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Microsoft Outlines New Visio Online Plan Options

Microsoft this week said it was announcing the "general availability of Visio Online, including two new subscription plans: Visio Online Plan 1 and Visio Online Plan 2," according to a Microsoft spokesperson, via e-mail.

Visio is an application that lets users map processes in graphical forms of various sorts. It's offered as service via a browser and there also are premises-based Visio applications, namely Visio Standard 2016 and Visio Professional 2016. Microsoft describes some of the associated licensing details at this page.

The Visio Online service actually went live in March for Office 365 subscribers. The news this week apparently is the two added plan options, which are described to a degree in this Wednesday Microsoft announcement.

Visio Online Plans
Visio Online is included in most Office 365 subscription plans. However, specific software use rights for end users depend on selecting between two added options, namely Visio Online Plan 1 or Visio Online Plan 2. In a nutshell, Plan 1 permits Visio Online diagram creation and sharing for $5 per month per user, but it lacks the Visio desktop application. Plan 2 expands on Plan 1 to include the Visio desktop application and the ability to connect Visio diagrams to Office 365 data, priced at $13 per month per user.

In a Visio FAQ, Microsoft explained that Visio Online Plan 2 "includes the same capabilities as Visio Professional 2016."

Microsoft shows a full comparison of Visio Online Plan 1 and Plan 2 at this page. In addition to outlining those plans, Microsoft's announcement explained that "Visio Online Plan 2 is the new name for Visio Pro for Office 365."

While most Office 365 subscribers have access to Visio Online, those end users just have file-viewing rights. Organizations would need to pay additionally for Visio Online Plan 1 or Plan 2 subscriptions to get file creation and editing capabilities. Here's how the spokesperson explained that detail:

Anyone with an Office 365, SharePoint Online, or OneDrive for Business subscription can view diagrams created and shared through Visio Online. This way the entire organization can be involved in the diagramming process. The create and edit capabilities of Visio are not included in Office 365 subscriptions.

Vision Online Plan 2 Features
This week, Microsoft outlined Visio Online Plan 2 capabilities. They're notable for letting users connect Visio diagrams with Office 365 services. Most of these Visio Online Plan 2 capabilities are out of preview.

The ability to connect Visio Online diagrams with Power BI is one of those new Visio Online Plan 2 capabilities, but it's not out of preview. It's a new way of showing off Power BI data and was initially released at the preview stage back in August. Microsoft's announcement explained that "the Visio and Power BI integration is currently in public preview and planned for release next year."

The way that Power BI integration works is that a Visio diagram needs to be stored on a SharePoint or OneDrive for Business location. It can then be connected to live Power BI data and the diagram can be "embedded in a Power BI dashboard," Microsoft's announcement explained. The process is explained in this Microsoft document. It noted that users could see sign-in prompts. The data graphics that get shown in the integrated Visio diagrams are Power BI graphics. Large diagrams with "shape counts over 1,000" aren't supported.

Another Visio Online Plan 2 capability is the ability to create a Visio diagram from Excel table data using a "Data Visualizer" template, a feature that's apparently out of preview.

Visio Online Plan 2 also supports mobile Visio diagram viewing on iPad and iPhone devices through a "Visio Viewer for iOS" application installed on those devices from Apple's App Store. The diagrams need to be shared via SharePoint or OneDrive for it to work, according to the announcement.

Lastly, Visio Online Plan 2 permits users to snip Visio diagrams and export them into PowerPoint using a PowerPoint "Slide Snippets" feature.

Visio Web Access Deprecation
Microsoft's announcement also noted that Visio Online will be replacing Visio Services for SharePoint Online, which is also called "Visio Web Access." The spokesperson offered the following response on how organizations should prepare for this switch, which will happen next year:

Visio Web Access will be discontinued on September 30th, 2018. Microsoft recommends that customers start upgrading to Visio Online to take advantage of the latest product innovations and ensure latest performance and reliability improvements that come from Microsoft's Visio team. More information on migration assistance can be found here.

Microsoft's Visio licensing can be confusing. Licensing partner Comparex perhaps offers the best overview, which can be seen at this page.

Microsoft also has this Visio Online FAQ. It describes the available browser and language support for Visio Online. It also outlines cases where some features of the deprecated Visio Web Access service won't get supported in Visio Online.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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