Microsoft Visio - 2010 vs. 2013 vs. 2016 vs. 2019 Comparison Guide

Deciding which version of Microsoft Visio to buy can be a daunting task. This guide compares the different versions to help you make an informed choice.
Microsoft Visio (formerly Microsoft Office Visio) is a diagramming and vector graphics application and is part of the Microsoft Office family. Visio is a vector graphics and diagramming app made by Shapewear Corporation. The program became part of the Office apps once Microsoft acquired it in 2000. Visio runs on Microsoft Windows and has a trialware type of license. In this article, we're comparing different versions of Visio: 2010 vs. 2013 vs. 2016 vs. 2019.

Microsoft Visio Guide

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Microsoft Visio: An Overview

The versions of Microsoft Visio include 1.0 to 5.0, 2000, 2002, 2003, and 2007. Microsoft revealed Visio 2010 as the official successor of Office Visio 2007. Microsoft gained control of Visio when it was in the fifth edition and released version 2000.

Windows is the only operating system that's compatible with Microsoft Visio. The system requirements for running this program depend on the version you're using. Earlier Visio versions require less powerful specs when compared to the recent ones.

Visio makes it intuitive and easy to create diagrams, flowcharts, and organization charts. The program can't let you create engineering designs and floor plans. You can even use modern templates and shapes to your advantage.

Gain Real-World Insights Using Flowcharts

The flowcharts on Visio allow team members to work better together. It's possible to include stakeholders' insights into the flowchart. Visio offered as part of Office 365 allows real-time collaboration.

What Do Microsoft Visio 2010, 2013, 2016, and 2019 Share?

Visio 1.0 was the first-ever program released by Shapewear Corporation. When Microsoft acquired the program, the company branded it as an Office app. Just like Microsoft Project, Visio isn’t part of the Office suites.

Ribbons first appeared in Visio 2010 to offer increased access to toolbars. The ribbons are available on Visio 2010 and its successors. The 2007 versions of Word, Outlook, Access, PowerPoint, and Excel already had this feature. 

The four versions support the SVG file format for images and diagramming files. Earlier Visio versions used the VSD file format. The file format changed after the release of Visio 2010, which supported VDX files.

Visio can facilitate functions that include analyzing processes, standardizing processes, and identifying redundancies. Visio helps identify errors and the steps to improve them. You can use Visio programs in software engineering, business analysis, or chemical engineering.

How Does Each Version of Microsoft Visio Stand Out from the Rest?

Microsoft used the same formula used when creating new versions of Office apps. The formula involves improving tools and features for a greater user experience. So what makes each version of Microsoft Visio different from others?

Microsoft Visio 2010

 Microsoft Visio 2010

Visio 2010 makes it easy to create diagrams from remote places and edit diagrams as a team. You can run Visio Online on your browser to make use of these improvements. Viewing, editing, and collaborating on diagrams is possible if you’re using Microsoft Teams.

Microsoft announced that it would retire Visio 2010 in 2020. The company uses this tactic to persuade users to upgrade to the latest version. Users have the option to subscribe to Office 365 to access Visio with improved features.

Version 2007 didn't allow users to visualize data from Excel spreadsheets. Its successor lets you convert process map data in spreadsheets to diagrams. The data may come from various external sources.

  • Licensing: Visio 2010 is available as a perpetual license and can open files of previous Visio versions. The supported files include Visio 2000, 2003, and 2007 files. Microsoft also included touch support for Visio 2010 running on Windows 7, 8 or 10
  • Live Preview on Visio 2010: Live Preview enables users to see how fonts and themes will appear on a Visio diagram. The tool allows you to decide whether to apply them or not. You have the chance to try several unique types before picking one.
  • Make Your Diagrams More Vibrant: You need detailed and high-level perspective data to understand your business. With a few clicks on Visio 2010, you can gain meaningful information about your venture. Your diagrams will be more vibrant and meaningful than ever.
  • Simplify Complex Situations: Modern visuals and shapes are available on Visio 2010 to make your diagrams appealing. You can group complex diagrams in containers or subprocesses to help understand them. Visio 2010 will get you started with any type of diagram you need to create.
  • Work Better as a Team: One feature that Microsoft included in Visio 2010 to target teams is rich commenting. With this feature, you can leave comments on diagrams created by other people. When the author gets to open the diagram, he/she will see the comments you left. 

Microsoft Visio 2013

Visio 2013 makes it faster to create professional diagrams. The program comes with improved versatile shapes and templates. Users can derive a fluent drawing experience from it when working on diagrams such as floor plans. 

Features such as space, Auto-align, and Auto Size are part of the drawing canvas in Visio 2013. The program makes it easy to import DWG files and customize shapes. You'll also find better containers for classifying shapes and subprocesses for complex processes.

