Visio 2010 Background Layers – Hooray; Copying them crops the image – Boo

I just recently discovered background layers in Visio (yes I’m ashamed it took so long and may refrain from calling me a Visio power user for a couple of weeks). Anyhow, if you don’t know about them yourself, create a new page in a visio document, right-click on the page and go to “Page Setup”. Simply set the page to “Background” and then go the page you want to have as a foreground. Again “Page Setup” and select the Background page you just created. Voila.

But I just ran into something annoying in Visio 2010 (may actually also happen in versions before 2010, but I just noticed in 2010). If you copy a complete page (=pressing Ctrl-C while nothing on the page is selected) and you have a background layer, Visio gets confused and messes up the copied image. It crops the image, makes it smaller somehow or whatever – but it’s definetely messed up. Continue for a quick-fix.

Steps to reproduce the issue

1. Create a background (set the page to “Background” in Right-click > Page Setup > Type).

2. Create a foreground page with that background and copy it.

3. Paste into your favorite paint application.

You see there are margins of the image missing. Don’t know why, but I only found one way of fixing it.

Fixing it

1. Create a large canvas (ideally filled with white and a white line – here in yellow just for demonstration purposes) on the background page which spans the complete page.

2. Copy and paste as before and voila the page is complete.

This is not as bad a fix as it seems, because the large yellow canvas is not selectable (like anything on the background) in the foreground pages.


4 thoughts on “Visio 2010 Background Layers – Hooray; Copying them crops the image – Boo

  1. I have been struggling with the same bug for some days now.
    Background pages are not new in Visio 2010, but they always worked as I expected them to.
    Your fix seems to work even if you place the the yellow canvas on a layer set to invisible and not printable.
    But then there seems to be another bug in Visio 2010. After copying a complete page, the space of the canvas is also copied (even if set to unprintable and invisible) while I just want to copy the elements of my drawing and not the canvas (like it worked in Visio 2007).

  2. Hi,
    the yellow block is on the background page in my example. Are you copying the foreground page or the back page? If you are selecting all on the foreground page, the yellow block should not be copied aswell since it is on the background. If you are copying the background, then yes sadly, it will copy it aswell.

    At the moment I always create a dummy background layer that acts as the background for my “real” background (containing frame etc). On the dummy I only have the yellow block (which of course is not filled with color in reality). So now I can copy elements on any page (foreground or one of the multiple backgrounds) and it will never copy the yellow block (unless I happen to select that page).


  3. Hi,

    I always copy the foreground page without selecting elements, so the complete page (including background elements) is pasted.
    I did not say that the object on a hidden non printable layer is not copied, but the space occupied by the object.
    This only is a problem if you want to copy a small drawing positioned on a large canvas.
    I also found out that your yellow canvas doesn’t have to cover the complete page for the fix to work. It works as well with a smaller (even very small) object as long as it is positioned at the bottom left of the background page.

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