Introducing early preview of smart diagrams from Visio for Windows

Greetings from Team Visio!

We are pleased to announce an early preview of smart diagrams for the first time in Visio, brought to you exclusively by the Office Insider Program. To preview and give your feedback directly to the team, sign up for smart diagrams today!

Do you currently spend hours connecting shapes, placing the shapes into the right Swim lanes to create the perfect layout? Looking to save time while creating your process diagrams from data every day?

With Visio’s smart diagrams feature, now you can automatically create a Basic Flowchart or Cross-Functional Flowchart from your process map in Excel, in no time. The process metadata you capture in Excel now gets stored in Visio shapes as shape data for you.

How does the preview work?

The preview will be open to all Office Insider participants. If you are not a part of the Office Insider Program,  you can still get access to  by signing up today.

Note: The preview scope of our feature is currently *limited*. We are always working to improve to make our feature the best version possible, and greatly appreciate your comments and feedback.  Sign-up now!

Is the preview available in many languages?

Currently it's is only available in English-US. We hope to expand to other languages in the near future and are exploring our International options widely.

How do I send feedback?

You can send in your feedback by email to *** Email address is removed for privacy ***. You can also post your questions right here under this announcement, where the Visio team will respond to your inquiries.

I'm new to Visio. Where can I learn more?

We welcome anyone who wants to give our early feature preview a try! Not familiar with Visio? No problem. Take a test drive with A beginner's guide to Visio and Tutorial for Visio 2016 to learn the basics.

I don't have a Visio license, can I still try out the feature preview?

Yes, you can! Once you've signed up for the early preview, we will reach out to you and let you know the next steps to try this out.

How do I get started with the preview?

Once you’ve signed up for the early preview,  we will

  1. Contact you with next steps when the preview build is available
  2.  Share Visio and Excel data templates with you, where you can represent your process activities in relation to each other in an organized and structured way
  3. Once you’ve populated the data template with your process data, it can be imported in Visio to automatically create a data driven Basic Flowchart/ Cross-Functional Flowchart

Interested in trying out the smart diagrams feature?

If you’re interested in trying out a preview of this feature, please take 2 mins to fill out the sign-up form today. You will be among the first few to see or try what we have been working on the past few months.

The Visio team is ready, and we can't wait to hear from you!   ** Sign-up now! **


The Office Insider Team

This is great...Mindmanager 2017 is a train wreck. I think it's time Visio stepped it up...hoping for great things
I have corporative Visio 2016 license, Visio team please describe how i can install that feature ?

Thank you for the kind words.

Do sign-up and we will reach out to you with the next steps to try out the feature preview. With your feedback, great things will follow for sure. Cheers!

Once you have signed-up we will let you know how to get/ try out the feature preview.

If you have Visio Pro for Office 365 ('Go to file - > Accounts' to check the exact Visio version) then you can become part of Office Insider program and you will get the feature update automatically when it reaches Insiders. 

If you have any other Visio license, you will still be able to try this out, as mentioned we will update you with the next steps soon!

Sounds like a nice feature. Once you get the wrinkles out, you should migrate it to Excel! Although importing data from Excel is nice, the "average" user I've worked with would throw their hands in the air at the very concept.

But if you want more sales, you MUST make it easier for people to get Visio.  Why is it that there is NO Office bundle that includes "MS Office Visio"?  REALLY! At the very least it should be part of 365 Pro Plus ...  But it should be part of some more of the upper end Business bundles.  It should be part of 365 University and Home.  Remember the basic idea behind the "Office" bundle.  Make them pay for the tools they Want/Need to use, give them "free" access to other tools so they can learn them on their own time or at school rather than trying to learn on-the-job.

Why is it that Visio cannot be installed by users of "Consumer" licenses like 365 Home/Personal/University?

Even business users report problems trying to install Visio along side business licenses.  Why not create a installers that already have Visio (and Project) included with the various business bundles? Person starts install process, your system identifies that they have licenses for both, so give them a combined installed, everything running inside the single CTR environment. Make life easier for users.  Frankly, CTR SUCKS.

Dear User,

Thank you for the feedback. I will share the same with concerned person in my team who are trying to make trial, installations etc. simpler.

And yes, getting to Excel is a great idea! Are you looking at Visio process flowchart data templates to be available in Excel and diagram creation happening in Visio?


Shashank Gandhi

Program Manager


The flow chart pictured in the example is just a fancy collection of "shapes" Excel already does that, including "smart" shapes that keep connectors attached. So why do we have to go to visio for this feature if you are telling us to create the data in excel?

Creating this in Visio means:

  • You get Smarter shapes, not just keeping connectors attached but also storing key fields in the Shapes as Shape Data
  • You can even overlay key metrics on shapes as Data Graphics once you have created the diagram from data, this can help you make your diagram a live dashboard
  • Creating such diagrams from Excel data in Visio will also help you in keeping the diagram in sync with source data, as the data changes the diagram can be refreshed to show the latest state
  • The initial set of templates show basic flowchart and cross-functional flowchart shapes, however going forward there can be different such templates in Visio where you would be able to generate diagrams automatically leveraging the breadth of high quality stencils (shapes) in Visio

Having said that, we are also looking for Excel integration opportunities for such scenarios.


Shashank Gandhi

Program Manager

Since non-business licenses can't install it, people, especially students, will continue to use the Shapes feature, or SmartArt to do their flow charting and other charting that Visio is designed to do more "better".

From what I see, the key is you have to BUNDLE Visio with at least one of the business bundles, Office 365 University, Office 365 Student/Education (what ever the free school bundle is called) and 2016 Office Pro!  Forcing people to pay for it separately and then have to fight to install it is a losing proposition.  "Home" and school is where people have time to learn and "play" with tools before they have to actually use them at work.  Forcing people learn on the job is short sighted.  

Not allowing "consumers" to install is plain and simple stupid marketing, IMHO. You are overlooking a marketing opportunity and forcing people to use the free or low cost alternative applications. Which they will continue to use when they do move into business.  Yes, there is competition out there.


Discussion Info

Last updated April 8, 2020 Views 1,169 Applies to: