What is Microsoft Visio? Everything you Need to Know

Microsoft Visio enables professionals to draw diagrams, flow charts, data flow diagrams, and floor plans. In this guide, we highlight everything you need to know about MS Visio.

Sometimes, nothing communicates your business objectives or needs as well as a chart or diagram. Many programs exist to create basic charts and diagrams, but Microsoft Word is ideal for those that require basic data.

Microsoft visio 2016 professional

However, those basic programs fail to deliver when you have more complex information and need more nuanced images. In such situations, you need a program that is far more advanced, the best of which is Microsoft Visio.

What does Microsoft Visio do?

The diagrams Microsoft Visio creates are more professional quality and are more customizable than diagrams you might create in programs like Word.

There are more than 250,000 shapes and symbols available within the program to tailor each diagram to a specific and ideal appearance.

Several design templates are available to accommodate your business needs. You can also create diagrams in the form of block diagrams, flowcharts, and timelines.

Microsoft Visio Editions

Microsoft Visio 2010 Standard

Since its release 8 years ago, the 2010 Office Suite and Visio 2010 show no signs of decreasing popularity.

Visio 2010 is stable, reliable, and still very popular because it offers all the basic Visio features for a much lower cost. These features are better organized and more easily found with the introduction of the Ribbon menu at the top.

Some of the features include a large number of templates and diagram options, as well as ShapeSheet IntelliSense, which can help you complete formulas even as you type them. There’s also a Backstage View, which conveniently allows you to preview your diagrams as you build them.

Visio 2010 Professional

The Professional version of the 2010 edition has all the features of Standard, but with far more templates for the specific needs of numerous industries, including Engineering, Software, Wireframe, and Database diagrams.

Also included is the ability to use SharePoint to upload your diagrams so everyone can see them, even those who don’t have Visio.

Visio 2013 Standard

The 2013 editions build in 2010 by adding additional, improved options. That means more templates and more shapes to work with, and ever more fluent drawing process, and new effects for shapes, such as shadows and glow.

visio standard 2013

The preview is also greatly improved; for instance, it now allows for zooming in and out, while showing you page break locations, so you can avoid awkward, broken-up charts. Microsoft Visio 2013 Standard also has more connectivity to the cloud through SkyDrive.

Visio 2010 Professional

Once again, you get more templates that can accommodate the needs of more technical businesses, such as software development and engineering.

These now also include process diagrams (including BPMN 2.0), maps, and floor plans.

That is not all that Professional has to offer, though. Of particular note is the new ability for multiple people to work on a diagram together while also commenting on the project as it happens. You can also now link diagrams to real-time data.

Visio 2016 Standard

Visio made a major leap with 2016, much like the rest of the Office suite. All the new Office features are present; including the Tell Me feature that allows you to search more easily for what you need.

A starter set of diagrams is now included that allows you to quickly create a diagram when time is of the essence.

One of the best new features is the ability to encrypt all of your diagrams so you can keep them safe at all times.

Visio 2016 Professional 

In 2016 Professional, you get everything from all the previous editions, plus there are even more improvements in the team collaboration department.

You can share diagram projects with others from anywhere in the world, and then work together to co-author and annotate the diagrams. For even better communication, Skype for Business is already integrated into the program, if your business supports it.

There are, of course, still many new diagram options available, including new options that are Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers compliant.

Quickly checking that all your data matches are possible now with the addition of one-step data connectivity with Excel.

Finally, it’s now possible to integrate your data-linked diagrams with Power BI to get even more business insights through Microsoft’s business analytics service.

The Best Options

The best option for you all comes down to your business needs. From 2010 Standard onward, Visio offers a large number of shapes and templates to design high-quality, easily understood, professional diagrams.

However, one of the 2010 editions should work fine if your needs are minimal in this department.

Meanwhile, 2013 editions are a great middle-of-the-road option if you need more than 2010 can offer, yet you want some sharing and team-communication abilities without needing all the most recent feature additions.

Of course, if you want the most efficient, streamlined, and comprehensive product, you need to go with Microsoft Visio 2016 Professional.

Essentially, the more your business relies on team communication, the more advanced the edition you should consider.

In addition to this, if you work in a more technically advanced business, you may want to consider a later edition to get the full benefit of all the templates and design options.

Beyond that, perhaps the strongest recommendation for getting 2016 Standard or Professional over other editions is the inclusion of data encryption.

With cybersecurity becoming such an important issue for businesses in recent years, keeping your data secure is a crucial part of your job performance.

Purchase Visio from SoftwareKeep

visio 2019 standard

No matter which edition you choose, you should purchase Visio from SoftwareKeep, where you can be certain you will get the lowest price on the web for any software, guaranteed. 

We have experts available at any time to help you make the right choice with your software.

These experts can also help you with the installation process so that you can get started developing diagrams as soon as you make your purchase.