Is Visio difficult to learn?

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Learning Microsoft Visio is pretty easy to learn, overall. However, the ease of using it depends on whether you have grasped the controls. Now, grasping the controls can take quite some effort because there are lots of them. Therefore, to create appealing diagrams, you need a thorough knowledge of all the controls.
Put in mind that there are constant updates of Visio. Visio 2016 is the latest release, and it comes in three versions standard, professional, and Pro (Office 365). Though they have a common underlying design, using each version of Visio requires a deeper understanding of its features.

Is Visio difficult to learn

10 reasons why Visio is easy to learn

Using Visio is easy for the following reasons:

  1. Has lots of templates: There are many premade shapes, sample drawings, and intelligent templates to jumpstart your drawing. This variety of options works for a wide range of people.
  2. Visio allows collaboration: You can put together two or more minds to develop stellar diagrams. It allows revisions, comments, and brainstorming during the design process. 

Automated features: the Visio automated features are important in accurately aligning and adding shapes courtesy of features like 

  1. Quick Shapes Mini Toolbar.
  2. Logical grouping of features: it is to locate all features you need during the construction process, making it easier and efficient to create diagrams. 
  3. See as you design: with Visio, you see what you are designing, helping you avoid flaws right away. 
  4. Lots of formatting tools: formatting and designing tools make it easy to accomplish tasks
  5. Real-time data: you can connect diagrams to data sources like SQL and get real-time changes within the diagram. You can define changes with colors, symbols, icons, etc. 
  6. SharePoint workflows feature allows the creation, monitoring, importing, and exporting of data. Thus, easy handling of your data.
  7. Diagram validation is only a click away, meaning you can easily create logical diagrams with lots of ease. Just set rules.
  8. You can work both offline and in the cloud – such flexibility makes it easy to use. 

Click this affiliate link to get Microsoft Visio 2019 Standard For Windows.

Is Visio easy to use for a beginner?

Using Visio is pretty easy. However, like any software, you need to work extremely harder to comprehend to be able to grasp the details of all the controls. 

As a beginner, you can’t jump into Visio and start using it. It is advisable to go over a tutorial to teach some basics. Of course, that should take some time – but it depends on your ability to grasp concepts. So, how easy Visio is to beginners boils down on their ability to quickly understand the software features. 

Visio is a handy tool for diagraming and flowchart creation – for all occasions. Therefore, it has some technical aspects. Good thing; it has lots of tools, functions, templates, themes, and shapes that aid in the creation process. 

It will be difficult and confusing initially, more so if it is your first time using the Microsoft office interface or your first time dealing with a diagraming tool. That’s why you need to find a beginner’s tutorial to help you navigate the Visio software easily. 

A good beginner’s tutorial exposes you to hands-on experiences with a live instructor. Always look for tutorials with a customized curriculum as they give real-world knowledge. 

What are the must-learn Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Visio) techniques?

Microsoft programs are valuable skills to anyone intending to know how to create perfect documents, presentations, and data analysis. 

  • Excel: learn shortcuts – it saves tons of time. Other important skills include data analysis and validation, table and spreadsheet creation, converting texts to columns, functions, data grouping macros, VBA.
  • Word: important skills including merging documents, creating labels, creating comments, grammar check, table creation, printing spelling check, document protection, macros, formatting documents and texts, and tracking changes.
  • PowerPoint: it exposes you to presentations, slides creation, creating and formatting templates, creating interactive slideshows, linking and embedding videos, inserting hyperlinks, and inserting and formatting media. 
  • Access: MS access exposes you to databases. You should be able to calculate controls, create queries, use VBA and SQL, sort and filter data, establish relationships, and use other MS applications in Access. 
  • Visio: must-learn skills include constructing flowcharts, org charts, floor plans, layers, and diagrams, adding texts, placing shapes, guides and connectors, linking diagrams, customizing stencils, and printing and sharing. 

Technically, Microsoft office has wider applications – schools, business, engineering, etc., because it is a combination of different tools. So, knowing each tool’s functions gives you a stronger base to explore and implement them deeply, depending on the kind of job at hand. 

Click this affiliate link to get Microsoft Visio 2019 Standard For Windows.

