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Visio OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

Visio is #1 ranked solution in top Mind Mapping Software and #4 ranked solution in Business Process Design tools. IT Central Station users give Visio an average rating of 8 out of 10. Visio is most commonly compared to Bizagi:Visio vs Bizagi. The top industry researching this solution are professionals from a computer software company, accounting for 19% of all views.
What is Visio?
Microsoft Visio is an advanced diagramming solution that helps IT professionals simplify, connect, and share information. Visio provides tools and resources for interpreting, acting upon, updating, and sharing complex information about IT processes, infrastructure, and applications - effectively and efficiently.

Visio was previously known as Microsoft Visio.

Visio Buyer's Guide

Download the Visio Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: November 2021

Visio Customers
Thomas College, Hamburg Port Authority, Portigon AG, Conseil G_n_ral du d_partement des Hautes-Alpes, AAA Auto a. s., Commonwealth Financial Network, ICA, Abu Dhabi National Energy Company
Visio Video

Pricing Advice

What users are saying about Visio pricing:
  • "I believe Visio to be priced pretty reasonably."
  • "The licensing process is actually a breeze. Simply buy the license and download it from Microsoft, enter the license key in Visio to activate the software, and you're done."
  • "I know you can pick it up in retail for under a thousand per person. You can also pick it up for cheaper than that. Microsoft has about 7,000 licensing models, and you get certain percentages off specific licensing. If you're a partner, you get specific numbers of licenses with the partnership price."

Visio Reviews

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David Jaques-Watson
Senior Consultant at a tech services company with 11-50 employees
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
A stable and scalable solution for business-oriented presentations

Pros and Cons

  • "Visio makes it easier than with other tools to do such tasks as changing things or coming up with one's own visual style for presentation purposes."
  • "The solution's flexibility can be perceived as both a strength and a weakness."

What is our primary use case?

I usually use Visio for really high-level conceptual modeling. Ironically, this works well with iServer. But, I use Visio for conceptual modeling since it makes it easy to draw things and is not as strict. This is because, at the conceptual level, one is not properly familiar with the details or constraints. This way, a business person would be able to critique something as being incorrect or not linked or drawn properly.

What is most valuable?

Visio makes it easier than with other tools to do such tasks as changing things or coming up with one's own visual style for presentation purposes. Mostly, the solution is employed for presentations made to business people, with the aim of facilitating their understanding of the design one wishes to use. Due to its greater flexibility when it comes to how things are joined together with lines, it is possible to put things together that would not work in a physical environment. This reduced constraint is good, as it allows one to initially familiarize himself with his system and ask the appropriate questions for which he may not have answers at the moment. At the minimum, this allows a person to put something up for critique in the event that it is incorrect.

The automated tools exist for making the computer do the dumb stuff. It may be worth going out to the market to see the sort of things people are trying to obtain. The solution integrates well with other tools and one can bring Visio diagrams into Word. Once in Word, a person can open the diagram for editing purposes if need be and then close it again and keep it in Word. So, all the integration capabilities with the other Office products is great. I can't think of much that I wish to add to the solution.

What needs improvement?

When creating a database, more stringency is required, as the computer is really dumb. A person is a lot more constrained, much more so when using the actual database creation tool, such as erwin Data Modeler. So the solution's flexibility can be perceived as both a strength and a weakness.

Visio is a general modeling tool, which encourages so many things beyond the use of mere data models. I think it's pretty good. Years back, when we first saw Visio being used with social security, the solution promoted itself as the missing piece. Word, Excel and Outlook were available. There was actually a piece missing where they stuck on the Windows logo.

In the late '90s or early 2000s it was possible to buy Visio with and without Office. They then removed this capability. Nowadays, one can obtain 365 but, with Visio, the component must be bought separately. The issue exists more with the purchasing and it would be nice to have it included as a standard feature. I believe they've now checked in Power BI as a standard component with Office, but Visio has so many more uses, since business people can use it to do swimlanes. Regular people and not just those with a technical background can use it for so much more. It should just be part of the enterprise or the professional version of Office. That's what I'd say. It's just so damn useful.

One of the things that was removed prior to it getting spun out was an enterprise version of Visio which could be set up, kicked off and actually go through one's network to ping everything that was attached to it, including printers, routers, PCs, laptops, et cetera. It would then bring all that information back and write a network diagram itself of all of those things. I thought that was a pretty cool part of the product. I'm not sure whether people now have network tools that do the same thing and that's why it's not used anymore. But, it was nice to see this sort of automation.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Visio since it came out in 1995 or 1996. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution seems to be pretty stable, because I've opened models that I wrote 20 years ago and it still reads them without incurring frequent crashes. I did something flaky the other day which it didn't like. I don't know whether that was because it was going through a virtual machine and have yet to track down what the core issue was. However, overall, things have been pretty stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

When it comes to scalability, I suppose that Visio is like any other product. One of the drawbacks of any Office product is its design for a single person. There exist ones on the web which allow for online editing in Excel, but many of the features I use do not exist in this version. This is a pain point.

