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Microsoft Adds Visio Online to Office 365

Most commercial Office 365 subscribers now have access to the Visio Online process-mapping service, Microsoft announced last week.

Visio is used to illustrate business processes and organizational hierarchies, or even generate network maps. The Visio Online service, which lets users share diagrams, was at the preview stage back in November, but now it's released, although not in all languages yet. It's accessible by all Office 365 subscribers that have access to Office Online as part of their subscription plans, according to Microsoft's FAQ page.

Platform and browser support for Visio Online is still incomplete, according to the FAQ document.

Microsoft recently released a Visio Viewer for iOS solution that works with the Safari browser. It permits Visio files to be viewed from OneDrive, OneDrive for Business or SharePoint, according to a Visio Viewer FAQ. The Android platform has support when using the Google Chrome browser. Broader Visio Online support across browsers is available on the Windows platform.

Visio Online permits the adding and sharing of diagrams, but it currently doesn't let users edit diagrams. Instead, users need "Visio 2013 or Visio 2016 desktop applications," according to the FAQ.

SharePoint WebParts that have the Visio Web Access element embedded won't be affected by the release of Visio Online. However, Visio Online offers some benefits over the older Visio Web Access approach for tapping some of Microsoft's newer SharePoint technologies. For instance, Visio Online users have the ability to embed a Visio diagram in a "Document Web Part in Modern team site pages," the FAQ explained.

IT pros will be able to use the new commercially released JavaScript APIs for Visio to embed Visio diagrams in "any Web page," per an Office Dev Center document. The embedded elements are referred to as "mashups" by Microsoft. Using the new JavaScript APIs to insert diagrams in SharePoint pages is described as an approach that will "fill some gaps in Visio Web Access," according to the document. However, the advantages of the new API approach over Visio Web Access apparently are still yet to come for the Windows and iOS platforms, per a table in that document.

In other Office 365 news, Microsoft announced last week that it had released new Office application features that are benefitting from machine-learning techniques. For instance, PowerPoint now has an enhanced QuickStarter template that steers users toward Web images for presentations that have "Creative Commons" licenses, permitting free public use. Word now has a revamped Editor pane that scans a document for "advanced spelling, grammar and writing style recommendations."

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.