What are the best Microsoft Visio alternatives?

Visio is a popular diagramming tool – no doubt about it. Typical, most users hail it for its powerful and high number of features, which makes creating almost any kind of flowchart of diagrams a breeze. 

Let alone inbuild shapes, Visio packs lots of stencils and shapes. You also get the latest features that can automate the entire process and work with real-time data. 

Is there any alternative that gives similar or better results?

  • LucidChart: it boasts of its intuitive user interface (drag and drop function) and is cost-effective. Besides, it comes with a library full of shapes and templates to enable quicker creation. And still, you can register and only use the free trial period.  

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  • SmartDraw: strategy planning, project management, and document procession are just some of the functions of SmartDraw. Its standout feature is that it is much easier to use than any other alternatives, and you can make visuals on lots of devices. 
  • ASCIIFlow Infinity: call it an easy, quick, and simple fix to your diagramming needs. Though it lacks many symbols and shapes, it has a clear format and utilizes the Windows shortcuts. 
  • Gliffy: it offers paid and free versions, and it is a cloud-based robust diagramming software. You can integrate it with JIRA, Google Drive, and Confluence. 

Is there an online tool that lets you create diagrams as Visio does? 

Free, paid with a trial, etc.

There are a lot of diagraming tools that you can use in place of Microsoft Visio. That means you can construct detailed diagrams for various uses in various fields. Though Visio is so powerful and popular, it has some limitations that can make your job a bit challenging.

If so, replace Microsoft Visio with: 

Edraw MaxIt comes with premade templates and symbols (over 280 design solutions), and you can import all drawings in different file formats, e.g., PDF, Word, PPT, and HTML. Besides, you can share designs anytime and anywhere. 

Edraw Max has various paid plans. But you basically pay between $5.75/month to $8.25/month. But you can try it for free. 

This diagramming tool works for Mac OS X and Windows. It creates network diagrams, flowcharts, mind maps, and many more. Incredibly, you can use it without the internet, and it features more than 100 templates. 

Besides, it has features that aid in arranging your diagrams easily. New to diagraming? Don’t worry; there is an online tutorial. 

MyDraw license costs $69, and its renewal costs $ 36. Note that the license is perpetual, and it comes with two keys.

Other Visio alternatives include:

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Microsoft Visio

The first version of Visio was released in 1992, and in 2000 Microsoft and has since been improving its features and functionalities to make it a better app. 

This software’s design is geared towards drawing diagrams and flowcharts, and it does better than the majority of its competitors. For these reasons, most marketers, engineers, and business owners extensively use Visio for their day-to-day activities. 

So, what does Microsoft Visio offer to users?

Microsoft Visio offers lots of tools to make diagraming a breeze. Within a short time, you can create visuals that are easy to comprehend from complex data. This is possible because it packs lots of starter programs, premade templates, as well as templates. 

And you can use the Visio web app or on the desktop app. 

The templates range allows you to easily visualize problems and map solutions, whether you use SWOT or fishbone diagrams. 

For flowcharts, Floor plans, Network diagrams, and Org charts. You get lots of handy features to make creation easy. Beyond that, you can share your creations and make them more appealing. 

Microsoft Visio is quite affordable – it has various plans that cover all sizes of business and individuals. But you can use the free version. 

Visio for dummies

Visio is an important tool that makes it easy to communicate complex data at a glance. If you are new to Visio, you’ll need to learn its features to use it effectively. 

With Visio, you can create different kinds of diagrams for various uses. Visio is a robust, easy to use, and flexible tool with lots of functionalities. The idea behind Visio is getting your ideas on paper very quickly.

You can choose to learn Visio 2010, 2013, or 2016. Still, there is an option of learning Visio web. 

Three things are the most important for anyone intending to learn to use Visio. They are:

  • How to use a template
  • How to arrange and connect shapes
  • Modifying shapes with texts 

Choosing a template

Templates to choose from include stencils, grid measurements, and shapes, and you get them on either your Visio app or o the Web. Upon choosing your favorite templates, you can begin creating diagrams. 

Arranging and connecting shapes

There is the shapes window – so drag stencils from this window into the canvas and then connect them. You can use the AutoConnect arrows or any other tools to connect them. 

