Some of the Visio MVPs:

Visio Experts
bVisual Microsoft Visio & MapPoint Solution Providers John Goldsmith's visLog Groupe utilisateurs Microsoft Visio



This is a work in progress and I have yet to enter all the information. So this page will evolve over time as I update the information. Additional information is always welcome.

Version Numbers and File Sizes

This table indicates the version numbers that were assigned to each product. It also includes the date the product was released, the name and size of the main executable and DLL.

Product Version








1.0 Nov 1992 Visio.exe 323,216 Visiolib.dll 1,458,688
Visio Lite Jan 29, 1993 Visiolte.exe 57,308 Visiolte.dll 663,873
Visio Home Aug 18, 1993 Visio.exe 323,216 Visiolib.dll 1,458,688
2.0 2.0 Sep 30, 1993 Visio.exe 502,752 Visiolib.dll 1,909,760
3.0 3.0 Nov 14, 1994 Visio.exe
4.0 4.0 AUG 15, 1995 VISIO16.EXE
4.0 Tech 4.0 Aug 1995 VISIO32.EXE
4.0B 4.0 VISIO32.EXE
4.0B Std/Tech 4.0 VISIO32.EXE
4.0C 4.0 VISIO32.EXE
4.1 4.1 VISIO32.EXE
4.1 Tech 4.1 VISIO32.EXE
4.5 Prof 4.5 Jan 1997 VISIO32.EXE 53,248 VISPRO32.DLL 219,136
4.5 Tech 4.5 Jan 1997 VISIO32.EXE 53,248 VISTK32.DLL 219,136
5.0 Std/Pro/Tech 5.0 VISIO32.EXE 62,464 VISLIB32.DLL 3,864,064
5.0 Pro 5.0 VISPRO32.DLL 213,504
5.0 Tech 5.0 VISTK32.DLL 213,504
5.0 Pro & Tech 5.0 VISPROTK.DLL 208,896
5.0A Std/Pro/Tech 5.0 1998 VISIO32.EXE 62,464 VISLIB32.DLL 3,852,800
5.0A Pro 5.0 1998 VISPRO32.DLL 213,504
5.0A Tech 5.0 1998 VISTK32.DLL 213,504
5.0A Pro & Tech 5.0 VISPROTK.DLL 208,896
5.0B Std/Pro/Tech 5.0 VISIO32.EXE 62,464 VISLIB32.DLL 3,891,712
5.0B Pro 5.0 VISPRO32.DLL 213,504
5.0B Tech 5.0 VISTK32.DLL 213,504
5.0B Pro & Tech 5.0 VISPROTK.DLL 208,896
5.0C 5.0C 5.0 Visio32.exe
2000 6.0 Aug 4, 1999 Visio32.exe 65,536 VisLib32.dll 4,988,928
MS 2000 Nov 1999 Visio32.exe
MS 2002 10.0 Apr 16,2001 Visio32.exe 73,728 Vislib.DLL 6,292,648 VisPrx32.DLL 98,304
2003 11.0.3216.5614 Oct 20, 2003 VisPrx32.DLL
2003 SP1 11 July 27, 2005 VisPrx32.DLL
2003 SP2 11.0.7969.0 Sept 27, 2005 VisPrx32.DLL
Visio 2007 12 Nov, 2006 Visio.exe VisPrx32.DLL
Visio 2010 14 2009 Visio.exe 1,450 Vislib.DLL 19,230 VisPrx32.DLL
Visio 2013 15 Jan 29, 2013 Visio.exe

Visio Files

There is an Excel spreadsheet that summarizes the various files that are included with Visio.



Paul Brainerd, Jeremy Jaech and three other engineers grouped together and formed Aldus to target the page layout market for smaller newspapers. A three-way relationship was formed between Apple, Adobe which was the developer of the software that ran the Apple LaserWriter printer and Aldus who developed PageMaker to create this desktop publishing market.

September 1990

Axon founded.

Axon Corporation was founded to develop and market mainstream business graphics software products for personal computers. The Seattle-based company’s co-founders include Jeremy Jaech and Dave Walter, two of the founders of Aldus Corporation and Ted Johnson, the lead developer of Aldus PageMaker for Windows.

Jeremy and Ted believed the just-released Windows 3 would be widely adopted as a corporate standard. They anticipated that technical drawing would be essential as the third leg of a stool otherwise resting on words and numbers.


Before the first product was launched the name was changed to Shapeware because the company had come up with an innovative way of drawing on the computer. They used building blocks, or shapes and people would assemble drawings rather than create them from scratch, because most people can't draw. So it was sort of a building block or Tinker Toy approach to creating drawings. And so the building blocks were called shapes in our lingo.

The company was located down in the retail district of Seattle, right across the street from the Bon Marche. The week after they changed the name to Shapeware; the Bon Marche hung big banners outside their building to promote their "shapeware sale" for ladies' lingerie.

November 1992

Visio 1.0 released.

  • Code named MainLine
  • The Visio team: Tom Booster, Mitch Boss, Morgan Brown, Peggy Brownlee, Bill Bryant, Carol Buchmiller, Victoria Buker, Shivonne Byrne, Shirley Cheng, Marty Chilberg, Bente Vollan Cole, Keith Collins, Mark Davison, A. Michele DeWilliam, Stephen DeWilliam, T.J. Evans, Rob Fahrni, Mike Frederick, William Herold, Steve Hong, Jeremy Jaech, Ted Johnson, Linda Johnson, Randy King, Maryann Klustner, Stefan Knorr, Olav Martin Kvern, Tammy McCullough, Richard Miyauchi, Ron Murrock, Peter Mullen, Lori Pearce, James Rice, Jess J. Rice, Jason Roof, Christopher Roth, Kimberly Rush, Don Sellers, Pervaze Sheikh, Susan Slaton, Steve Strom, Iswan Susanto, Nichole Vick, Robert Wagner, Dave Walter and Jan C Wright.
  • Shapeware Corporation/1601 Fifth Avenue, Suite 800\Seattle WA 98101-1625
  • Seventeen stencils
  • Modifiable shapesheets
  • 3 - 3.5" diskettes
  • Graw, one of several names recommended for ShapeWare Corp’s new diagraming software, being short for “graphics drawing.”, was eventually used by founders Jeremy Jaech and Ted Johnson for a company they formed after they left Microsoft - The Graw Group (


Shapeware establishes an online presence by acquiring a section on the Windows Vendor Forum D (WINAPD) on CompuServe.