We are talking about a one-person product, but the fact that you can print it off as a PDF and share it with others is a good feature of it. Visio differs from a real modeling tool, an expensive one such as, say... erwin Data Modeler, in that the latter has its own repository for storing models, which another person can access and use for modifying the relevant model. The model can be split into an overall one and a subject area. This way, two people can work in different subject areas. As long as two people are not working on the exact same object they will avoid stepping on each other's toes. Visio is akin to any other Office products, in that it involves a single person at a time per document.

How are customer service and technical support?

I don't believe I have ever had to contact technical support to get the solution to work. We usually look up things on the internet. For most Microsoft products the help is not too bad. The last time I had to contact Microsoft support was years ago, concerning flowcharts, I believe.

For any issues involving the local installation I would contact our own infrastructure team. This said, I don't believe I have ever had to go out with an actual bug in the product.

How was the initial setup?

I am not involved with the infrastructure side, but my understanding is that the initial setup was relatively straightforward. I had to put in a purchase order when I started this new role, but obtained access to the tool pretty quickly. I'm assuming that it is similar to other Microsoft products, in that there is a standard implementation, with the IT people having a fixed method of configuration, as with other Office products, which are rolled out.

When it comes to the setup, I have a couple of what are referred to as stencils, which are the things on the side that can be used for creating one's own series of diagrams or its components. I have a couple of these which I reuse. This is the only thing worth mentioning were one setting it up from scratch. But, many of the standard objects are pretty good and extensive. As such, the setup is not too difficult. Neither is it difficult to create one's own look and feel. So, it's pretty good.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

I believe Visio to be priced pretty reasonably. Erwin Data Modeler may be a bit on the pricey side nowadays. When it was spun off from Computer Associates, they did so as a separate product and someone else bought it. I seem to recall at the time that the price either doubled or trebled, although I don't remember the reason for this. It was not clear to me what extra value was being offered for the price. Likely, the sole problem with erwin Data Modeler is that the price point is a tad on the high side. It can make selling to clients challenging and they are generally put off by the price.

Probably, it would have been better if erwin Data Modeler was the introduction to the environment whose creation is being attempted, meaning the DI suite and all the other parts involved in the governance, their glossary and all the bits and pieces. As the first taste is always free, it might've been better to have erwin Data Modeler at a lower price point. Once a person has obtained this product he would likely feel compelled to buy the other tools that work with it, rather than attempting to obtain something which does not. This would allow one to lower his price for the initial tool and then charge a bit more for those that nobody else has in their possession, such as one's involving data governance. This said, I'm not really involved in sales or marketing, so what I say should be taken with a grain of salt.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Visio is really good for high-level presentations but, when it comes to much more lower-level tasks, the best I've found so far is erwin Data Modeler and the DI, the governance suite that they've put out more recently. I've also worked with Oracle Data Modeler. One can't argue with the price on that one since it is free and presents no issues if money is lacking for other expenditures. If a person can do the drawings and present something to people then he can actually generate databases out of it, which is what one's end game is supposed to be anyway. It's not as pretty and it's a little bit more fiddly to do when things start to get complicated.

What other advice do I have?

When I first started, everything was on-premises, although I do not recall if it switched to Azure at a later point. I believe I used it in 365. I am pretty sure the later ones are part of Office 365 or appear as add-ons, as they are not included.

My advice is that a person first work out what he wishes to use the tool for, to see if it suits his needs. While it's great for presenting information to people, it is not as good in the end when it comes to actually trying to build a product out of it. Of primary importance is that the person come up with his own look and feel for the organization, with a focus on business oriented issues rather than those of a technical nature. This would entail coming up with one's own color scheme or design and then remaining consistent in this domain. It is helpful to present to business people in a format with which they are familiar.

As the product will pretty much do what one wishes, which is nice, the focus should remain more on the presenting side rather than on its use. Certain products pose a challenge when it comes to getting them to comply with one's wishes, but Visio is a bit easier in this regard.

As a presentation tool and a high-level design tool, I rate Visio at least a nine out of ten.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
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Michael Barg
Principal Consultant at Lexington Consulting
Consultant
Top 5Leaderboard
Provides a quick way to spruce up client reports and proposals with rudimentary yet impactful visuals

Pros and Cons

  • "Visio has improved my workflow by making it easy to create charts, diagrams, and basic illustrations that I can use in my client reports and proposals. It has saved me a lot of time I would otherwise spend creating visuals for clients by hand."
  • "There could be better integration between Visio and Word, especially when it comes to importing graphics from the one to the other."

What is our primary use case?

I use Visio when I'm writing a client report in Microsoft Word, and I want to put in a simple graphic to supplement the text or better explain something. Visio's graphics are not complicated. They're quick and easy to create, so I use them mainly for what I would call static graphics, like simple charts and diagrams.