Customizing diagrams 

There are various ways to customize your diagrams. This includes adding titles, applying borders, adding backgrounds, and applying themes. 

Click this affiliate link to get Microsoft Visio 2019 Standard For Windows.

What is Visio software used for?

Visio is a powerful tool for designing and drawing different kinds of diagrams. Ideally, you can create organizational charts, flowcharts, floor, and building plans, process flow diagrams, data flow diagrams, 3D maps, business process modeling, swimlane diagrams, and many more. 

Microsoft Visio essentially is an add-on to Microsoft Office, and the latest version is Visio 2016. If you are using the latest version, then you’ll purchase either of its three versions, i.e., Visio Pro for Office 365 ($13 – $15.50 per month), Visio Standard ($299.99), and Visio Professional ($589.99).

Regardless of the MS Visio version, they share functionalities with MS Office Word and Excel – for instance, a variety of color choices and texts. Besides, they allow data feed on MS Access and MS Excel directly. 

With Visio, you can create professional diagrams, and the biggest advantage is that you can use it in multiple settings. Typically, Visio diagrams are precise and slick – and you can create almost any type of diagram on earth. That should encompass audits, reports, presentations, documentation, and modeling. 

Microsoft Visio’s flexibility is due to its huge library of shapes, which represent specialized diagrams used extensively in various fields. 

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Is Visio easy to use?

It depends on a lot of factors. Software users are normally categorized into three – beginners, intermediates, and pros. Of course, if you are a beginner, you may find it incredibly difficult to construct, edit, and customize even the simplest diagram. 

On the other hand, experienced users can navigate through the entire ecosystem much easily. As a result, they can rep[resent the most complex information easy to comprehend. 

It’s true; Visio features lots of tools and functionalities. This requires you to study them, or at least be taught by an experienced instructor. 

Look, opening a new blank page can be easy. Similarly, picking objects or shapes is easy. However, customizing these shapes to suit a particular need can be hectic if you lack experience with diagraming apps. 

Nonetheless, the developers of Visio aimed at creating a tool that is easy to use for all categories of individuals across different industries. If you must learn how to use Visio, then a whole course should take you 7 hours to master the basics – opening a blank page, selecting shapes, and customizing them. 

If you want to be a Visio professional, then you need to practices more. Keep in mind; Visio is easy to learn and use. 

Click this affiliate link to get Microsoft Visio 2019 Standard For Windows.

What is Visio used for?

By now, you know that with Visio, you can create precise images or diagrams for various applications. While that is the major role of Visio, you cannot impose limitations on what this app can do. Essentially, it depends on your experience with the software. 

Mostly, users or learners limit Visio to only creating basic flowcharts and organizational charts. That is a huge misconception because Visio is much more flexible than these mere ideas. Within your business organization, you can use it in all the departments, and it won’t fail you. 

So, to what use can you place your Visio tool?

  • Defining Timelines: Visio provides timelines that are very clearly defined, a valuable thing in project management. Even non-experts can understand such reports at a glance. 
  • Process Diagram: process models are important, especially if you have a customer support team. Visio lets you define procedures clearly; as such, your employees can easily follow the procedures. 
  • Specialist Application: Visio is great for all teams. However, it is much more valuable for specialists like engineers and architects to design different aspects, and Visio offers an easy-to-use platform for such. 

Visio is highly adaptable, thanks to its high number of advanced features. It’s advisable to use all these features to benefit from the app.  

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Learn Visio online

Are you interested in learning Visio? It is easy. Just grab one of the numerous online tutorials and begin studying. The sensational part is that you can find a rich supply of tutorials online. 

While learning Visio online can be exciting, it is important to specify the edition of Visio you what to learn. For years, Visio has been evolving – from 2000 to its latest release in 2016. 

While the latest version may have powerful features, it still has some glaring limitations. Therefore, not everyone may want to use it. Still, some people would prefer the 2013 version due to their personal preference. 

Nonetheless, if you choose an online course, it should complete and easy to understand. Beyond the course notes, there should be a video tutorial to guide you in the whole process. 

