You’re probably used to hearing about Microsoft Word and Excel, but what about Microsoft Visio? While it’s geared more toward enterprise level users, anyone who needs to create flowcharts or detailed diagrams will find this to be one of the best tools to get the job done. Plus, it’s part of Microsoft Office, so getting around will feel familiar if you’re already used to Office.
What Is Microsoft Visio
While it’s part of Microsoft Office, you won’t find it in Home versions, as it’s more of a business tool. You can buy the standalone edition starting at $280 or subscribe for $5/month for a single user as part of Microsoft Office 365.
Visio is designed specifically for creating diagrams and flowcharts. That’s all it does, but that’s all it needs to do. Some of the ways users put Microsoft Visio to work for them include:
- Floor plans
- Organizational charts
- Detailed flowcharts
- System and IT diagrams
- Collaborative decision-making
- Showcasing ideas
- Product development and planning
Of course, how you use it is up to you, but the provided templates, shapes, colors, and more help you create whatever you’re envisioning.
Since it’s part of the Microsoft family, it also integrates well with other Microsoft apps. For instance, it can pull data directly from Excel or Access.
Getting Started with Visio
You never have to start from scratch in Microsoft Visio unless you specifically wanted to. The easiest way to create something is to start from the numerous templates. Use the search function and filters to find exactly what you’re looking for. By starting with a template, much of the work is already done. Plus, it gives you inspiration to start making your own diagram or flowchart.
After that, it’s all about customizing the template. You can add or remove any shape or element.
If you do want to start from scratch, just choose the “Blank Template” option, then start creating.
You’ll find hundreds of shapes in Microsoft Visio: squares, rectangles, diamonds, and much more are right at your fingertips. All you have to do is select what you want, choose a color, and place it into the design pane. Then, size it how you want, add text, and attach it where you want it.
Different templates will have different shapes available. This is another benefit of starting with templates: you won’t be so overwhelmed by choices.
Customizing Your Diagrams
A basic flowchart or diagram is nice, but it’s definitely not professional looking. Visio is an enterprise tool, which means it comes with everything you need to create high-quality, professional diagrams that you’d feel proud handing to your boss.
By adding themes, backgrounds, and borders, you’re able to turn a basic flowchart or diagram into something much more. If you’re trying to get someone’s attention with your finished product, this is the way to go.
Themes affect your entire color scheme. While you can easily customize every element, a theme ensures you get a more professional flow throughout. You can choose from a variety of colors as well.
With backgrounds, you can create a custom background or add an image to ensure your diagram fits with your company or brand. This is also great if you’re an entrepreneur or freelancer and want to keep your name visible.
To finish things off, add a border to frame the diagram. It’ll look more finished and professional.
As you can tell, there are a variety of features in Microsoft Visio. It’s not just a basic diagramming tool. To make it easier to get the exact look you want, Visio includes different types of views and guides.
Rulers, grids, and guides help you better position items along with sizing everything just right. For more complex diagrams or floor plans, these are invaluable tools. You can also adjust your task panes to better customize your work window.
While Microsoft Visio may be more than the average user needs, if you create numerous diagrams and flowcharts, it’s well worth it. It’s easy to use and offers a variety of ways to customize what you’re creating.