Top Nav

What is Microsoft Visio and What Does it Do?

What is Microsoft Visio used for? Diagrams. That’s what Microsoft Visio does, and it does it better than any other app I’ve seen yet. From flow charts to floor plans, there isn’t much it can’t handle. I have to be honest, even I didn’t know much about Visio until recently. But that all changed when I took it for a test drive with the Microsoft Office 2013 Preview.

Visio Templates Office 2013

Microsoft Visio can be used to create simple or complicated diagrams. It offers a wide variety of built-in shapes, objects and stencils to work with. You can also make your own shapes and import them, if you’re willing to do all that extra work. The driving ideal behind Visio is to make diagramming as easy as possible for the user, and I think Visio is on the right track.

Note: Click images below to open them at Full Size.

The Visio 2013 welcome screen features a dozen different templates to get started with. Each template equips you with the appropriate menu and objects already open and ready for use. Even more templates can be found in specific categories within the application or from Visio’s online download page.

visio welcome screen

Visio’s primary clientele have been Enterprise users at the corporate level. If you think about it, it’s not too often that the home user needs to write up professional diagrams. Usually a paper and pen will suffice, because a home user’s diagram isn’t being sent out to an entire department. That’s why Visio has always been considered a program for “serious” diagrams. But it doesn’t have to be.

table chart with live data

Visio can be used to create 3D map diagrams, though the built-in tools for this are limited. It works well for simple maps that you might print on a brochure or campus directory.

Related Article:  How to Refresh Cell Data After Applying Number Formatting in Excel

visio map

Another thing Visio can do is pull in live information from an external source, such as an Excel sheet or Access database. This makes diagrams functional. The most recent example I’ve seen involved using Visio to monitor network status across a localized broadband system.

external data loaded into pie graphs

Visio comes packing a lot of built-in shapes you can add to your creation.

shapes and wireframes

Yeah, I really mean a lot of shapes — several hundred in fact. Shapes are organized by category for easy access, but it can still take some time to find the best one for the job just because there are so many to choose from.

stencils and shapes

Overall, Visio is just a diagram tool, and it’s not a free one either. At $250 for just the basic edition, and $1000 for the premium version, it can easily put a deep hole in your pocket. So unless you’re a hardcore diagram composer, it might not be worth the investment. On the other hand if you’re looking for a tool to make a flowchart or casual diagram once in a while, I’d recommend our guide for making Flowcharts in Microsoft word, or checking out the free webapp Lovely Charts.

More Reading:


8 Responses to What is Microsoft Visio and What Does it Do?

  1. Asif June 29, 2015 at 9:13 pm #

    Nice Information:)

  2. Lisa July 7, 2015 at 9:38 am #

    Awesome article. Very helpful. Great job!

  3. Ervis October 1, 2015 at 11:40 pm #

    Great article! 🙂

  4. Venkat January 7, 2016 at 12:55 am #

    Awesome article. Easily understandable and very helpful information.

  5. Raul March 8, 2016 at 6:16 am #

    can I do like a linear org chart with it? a wallet size pic and short bio? i’m trying to make a capability statement

  6. Ritvij April 15, 2016 at 11:17 am #

    Really good article about vision…thanks a lot.

  7. T.Perry June 13, 2016 at 7:03 am #

    This is a great article! I read something about Visio in another article and it peaked my interest about what it can do compared to Powerpoint (task being done). I am going to check this out.

  8. Darshan September 21, 2016 at 8:00 am #

    Thanks a lot for putting this article. It is very clear and simple

Leave a Reply