January 1993

Visio Lite released.

  • This was part of a free 3.5" diskette released by Microsoft called the "Upgrade Adviser" that was used to indicate if a user required any upgrades to their software.
  • For the first two versions of Visio, VisioLite was used as the "free Viewer" for Visio.
  • TetraVex was the other free software that was on the diskette.

March 1993

Visio Home released.

April 1993

“Developing Visio Shapes” released.

October 1993

Visio 2.0 released.

  • The Visio team: Sandy Anderson, Doug Arbuthnot, Colleen Aylward, Jeff Beard, Keri Berger, Sarah Berry, Tom Booster, Mitch Boss, Kevin Brown, Morgan Brown, Bill Bryant, Carol Buchmiller, Jill Carlsen, Susan Casey, Roger Chapanis, Marty Chilberg, Bente Vollan Cole, Keith Collins, Bob Cordes, Michelle Cormier, Peter Crouch, Mark Davison, A. Michele DeWilliam, Stephen DeWilliam, Jane Dow, Frederick Edelblut, T.J. Evans, Rob Fahrni, Lisa Fahs, Mike Frederick, Steve Frey, Steve Fujiki, Michelle Fuqua, Sundeep Goyal, Helene Griessler, Reinhard Grunder, Kristine Harnett, William Herold, Jeremy Jaech, Kimberly Jenkins, Linda Johnson, Ted Johnson, Joanne Kaht, Michael Kalley, Maryann Klustner, Elizabeth Lambert, Cindy Leach, Ben Lee, Paul Lein, Andrea Linsky, Eric Lopez, Victoria Mallay, Anne Mariani, Kat Marriner, Greg Mathews, Holly McCargo, Dennis McCarthy, Karen McClinchey, Ivar Michelsons, Richard Miyauchi, Peter Mullen, Ron Murrock, Neal Myrick, Nancie Pageau, Lori Pearce, Jeanine Peterson, Sue Peterson, John Pierce, Peggy Pinkston, Mitch Pirtle, Jess J. Rice, Colleen Rinkel, Teresa Rogerson, Jason Roof, Aaron Rosenstein, Christopher Roth, Peter Roth, Tom Rowley, Troy Sandal, Colin Schatz, Lori Schultz, Don Sellers, Susan Slaton, Kent Smith, Brian Stern, Steve Strom, Matt Towers, Chris Van Noy, Kelly Van Spankeren, Robert Wagner, Dave Walter, Airen Willassen, Joe Williams and Jan C Wright.
  • Added control handles.
  • Object model released.
  • It is the first non-Microsoft OLE2 compliant application.
  • OLE Automation provides users with the ability to customize Visio 2.0 to meet specialized drawing and diagramming needs. With OLE Auomation, users can take advantage of high-level programming languages like Microsoft Visual Basic 3.0 to write code that accesses Visio 2.0 through a standard scripting interface.
  • An international English, French and German version are released.
  • Add ons.
  • Use new functions to streamline your ShapeSheet formulas, reduce the number of required Scratch cells, and speed up calculation and process time. For example, you can normalize angular values between 0 and 360 degrees. You can also more easily control the orientation of text.
  • a shape that is actually several shapes in one and can change form.
  • You can Enter formulas that respond to shape events, for example double-clicking a shape
  • Double click action
  • Pop up menus bring up context sensitive menu items by clicking the right mouse button.
  • Distribute objects and center drawing.
  • Non printing shapes
  • Visio 2 contains an Easter Egg (See Rob Fahrni's weblog)
  • 4 - 3.5" diskettes

November 1994

Visio has an open house in their new CompuServe forum (VISIO). Rather than sharing a section of the WINAPD forum they have a new forum of their own. The winners of the week long open house contest were:
Tues Nov 22 – Steve Kuntsman
Wed Nov 23 – Marcel Houweling
Thurs Nov 24 – Steve Rindsberg
Fri Nov 25 – Peter Strisik
Sat Nov 26 – John Marshall
Sun Nov 27 – Charlie Gallie

November 14, 1994

Visio 3.0 released.

  • Shapeware Corporation/520 Pike Street, Suite 1800\Seattle WA 98101-4001
  • Shapeware International Limited/20-22 Lower Hatch Street\Dublin 2\Ireland
  • New file format is 1/3 the size of Visio 2.0 file format.
  • Switchable user interface (Microsoft Office, Lotus SmartSuite or standard Visio).
  • Intuitive Connector Tool.
  • The ability to edit in Print Preview
  • Added stencil for Total Quality Management.
  • The infamous “Insert Visio Drawing” button was added for Word, Excel, Lotus 1-2-3, AmiPro and Freelance Graphics.
  • Graphmaker add-on for extendable and stackable shapes.
  • Has 22 stencils.
  • Has more than 750 Smart Shapes.
  • WalkPreference

Visio Express 3.0 for Microsoft Windows.

Visio Express 3.0 for Lotus SmartSuite.

Visio 3.0 (International Edition).

Visio 3.0 German.

December 1994

Visio Home 3.0

  • Visio 3 and Visio Home 3 the directory will contain files that have different names, but function in the same way. These files are: Visio 3.0 Home 3.0  VISIO.BIN VISIOHM.BIN VISIO.INI VISIOHM.INI VISIO.EXE VISIOHM.EXE VISIOLIB.DLL VISIOHML.DLL
  • Duplicate file list--Visio vs. Home CLIPART.VSS--Keep both files. The clipart stencil contained in Visio 3.0 contains computer, printer, and other business-related shapes. The clipart stencil provided with Home 3.0 contains holiday and seasonal shapes, among others.
  • MAP.VSS & MAP.VST--These files are slightly different. You may want to compare the files to determine which one you think will work better for you. In our opinion the Home version is slightly better. If one of the stencils contains a shape that is not included on the other, but you find the other better overall, you can simply copy the shape to the "better" stencil and delete the duplicate file.
  • ORGCHART.VSS & ORGCHART.VST--We recommend the Visio for Business version, because it provides the sub-paging feature.
  • BLOCK.VSS & BLOCK.VST ,EUROPE.VSS & EUROPE.VST, FLAGS.VSS, PRACTICE.VSS, STATES.VSS, WORLD.VSS--These files are the same in both directories.

