Mastering Visio: Microsoft Visio What Is This Tool?

Discover Visio with our all-encompassing guide! From basics to advanced features, grasp everything you need to know in one place. Simplifying Visio for beginners and experts alike.


Microsoft Visio is a popular diagramming and vector graphics application software. It is used by many professionals and organizations to create a wide variety of visual representations like flowcharts, network diagrams, workflows, and more.

While Visio offers robust features, it can be complex and expensive. In this article, we’ll explore what Visio is, why it’s useful, how it aids data visualization, its key benefits, and EdrawMax, a great Visio alternative for those seeking an easier-to-use and more affordable solution.

In this article
  1. Visio What is It? A Brief Overview
  2. How Can Visio Help in Data Visualization?
  3. Benefits of Using Microsoft Visio
  4. Best Visio Alternative to Try: Wondershare EdrawMax
  5. Conclusion

Part 1. Visio What is It? A Brief Overview

visio what is it

Visio is a diagramming software application developed by Microsoft. Released in 1992, Visio empowers users to visually communicate complex information, processes, and systems.

With Visio, users can create professional and visually engaging diagrams, charts, drawings, floor plans, and more using geometric shapes, icons, and text. It includes thousands of shapes and stencils that allow for diagrams like flowcharts, organizational charts, office layouts, network topology maps, engineering designs, and many other visuals.

There are several key reasons why Visio can be an invaluable tool:

  • Simplifies complex concepts - Visio makes it easy to take convoluted processes, structures, schedules, or ideas and depict them visually in an organized, understandable way.
  • Enhances communication - A picture is worth a thousand words. Visio diagrams and charts can rapidly convey information to stakeholders and team members.
  • Documentation - Visio files provide excellent documentation that describes systems, maps workflows, outlines requirements, and more.
  • Collaboration - Visio files can be shared on networks, allowing teams to work together on diagrams and visualize group ideas.
  • Productivity - Visio saves time on tasks like planning projects, mapping networks, documenting processes, and analyzing data workflows.

Part 2. How Can Visio Help in Data Visualization?

With its robust charting and data visualization tools, Visio empowers data-driven visualizations. Here are some of the ways Visio helps create impactful data charts and graphs:

  • Import external data - Bring in data from various sources like Excel, SQL Server, SharePoint, etc. to create visualizations.
  • Diagram data - Automatically generate process flowcharts, cross-functional flowcharts, and other diagrams from imported data.
  • Data-driven shapes - Shapes in Visio can display data visually, changing size, color, and appearance based on linked data.
  • Built-in templates - Numerous professionally designed chart and graph templates make visualizing data easy.
  • Data linking - Maintain live links between Visio diagrams and source data, allowing real-time updates.

Part 3. Benefits of Using Microsoft Visio

Let's explore some of the top benefits of using Visio for your diagramming and data visualization needs:

  • Intuitive interface - Ribbons, contextual tabs, the SmartPanel, mini toolbars, and a familiar Office-style interface make Visio easy to navigate.
  • Diverse templates - From flowcharts and org charts to office layouts, calendars, and Gantt charts, Visio offers numerous templates to accelerate diagramming.
  • Customization - Modify existing templates or create new ones from scratch to build diagrams for specific needs.
  • Automation - Automated tools like data-driven diagrams, shape grouping, diagram validation, and more help speed up visualization creation.
  • Dynamic capabilities - Connect shapes to data sources, link diagrams to each other, and more for dynamic and interconnected visuals.

Part 4. Best Visio Alternative to Try: Wondershare EdrawMax

While Visio is powerful software, it can be expensive and has a steep learning curve. For those seeking an easier-to-use and more affordable Visio alternative, Wondershare EdrawMax is an excellent option.

Here are some of the key reasons to choose EdrawMax:

  • Cost-effective - One-time licensing with affordable pricing makes EdrawMax very budget-friendly compared to Visio's complex licensing model.
  • Easy to use - Intuitive design, drag and drop functions, and a minimal learning curve allow users to quickly create diagrams.
  • Platform independence - Available on Windows, Mac, Linux, and in browsers. No platform restrictions.
  • Diverse templates - Provides ready-made templates for over 280 types of diagrams across industries and use cases.
  • Customization - Make templates your own by editing symbols, fonts, colors, styles, and layouts.
  • Export options - Export and share files in formats like PDF, Word, PPT, JPG, PNG, SVG, and more.
  • Team collaboration - Allows multi-user cooperation through shared folders, all-in-one reviews, team comments, and task assignments.
  • Technical support - Get assistance from EdrawMax's knowledgeable and responsive technical support team.

Let's walk through how easy it is to use EdrawMax to create a simple flowchart diagram:

Step 1: Download and install EdrawMax on your PC. Open EdrawMax and select the Flowchart template category.

edrawmax visio alternative

Step 2: Drag and drop flowchart shapes like rectangles, diamonds, and arrows from the left Libraries panel onto the canvas.

flowchart in edrawmax

Step 3: Customize the shapes by adding text labels, changing colors, resizing, and more. Connect the shapes by dragging arrows between them to depict the process flow.

add connectors

Step 4: Right-click on the canvas and select Format Background to apply any desired background color.

customize background

Step 5: When finished, click Save As in the top toolbar to name and save your new flowchart.

Export the flowchart by clicking File > Export To and selecting your desired file format.

export and save

That's it! In just a few simple steps you can create professional flowcharts and other diagrams using EdrawMax's powerful yet easy to master tools.


Microsoft Visio continues to be a leading diagramming and data visualization software due to its robust features. However, the complexity and cost may be prohibitive for some users. EdrawMax offers an affordable and easy-to-use alternative that empowers anyone to create stunning visuals.

With versatile templates, customization, and collaborative options, EdrawMax provides immense value. Its intuitive interface allows even beginners to quickly develop professional diagrams to communicate concepts, map processes, and visualize data.

edrawmax logoEdrawMax Desktop
Simple alternative to Visio
210+ types of diagrams
10K+ free templates & 26k+ symbols
10+ AI diagram generators
10+ export formats
edrawmax logoEdrawMax Online
Edit diagrams anywhere, anytime
Personal cloud & Dropbox integration
Enterprise-level data security
Team management and collaboration

Edraw Team
Edraw Team Jul 04, 24
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