Core Visio is now free in Microsoft 365

productivity Nov 23, 2021

In June this year Microsoft announced they would include core Visio capabilities in Microsoft 365 for all commercial license subscribers starting in July.  This includes all the Microsoft 365 Business plans, and the 365 E, F and A plans.

I’ve been checking for this in our own tenancy and was pleased to see it appear sometime in the last few weeks.

Don’t get excited about dropping your Plan 1 or Plan 2 licenses though.  There are some things you should know:

Firstly, Visio in Microsoft 365 is basic - more basic even than the ~$10 per month Visio Plan 1 license, which itself pales against to the full-powered Plan 2 Visio.  In fact, the Visio diagramming capabilities in Microsoft 365 aren’t much better than PowerPoint.

But it must provide some value, right?  Well yes, it does makes it easy for anyone to view Visio diagrams created in the desktop client - even complicated ones, but can you edit them?  No.  If you try you’ll get the following error message.

With Visio for Microsoft 365, Microsoft has essentially built Visio Viewer into Microsoft 365, and with basic editing for basic diagrams.  It is now easier to consume this Visio content but you won't save money.  For any serious diagramming you’ll still want Visio Plan 2.  That’s the only plan that includes the desktop version of Visio, the ability to edit (older) .vsd files, and the one that includes all the 250,000 shapes you might be used to.

You can find a chart comparing all the different Visio versions and features here.

Peter Brook

Peter is our vBridge Operations and Information Security Manager. He has over 20 years experience in many NZ organisations including PGG Wrightson, CDHB, Lyttelton Port Company and Spark Digital.