Use it if You Have Office, Look Elsewhere if You Don't
March 11, 2019

Use it if You Have Office, Look Elsewhere if You Don't

Anonymous | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 6 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Overall Satisfaction with Microsoft Visio

We use Microsoft Visio as a way to document both engineering hardware and software systems. We then provide these Visio documents either to customers as part of our deliverable or we save them as documentation for past or current projects so that other developers can quickly learn about the system. We mainly use it to simplify the documentation of complex software data flows, which can be difficult to see in the source code because the project may utilize thousands of subfunctions and third party programs.
  • There are a lot of templates that are built into the shipping version but there are also a lot more available online.
  • Easy to export into a PDF or other type of document.
  • There are a lot of various icons that you can use instead of just the simple flow-chart look.
  • Connecting/wiring the different blocks is not intuitive and can be frustrating.
  • The connections between blocks are auto-routed and it's really difficult to change them to look the way you want.
  • Searching for all the various icons is not readily available at all times. It seems like it's grouped by which project type you choose.
  • Our customers have really enjoyed the system documentation that we have created using Visio.
  • Being able to share it across development groups has been good because it simplifies teaching a new software project.
  • If we didn't already have it included with our Office package, we would probably look for an alternative due to the difficulties of using it if you aren't a power user.
We really didn't search for an alternative because we have Microsoft Visio included in our Office package and it just made sense to use that software. We also found that the vast majority of our customers have standardized on Office and a lot of them have access to Visio, which means we can send them the source files (if needed) in addition to the exported formats like PDF. Being a Microsoft Office product is really the sole reason we have used and stuck with Visio.
If you have a scenario that fits really well within a pre-defined template then it's a fantastic software to use and luckily there are a lot of templates available. I run into issues when I try to make something from scratch that I think will be really simple, like a data flow diagram. There are times it does not seem very intuitive, and it seems like I am spending more time trying to fix or make the diagram look the way I want than actually creating the content that I started out to create.

Using Microsoft Visio

Some things that I think should be easy to do are not, at least not for a beginner user. I'm sure it's easy once you get the hang of it but the two main issues I have with Visio are the connecting of different states and searching for graphics/icons after you have chosen a starting template.
Do not like to use
Unnecessarily complex
Difficult to use
  • Adding new states or icons
  • Exporting to PDF
  • Integrating with other Office products
  • Connecting states in a diagram the way you want
  • Starting from scratch
  • Using a mixture of icons/graphics from various templates