How has it helped my organization?

Visio has improved my workflow by making it easy to create charts, diagrams, and essential illustrations to use in my client reports and proposals. It has saved me a lot of time I would otherwise spend creating visuals for clients manually.

What is most valuable?

One of the most valuable features is the online support from Microsoft. Whenever I'm stuck with a problem, I can contact customer support. They will almost certainly get back to me within a reasonable time frame. They're good with that.

It is easy to use online tutorials and training videos provided by Microsoft and elsewhere, such as on YouTube. So if I want to create a new diagram, add some shapes, or increase the weight of a connection from one object to another in your graph, I can easily find out how to do that.

Another aspect that I enjoy is the seamless online integration. For example, there's the ability to download all sorts of extras like different shapes, stencils, objects, etc., for free directly from Microsoft into Visio. Also, I like that you can drag and drop online pictures straight from the Web into Visio.

What needs improvement?

There could be better integration between Visio and Word, especially when it comes to importing graphics from the one to the other. Visio's graphics don't seem to play well with other applications. Sometimes I move a business process graphic to a Word document. It doesn't copy the picture correctly, or it leaves some of the connectors off. Or it puts the wrong one in or changes the font for no apparent reason. That's a pain in the neck, and it's one of my biggest complaints about Visio.

Moreover, when I connect a caption to a drawing and move the drawing, sometimes the caption gets left behind. And if you shrink the size of a drawing, I'd like Visio to scale the font automatically. Small details like this would significantly improve the product.

Aesthetically speaking, the graphics can be a bit crude and simplistic. The graphics are sufficient for most purposes. Visio is a static program that tries to keep things simple for most users. However, I would appreciate it if they made an allowance for at least slightly more complicated graphics. As they are now, they do not inspire. People don't look at the graphics and say, "Wow, that's a great graphic." They look at it and say, "Uh-huh, move on. Next!" It's a lot of sameness.

I would also love to see Visio with a more intuitive and reliable data linking feature. I shouldn't have to program or develop any complicated code. Just press a button, connect to the spreadsheet, and update it. For me, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. You should trust your application so that when you need it to link, it links. It would help to know that Visio is using the latest data, mainly because you don't want to embarrass yourself in front of a customer with wrong or outdated data.

I like dynamic programs. I want to take inputs from other places and have the application automatically update my chart and know that it's correct. And not only do I want it updated, but I wish to document updates, so I can see what updates were selected and used. So if the document references a spreadsheet or an Access database, it shows where the data came from, what version it is, and the date. If you're doing a nice bar chart in Visio and you want all the bells and whistles, you can see the source material and revision of the chart so that you don't have to go back and say, "Is this right?"

I want to create my objects and my object library more easily. I think you can do some of that, but it's not that simple. I haven't had a lot of experience doing it, but when I did try it, it was awkward.

The support is okay, though not super great; I wouldn't expect it to be. Visio is not a program where you need a lot of hand-holding for most tasks. It's quite suitable for those who want to drag and drop, so support isn't too crucial, though there could be room for improvement.


For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Visio since it first came out in the early 1990s.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's very stable. I have never had a crash in Visio ever.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

For my use case, there's not much need to scale it up in any meaningful sense. When I'm writing a proposal or preparing a report for a client, I try only to put in good graphics to get my point across.

I typically create my graphics and place them in a Word document. And then I hope they stay together as I move things around. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don't. So, in terms of scalability and accuracy, Microsoft could improve integration between the different applications.

How are customer service and technical support?

I haven't had to use technical support very often at all over the years. I might have used it only once or twice in the past twenty-something years. I'd rate the support I received as a five out of ten. Not too good, not too bad. Thankfully, they've gotten rid of a lot of the need for that kind of tech support by putting better help and documentation online.

Microsoft offers training videos online that teach the basics of Visio well enough. I can also go on YouTube if there's something unique or unusual that I need to do. Frequently, somebody's already done it, and I can quickly learn how they did it.

Suppose you do want technical support. In that case, Microsoft has a reasonably active Visio user group. However, it's not real-time help, and you may have to wait a little while for a response. If you want somebody to help you live, you're going to have to pay a third-party company for that kind of support. I don't use Visio so much that it's worth going that route.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I used a similar solution to Visio many years ago, designed for business flowcharts and business processing. The company that built the software went out of business.

How was the initial setup?

It's easy to get started with mocking-up simple flow charts and diagrams. Still, it can get very complicated when setting out anything a bit more detailed—especially when getting titles, labels, and font sizes to match up. Suppose you want to make a custom organizational chart or a product line chart with all the details and specifications. In that case, I suspect you'll need to set aside some time to learn the user interface more thoroughly.


What about the implementation team?

In-house.  

What was our ROI?

