What is Visio and Is There Any Alternatives to It?

What is Visio and Is There Any Alternatives to It?

Wanna know more about Visio? Simply read this article for all the essentials, such as the history, pricing details, and key functions of Microsoft Visio. You can also find out more choices to your diagramming work at the end of this post.

What is Visio?

Microsoft Visio is a stand-alone Windows-based diagramming software for many drawing categories. Visio was developed in the 1990s by the Shareware Corp., and its second version came out in 1992. Microsoft bought Visio around 2000 but separate it from the MS Office Suite packages. So far, Visio has three editions: Visio Standard, Visio Professional, and Visio Pro for Office 365.

visio user interface

Visio Pricing Details

Visio 2016 is the latest version, and the prices for this version are:

  • V$299 for standard;
  • $589.99 for Professional;
  • for Pro Office 365 the price starts from $13/month

Main Functionalities

All editions of Visio share functionality with MS Office products such as Word and Excel. The main functions of Visio can be concluded as the following:

Built-in Resources

Visio features different templates and several hundreds of shapes for various diagram types. Furthermore, users can download more resources from Visio’s online platform. You can also make your own shapes and import them to your local folder.

visio stencils

Drawing Categories

You can use Visio to draw flowcharts (including BPMN), org chartsfloor plans (office layouts etc.), data flow diagrams (DFDs) for software development and business analysis, network diagramming, timelines (for project management etc.), 3D maps, the Process Flow Diagram (PFD) for chemical engineering or process engineering etc.


The standard format of a Visio file is VSDX and VSDM, and the latter one may contain macros. You can export to all the MS Office products such as Excel, MS Word, and PPT from Visio. What’s more, when entered your data properly into an Excel file, for example, for the creation of your organizational chart, Visio can associate shapes with specific data points automatically and also add extra text to the side of the shape.

How to Create a Diagram or Chart with Visio?

Here are the simple steps for you to draw any types of diagrams with Visio:

visio drawing board

  1. Decide your diagramming purposes and drawing categories.
  2. Log on to your Visio account, click on the Getting Started option.
  3. Select from the preset templates and open one for your work.
  4. Drag and drop built-in shapes, for example, rectangles, arrows and more, and symbols on your drawing board.
  5. Connect your shapes and elements based on your pre-defined plan.
  6. Add texts to all of your shapes and elements.
  7. Re-check your work for any missing parts or mistakes. Then you can choose to print, share, or export your work.

A Free-download Visio Alternative for You

In conclusion, we have discussed the key functions and resources of Visio. According to the global software market, the main user group of Visio is enterprises. Therefore, it may not the best choice for home users or students.

So, is there any other Visio alternatives to improve productivity for all groups of users? You may have a look at the cross-platform (Windows, Mac, and Linux) and drag-and-drop editor based diagramming software Edraw Max. The software has a competitive price but includes more built-in templates, symbols and drawing categories than Visio. You can also import and export files to Visio from Edraw Max (for more info, please go to this Features Comparisons).

Edraw max preset templates

See More about Edraw Max
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