Some of the online Visio courses include:

  • Creating flowcharts for beginners, which takes about 29 minutes. It’s a video tutorial 
  • Essential training – Visio 2007
  • Essential training – Visio 2016, which is about 5 hours
  • Advanced Visio lessons 
  • Visio tips and tricks 
  • Learning Visio 2013

For these courses, you’ll have to pay. 

Besides, you can study Visio online at Microsoft. At Microsoft, you get a step-by-step guide, i.e., from opening a blank Visio page to customizing your diagram to suit your needs. And it’s absolutely free. 

Visio 2013 tutorial

There lots of tutorials to help you grasp Visio 2013. However, it is good to choose tutorials that approach the Visio 2013 in a stepwise manner. 

Visio 2013 comes in three editions, two of which use desktop installation model. The three editions include:

  • Visio Standard: it is a starter package but offers admirable capability when creating business diagrams. It has 26 templates, and you can create diagrams across six categories. 
  • Visio Professional: this edition has 4+ dozens of templates, and you can use them across eight different categories. Additionally, it lets you link diagrams to data sources and comes with data validation capabilities. 
  • Visio Pro for Office 365: similar to Visio professional, but it is software based in the cloud, and it allows users to subscribe monthly or annually. Additionally, you can install it on up to 5 computers. 

Typically, Visio 2013 is an improvement of Visio 2010. It adds a long list of new and powerful features enabling you to do various things. 

Visio 2013 tutorial teaches users to understand how to operate these versions fully. You can get the learning material from the Microsoft support page or other sources.

Realize that the main block of Visio 2013 is Stencils, Shapes, and templates. So, you must understand them. 

Click this affiliate link to get Microsoft Visio 2019 Standard For Windows.

How to use Visio 2016

Visio 2016 is the latest edition version; and therefore, it packs lots, which you need to know to be able to develop better-looking diagrams. Ideally, the major parts of Visio 2016 include: 

  • How to create Visio diagrams. In this section, you need to know how to create a wide variety of diagrams (those earlier mentioned) and also be able to manage texts, pages, and shapes.
  • Adding data to diagrams, which involves understanding the shape of the data and associated fields. Besides, it involves data visualization and linking the diagrams to external data sources.
  • Sharing the data you’ve created. Besides sharing the data, you can also enhance it. That means applying hyperlinks, adding structures, printing, validating, collaborations, and publishing.

Using Visio 2016 is procedural, and the process is quite demanding. So, to be able to manipulate the entire system fully, you need a full understanding of how it works. 

In summary, here is how to use Visio 2016:

  • Select and then open a Visio template by starting your Visio app or on the Web. 
  • Check out the available template within the Vison system, and then select the right one. Alternatively, you can begin from scratch by choosing the Basic Diagram.
  • Arrange/connect shapes – select the shapes and then drag them into the open canvas. Select the right shapes (hold the mouse over the arrow to reveal four shapes).
  • Detail your diagrams by adding texts. 

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Visio makes diagraming very easy. This tool comes with many features and tools that make it easier to understand complex data from your organization. The latest Visio version – Visio 2016 allows for online capabilities that allow online viewing. Here, multiple can work simultaneously on a similar project to bring out something that’s more professional. 

Beyond that, Visio is incredibly easy for everyone, and its learning curve isn’t hard. For IT specialist, Visio JavaScript API to create mashup solutions that address specific problems in an organization. That makes Visio a diagramming tool for all categories within an organization. 

Click this affiliate link to get Microsoft Visio 2019 Standard For Windows.


Luis Gillman
Luis Gillman

Hi, I Am Luis Gillman CA (SA), ACMA
I am a Chartered Accountant (SA) and CIMA (SA) and author of Due Diligence: A strategic and Financial Approach.

The book was published by Lexis Nexis on 2001. In 2010, I wrote the second edition. Much of this website is derived from these two books.

In addition I have published an article entitled the Link Between Due Diligence and Valautions.

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure that the information published on this website is accurate, the author and owners of this website take no responsibility  for any loss or damage suffered as a result of relience upon the information contained therein.  Furthermore the bulk of the information is derived from information in 2018 and use therefore is at your on risk. In addition you should consult professional advice if required.