I haven't actually calculated an ROI, but I would approximate that I save at least two hours time of cumulative manual effort for each graphic built with Visio.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The licensing process is a breeze. Buy the license and download the application from Microsoft. Enter the license key in Visio to activate the software.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

No.  I've used Visio for many years.  It does what we need it to do.

What other advice do I have?

I like to call Visio a program for the graphically impaired. I use it because I hate spending lots of time preparing graphics. I would recommend skipping any fancier alternatives. Most people might benefit from adding quality visuals to their documents but don't have design skills. In that case, I recommend using Visio instead.

As long as you don't have excessive expectations, it will do what you need it to do and do it for a reasonable cost.

I would rate Visio an eight out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Learn what your peers think about Visio. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: November 2021.
554,529 professionals have used our research since 2012.
TH
Director of Mortgage Banking Projects at a writing and editing position with 1-10 employees
Real User
Top 10
Easy to set up, simple to navigate, and offers good stability

Pros and Cons

  • "It's a very meat and potatoes type of product and isn't overly designed. It's very easy to find your way through the solution, as it's not too complicated."
  • "Occasionally, the automation feature that helps you easily add the "next step" goes crazy and it will move a bunch of stuff."

What is our primary use case?

My use case could be anything. What I like to use Visio for is business process design work. Even when we're doing a systems implementation project, I'll use it. One of the things that I tell my clients is that "Before you implement a system, you really need to check your business processes that the system is automating, to make sure that you're not automating a bad process." Therefore, we have a whole methodology on how to do business process design sessions, facilitated sessions. The outcome of those sessions is documented largely in Vizio. 

Sometimes, for example, if I've got a good person working on my team, I'll be with the client, facilitating the session and we'll have sticky notes on the wall that represent the process steps, and the outcomes, and the inputs, and all that stuff. We'll be moving those around. And then somebody on my team will be sitting there with Visio, recreating it as we go. If they aren't able to do that, we just take pictures of it and then recreate it in Visio. We clean it up and make it nice looking. However, we use Visio primarily for business and/or project process flows. 

How has it helped my organization?

It's a very good visualization tool that helps package everything professionally. It helps clients see where we're going. We're able to capture what we need to capture and we're able to manipulate it the way we want and make it look the way we want, and present it to our clients the way we want. 

What is most valuable?

One of the features I like is the automation involved in creating a process. It's really improved over the years. At this point, when you have step one - let's say it's a rectangle with step one in it - and then you're ready for step two, you can just hover the cursor over one side, and then it will automatically add an arrow going to the next box and automatically add a new box. It saves a bit of time there. It's one less aggravation to deal with when you're creating things.

The solution hasn't changed much in 20 years. It's a very meat and potatoes type of product and isn't overly designed. It's very easy to find your way through the solution, as it's not too complicated.

What needs improvement?

Occasionally, the automation feature that helps you easily add the "next step" goes crazy and it will move a bunch of stuff on me. Usually, that's very easily recoverable, however, that's just a little aggravation we have to deal with. It's like an ongoing glitch of sorts. You need to be careful when you are moving the whole image.

If there was a way to make the finished product more interactive somehow, that could be interesting.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for decades. It's been a very long time.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is quite stable. To my recollection, I haven't really had to deal with any crashes or big bugs. It's reliable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I'm just a small consulting firm. Basically, it's just me and a group of trusted subcontractors that I network with across the country. The biggest project and the biggest team of people I've ever had on a project is 25.

We don't have enterprises that we deploy to. We just put it all on our computers or on our laptops and that's it.

How are customer service and technical support?

I don't ever recall using technical support, and if I did, it was likely well over ten years ago at this point. Therefore, I can't really speak to their knowledgeability or responsiveness.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is very straightforward. All you do is implement or install it on your laptop. It has a few defaults that I don't like, however, that I can change. For example, the process boxes might be colored purple or something, and I just want them clear, so that's not a big deal. There are some pre-settings you can adjust so that it defaults to how you need it to look every time.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

I have a subscription to Microsoft 365 that automatically updates all of the versions to whatever is the most recent. I have to have a special subscription to get Visio though. Therefore, I've got one subscription to Microsoft that has all of the basic Office products, and then another one for Visio and Microsoft Project.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I did run across at one of my clients several years ago, another process building software. I don't remember the name of it. I'd have to look it up, however, I recall it was really slick and nice and cool. In my mind, it was a little too over-engineered and overly complicated for what I like to do. I'd have to be careful that we're not losing sight. We're not missing the forest for the trees when we get into the business process design. Therefore, I didn't really feel I was missing out by not adopting it.

What other advice do I have?

I'm a consultant.

I tend to use the latest version of the solution. I try to keep everything up to date. That said, I'm unsure as to which version I'm on right now.

