Working with Visio 2013 files in SharePoint 2010

If you are in a situation where you have updated your version of Visio to Visio 2013, but IT has not yet updated your SharePoint farm to SharePoint 2013, you will be in a situation where SharePoint does not understand Visio 2013 files saved in a document library.


You will see the generic icon and if you click on this file you will be prompted to open this file as a ZIP…



Visio 2013 uses a few completely new file formats for Drawings, Templates, and Stencils which were previously unknown to SharePoint 2010…


and by default, Visio 2013 saves using the new VSDX file format.  Because these new file formats are not registered with SharePoint 2010, it has no idea how to handle them and simply defaults the icon and the open/save experience.


The trick is to tell SharePoint 2010 about these new file formats so that it can handle them appropriately.  To do this we can simply edit the DOCICON.XML file on the farm, adding the appropriate entries for each new file format that we want to handle.  This file is located in <drive>\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Web Server Extensions\14\TEMPLATE\XML.

Here you can see that I added entries for VSDX and VSDM…


(text for you to copy)

<Mapping Key=”vsdx” Value=”icvdw.gif” EditText=”Microsoft Visio” OpenControl=”SharePoint.OpenDocuments” />

<Mapping Key=”vsdm” Value=”icvdw.gif” EditText=”Microsoft Visio” OpenControl=”SharePoint.OpenDocuments” />


I suggest you create a backup of DOCICON.XML before you edit it.  Also, SharePoint holds a handle to this file so it might be necessary to use IISRESET in order to copy over or edit the existing file.

If you also store templates and stencils you can add additional lines for each of the appropriate file formats.

After making this change I can now see an icon displayed for the VSDX files that I have stored in my document libraries on SharePoint 2010


When I click on this file I see that it opens in Visio 2013 as I expect.


Another trick is customizing the icon.  In the changes I made above I simply referenced the existing icvsd.gif as the icon to use.  This could be confusing.  The nce thing is this is just a simple reference to a GIF that is located in <drive>\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Web Server Extensions\14\TEMPLATE\IMAGES


We can load any gif we want and reference it in the DOCICON.XML.  I like to copy the Visio 2013 icons from SharePoint 2013…


which gives me this result…


Comments (14)

  1. Jan Peters says:

    Hi, thank you very much for this post! Exactly what I was looking for. However, I need a solution for SharePoint Online (Running Office 365 – E3). Any ideas?

    Best regards


  2. Ricky says:

    I was also trying to find this out for O365 on an E3 plan! We may just have to wait for Office 365 to update SP to 2013. Nice thing about E3 plans is free support tickets, so I may open one to see what they can do. I know they are moving the back end Exchange to 2013, and the new sign in page indicates that. Cool way of doing it to a local SP server though!

  3. Robert says:

    Very helpful, but please note that the site is rendering your text-for-you-to-copy with fancy quotes, which invalidates the XML.

  4. Robert says:

    Also, MIME types needed to be added in IIS for .vsdx and .vsd. I just copied the value from .vsd, "application/vnd.visio"

  5. Matt says:

    @Robert does your MIME-Type thing fix the issue in the document properties view where if you click the name it still tries to download as ZIP?  Because I did the stuff recommended in the blog and it worked at the library/docset level but not in the document properties.

  6. STF says:

    Your workaround written in this article does not work.

  7. Chris L. says:

    In notepad, you'll need to replace the quotes (") which are pasted – apparently the format when you copy-paste causes an issue.  

  8. Scott Napolitan says:

    Thanks for Posting this Chris!  Unfortunately the fix requires your IT department to implement it, so if your a lowly user like me it's not much help.  🙁  Unless of course you can get your IT guys to implement this fix.  But for many that can be nigh impossible.  🙁

  9. Scott Napolitan says:

    For folks who don't run their SharePoint Farm and cant get their IT guys to implement this workaround, another workaround is to click on the Library tab of the document library that contains your Visio file.  Then find the "Open with Explorer" button in your tool ribbon.  This will spawn a new Windows Explorer window, which works off of Windows Explorer file associations and open the file in Visio as expected.

  10. Rahul says:

    Thank You so much for providing a simple solution.

  11. Matthew Carter says:

    Thank you, I was happy to find that in SharePoint 2010 SP2 I had the ICVSDX.gif and ICVSDM.gif so I just had to reference to them!  Great!  Thank you!

  12. Harry_NZ says:

    Hi Chris,

    It worked for me without adding MIME type. Do we really need to add it?

  13. Eric says:

    The MIME type changes specified by RObert are only needed if you have your web application Browser File Handling set to "Strict" instead of "Permissive". P

    More info on Browser File Handling (right out of Central Admin):

    Specifies whether additional security headers are added to documents served to web browsers. These headers specify that a browser should show a download prompt for certain types of files (for example, .html) and to use the server's specified MIME type for other types of files.

    Permissive Specifies no headers are added, which provides a more compatible user experience.

    Strict Adds headers that force the browser to download certain types of files. The forced download improves security for the server by disallowing the automatic execution of Web content that contributors upload.

  14. Matt says:

    I'm not sure if it's just my scenario but it works as expected – I placed the updated file on WFE and App servers (didn't sa in article what servers to) but if you send a direct link of a .vsd to someone IE will try to download it as a .zip file, just something worth noting in case you think it hasn't worked first time around – like I did!

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