There is an issue affecting Visio 2003 and 2007 users when they use the Search for Shapes feature.  This is caused by a combination of the permanent retirement of the Shape Search servers and a temporary server redirection problem. 

Normally Visio 2003 and 2007 would silently fail to search the (now retired) online servers, and continue to return search results from the local stencil files.  Unfortunately, the lack of proper redirecting causes the failure dialog which interrupts the search process.

When users try to search, they receive the error shown below instead of getting shape results.

 


Work Around
The work around is to disable the internet location for shape searching, which is no longer needed:

1. Select the Tools menu, then choose Options, then select the Shape Search tab
2. Expand the Search Locations
3. Uncheck the box for "The Internet" location
4. Click OK to save the options

More Information
The Visio "Search for Shapes" feature in 2003 and 2007 was designed to allow users to search both local stencil files and online shape servers.  In Visio 2010, the search feature is only searching the local stencil files for Visio shapes, and does not attempt to query a web server.

The Visio Shape Search servers were retired earlier this year, as documented in KB article 2019049:
Search for Shapes feature in Visio to search on the Internet is discontinued

The shapes that were previously found using the Internet search are now packaged for download from the Office Download site.  You can use this link to see the download options: http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/visio-help/find-more-shapes-and-stencils-HA010369716.aspx