We're a small consulting shop. Right now, there's three of us and the roles are generally around facilitating business process design sessions. That's what we usually do is. Typically, I will stand up and facilitate with the client. We'll have a room full of clients - maybe 10, and sometimes it has the vendor - and our team. I will facilitate, we'll capture all of the discussions. We'll put everything on sticky notes, on a wall, with our methodology. And then my folks will capture all of that on Visio and on Microsoft Word. Then we go back to clean it all up and make it presentable. 

Overall, it's very easy to use. It's very intuitive and if you're documenting business processes, it does the trick. It's not like there's no other software out there that will do something similar or something as well. However, I've used Visio for so long. It's just a habit and I don't see any reason to try anything else.

I'd rate it ten out of ten. There's a reason I've been using it for so long. It does everything I need it to do without having too many confusing bells and whistles

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Scot McGee
Manager of Enterprise Architecture at a insurance company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Templates are easily findable and usable, but it is a stagnant tool that lacks a lot of enterprise features

Pros and Cons

  • "What I like about it is that the templates are easily findable and usable, and they are usually created for other software packages. It seems to be pretty much widely adopted in the industry."
  • "It is a visualization tool, so database visualization is pretty static in it. They haven't moved the ERDs very well. They haven't adopted any real visualization like what you have in Hackolade for JSON or other data patterns. It has none of that. If you go onto broader patterns, you can actually label and integrate with a data set, if you want, for Visio, but it's very clunky and very difficult for me to assign that to another user. I can't assign it to a junior or a documenter. They really haven't cleaned up and made their tools simpler to use when linking to data, which is primarily what you're trying to do."

What is our primary use case?

I use it for high-level detailed and high-level conceptual drawings for leadership. I also use it for small drawings when I'm doing documentation, policy creation, or building some kind of a spec.

It is installed on my personal machine. In terms of the version, my Office suite is 19, so I assume the Visio version is whatever is packaged with Office 19 suite.

How has it helped my organization?

It improved the way our organization functioned years ago, but right now, people are trying to find other ways to do what they're doing in Visio because the tool is stagnant and really not moving. It hasn't for years. They've added features but really not much. They're more pulling those into higher-level tools such as Azure Development Studio and things like that.

What is most valuable?

What I like about it is that the templates are easily findable and usable, and they are usually created for other software packages. It seems to be pretty much widely adopted in the industry. 

What needs improvement?

It is a visualization tool, so database visualization is pretty static in it. They haven't moved the ERDs very well. They haven't adopted any real visualization like what you have in Hackolade for JSON or other data patterns. It has none of that. If you go onto broader patterns, you can actually label and integrate with a data set, if you want, for Visio, but it's very clunky and very difficult for me to assign that to another user. I can't assign it to a junior or a documenter. They really haven't cleaned up and made their tools simpler to use when linking to data, which is primarily what you're trying to do.

The versioning has always been a bit messy. You can't have a state of how it is to how it was without having two drawings. You can layer, but layers don't work very well for the most part. They just haven't progressed the tool. The tool isn't keeping up with the architecture that people are forced to do. So, more and more people around here are abandoning it and moving to alternate tools. It is now being used for just basic drawings. It is no longer an enterprise-quality development or documentation tool. It can be, but you'd have to work pretty hard at it.

It doesn't have autosave features with respect to the way some of the other Office tools have it. It is pretty clunky if your machine crashes or gets shut down because of a low battery or something like that. To make sure that the changes persist, you need to look at the last version of it. It has still got on-premise features, and it still has that same paradigm of clicking "save", and you better keep clicking "save" to make sure it doesn't get corrupted. It is very old school for cloud tools. Any Office tool, Google tool, or Apple tool is going to save all your work because it's basically updating via messages, but that's not how Visio works. It is very old school. They just aren't spending any money on it.

I'd love them to get back to being able to do true data flow diagrams that are easy to use and that actually can be pulled from data lineage. In lineage diagrams, you can pull the data and actually reflect them in the right drawing. There is a little bit of that going on in some of the drawings but not much. I want to be able to do database design documents, if necessary. I've got people doing those. I'd like to do network drawings with multiple layers in a simpler way and to the point where the layers have displays of viewpoints as most systems do. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for 10 to 15 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is very stable, but there are no autosave features in it.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

There is no scalability to it. It is on your machine. You could put files into Teams and somewhat scale through Teams, but it is not scalable. You don't have the ability to have team cooperation and repositories. You can do repositories, but it doesn't have any of the features that allow you to regulate and have all the things you'd have or expect in any enterprise quality development tool or design tool. It doesn't have any of those features. You have to broaden the suite and buy about nine other Microsoft things to somehow attempt to get those features.

Its usage is declining. We used to have about 150 users. Now, we probably only have about 50 or 60 users. We're buying tools that knock out some of the edges of what Visio would do. Enterprise architecture is really no longer done in Visio. It is done a little bit, but for the most part, we use other tools for it. Although it can make the boxes, it can't really work a process in enterprise architecture. It is not a development or life cycle management tool.

How are customer service and support?