  • Licensing: Just like its predecessor, Visio 2013 is available for purchase as a perpetual license. Visio 2000, 2003, 2007, and 2010 are viewable in this program. Microsoft limited touch support for Visio 2013 on Windows 10, 8, and 7 computers.
  • Improved Features for Making Diagrams Appealing: Visio 2013 supports data from sources such as Excel Services, Excel, and SharePoint Lists. The program facilitates both automatic and manual data updates. You can create data legends to visualize the data.
  • Applying an extensive set of colors and data graphics is possible in Visio 2013. You can choose SharePoint as the destination for saving your work. Visio Services can help you view diagrams created using Visio 2013.
  • Support for Various Business Rules and Process Standards: The process standards supported on Visio 2013 include Notation and Business Process Modeling. You may use the inbuilt and other custom business rules to validate your diagrams. The shape effect options available in Visio 2013 are glow, bevel, and shadow, among others.
  • Improved Collaboration Tools: Visio 2013 comes with an improved rich commenting tool and better sharing tools. You can co-author on a diagram and use instant messaging to speak to colleagues. The program facilitates collaboration across Visio services as well.

Microsoft Visio 2016

Microsoft Visio 2016

Based on its features, Visio 2016 is a great improvement of Visio 2013. The app offers access to several shapes and themes for excellent drawing experiences. Visio 2016 Shapes are easy to insert and delete and change while preserving your diagram layout.

Engineers can find the refreshed templates for floor plans and maps useful. Features such as easy shape customization, DWG file support, and improved containers are useful too. You can still use process standards and business rules for validating diagrams.

  • Licensing: Unlike its predecessors, Visio 2016 is available through a subscription to Office 365. Visio 2016 boasts of touch support on any device running on Windows 7, 8, or 10. The program is compatible with Visio 2013, 2010, 2007, and 2000 documents.
  • How Visio 2016 Stands out from its Predecessors: Visio 2016 was the first Visio program to feature streamlined print previews. The app comes with contextual tips/tricks and starter diagrams to use. Microsoft included pan and zoom capabilities and page breaks as well.
  • “Tell Me” Integration on Visio 2016: The “Tell Me” functionality helps users navigate through Visio commands. If you’re finding it difficult to locate a command, this feature can help you search for it. A new window will appear in front of the existing one to present the search results. 
  • Secure Ways to Work as a Team: Visio 2016 can grant Microsoft’s file protection technologies to secure your diagrams. The program can facilitate quick document recovery and allow co-authoring. Your team members can share insights through Instant Messaging or Visio Services.
  • Improved Set of Data Graphics: The 2016 version of Microsoft Visio supports Excel tables and Exchange data. You can save files to SharePoint and swap data with a single click. The automatic generation of charts from external data sources is allowed on Visio 2016 too.

Microsoft Visio 2019

You’ll retain all the features you had while using Visio 2016 if you’re upgrading to Visio 2019. Microsoft Visio 2019 comes with better starter diagrams to get you moving. There’s an organization chart on the program together with templates you can use.

  • Licensing: You can buy Visio 2019 as part of Microsoft’s volume licensing agreement. A volume licensed version of this program is only available from Microsoft Office CDN. You can install a volume-licensed version of Visio 2019 through a Click-to-Run command.
  • Database Model Diagrams Introduced in Visio 2019The new template for database model diagrams helps model databases to Visio diagrams. You won’t need to install add-in software for this functionality to work. You’ll be reverse-engineering the database into a recognizable database model.
  • Visio Wireframe: A wireframe serves as a visual model for a blueprint interface. Visio wireframe lets you create low-fidelity sketches for presenting ideas. The sketches can even help your team reach a consensus on a particular matter.
  • Improved Support for AutoCAD: Visio 2019 makes it faster to import AutoCAD files and work with shapes. Autocad 2017 files or prior are viewable on this program. Microsoft set the Visio drawing scale to match the AutoCAD viewport scale.
  • New Unified Modeling Language (UML) Tools: UML communication, component, and deployment diagrams are achievable on Visio 2019. UML component diagrams help show relationships and interfaces between them. The deployment ones display the architecture of software deployment.

Unified Modelling Language


Microsoft Visio targets enterprise users working at the corporate level. Each Visio version comes coupled with features users would enjoy working with and exploring. Visio 2019 may appear superior to its predecessors due to its improved features.

As you decide to upgrade to a new Visio version or not, consider the features you need. Your reputation in your line of work may depend on the Visio program you choose. You should aim to create a more professional diagram using Microsoft Visio.

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» Microsoft Visio: Complete Guide
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