Download the free Microsoft Visio Viewer

The Microsoft Visio ViewerThe Microsoft Visio Viewer is a free download that lets anyone view Visio drawings without having Visio installed on their computer. If you have Visio, you can still benefit from the viewer because it allows you to preview drawings in both Outlook and the Windows Preview pane. We recommend that everyone with Windows 7 or Windows 8 download the latest viewer to get the best experience viewing drawings.

There are two notable changes to the new viewer.

  1. The viewer allows you to view drawings saved to our new file format (as well as prior file formats).
  2. The viewer supports viewing our new shape effects, which are widely used by the new themes, variants and styles.

If you do not have the new Visio but want to view drawings created in the new Visio, you should download the new version of our free viewer.

View Visio files without Visio

If you don’t have Visio installed and don’t have access to Visio Services on SharePoint, viewing Visio drawings is still as simple as double-clicking the drawing in Windows Explorer. Internet Explorer will open, and the viewer will render the drawing in the browser. The viewer allows you to pan and zoom, navigate to different pages, see shape properties, and set different viewing options.

The Visio Viewer in Internet Explorer


Previewing Visio files in Outlook

The Visio Viewer also allows users to preview Visio drawings in Microsoft Outlook. In Outlook, you can simply single-click on a Visio drawing sent as an attachment and the viewer will display it in Outlook. You can pan and zoom the drawing, and switch to different pages. Right-click on the preview image to see some of these options.

Even if you have Visio, this is a quick way to take a peek at the drawing without leaving Outlook.

The Visio Viewer in Outlook


Previewing Visio files in Windows Explorer

You can also preview a Visio drawing directly in Windows. In Windows Explorer, click the View tab, select Preview pane, then single-click on a Visio drawing. The drawing will be displayed in the preview pane.

The Visio Viewer in the Windows Preview pane

The options to pan, zoom and switch to different pages, and the right mouse menu are available in the Windows Explorer preview pane.

Comparing the Viewer with Visio Services

One of the top questions we get about the Visio Viewer is how it differs from Visio Services. These are both products available to view Visio drawings without having Visio installed, but they are very different!

To understand the differences, we have to stop and talk a moment about Visio Services. Visio Services is part of SharePoint and SharePoint Online in Office 365. You can upload a Visio file to SharePoint and then everyone else can view it. Nothing needs to be installed on the user’s computer, and, in fact, the file can be viewed from a wide variety of devices–desktops, laptops, mobile phones, and tablets. It works with Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, and Safari, and it includes enhancements for touch and for mobile devices with smaller screens.

Visio Services

With Visio Services, users can also add comments to the drawing and, when a drawing is connected to data, Visio Services can refresh the data and update the shapes in the drawing that are linked to data. This makes Visio Services great for creating dashboards and keeping people up to date with the latest information.

In comparison, the Visio Viewer provides a static view of the drawing: users cannot add comments and the drawing does not update as data changes. The viewer is also something that you install on your computer. The viewer is very useful for viewing Visio drawings, especially when you don’t have Visio or Visio Services. Visio Services, however, is a much more powerful tool for interacting with Visio drawings.


We want to make it easy for everyone to view Visio drawings, especially the modern-looking and professional diagrams made in the new Visio. We recommend that you download new Visio Viewer to get the best viewing experience.

Please continue to let us know what you think by commenting below!