I've never been able to queue up technical support on it. We don't allow our internal people to directly communicate with technical support. It goes through an internal layer.

How was the initial setup?

It is easy to set up. It is also easy to add libraries to it.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

I know you can pick it up in retail for under a thousand per person. You can also pick it up for cheaper than that. Microsoft has about 7,000 licensing models, and you get certain percentages off specific licensing. If you're a partner, you get specific numbers of licenses with the partnership price.

What other advice do I have?

Visio was owned not by Microsoft. It was its own company way back, and it was actually moving very well. It had ERDs and was actually developing very well. Microsoft bought it. They picked it apart and started moving those tools into other things and downgraded the tool. I don't think it has met the level of expertise and the level of technical proficiency that it had 15 years ago. It was downgraded, pure and simple. A lot of those pieces are used in other things now.

I would advise others that just don't try to make it more than what it is. Find a tool that is enterprise-worthy if you're trying to move to that level, but don't try to make it into an enterprise tool.

I would rate it a six out of 10.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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ME
President at Estrada Technology Associates LLC
Real User
Having the ability to visually depict a concept that we're trying to get across is helpful

Pros and Cons

  • "The thing I like most about Visio is the stencils. As the product has matured over time, it comes with more stencils and objects that you can just pick out of the menu and go with."
  • "It thinks that it knows what you want to do, but it doesn't. It has a way of behaving that can be very frustrating from time to time. Either it moves things about because it thinks its placement should be at a certain place, or it's keeping track of things that you don't necessarily see, so it moves something elsewhere."

What is our primary use case?

I use Visio for visual rendering of technical concepts. I use the stencils that depict different workflows, data flows, or architectural structures from an IT perspective that I could render in other documents like PowerPoint or Word documents.

How has it helped my organization?

Since we work in IT, we deal with very technical abstract concepts. So having the ability to visually depict a concept that we're trying to get across is helpful. When we write documentation, we have to write it for the broadest audience possible. If you can reduce the number of words, either in technical documentation manuals or others, and do it visually, that seems to register with the targeted audience.

What is most valuable?

The thing I like most about Visio is the stencils. As the product has matured over time, it comes with more stencils and objects that you can just pick out of the menu and go with. 

What needs improvement?

It thinks that it knows what you want to do, but it doesn't. It has a way of behaving that can be very frustrating from time to time. Either it moves things about because it thinks its placement should be at a certain place, or it's keeping track of things that you don't necessarily see, so it moves something elsewhere. So when the software requires more keystrokes than one would think to either capture or register a placement, or a drag and drop function that you think should be easily executed, it sometimes doesn't always work that way. Regardless of the skill, the user experience can sometimes be interesting. The predictive behaviors of it at times can be a little bit of a drag.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using Microsoft Visio for twenty plus years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

More often than not, stability is not an issue, it's a fairly stable product. I've noticed that when I have multiple products open, like PowerPoint, Excel, Microsoft, and a couple of others, sometimes it begins to act flaky and then I have to start cutting down services or closing things. In general the Office suite, sometimes it can let you know that it's going to start acting funky, or the behavior begins to be flaky. You have to just know by experience that's your cue to cut down services, close windows, close applications, because the robustness of the applications are not allowing you to be as multitasking as you want to be.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability is okay. It's like everything else, most people they use at most, 30% of the product's capabilities, so there's a lot of stuff in Visio that doesn't necessarily get used. You don't know that when you do the typical installation, that a good part of the product capabilities are never going to get used. The default configuration is to load everything, as opposed to custom, and it's just easier just to let it deploy everything. As a result of that, there's a lot of functionality that gets pulled in, and memory and CPU that may be consumed that the user would never benefit from. That's just the nature of the beast.

How was the initial setup?

Setup is mostly straightforward, but there are occasions where the installation process can be prone to some issues that may not always be apparent until after you deploy it. Sometimes the installation experience requires expertise. Sometimes it's not always clear if you're going to have compatibility issues with the 32-bit version or the 64-bit version, there's been those type of subtleties in the past.

What about the implementation team?

Since I've worked in different shops, sometimes I have installed it from my own product license that I purchased. So I've deployed it from a physical media and I've deployed it from an on-site provider because I purchased the key and there was no physical media. Then there are other times where the company that I worked for, their end user computing team, or their desktop support team, because they have to keep track of the licenses, they own the deployment and the push down to the user and make it part of their image. Because there's a cost to deploying that product in some variation of the product packaging, they tried to keep control of that. 

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Just be mindful that the software, while it's helpful, it can behave in ways that can be a little frustrating. A lot of companies say go and find a Visio-like product that can do 70% of what Visio does, for free. There have been companies that I've worked for that said we will not pay the license fee for Visio, go and get a similar product that you can download from the web that can do 70% of what you need it to do. 

What other advice do I have?

