I was going crazy!

  32. natesan says:


  33. Rick says:

    Thank you very much. That worked. To bad the worthless dumbass SOB’s at MIcrosoft could put some kind of warning or something about this ALT F1. These jerks deserve a very public flogging.

  34. Maambeau says:

    Thank you!

  35. Murali says:

    Thank you! Very helpful

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