August 18, 1995

Visio 4.0 released.

  • The package contained a 16 bit and a 32 bit version.
  • The 32-bit version of Visio 4.0 is one of the first applications designed for Windows 95.
  • The filenames were changed from an 8.3 format to Long File names.
  • Has more than 1000 Business Smart Shapes on 29 task-specific stencils.
  • Available for Windows 3.1, Windows 95 and Windows NT 3.5.1.
  • 12 - 3.5" diskettes or one CD-ROM
  • Visio’s OLE Automation link to databases.
  • The new Custom Properties feature allows users to associate detailed data to any Visio SmartShape easily. Default properties are included for many of the drawing types including organizational charts, network diagrams, office layouts, and flowcharts.
  • Lotus® Notes/FX™ connectivity allows diagrams to be updated automatically based on changes to fields in Lotus Notes® databases or vice versa (database information can be updated based upon changes in Visio diagrams). Once Notes becomes OLE 2.0 compatible this fall, users also will be able to edit Visio diagrams in place within the database form.
  • New diagramming types - Perspective Block diagrams (Contains a moveable vanishing point shape to adjust the perspective viewing angle.) and Mind Mapping diagrams (Illustrate planning methods, problem solving, brainstorming, and other thinking processes.).
  • Enhanced event communication between Visio and solutions. New support for events in Visio can be used by developers to trigger actions in their code.
  • Regional Map Builder tool — A useful tool for showing maps of regional areas. This feature automatically resizes geographic regions to a common scale and positions them correctly relative to one another.
  • The SmartLayers™ feature— Users can create diagrams consisting of shapes contained on different page layers, and easily identify which layers they want to print, show, snap-to, protect or highlight.
  • New drawing tools - FreeForm Tool (based on B-spline technology) gives you complete freehand drawing capability and the Format Painter Tool automatically copies line, fill, and text properties from one shape to other shapes for easy duplication of formatting. There is also a Spell Checker and a Find and Replace Text tool.
  • User Definable Grid Spacing - Now you can control the spacing of the drawing page’s grid lines, including defining a fixed grid that keeps the same density at all zoom levels.
  • Adds 27 additional line end styles and two additional line end sizes.
  • SHAPE ACTIONS: You can add shape commands, such as changing formatting and running add-ons, to a shape’s right-click menu.
  • CUSTOM PROPERTIES: Allows you to define custom data fields for a shape or page, and associate real data with the object. You can modify data in custom properties, as well as extract it, via OLE automation, for data reporting, analysis, or other uses.
  • QUICK VIEW: Save your Visio 4.0 file with a preview image, to take advantage of Windows 95 Quick View capability, and view a Visio drawing without having to open Visio or the drawing itself.
  • RIGHT BUTTON MENUS: Right-click shapes for quick access to shape formatting options and Shape Help.
  • Add-ons: Graph Maker, Link-to-Document, Link-to-Page, Orgchart Wizard, Properties Reporter, Page Layout Wizard, Project Timeline Wizard, SmartShape Wizard and Stencil Report Wizard
  • SHAPE HELP: You can find shape-specific help on any Visio 4.0 shape. Right click a shape on the drawing page or stencil to view details on the shape and how to use it.
  • CONTROL HANDLE TOOLTIPS: Point to a shape’s control handle to display a pop-up tooltip that explains the control handle’s function on that shape.
  • SMARTSHAPE WIZARD: allows you to add shape attributes such as moveable text blocks, built-in connectors, and custom properties, without having to figure out complex ShapeSheet formulas. PAGE LAYOUT WIZARD: automatically sets up page elements, such as title blocks, page numbering, and page scale, for use with all types of diagrams. REGION BUILDER WIZARD: allows you to assemble regions of states or nations from Visio’s map stencils. Perfect for laying out sales territories--no more tweaking the US or World maps! PROJECT TIMELINE WIZARD: automatically generates a Gantt chart based upon data you enter from a text file or Excel workbook. ORGANIZATIONAL CHART WIZARD: includes features similar to the Project Timeline wizard, for automatically generating organizational charts.
  • A complete installation of Visio 4.0 requires approximately 19MB of disk space. The "Typical" and "Minimum" options require 18.47MB and 8.04MB respectively.
  • Visio 4.0 comes with 29 stencils, compared to 22 in Visio 3.0. There are over 1,000 shapes included in Visio 4.0 vs. over 750 in Visio 3.0. We’ve added additional map stencils, including Asia and Africa, North and South America. In addition, many of the shapes have been enhanced in Visio 4.0, including tooltips, right mouse button menus, and actions for modifying shapes easily.
  • Scraps support provides an easy way to drag and drop partial or complete Visio diagrams onto the desktop for reuse in new Visio diagrams or in other applications.
  • Stencils can float anywhere on the screen or be docked on either side of the Visio window.
  • Extensive implementation of right mouse-button actions give users context-sensitive options on selected objects and menus.
  • Multitasking capabilities give users the ability to continue working on a diagram while another function is being executed.
  • Microsoft Office Binder support. Visio 4.0 supports the new Binder feature in Microsoft Office for Windows 95, which organizes in a single document pages from multiple applications, such as Microsoft Word text, Microsoft Excel spreadsheets, PowerPoint® slides and Visio diagrams. The binder automatically collates and numbers pages from the different applications and prints and saves them as a single file.
  • New wizards that automatically generate diagrams for users. Visio 4.0 includes three diagramming wizards that can speed the diagramming process for both first-time and experienced users. New users will find wizards the easiest way to create diagrams. Wizards also offer experienced users the most efficient way to get started.
  • The Page Layout Wizard guides users through a variety of general page-layout options and also includes specific variations for flowcharts, total quality management diagrams and office layouts. Users can customize and easily apply title blocks, borders and page numbering.
  • The Org Chart Wizard automatically generates an organizational chart from data the user imports, from an existing text file or from a Microsoft Excel workbook. Users can choose from the standard or custom org chart templates and easily select from a variety of styles. The wizards can also fit the resulting org chart to a specific page size.
  • The Timeline Wizard creates project timelines based on users’ formatting preferences and the data the user provides from an existing text file or a Microsoft Excel workbook. Once a diagram has been generated automatically, users can easily update and otherwise edit, using Visio’s standard diagramming capabilities.