I would rate Visio an eight out of ten. It's a product that's been known. Many people use it. It's got an established install base. It's not flawless by any means, but since it does allow some intimacy with the Microsoft products, that's probably its greatest thing, and in a business environment, that's important. Because of its cost structure, a lot of organizations are trying to figure out if there are alternatives out there, which there are. Those other products can do much of the heavy lifting that Visio does at a cost point that, in some cases, is very attractive.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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MM
Solutions Architect at a financial services firm with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 20
Easy to set up with good technical support and excellent stability

Pros and Cons

  • "The initial setup is pretty easy."
  • "The application could be lighter or it could be faster with documents."

What is our primary use case?

I'm an architect; I primarily use Visio for drawing diagrams.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable aspect of the solution is the exterior interface. The exterior application interface and the keyboard shortcuts available help me to do some major work and diagrams.

Since Microsoft did some updates a while back, I've found the solution to be very stable.

Technical support seems to be pretty good.

The initial setup is pretty easy.

What needs improvement?

The application could be lighter or it could be faster with documents. That just comes down to the user's CPU power and how big your document is. 

I'd like it if there was some sort of web integration, where you can deploy VST diagrams or at least SVG diagrams or something to the web. It might be useful. I'm not sure if it does it right now, I haven't looked recently. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I've likely dealt with the solution for 15 years or so. It's been well over a decade. It's been a long time. It's likely been for however long it's been on the market or for however long Microsoft has had it.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution's stability is quite good. It struggled a bit in older versions, however, Microsoft has update dit and it's been very, very good. There are no crashes or freezing. There aren't bugs or glitches. it's reliable. The performance is good. Ever since we've been using it on Windows 10, it's been great.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is scalable. I've used it and try to compare designs, so it's a fairly simple environment, and it's roughly the same. Again, that kind of depends on your GPU, on the power of your workstation that you're using. If you don't have as powerful of a workstation, you have issues with larger jobs.

Those that use it in my organization are mostly architects. There might be around 100 or so users in my company, although I don't have exact numbers.

I'm not sure if we have plans to increase usage.

How are customer service and technical support?

It's my understanding that the solution has pretty good technical support. I haven't dealt with it personally, however, my colleagues have and it's always been very positive in terms of the comments we've received regarding Microsoft tech support.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is not overly complex. That said, I've been using it for so long that I'm fairly comfortable with it. It's my understanding that the setup today for that tool would be fairly easy for a new user. It should be noted that that's coming from myself, as a person who's dealt with the product for so long.

The deployment of Visio to my workstation was as simple as requesting the download from our central section and it downloads within 10 to 15 minutes. The deployment for my workflow is fairly trivial for me. That's due to the fact that we're using an internal package from the site.

I'm not sure what kind of maintenance is required. It would be an automated packaging process. We would have some sort of a tool chain, where the tool is packaged, and then unpackaged and then deployed to our location.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

I don't deal with billing or licensing aspects of the product. I can't speak to the actual costs or if it is expensive or cost-effective.

What other advice do I have?

I'm not sure what type of business relationship our company has with Visio. My role usually revolves around working with Visio and various website engines.

I'm not sure which version of the solution we're using.

One of the key things for a company considering Visio would be to establish some guidelines for how Visio should be used and how it's used to augment existing workflows for the customer company. For users, it would just be to gain comfort with the tool shortcuts and get to know the tools, strengths, and any weaknesses. That you may perceive and just understand them and the solution becomes easier to work with.

I'd rate the solution at an eight out of ten. It's just a reliable workflow for me so it's a pretty good tool. Lately. it has also been pretty stable.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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RamnathThippasandra
Executive Director at a manufacturing company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Provides a lot of options and functionality for technical reporting

Pros and Cons

  • "It is ideal for putting out flowcharts and swim charts. It's really good. It has all the various options to use, particularly depending on what kind of audience you have. It provides you different kinds of options to insert the pictures and explain things."
  • "One thing that I always felt was missing was the ability to integrate with other Microsoft products, particularly with things like SharePoint or other Excel Office tools. It may be available, but it is not as good as it could be."

What is our primary use case?

I use Visio for pretty much all of my landscape diagrams and for anything for management reporting, particularly on the technical side.

What is most valuable?

Visio has been something that I've been using for many, many years. It is ideal for putting out flowcharts and swim charts. It's really good. It has all the various options to use, particularly depending on what kind of audience you have. It provides you different kinds of options to insert the pictures and explain things. It really suited my requirements and I love it.

I have been able to get most of my things done using what's already been provided. It comes with a lot of functionality.

Another good thing I like about it is that it is already in the cloud. It's well integrated and I don't have any additional requirements at this point.

What needs improvement?

One thing that I always felt was missing was the ability to integrate with other Microsoft products, particularly with things like SharePoint or other Excel Office tools. It may be available, but it is not as good as it could be. There are some other tools that are very well integrated, but maybe they bought the product from a different company but it looks like the integration is not as seamless as other products that I work with.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Visio for many years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I really have not encountered any issues. It is very simple to use. I never had formal training or anything of that kind. I just started using it and I learned it as I was using it.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

In terms of scalability, Visio is single user, right? There's no challenge in terms of scalability.

