7 min read
Jul 24, 2020
Project Management

Microsoft Project vs Visio: Which Is Right for My Business?

If you’re wondering if Microsoft Project or Microsoft Visio is right for your business, you’ve come to the right place. Read on for details about the pricing, functionality, and integrations of both products.

S.R.
Sierra RogersContent Writer

In the world of project management software, there are two solutions whose names seem to always come up: Microsoft Project and Microsoft Visio. Other vendors have products that account for a large share of the market, but these two always seem to find their way to the top of the list. 

If you’re wondering which of these two solutions is right for your business, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll cover the pricing, features, user reviews, and integration options for both Microsoft Project and Visio so you can find the best fit. 

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Pricing

Microsoft offers three different versions of its Project software: Project Plan 1, Project Plan 3, and Project Plan 5. Payment for each plan is subscription-based and billed annually. Plan 1 begins at $10 per user, per month, with Plan 3 and Plan 5 a little above that at $30 and $55, respectively. 

a chart comparing microsoft project pricing plans

Comparatively, Microsoft Visio currently has four versions available: Visio Plan 1, Visio Plan 2, Visio Standard 2019, and Visio Professional 2019. Each version is slightly less expensive than Project, and payment is either subscription-based (Plan 1 and Plan 2) or a one-time license fee (Standard and Professional). 

Plan 1 and Plan 2 billing is available either annually or monthly. For annual billing, Visio Plan 1 starts at $5 per user, per month and Plan 2 starts at $15 per user, per month. With monthly billing, Plan 1 starts at $6 per user, per month and Plan 2 at $18 per user, per month.

One notable difference in payment options between Microsoft Project and Visio is that while both offer subscription-based payment plans, Visio has two versions available with a one-time license fee of either $280 (Visio Standard 2019) or $530 (Visio Professional 2019).

A comparison chart showing microsoft visio pricing plans
Takeaway:
Visio is less expensive than Microsoft Project and offers more flexibility when it comes to payment options. Both offer 30-day free trials.
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Features

As a whole, Microsoft Project offers more features than Visio, but the amount of features available to you depends on which plan you choose. Project Plan 1 offers many task management fundamentals (such as the ability to author, schedule, and assign project tasks). It also includes visualization tools like grid overviews, task boards, and Gantt charts, as well as access to Microsoft Teams as a collaboration tool.

Project Plan 3 offers all of those functionalities and a few extras such as progress reporting, an interactive road map that allows for cross-departmental visibility into projects, and timesheet and resource management.

Screenshot of a template created in microsoft project

Project Plan 5 is built to act as an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution as well as a project management tool. Plan 5 offers the ability to capture project ideas from anywhere in your organization, model different portfolio scenarios and compare them to strategic business drivers, and analyze how resources are used across projects for optimization purposes.

a features chart comparing microsoft project vs microsoft visio

Microsoft Visio is similar to Microsoft Project in that purchasing the more expensive version unlocks more features. With Visio Plan 1, users have access to all the basics: they can build diagrams from templates, create flowcharts and timelines, and easily download or share their projects online. 

A screenshot of a flowchart made using microsoft visio

But with Visio Plan 2, users can easily create intricate diagrams with access to 250,000+ custom shapes, data-overlays, icons, and graphics. Visio Plan 2 also supports designing with AutoCad drawings and one-step Excel data visualization. Not to mention, when you purchase Visio Plan 2, you get Microsoft 365 integration and benefits, including installation on multiple PCs per user, roaming app support, and automatically installed updates.

Takeaway:
Microsoft Project offers more task management functionality, while Visio is hyper-focused on features that help visualize business processes.
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User reviews

When it comes to user sentiment regarding Microsoft Project and Visio, the two products rank similarly. Based on the average score from user reviews on GetApp.com, Microsoft Project has an overall rating of 87% versus Visio's overall rating of 90%

When you consider user reviews for both products in a few different categories, Visio consistently scores slightly higher than Microsoft Project. Specifically, users think Visio is easier to use, has better customer support, and are more likely to recommend it (you can find our methodology at the bottom of this page).

Takeaway:
Users rated Microsoft Visio higher than Microsoft Project, especially for ease of use and customer support.
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Integrations

As far as integrations go, Microsoft Project supports more applications than Visio does. Project integrates with over 50 apps, including estimating software, quality management software (QMS), and business intelligence tools. Some of the most popular tools that Microsoft Project integrates with include Microsoft Excel, Dynamics 365, and Wrike

While Visio works well with a handful of diagram modeling and collaboration tools, it’s significantly less integration-friendly than Microsoft Project. In fact, there are fewer than 10 systems listed on GetApp that Visio integrates with. It’s most commonly integrated with software within the Microsoft family, like OneDrive, Excel, and Power Automate.

Takeaway:
Microsoft Project integrates with over five times the amount of applications Visio does.
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Microsoft Project vs Visio: Which project management tool is right for your business?

In the end, the right project management software for you is the one that meets your requirements. While there is some overlap in functionality, these two systems were built with different purposes in mind, making it impossible to say one is superior to the other.

What matters is what you're looking for. 

  • If you’re looking for a system that will allow you to plan projects and manage tasks and timelines, you’d be better off with Microsoft Project. 

  • On the other hand, if you’re searching for software that will allow you to design data models and organizational charts, Microsoft Visio is probably right for you. 

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Final takeaway: Microsoft Project is a holistic project management solution, while Visio is a more focused tool mostly used for creating business process diagrams.

Ready to learn more about your options?

Methodology and Disclaimer

Review Insights Methodology: The customer reviews mentioned in this article were obtained from GetApp.com. All ratings have been multiplied by 20 to bring them on a scale of 20-100, and reviews that had ratings in decimal were rounded off (thus, a 4.5 star rating became a 5).

Disclaimer: The applications selected in this article are examples to show a feature in context and are not intended as endorsements or recommendations. They have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable at the time of publication.

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