none
Visio VS Adobe Illustrator, etc.

    Question

  • Hello,

    I would like to ask a question on Visio functionality.

    Is Visio intended as a vector graphic tool? In the same genre, there are also other popular choices such as

    1.     Adobe Illustrator
    2.     Macromedia Freehand
    3.     and Opensource alternatives


    Briefly and most importantly, could you give a few comparisons on the the relative pros and cons between Visio and them?



    Bob

    Wednesday, April 27, 2011 6:56 AM

Answers

  • Hi Bob,

    You can do fairly decent illustrations with Visio, but it requires advanced usage, and you're right, for most people it would be considered painful. You will see a lot of pretty looking stuff on my site (www.visguy.com) but I use advanced and developer techniques to create a lot of the stuff.

    Some people's workflows use Illustrator or Freehand to create artwork, then they import to Visio via SVG. Then they can add special Visio behaviors like data fields, or text-repositioning control handles.

    "Two-and-a-half-cents" is just a modification of "That's my two cents worth", which means; "That's my basic opinion, for what it's worth."


    Chris Roth Visio Guy (http://www.visguy.com) Please check Mark as Answered if I've answered your question and solved your problem. If you found my post helpful, please click Vote as Helpful.
    • Marked as answer by Bob Sun Thursday, April 28, 2011 2:26 AM
    Wednesday, April 27, 2011 1:05 PM
  • you might check this out

    http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/en/details.aspx?FamilyID=c4d6f3d5-1b4a-4a6b-ad12-197b8e2a0c61

    al

     


    If this answer solves your problem, please check Mark as Answered. If this answer helps, please click the Vote as Helpful button. Al Edlund Visio MVP
    • Marked as answer by Bob Sun Thursday, April 28, 2011 2:26 AM
    Wednesday, April 27, 2011 1:23 PM

All replies

  • Hi Bob,

    While I haven't used Illustrator or Freehand for a few versions, they are generally intended for graphic artists who are adept at creating illustrations from the ground up, drawing every single element they need and using artist's techniques to get the job done. These apps also do fancy color-separation stuff when it is time to print, are very good with PostScript, etc.

    Visio's basic philosophy is that offices users don't want to draw, but instead should assemble diagrams from existing symbols. Visio has connectors which stay glued to shapes when they are moved. This is great for flowcharts, org charts, network diagrams, etc. I don't know if the illustration packages have the notion of glued connectors these days.

    Visio behaves very much like other MS Office apps, so the standardization is also a plus. It has a huge installed base, so you are working with the "standard" and have the best chance of being able to share diagrams with other users.

    You can do scaled drawings in a scaled environment (ie: space plans, office plans, elevation diagrams of network rack systems, etc.) By setting, say 1" = 1' - 0", you can draw in real-world units, and don't need to convert to fit objects on a page. I don't know if Illustrator or Freehand have any kind of page scale settings.

    A lot of competing products and open source products mimic many of Visio's features. Most seem to have gotten connectors to stick to shapes in connected diagrams, and many have drag-and-drop from palettes of shapes. Where they miss out is in ShapeSheet smarts and automation features.

    Visio is very automatable, so you can generate drawings automatically from data, or you can read data from an existing drawing. This lets Visio evolve within an organization. For example: Folks start by creating useful drawings. Then they program a little bit to extract rudimentary data from a drawing. Then they develop a bit more and create a full-blown, visual product configuration system.

    SmartShapes allow you to build intelligent graphical behaviors into a shape, which can save you editing. The classic example is a thick, double-line arrow. When you stretch it, the arrow head doesn't stretch, but the body does. MS art/symbols have this behavior now, but for a long time, this was unique to Visio. You can learn more about SmartShapes in these articles:

    Why Visio Shape Smarts Makes Your Life Easier

    http://www.visguy.com/2009/07/22/why-visio-shape-smarts-makes-your-life-easier/

     

    A SmartShape is Worth 1000 Symbols

    http://www.visguy.com/2008/09/22/a-smartshape-is-worth-1000-symbols/

     

    SmartShape Tutorial: Fading Trees

    http://www.visguy.com/2007/12/03/smartshape-tutorial-fading-trees/

     

    I think on-line, web-based competition looks interesting, because these programs can be rapidly updated and evolve quickly. Plus the diagrams are stored on the server, so the software producer can scan every drawing and see what people are doing (or doing incorrectly) and incorporate the feedback. But I can't name any specific one as the clear leader.

    That's my two-and-a-half cents. I hope others can chime in with information about the illustration and open source products, as I haven't been toying around with alternatives as much as I should.


    Chris Roth Visio Guy (http://www.visguy.com) Please check Mark as Answered if I've answered your question and solved your problem. If you found my post helpful, please click Vote as Helpful.
    Wednesday, April 27, 2011 8:54 AM
  • Dear Chris,

    "Visio's basic philosophy is that offices users don't want to draw, but instead should assemble diagrams from existing symbols."

    I sometimes need to communicate math/physics ideas with other people. I have tried to draw illustrative figures using Visio, such as drawing an nucleus with electron cloud, but it turns out painful. So from the designing philosophy you mentioned, Visio is not ideally suited for these purposes?

    Additionally, for university professors/lecturers who need frequently to prepare slides in teaching, do you know what software they use?

     

    Thanks,

    Bob

    Wednesday, April 27, 2011 11:06 AM
  • Chris,

    What do you mean by "That's my two-and-a-half cents"? I looked up the dictionary but cannot find an explanation.

     

    Bob

    Wednesday, April 27, 2011 11:38 AM
  • Hi Bob,

    You can do fairly decent illustrations with Visio, but it requires advanced usage, and you're right, for most people it would be considered painful. You will see a lot of pretty looking stuff on my site (www.visguy.com) but I use advanced and developer techniques to create a lot of the stuff.

    Some people's workflows use Illustrator or Freehand to create artwork, then they import to Visio via SVG. Then they can add special Visio behaviors like data fields, or text-repositioning control handles.

    "Two-and-a-half-cents" is just a modification of "That's my two cents worth", which means; "That's my basic opinion, for what it's worth."


    Chris Roth Visio Guy (http://www.visguy.com) Please check Mark as Answered if I've answered your question and solved your problem. If you found my post helpful, please click Vote as Helpful.
    • Marked as answer by Bob Sun Thursday, April 28, 2011 2:26 AM
    Wednesday, April 27, 2011 1:05 PM
  • you might check this out

    http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/en/details.aspx?FamilyID=c4d6f3d5-1b4a-4a6b-ad12-197b8e2a0c61

    al

     


    If this answer solves your problem, please check Mark as Answered. If this answer helps, please click the Vote as Helpful button. Al Edlund Visio MVP
    • Marked as answer by Bob Sun Thursday, April 28, 2011 2:26 AM
    Wednesday, April 27, 2011 1:23 PM
  • Dear Chris,

    Thanks for this explanation, I will try to explore some advanced functionalities.

    I see lots of advanced techniques on your website. Are you a member of the Visio developer team?

     

    Bob

    Thursday, April 28, 2011 2:30 AM
  • Dear Al,

    I will try these shapes. Thank you.

    Bob

    Thursday, April 28, 2011 2:31 AM
  • Work with illustrator files owing to illustrator file fix

    Apply http://www.fixdamagedillustratorfiles.fixillustrator.com

    Sunday, September 22, 2013 10:21 AM