August 1995

Visio Technical 4.0 released

  • First release of Visio Technical. The package contained a 16 bit and a 32 bit version.
  • Based on the same engine as Visio Standard. The components that come with the engine are what determines the audience each product is directed toward.
  • 16 - 3.5" diskettes
  • In addition to the other add-ons: * AutoCAD DWG and DXF file converter: Allows you to open DWG and DXF files saved in AutoCAD versions 7-12 to view, edit, write to DWG format, or convert to a Visio file. It also includes an Autoscale feature, which automatically scales the drawing to fit the current Visio drawing page. * Append to AutoCAD: Appends Visio shapes and text to and AutoCAD file without modifying the original data in the file. This works well for redlining and sharing drawings with others. * Convert AutoCAD library: Converts AutoCAD symbol libraries into Visio master shapes. * AutoCAD Drawing Extents: Without opening an AutoCAD file, displays its properties, such as the AutoCAD version it was created in, and the minimum and maximum X and Y values in the drawing.
  • ShapeSheet Printer: Prints the contents of a selected shape's ShapeSheet on a printer, to a text file, or to the Windows clipboard.
  • Measure: Automatically calculates the total perimeter and area of any closed shape, such as a floor plan.
  • Property line: Draws a shape based on the legal description of a piece of real estate. You enter values, such as directions and distances, and the Property Line add-on automatically plots the property, with dimensions and directions on each boundary line.
  • Additionally, full import and export of DWG/DXF formats allow users of Visio Technical to exchange files easily with users of AutoCAD®. The power to create professional-quality drawings.
  • Powerful drawing tools are included for creating lines, arcs, circles, splines and other geometric shapes.
  • Visio Technical also supports large-scale output in ANSI A-E and ISO A4-A0 sizes.
  • Visio Technical 4.0 is optimized for the Windows 95, Windows NT™ and Windows 3.1 operating systems with 32- and 16-bit versions included in the box.
  • A switchable user interface allows users of Microsoft Office, Lotus® SmartSuite® or Novell® PerfectOffice to work within the environment that is most familiar.
  • Pricing $399 suggested retail price $299 estimated U.S. street price $99 upgrade price for Visio Technical 3.0 customers; $129 for all other Visio customers Availability Sept. 8, 1995 (includes Windows 95 and Windows NT 32-bit and Windows 3.1 16-bit versions in the same box; also includes 3.5-inch disks and CD-ROM media)
  • New 32-bit architecture offers faster performance.
  • Quick View provides a preview of Visio Technical drawings without having to launch the full application.
  • Drawing files can be dragged and dropped onto the desktop as Scraps, allowing for reuse in new Visio Technical drawings or in other applications.
  • Stencils can float anywhere on the screen or be docked on either side of the Visio Technical window.
  • Extensive implementation of right mouse-button actions give users context-sensitive options on selected objects and menus.
  • Multitasking capabilities give users the ability to continue working on a drawing while another function is being executed.
  • Microsoft Office Binder support. Visio Technical 4.0 supports the new Binder feature in Microsoft Office for Windows 95, which organizes in a single document pages from multiple applications, such as Microsoft Word text, Microsoft Excel spreadsheets, PowerPoint® slides and Visio Technical drawings. The Binder automatically collates and numbers pages from the different applications and prints and saves them as a single file. Powerful new drawing tools.
  • Create and edit complex curves with the new B-spline tool. n With the SmartLayers™ feature, users can create multiple layers per drawing page and control which layers they want to print, show, snap-to, protect or highlight. Also, a single object can be assigned to multiple layers.
  • User-definable fixed grid provides greater precision control for positioning objects.
  • New Intersect and Subtract commands provide additional formatting options when combining objects to create new shapes.
  • Format Painter tool easily copies line, fill and text properties from one object to another.
  • Additional graphics attributes are available through a wider variety of line-end styles, patterns and fills.
  • Improved integration with AutoCAD. Visio Technical 4.0 now works even better with AutoCAD, enabling users to leverage their existing AutoCAD files and to share their Visio Technical drawings with users of AutoCAD.
  • Convert AutoCAD DWG/DXF files into Visio Technical drawings that can be edited with Visio Technical.
  • Export Visio Technical drawings as DWG/DXF files so they can be shared with users of AutoCAD.
  • Specify only the layers meant to be edited or displayed, resulting in much faster file conversion.
  • Append option lets users add information in Visio Technical on top of an imported DWG file. When the file is exported in DWG format and opened in AutoCAD, the appended information appears on a new layer and can be manipulated. This option is ideal for redlining and other adjacent uses.
  • Competitive file converters. In addition to full import and export of AutoCAD DWG/DXF files, users easily can convert existing work created in CorelDRAW® (versions 3.0, 4.0 and 5.0), CorelFLOW (version 2.0), Micrografx Designer™ (DRW) or ABC FlowCharter (versions 2.0, 3.0 and 4.0) into smarter Visio Technical 4.0 drawings.
  • Improved data association and database connectivity for linking drawings to data. These improvements provide users with the ability to create information-rich technical drawings.
  • Visio Technical’s OLE Automation link to databases. Through OLE Automation (sample code provided), corporate developers and solution providers can associate data in corporate databases with Visio Technical drawings. For example, users can associate network maintenance information to shapes in a network diagram and automatically generate a parts list.
  • Custom Properties feature. This feature allows users to associate detailed data easily with any Visio Technical shape. For example, users can associate part numbers and pricing information to furniture in a space plan.
  • Globally unique identification numbers. These can be generated for any or all objects to ensure accurate tracking of assets and parts.
  • Lotus Notes/FX™ connectivity. This allows drawings to be updated automatically based on changes to fields in Lotus Notes® databases or vice versa (database information can be updated based upon changes in Visio Technical drawings). Once Notes becomes OLE 2.0-compatible this fall, users also will be able to edit Visio Technical drawings in place within the database form.
  • Enhanced OLE Automation for developers. Corporate developers and system providers can customize Visio Technical easily to meet unique solution needs using OLE Automation. Visio Technical 4.0’s third-generation support for OLE Automation builds on the groundbreaking features included in earlier versions of Visio and Visio Technical to provide programmers with even greater functionality.
  • Customizable user interface. Ideal for those developing solutions who want to offer a specific set of features, menu items and toolbar buttons.
  • Support for new classes and methods. Access is provided to Visio Technical 4.0’s feature set, giving developers further ability to manipulate and automate the program’s functionality.
  • Enhanced event communication between Visio Technical and solutions. Support for new events in Visio Technical can be used by developers to trigger actions in their codes.
  • New and improved SmartShapes. Shapes are now more intuitive and provide users easier access to customizing smart behavior. Visio Technical 4.0 includes more than 2,000 technical SmartShapes on 94 task-specific stencils.
  • SmartShape tooltips provide users with quick help on how to use a shape’s control handle. By hovering over a shape’s control handle with the cursor, users can read information on a control handle’s functionality.
  • The SmartShape Wizard guides users through the process of adding basic smart behavior to any selected shape. With the wizard, users automatically can add a text box and control its position on the shape, set a shape’s protection options, add standard connection points and more.
  • Right mouse-button actions give users context-sensitive menus with commands and information specific to that shape. New text formatting tools. Visio Technical 4.0 provides new tools to ensure that text in your drawings is error-free.
  • Spell checker. Users now can correct spelling errors with the new spell-checker feature. Visio Technical’s new spell checker also recognizes other installed dictionaries within applications such as Microsoft Office and can consult those rather than installing Visio Technical’s, if preferred.
  • Find/Replace. Users can locate specific shapes in detailed drawings quickly and replace text using this new feature. A single tool for technical drawing and business diagramming needs. Because technical users also need to create flowcharts, timelines and other types of business diagrams, Visio Technical provides users with 1,000 SmartShapes for their business diagramming needs. Visio Technical also includes all of the new SmartShapes and time-saving wizards found in Visio 4.0.
  • New wizards for automatically generating diagrams. The Page Layout Wizard guides users through a variety of general page-layout options. Users can customize and easily apply title blocks, borders and page numbering. The Org Chart Wizard automatically generates an organizational chart from information the user types in, from data within an existing text file or from a Microsoft Excel workbook. The Timeline Wizard creates project time lines based on user preference and data the user either types in or provides from an existing text file or Microsoft Excel workbook.
  • Regional map builder. This tool is useful for showing maps of regional areas. It automatically resizes geographic regions to a common scale and positions them correctly relative to one another.
  • New diagramming types. The Perspective Block Diagram template provides users with the ability to create perspective diagrams simply by dragging and dropping shapes that are associated with a vanishing point onto a page. When the user manipulates the vanishing point on the drawing page, it adds perspective to the shapes accordingly. The new Mind Mapping template assists the process of brainstorming new ideas and concepts visually.
  • Visio Customer Service at 800-24-VISIO (800-248-4746).