It's open for everybody. It's a part of a package that we negotiated as a part of our licensing agreement with Microsoft. It's available to more or less all the users.

How are customer service and support?

We have Microsoft support but I have never had a need to reach them. I think they're doing a pretty good job. There is a quarterly business review that we do for any issues that we have. That's not for Visio as such, but it is for all the enterprise products that we have from Microsoft.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I have never used anything else. I've always been using Visio.

We have multiple options available in the organization and Visio is one of them that I use. Of course, I use a lot of PowerPoint too, but Visio is among my favorite ones.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is very simple.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

I don't know pricing in particular for Visio, but since it is a deal that is negotiated, I'm assuming it's good. It's a part of the package that we have from Microsoft for all the tools that we procured from them.

What other advice do I have?

My advice to anyone would be to try it out. Not many people are very familiar with it. A lot of people probably use PowerPoint. All the people who use PowerPoint should try it out, particularly if you are using a lot of detailed pictures. It's good for the techies, primarily for explaining things to the management. I think people who are into the techno-functional and mid-management level, who also have a technical background and are moving up to the management roles, it's a great tool for those people. It is pretty flexible. It provides a lot of options and it is very user friendly and it definitely provides a lot of value.

Particularly for enterprise architects and for people who are looking at drawings or putting together landscape diagrams and trying to document things at a high level, it is very good. Not necessarily at a very granular level, but at a high level, it's a great tool.

On a scale of one to ten, for me Visio is a 10. I don't think I've ever encountered a situation where I couldn't do something with it.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud

If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

Microsoft Azure
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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Stanislav Drastich
Mentor at Agricultural Paying Agency
Real User
Top 20
Good stability, and scales well, but has a lot of patching that you need to keep up with

Pros and Cons

  • "If you are a knowledgeable individual, the initial setup isn't too difficult."
  • "There are a lot of patches that sometimes change how one version will interact compared to another."

What is most valuable?

It's been an extremely reliable solution for me for a very long time. It's quite mature.

If you are a knowledgeable individual, the initial setup isn't too difficult.

There are plenty of very good third-party tools.

The stability is fairly good.

The solution can scale to meet the needs of any project.

What needs improvement?

The issue I have with this solution is the same issue I have with all the products by Microsoft. They depend on many solutions by third parties for too many things, from my point of view. Maybe there should be more basic, fundamental resources incorporated into their products in general - not just this product.

A basic user may have issues trying to install the solution.

There are a lot of patches that sometimes change how one version will interact compared to another.

It would be great if, in the future, we would be able to use numerics and graphics cards. If there already this functionality, they need to make it more publicly known, as I don't see it right now.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been working with Microsoft products for 30 years or so. With this product, I've used it from time to time, when I've needed it. I'm not sure the exact amount of time I've spent with it over the years. It's likely much more than ten years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution, for the most part, is very, very stable. There is one problem in that there are so many upgrades and patches and so on that are critical and must be applied that it makes for a few issues in terms of practical use. I was facing such a very specific problem. The project was functional in an older version, yet the same code was not functional in the newer version. Therefore, to troubleshoot, I used both older and newer versions of the software and had to acquire all the patches for both. There is no clear answer as to why the same code behaves differently within these two APIs. That's a problem. However, it's not really a stability issue.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The solution is quite scalable, and great to use for any project of any size or scope.

How are customer service and technical support?

I only use the solution for my personal use and therefore don't have access to technical support. I can't speak to how helpful they are, or how responsive, as I do not use them. I don't have any practical experience to speak to.

That said, having dealt with Microsoft technical support in the past with other solutions, I can say that, in general, they are very capable and have many experienced people on staff to assist. I've been satisfied with them in the past on other products.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is pretty simple and straightforward for those with knowledge or training. Basic users may have problems, however.

For myself, with so many years of experience with many types of Microsoft solutions, I found everything very straightforward.

It's not that the process isn't intuitive, it's just that, if you don't know what to do or look for, it can become a bit confusing. You must study many new terms and methodologies before you can get around to beginning the process as a completely new untrained user. There may be ways to watch videos online to learn a few tricks and to help you visualize the process.

What about the implementation team?

I have many years of experience with Visio and Microsoft, therefore, I can handle the installation process myself.

What other advice do I have?

I primarily use the solution myself for my own projects. I'm a customer and end-users.

In general, I would rate the solution at a six out of ten.

I would recommend this product, however, at the same time, I suggest to everybody to know and practically use several tools, so as to keep up their overall knowledge and skills. For some purposes, it is easier and more reliable to use one tool, and for other purposes, it is more reliable to use another. I do not recommend to anybody globally to work alone with one tool, separately from all the world.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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