Microsoft Releases Visio Online With Stack of Diagramming Templates

Customers can now choose from two plans that enable them craft Visio diagrams with little more than a web browser.

Visio Upgrade

The wait's finally over. Visio Online, the browser-based version of Microsoft's diagramming software, is now generally available, ending a public beta that began in December 2016.

"Visio Online comes with a host of templates for a variety of audiences, including starter diagrams for basic flowcharts, process diagrams, timelines, business matrixes, Specification and Description Language diagrams, and many more," wrote Microsoft Visio staffers in an Oct. 18 blog post.

Visio Online is available in two flavors, Plan 1 and Plan 2. Both come with the same 2GB of OneDrive storage, but the prices and perks are different.

Visio Online Plan 1 (replacing Visio Services for SharePoint Online) costs $5 per user per month with an annual commitment ($60 per year) and enables users to share their diagrams as an image, PDF file, email attachment or web link. It also supports user comments and includes accessibility features like Microsoft's Narrator tool, high-contrast rendering and an accessibility checker.

Customers who opt for Visio Online Plan 2 (formerly Visio Pro for Office 365) will pay $13 per user per month, again with an annual commitment ($156 per year). The additional outlay gets buyers everything included in Plan 1, plus a copy of the Visio desktop application, co-authoring capabilities and annotations. Plan 2 also includes improved support for AutoCAD drawings and an integration with Power BI, the company's cloud-based business intelligence and data visualization product.

In August, the company announced its new Visio Custom Visual for Power BI, allowing users to use their floor plans, flow charts and other diagrams as the basis for interactive Power BI visualizations. Currently available in preview, Microsoft plans to officially release Custom Visual sometime in 2018.

Additionally, Visio Online Plan 2 provides a Data Visualizer tool that automatically turns Excel-based process map data into Visio diagrams. Similar functionality is available in the Visio Pro software for Office 365. For iPhone and iPad owners, Visio Viewer for iOS allows users to view, share and interact with diagrams. A comparison chart is available on the Visio Online webpage.

Hoever, Visio isn't the only diagramming tool that's reaching into the cloud.

On Sept. 27, Lucidchart announced the launch of an add-on for Google Slides, the search giant's online presentation builder. Similar to the embedding functionality Lucidchart brought to Google Docs and Sheets, the add-on allows users to add diagrams without having to manually export them outside of the Slides interface.

In April, SmartDraw officially launched the 2017 version of its drawing software, which also includes its SmartDraw Cloud offering. The new version adds 700 new templates for creating presentations and infographics and allows users to import AutoCAD and Visio data, including Visio stencils, and insert diagrams into Google Docs and Sheets.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...