November 1995

Initial Public Stock Offering under the ticker symbol VSIO. The company changes it's name to Visio.

Enhanced event communication between Visio and solutions. New support for events in Visio can be used by developers to trigger actions in their code.

December 12, 1995

Visio 4.0B released

  • The package contained a 16 bit and a 32 bit version.
  • SAVING FILES TO A NETWORK Fixes conditions under which Visio was unable to save or resave files, particularly to network servers. The symptoms were typically internal Visio errors #1661 & #2120.
  • PRINTING FROM THE MICROSOFT BINDER Addresses problems encountered when printing Visio drawings from the Microsoft Office Binder. (Windows 95 & Windows NT only)
  • AutoCAD CONVERTER Attribute data for AutoCAD symbols are now converted to Visio custom properties when converting a symbol library. Values for text fields inserted in Visio shapes are exported correctly.
  • LINK TO DOCUMENT ADD-ON Replaces the original 16-bit version of this Add-on, which did not function correctly. The 16- and 32-bit versions of the Add-on were also modified so that linking to another Visio drawing will not open a second instance of Visio.
  • OLE AUTOMATION Corrects the functionality of the EXPORT function and SetCustomMenus method used in programming with Visio through OLE automation.
  • ONLINE HELP Miscellaneous formatting and navigation fixes to the Visio.HLP and Drawing.HLP online help files.

Visio 4.0C releaseddd

  • The package contained a 16 bit and a 32 bit version.

June 1996

Visio Technical 4.1 released.

  • New technology reduces the time needed for installation. An additional benefit is a reduction from 16 diskettes needed for Visio Technical 4.0 to just 13 in 4.1.
  • NEW CONTENT FOR VISIO TECHNICAL 4.1 In Visio Technical 4.1 shapes have been reorganized into stencils more appropriately grouped for specific application areas. Areas now included are: Electrical & Electronic Advanced Network Diagrams Mechanical Engineering Building Mechanical HVAC (single and double line ductwork) Plumbing Pipes & Valves Fluid Power Process Flow Software Diagrams Space Planning Landscape Home Planning Shapes now take full advantage of right mouse button actions with multiple versions of shapes available through Right Mouse Action control. For example: the stencil ‘Pipes & Valves - Pipes 1’ has 36 shape masters on the stencil with an additional 22 distinct yet related shapes available through the right mouse click. Many existing 4.0 shapes were reengineered to better use Smart Shape™ technology combining logical groupings within a single shape.
  • FEATURES DWG converter Extended development of the converter has increased performance for certain conversion functions such as hatching. Batch Conversion allowing multiple DWG files to be translated in batch mode. Export of multiline text enhanced allowing for hard carriage return breaks. Improved accuracy of Imported Dimensions
  • ADDITIONS TO SHAPE MENU "Trim" function allowing overlapping lines to be trimmed at the point of intersection. "Join" function allowing multiple line segments to be merged into a single polyline. "Fit Curve" function fits a spline to a polygon’s set of vertices. "Custom Fit" has the same functionality as Fit Curve except you can control numerous parameters.
  • LOTUS NOTES Addition of support for enhanced compatibility between 32 bit Visio 4.1 and 16 bit Lotus Notes 3.
  • FILTERS Visio Technical 4.1 now includes options to open and save files in two common Web graphic formats, portable network graphic (PNG) and joint photographic experts group (JPEG).
  • ADD-ONS Visio Technical's new Database Connectivity Wizard facilitates the process of linking any Visio shape or drawing to a database. Visio Technical can link only to ODBC-compliant databases. Many database programs are ODBC-compliant. A partial list includes Microsoft Access, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft FoxPro, Paradox, and Lotus Notes. To determine whether a particular database program is ODBC-compliant, see the program's documentation. Once a link to an external database has been established, a two-way communication can take place between the drawing and the database. This provides a rich set of inter-application communication options: changes made to a database can automatically be reflected in the drawing.
  • OLE AUTOMATION ENHANCEMENTS Event Notification Visio 4.1 provides the ability for an add-on to establish run-time connections over which Visio will advise the add-on of certain event occurrences as listed in Progref.HLP. Event notification can be used with either Visual Basic, C or C++. If you use Visual Basic, it must be at least version 4.
  • New Properties and Methods In addition to new event support, there are 13 completely new methods as well as enhancements to old methods, 11 new properties and enhancements to old properties.

