Applications Advocates - Visio

In the fourth of our Applications Advocates articles, we hear from Lead Business Analyst, Helen Cardis who tells us all about Visio.  

Name of application


How to find and use it

Microsoft Visio is part of the Microsoft Office suite, however you would need to buy a licence following your usual purchasing route. Once you receive your licence details, then Visio can be installed using the ‘Oxford Applications Installer’. Visio is not yet available in Teams. 

What it does

Essentially you can use Visio to draw diagrams. It is a great tool for documenting the following types of activities:  

  • Business processes 
  • Process maps (‘As is’ and ‘To be’)  
  • Flow charts 
  • Data flows 
  • Data models 
  • Organisational charts 
  • Network diagrams 
  • Floorplans  
  • Producing rich pictures, road maps or diagrams  
  • Wire framing 

How it looks

Visio – best bits and top tips

Visio has really powerful process mapping and modelling capabilities  - you can create easy to read diagrams and process maps. 

It's great for creating detailed flowcharts and diagrams. Check out Casewise Evolve (use VPN) which has links to our Visio business processes. Here is more information about Casewise and how to get access

Other features and tips include:

  • You can save documents as PDFs and share with users who don’t have a Visio licence 
  • Within the Business Analysis team we’ve created ‘As is’ and ‘To be’ process templates and examples, and created a shapes stencil (a library of all the shapes we would use when mapping) to ensure a level of consistency and quality 
  • When you have created a diagram it can be difficult to line up the individual elements which can be quite frustrating (you can spend longer on alignment than you did in creating the diagram!) - For information on aligning shapes see  Auto-positioning and aligning of shapes in Visio which can really speed up the process 

More information including training resources are available at: 

It’s a life-saver for…

​​​In our team we use it primarily to document business processes. You are able to map processes quickly and easily, to understand how the different components of the University work. We use it in most of the projects we work on, to help understand the current ‘as is’ tasks, processes and pain points and to document the ‘to be’ version. I’ve also used it in producing road map diagrams and rich pictures to help people have a shared understanding of a situation, showing pictorially the main elements and relationships that may need to be considered. ​

What makes it better than its closest competitor?

Visio is widely used and adopted as the best tool for business processes, you can link diagrams together and you can share diagrams without having to convert them. It’s really accessible too, just open it up and you can immediately begin drawing. So why not give it a go! 

Do you have a favourite application?  

Get in touch and let us know.

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