Microsoft Readies No-Cost Version of Visio Web App

A "lightweight version" of the Visio Web app will be available for free t to Office 365 and Microsoft 365 business subscribers starting July, Microsoft announced this week.

This Web app version will have core Visio functionalities, allowing "business users to create, edit, and share professional diagrams," the announcement indicated. The free Visio Web app will address "essential" diagramming needs, but Microsoft also offers commercial Visio Plan 1 and Plan 2 offerings to meet "more specialized diagramming needs."

The Visio Web app can be used by people with simple needs or people with complex needs, according to a description by Nishant Kumar, product manager for Visio, in a Microsoft "Interzone" interview. Microsoft sees Visio users as being in three categories. There are power users who want to use industry-standard icons and want to be able to customize things. There are also process diagrammers. Lastly, there are the basic diagrammers.

Kumar said that after Microsoft made its Visio Web app available, it became clear that more and more business users were using Visio. Microsoft then decided to make Visio available to everyone. With the Visio Web app, it'll be possible to share a Visio diagram without the recipient needing to have the Visio desktop app installed.

When the Visio Web app becomes available to Office 365 and Microsoft 365 tenancies, starting as early as next month, it'll show up in various places. It'll be in the Microsoft Teams collaboration solution. A Visio icon will show up in the Office Online portal. In Excel, it'll be possible to create a Visio diagram using an add-in.

The main way of accessing the Visio Web app is via the Office Online portal, where users can select templates or a blank canvas to create diagrams. The templates include patterns for flowcharts, basic shapes, process diagrams, block diagrams and more. These diagrams can be saved and added to Word documents or PowerPoint presentations as .JPEG or .PNG files.

The Visio Web app is yet to come for Office 365 and Microsoft 365 subscribers, but Microsoft does have an early access program on request, which entails filling out a form. However, this early access option isn't available in European Union countries.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.