January 1997

Visio 4.5 Professional released

  • First release of Visio Professional.
  • Added a built in version of Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications.
  • Professional has more than one thousand SmartShape symbols.
  • The 16 bit version was dropped. Support for Windows 3.1 dropped.
  • Internet/ Intranet tools.
  • Now supports Windows 95 and Windows NT.
  • Added ODBC compliant Database connectivity.
  • Shipped on CD ROM

Visio 4.5 Technical released

  • Added a built in version of Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications.
  • Technical has more than two thousand SmartShape symbols.
  • Professional has more than one thousand SmartShape symbols..
  • The 16 bit version was dropped. Support for Windows 3.1 dropped.
  • Now supports Windows 95 and Windows NT.
  • AutoCAD DWG file converter
  • Advanced dimensioning.
  • Added ODBC compliant Database connectivity.
  • Ships with a copy of 16 bit version Technical 4.1 for Windows 3.1 users.
  • Shipped on CD ROM

March 1997

First annual Visio Solutions Conference.

August 8th 1997

2 for 1 stock split.

August 1997

Visio Network Equipment and Visio Maps released.

Visio 5.0 Std/Pro/Tech

  • Only runs on 32-bit Windows operating systems.
  • Uses the windows registry (as well as Visio.ini)
  • Interpretation of two-digit years change from (00-19 => 2000-2019 20-99 => 1920-1999)
    to (00-29 => 2000-2029 30-99 => 1930-1999)
  • File format changes (Can save as Visio 4.0)
  • Gradient fill
  • Custom Fill Patterns, Line Patterns and Line Ends.
  • Custom patterns cannot use gradient fills; they are rendered as solid fills.
  • Limits to display of Line patterns: Display of pattern instances along a line is limited to 1000.
  • Limits to display of Fill Patterns: Display of fill patterns is limited to 40,000 instances (200 x 200).

May 1, 1997

Visio acquires network equipment shapes from Sysdraw.


Visio 5.0A Std/Pro/Tech released.

Visio 5.0B Std/Pro/Tech released.

Feb 10, 1998

Visio acquires database design technology from Infomodelers Inc.

March 1998

Visio releases IntelliCAD.

July 10, 1998

Visio acquires network discovery technology from Kaspia Systems Inc

August 4, 1998

D.J. Norman announces that the Visio forum on CompuServe is closing. For the next year and a half Visio uses a web based forum for providing online support.

November 1998

Visio Enterprise 5.0 released

March 4, 1999

Visio moves to a new home at the World Trade Center in Seattle.

March 30, 1999

eVisio (code named Burger King) web site goes live.

Visio announced the eVisio product line, made-to-order products and online services configurable via the Internet. With more than 250 unique configurations, the eVisio product line lets customers start from five solutions packages (Information Technology, Engineering, Software Development, Facilities Management and eVisio Everything) or build their own eVisio products through the selection of two, six, nine or thirteen optional solutions. Optional solutions include Business Process, Sales and Marketing, Office Management, Networking, Advanced Networking, Database, Data Flow Diagrams, Unified Modeling Language (UML), Object Oriented Software, Windows UI Design, Applications Design, Process Engineering, Facilities Management, Fluid Power, Electrical Engineering, Architecture, Building Services Engineering and Bi-directional CAD Conversion.

Visio ships the completed application on a CD-ROM by overnight delivery service. The disc contains additional functions that can be accessed later by buying a key from Visio. Product costs range from $225 (U.S.) for a basic "build-your-own" package with two solution components to $640 (U.S.) for the high-end eVisio Everything package, which includes every shape, wizard and add-on that is currently available in Visio Standard 5.0c, Visio Technical 5.0 Plus and Visio Professional 5.0c.

August 4, 1999

Visio 2000 released

  • Visio Corporation\2211 Elliott Avenue\Seattle\Washington 98121-1691
    Visio International Limited\European Operations\The Visio Building\1 Grand Canal Plaza\Grand Canal Street Upper Dublin 4\Ireland
  • Nudge Feature added
  • New file format.
  • VML
  • New dynamic grid will automatically align and distribute shapes.
  • Metafiles, bitmaps, or OLE objects can be rotated
  • New Line jump styles
  • Character spacing and strikethrough/double underline type formatting
  • Outward connection points
  • connection point angles
  • Support for the Microsoft Intellimouse.
  • 32 bit version.
  • The language-specific versions of Visio 2000 that Microsoft has produced: U.S. English, International English , Spanish, French, Japanese, German, Dutch, Italian and Swedish.

September 15, 1999

Microsoft offers to buy Visio for $1.3 billion in a stock deal. Visio posted $166 million in Sales in the previous year.

Visio's stock price shot up 19 percent, or $6.37 1/2 a share to $39.87 1/2 on the Nasdaq Stock Market today. Microsoft, also traded on Nasdaq, was down $2.50 to $92.56 1/4 a share.

Today is the end of the company's last full quarter. Its products are now available in twelve languages and are used by 3.5 million people in 45 countries. Sales hit $50.1 million, with a net income of $9.5 million.

November 1999

Visio Enterprise 2000 released (Code name Venice).

December 1999

Visio has 675 employees.

January 7th, 2000

Visio acquired by Microsoft in a stock swap for $1.5 billion US. Each Visio shareholder received 0.45 Microsoft shares for each Visio share.

