Getting text out of visio drawings

One of the common headaches I’ve come across is how to extract text out of visio. The obvious File -> Save as -> Text File is not available, nor is File -> Export -> Text File. I’ve even tried creating a Generic text-only printer and then printing to a file but to no avail 🙁

A few months ago I figured it out how to do it and then rapidly forgot again. I’ve found the solution again in a post by David Parker here so I’m posting it here as much to help myself out as anything else.

  • Visio 2003 go to Tools -> Reports.
  • Visio 2007 go to Data -> Reports.
  • Visio 2010 Beta and up go to Review -> Share Reports. (Thanks Francisco)

These instructions are for Visio 2007 and up.

  1. Make a new report and select Shapes on the current pageor Shapes on All pages to also include hidden layers. (Thanks Muhammad)
  2. Then select only <Displayed Text> (you may want to Show all properties to make sure nothing else is checked)
  3. Give it a Title e.g: Text Only Report
  4. Give it a Name e.g: Text_Only_Report
  5. Then select run and export it to either Excel, HTML, Visio Shape or XML

In the future when you want to extract text all you need to do is run Data -> Reports select Text_Only_Report and press Run.

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21 Responses to Getting text out of visio drawings

  1. Nathan says:

    Thank you, this was very helpful.

  2. Steve C says:

    We just needed to do this, to make things easier when generating an html version of our prototype from the Visio files. Thanks for sharing the solution – it was very useful.

  3. Richard G says:

    Brilliant! went through a load of options exporting to html->xml->word etc etc and then i come across this!

    very very useful

    many thanks

  4. Gilles says:

    very very useful

    many thanks

  5. Nina says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. SUPER helpful.

  6. Florence says:

    Awesome procedure! It produced great results in just the format needed!

  7. Francisco says:

    Thanks a lot…
    I am using MS-Visio 2010 Beta, It has the same function but under:
    Review -> Share Reports.

    See you!!

  8. James says:

    Great – did the job – allow me to get the text out to paste into MS-Word.


  9. Colin says:

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

  10. vishal says:

    Thanks..I guess this is the only place where you have the possible solution to the issue.

  11. SC says:

    4 years later this is still excellent information. Thank you!

  12. Mikki says:

    Agree with everyone. Thanks for this, very helpful!!

  13. jwillis says:

    Perfect! This was a big help. Thanks.

  14. Steve A says:

    so more thing i’m trying to figure out.
    Is there is way to extract page # too..
    I’ve multy page document, need to know what page the extracted text from.

  15. ken_fallon says:

    Hi Steve A,

    No I don’t think there is a way to display the page/sheet. Which is strange given that you can get the position of the objects.

    Your best bet is to do them one sheet at a time – sorry.


  16. Gareth says:

    Still useful five years on. Thanks!

  17. Dave says:

    Really useful – in 2015! Thanks

  18. Bob says:

    For Visio 2013, go to Review menu, Reports tab, select Shape Reports. Follow above steps for 2007.

    Works like a champ!

    Thanks much.

  19. Hugo Toldeo says:

    Echoing earlier comments: very relevant to me the first week of 2016.

  20. Michael Panyszak says:


    An excellent resource and good advice on reporting shape content. My question in further down this path…

    How can I get the data in an html output to be left justified? By default Visio justifies right for headers and data in all columns using /TH and /TD tags. Where / how can I change this as a permanent setting for all html report output?

    I’ve looked at the BASIC.htm file but that seems to be rendering the SAW output file.

    Help! Thanks.

    Mike P.

  21. Naseem says:

    it was very helpful. Thanks !!!!

  22. Anonymous says:

    It still works awesome in 2017 (Visio 2016)!!!

  23. Anonymous says:

    Hi, i want text report only from which layer is visible.How to do this.


    Hi, i want text report only from which layer is visible.How to do this.

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