Visio Online in Microsoft 365 – An overview

In this article I will share my first experiences with Visio Online in my Microsoft 365 E1 subscription. To be more specific it is a basic lightweight version that works as a webapp in your Microsoft Edge Chromium (or any other) browser.

Furthermore I will briefly share how I got this basic version enabled, as well as my overall thoughts after some initial testing.

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Visio Online in Microsoft 365 E1

Back in June 2021, Seth Patton, General Manager, Microsoft 365 announced in a blog post that Visio Online or a lightweight Visio Web App would become available in Microsoft 365:

“In July, we’ll start rolling out a lightweight version of the Visio web app in Microsoft 365 to bring visual diagramming and collaboration to all teams—both of which are especially important in this hybrid work environment. But the best part? It’ll be available, at no additional cost, for all commercial license subscribers.”

For me this was awesome news, since I’m still a frequent Microsoft Visio user running the client on Windows 10/11. So having the ability to work with simple

A little while ago I’ve written a review on the MURAL collaboration tool and Microsoft Whiteboard for Microsoft 365, however for diagramming and brainstorming I normally use Microsoft Visio or a Correctbook or Bambook if I want to structure on physical paper.

After having my early access enabled the Visio Online Web App can be found in the Office App launcher in your web browser. So let’s have a quick overview of the options and shapes you can use:

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Shapes Pane on the left in Visio Online

Just like you are used to from the Microsoft Visio Desktop App you can select sets with shapes from the left side panel. The good news is that a lot of shapes are available in the Vision Online version as well. This really closes the gap of working on a file in your web-browser through Visio Online or on your laptop with a Vision client installed.

Please find below the overview of available shapes in Visio Online at the time of publication from this article.

  • Basic Diagram
    • Basic Shapes
    • Arrows
    • Callouts
    • Banners
    • Symbols
    • Graphs and Math Shapes
  • Basic Flow Chart
    • Basic Flowchart Shapes
  • Basic Timeline
    • Callouts
  • Block Diagram
    • Arrows
    • Blocks
    • Blocks Raised
  • Business Matrix
    • Basic Shapes
    • Arrows
    • Matrix Diagram Shapes
  • Cross Functional Flowchart
    • Basic Flowchart Shapes
  • Cycle Diagrams
    • Cycle Diagram Shapes
    • Callouts
  • Process Diagram
    • Basic Shapes
    • Arrows
    • Process Steps
    • Callouts
    • Banners
  • Pyramid Diagrams
    • Pyramid Shapes
  • Venn Diagrams
    • Callouts
    • Venn Diagram Shapes

Visio Online Early Access enabled in my Microsoft 365 E1 tenant

When the Vision Online App was announced I went though the early access process. You needed to submit details about your tenant and tenant ownership via an e-mail to the specific team that manually enabled the early access.

It will soon be available in your Microsoft 365 suite, but if you can’t wait to get started, then we invite you to sign up for Visio in Microsoft 365 early access.

I was surprised to learn that the early access process, was a manual enablement in the tenant. I’ve worked with a former Microsoft colleague and friend to make sure that my surprise was real. The good news is that the Visio Online App is available for some time now in the eligible Microsoft 365 subscriptions.

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Concluding thoughts and wrap-up

I’m super happy that Microsoft added Microsoft Visio to its Office 365 Web Apps.

When I was working at Microsoft back in 2011 it was already possible to do the complete round of working with documents on a phone, a tablet, a laptop or in the cloud without wrecking your formatting along the way.

Microsoft Visio remains my preferred application when it comes to diagramming and even drawing. Despite using MURAL, Microsoft Whiteboard or even PowerPoint for brainstorming activities.

In the article of Mary Jo Foley, Contributor at ZDNET it is stated that the Visio Online App is a basic and lightweight web app version of the Microsoft Visio Desktop App. While the feature set is less than the Desktop App I wouldn’t call it basic or lightweight perse. Users get a pretty solid feature set for free as part of the Microsoft 365 plan.

When you don’t have the Microsoft Visio Desktop App you can use the trick to Install a web Page in Microsoft Edge Chromium as an app in Windows 10/11. Please check out this article for more details: Microsoft Planner – Install as app on Windows 10 with Microsoft Edge Chromium

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