This was Microsoft's largest acquisition to date. Visio is now a division of Microsoft's Business Productivity Group, with its office remaining on Seattle's waterfront.

Jeremy Jaech headed the new Visio Division within Microsoft's business productivity group. Visio co-founder Johnson also become a Microsoft vice president, reporting to Jaech.

July 2001

Microsoft Visio 2000 released.

  • 2-D Directional Connection Points appeared in Visio 2000. The UI for adjusting the 2-D directional conn pt (green arrow when using the conn pt tool) was *removed* in Visio 2002 SR1 due to legal issues.
  • Visio 2000 incorporate the major enhancement of rewritten collection code and long strings everywhere. In general the V2000 memory management is much smarter..
  • Visio 2000 was the first to try to use MSI (before it was really ready), and as a result install and uninstall of V2000 is hazard fraught. V2002 resolved most of that.

December 13, 2001

The first Visio Viewer released.


Microsoft Visio 2002 released.

  • Find Shape feature
  • Same file format as Visio 2000
  • Extended object model - More than 90 new automation properties and methods
  • Save as WebPage
  • Richer colours
  • Introduced transparency
  • Improved Database wizard
  • Digital signatures for VBA projects
  • New - XML file format.
  • Built in VBA 6.3
  • Removed the AnswerWorks help system, and replace it with Microsoft's own AnswerWizard system
  • The language-specific versions of Visio 2002 that Microsoft has produced: English, Spanish, French, Japanese, German, Dutch, Italian, Swedish, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, Korean , Danish and Brazilian Portuguese.
  • Office UI added.
  • Many of the GUI enhancements in Visio 10 are due to Microsoft's new GDI Plus (graphics device interface) display engine.
    • Highlighting is outlined. Over the years, the user interface of menus and toolbars has become increasingly subtle. GDI Plus reverses the trend by highlighting selected items with an outline.
    • Floating toolbars become transparent. When a toolbar is unused for more than a few seconds, it fades to (I would guess) a 50% transparency, so that you can see the underlying document. When the cursor moves over the toolbar, the toolbar again becomes opaque.
    • The number of colors handled by Visio has been increased to 32 bits. The first 24 bits are used to specify 16.7 million colors, while the remaining 8 bits are used to handle transparency (making objects see-through).
    • Transparency of color fills and shadows means that a shape will have a see-through red color, for example. When two semi-transparent shapes overlap, you see the resulting color mix: red over blue creates purple. You can vary the level of transparency, from fully opaque to fully transparent. The lines (strokes) that define the outline of the shape cannot, however, be made transparent.
    • Visio 10 will have ClearText technology, which uses multi-color anti-aliasing to make text look crisper on computer screens.
    • Bitmap rotation. When you insert a raster image, you'll be able to rotate by any angle.
  • Changes to the keyboard shortcuts The following table summarizes only the changes and additions to the list of keyboard shortcuts:
    Align Text - CenterCTRL+SHIFT+Cnew
    Align Text - JustifyCTRL+SHIFT+Jnew
    Align Text - LeftCTRL+SHIFT+Lnew
    Align Text - RightCTRL+SHIFT+Rnew
    All CapsCTRL+SHIFT+Anew
    BoldCTRL+Bchanged from CTRL+SHIFT+B
    Bring to FrontCTRL+SHIFT+Fchanged from CTRL+F
    Character Size - DecreaseCTRL+SHIFT+,new
    Character Size -
    Delete WordCTRL+BACKSPACEnew
    Double UnderlineCTRL+SHIFT+Dnew
    Format PainterCTRL+SHIFT+Pnew
    Full-Screen ModeF10new
    GroupCTRL+SHIFT+Gchanged from CTRL+G
    ItalicCTRL+Ichanged from CTRL+SHIFT+I
    MDI* Child MaximizeCTRL+F10new
    MDI* Child RestoreCTRL+F5new
    Print PreviewCTRL+F2new
    RedoALT+SHIFT+BACKSPACEchanged from CTRL+Y
    Reorder PagesCTRL+ALT+Pnew
    Send to BackCTRL+SHIFT+Bchanged from CTRL+B
    Small CapsCTRL+SHIFT+Kchanged from CTRL+SHIFT+Y
    SubscriptCTRL+=changed from CTRL+SHIFT+X
    SuperscriptCTRL+SHIFT+=changed from CTRL+SHIFT+Z
    UnderlineCTRL+Uchanged from CTRL+SHIFT+U
    UndoALT+BACKSPACEchanged from CTRL+Z
    UngroupCTRL+SHIFT+Uchanged from CTRL+U
    Vertically Align Text - BottomCTRL+SHIFT+Vnew
    Vertically Align Text - MiddleCTRL+SHIFT+Mnew
    Vertically Align Text - TopCTRL+SHIFT+Tnew
    View at 100%CTRL+SHIFT+Inew
    Visio - MinimizeALT+F10new
    Visio - RestoreALT+F5new

March 20, 2002

The Visio 2002 software development kit (SDK) is released.

Included in the SDK is an updated programmer's reference that includes documentation on the Visio XML file format and Save as Web application programming interface (API). The SDK also offers the Visio Event Monitor tool, Persistent Events tool and Print ShapeSheet shape tool.

Tools like Persistent Events and Event Monitor, libraries (Visio Primary Interop Assemblies as well as the Visio C++ typelib and helper libraries), and Visual Studio 6.0 wizards to set up new Visio add-ons and Component Object Model (COM) add-ins.

Also included in the toolkit is a collection of comprehensive code samples to assist developers new to Visio. Developers can use the Code Librarian Viewer, A library of 43 reusable Visual Basic functions, procedures, and classes ranging in topic from event handling to printing using the Visio Automation model, to browse, search and copy reusable procedures from the Visio 2002 database for common Visio Automation tasks, such as working with connectors, formatting shapes and working with custom shape properties.

September 05, 2002

Foreign language version of the Visio Viewer released for Dutch, French, French (Benelux), French (Canadian), German, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Spanish, Spanish (Latin America) and Swedish.

November 2002

10th anniverary of the release of Visio 1.0.

October 21, 2003

Visio 2003 released.

New Features:
  • Macro Recorder - Now you can record your actions and play them back.
  • ActiveX Control - You can now embed Visio right inside your application. Be it VB, VB.Net, C#, or a C++ managed/unmanaged application. It still requires a copy of Visio to be present.
  • New selection model - Pausing over a shape will now result in a "lollipop" handle popping up so you can rotate the shape without changing to the rotation tool.
  • Visio 2003 switched over to the same text composition and rendering engine as Word. Unfortunately the minimum allowable size is 1pt. (Formerly Visio could render to .5 point.)
  • The Edit option for the Visio was disabled in Visio 2003 because they felt it was important to preserve the content that ships in the Visio box. They did not want anyone accidentally deleting or changing the Visio shapes.
  • Supports Unicode.

Updated features
  • Editing Stencils - The way to organize shapes you often use has changed in Microsoft Office Visio 2003. Instead of dragging shapes onto Visio stencils, you use the Add to My Shapes command on the shortcut menu to collect shapes on custom stencils.
  • Logical Network Diagram (Visio Professional) - The Logical Network Diagram template has been replaced with the new Detailed Network Diagram template, which provides updated, versatile shapes that meet the increasing requirements for network design and documentation.
  • Mind Mapping - The Mind Mapping template has been replaced by the Brainstorming template, which streamlines the process of adding topics, arranging topics, and formatting your diagram.
  • Process Engineering Custom Property Manager (Visio Professional) - This feature has been renamed Custom Property Sets and is now available in all templates. To find it, on the Tools menu, click Custom Property Sets.
  • Rotation tool - The Rotation tool has been replaced with rotation handles more like those used in other Microsoft Office products.
  • Sample Drawings - The sample drawings have been removed from Microsoft Office Visio 2003 and replaced with improved versions available from Microsoft Office Online.
  • Table shape - The Table shape on the Charting Shapes stencil has been replaced by the Grid shape. Table shapes in drawings made in a previous version of Visio and opened in Microsoft Office Visio 2003 retain their formatting, but the commands to change that formatting no longer work.
  • Windows User Interface template (Visio Professional) - The Windows User Interface template has been replaced with the Windows XP User Interface template. This template provides shapes designed according to Microsoft Windows XP user interface guidelines. You can quickly create polished prototypes of wizards, dialog boxes, application windows, and more.

Discontinued or Unsupported Features:
  • Data Flow Model Diagram Model Explorer (Visio Professional) - The Model Explorer has been removed from the Data Flow Model Diagram template.
  • Directory Services Directory Navigator (Visio Professional) - The Directory Navigator has been removed from the Directory Services Diagram template.
  • Forms - The Forms template has been removed.
  • Import Project Data Wizard - You can no longer import Microsoft Office Excel data, .txt, or .mpx files into a timeline, or convert data between a timeline and a Gantt chart, using the Import Project Data Wizard. You can still import Microsoft Office Project data, using the new Import Timeline Data Wizard, and you can also still use the Import Project Data Wizard, now available on the Gantt Chart menu, to create Gantt charts.
  • Import Flowchart Data wizard and Organization Chart 5.0 conversion utility - These features have been removed. To import data into a flowchart in Microsoft Office Visio 2003, you must first open the file in any version of Visio that has the feature you need and then save the file in that version. You can then open the file from within Microsoft Office Visio 2003.
  • VNE Sampler (Visio Professional) - The VNE Sampler shapes have been removed from Microsoft Office Visio 2003, but some equipment manufacturers may have shapes available on their Web sites.
  • The following file formats and converters are no longer supported: Adobe Illustrator - AI, ABC Flow Charter 2.0 - AF2, ABC Flow Charter 3.0 - AF3, ABC Flow Charter 4.0 - AF4, CorelDRAW! 3.0 - CDR, CorelDRAW! 4.0 - CDR, CorelDRAW! 5.0 - CDR, CorelDRAW! 6.0 - CDR, CorelDRAW! 7.0 - CDR, CorelFLOW 2.0 - CFL, Computer Graphics Metafile - CGM, Corel Clipart Format - CMX, Microstation - DGN, MicroGrafx Designer 3.1 - DRW, MicroGrafx Designer 6.0 (English only) - DSF, Encapsulated PostScript - EPS, Initial Graphics Exchange Specification - IGS, ZSoft PC Paintbrush - PCX, Mac clipboard - PICT, PostScript - PS, Text files - TXT and Comma Sep. Value - CSV
  • Rather than give users a false sense of security, password protection was removed. The password simply wasn't secure enough.

February 10, 2004

The latest version of the Visio SDK is released. ShapeStudio makes it's debut as a tool for creating and managing shapes. There are some new examples that show how to write code against Visio using C# and VB.Net.

April 9, 2004

Good Friday; Visio moves from their offices on the Seattle waterfront to a new building, building 36, on the Redmond campus.

April 15, 2004

Microsoft adds the Microsoft Office Visio 2003 XML Reference Schema to its open and royalty-free documentation and license program that was initially unveiled in November 2003. Microsoft is providing the complete description of the Visio Extensible Markup Language (XML) file format to enable organizations to access information captures in their Visio diagrams and to integrate with other XML-enabled applications, such as customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. Extensive support of XML in the Microsoft Office suite will allow Office applications to create, view and edit structured data stored in disparate systems.

January 30th, 2007

Visio 2007 released.

New features

  • Auto Connects
  • New shapes - ITL and workflow
  • Data Graphics
  • Pivot Diagrams
  • Data Links
  • Placement guides
  • Simplified Connections
  • Themes
  • Shape Data - The new name for Custom Properties
  • Pushlish as PDF or XPS
  • Outlook 2007 has the Visio Viewer built in

May 12th, 2010

Visio 2010 released

  • Fluent UI - aka Ribbon
  • Improved shape insertion
  • Containers
  • Visio Services
  • Visio Rules!

June 28th, 2010

Visio 2010 Service Pack 1 released

January 29, 2013

Visio 2013 released

  • New File format - Like the main Office apps, Visio has a new Zipped based format that comprises a collection of XML files.
  • Themese have been redesigned
  • You can swap shapes
  • New Shape effects - 3D rotate, bevel, glow, reflection, sketching
  • New commenting framework
  • Co-authoring
  • Customizable image clipping
  • Relative geometry in shapes
  • Support for Business Connectivity Services
  • Improvements in Visio Services
  • Duplicate Page