Free Stencils for Visio 2013 which is New and much better!

Yeah, sure you say.  You might be thinking: “Sam you work for Microsoft, of course you will say that Visio is better!”  But you don’t use it and see no reason to use it.

Too bad.  But like you, my managers don’t want to see complex diagrams from me, nor an email longer then 4 lines.  Since I came out of engineering complex objects, I always get confused about the amount of time software and marketing people are willing to “get to work” and fix later.  Try that with electronic circuits or aircraft, doesn’t happen anymore, it did at one time.  With electronic circuits things got really small and complex.  With aircraft people didn’t like crashing and then dying, well at least their families and investors didn’t like it, the pilots were dead so did they care?  Don’t think so.

Well, Visio is much better more connected and collaboration that was expected in Visio 2010 made into this version of Visio.

Unfortunately there is still the same lame shapes for software, totally useless unless you are used to using them, but I have my own set.  Some new shapes that I hadn’t noticed before are electron tubes.  Used to be called Vacuum tubes.  Really, vacuum tubes symbols, I guess you would use them for musical amplifiers or really slow computers.  The sad thing is I can think of uses for these symbols.



Well back to design, yes the stencils are somewhat lame, it would have nice if Office Labs had ask for input on what symbols are needed, but no, they didn’t.

It would have been nice to have the ability to Storyboard Win 8 metro designs and Phone apps.  But not in Visio.

Good news: You can storyboard in PowerPoint!

More Good News: You can create your own stencils, download stencils others have made and make your own stencil sheets.

Where you can get free stencils, there are more online, but most are old or already included in with Visio 2013, but stencils are easy to make and people who use Visio are always looking for new ones.  Making stencils is easy and a great giveaway on your web site.

Visio Educational Shapes

From <>

Office Communications Server 2007 and 2007 R2 Visio Stencils

From <>

SOA Stencils:

Interesting stencils for software people:

And if you want to create your own Office Comics download this Visio Template:




Comments (7)
  1. Carlos says:

    This is a bit off topic, but I haven't seen any other official communication from Microsoft about Visio 2013. Are there any documents detailing the deprecation of the ERD plugin and the migration path forward for people who used this functionality. From what I could find in the new database diagramming tools there isn't anyway to set the target database so the type fields are not limited to actual types, and the relationship tool doesn't take any information about which columns a relationship is based on. Visio has gone from a very powerful database diagramming tool to a simple drawing program in this respect.

  2. Surf4Fun says:


    Not off topic at all.  The ERD does appear to have been removed and I agree that the Visio just does not seem to be living up to the expectations that many of the people who have used it over the years.  However, I think that a little insight is needed:

    1. Visio is a purchased product and ERD tools that are quite good are available for free, including a number of no cost products from Microsoft.

    2. Visio does a very good job with do workflows in SharePoint and the ability to create data connected diagrams is exceptional and I don't know of any product that does that better.

    Not sure it that helps, but I think that Visio is doing a great job of morphing into a design tool that can act as a rapid design dashboard for management etc.  The ERD is a small market.

    Now as to the default shapes and software tools, well, that is another story.

  3. Jonathan Fields says:

    There are some pretty cool shapes and stencils at (not affiliated)

  4. Peter Farrow says:

    Quote "The sad thing is I can think of uses for these symbols."

    Hint: think harder, they are more closely connected to your life than you think.

  5. Theron says:

    "1. Visio is a purchased product and ERD tools that are quite good are available for free, including a number of no cost products from Microsoft"

    – I did not realize the ERD tools were deprecated and had to jump through beuraucratic hoops to get Visio 2013 only to discover them gone.  Very frustrating!  What are these free tools of which you speak?

    Prior to getting Visio Professional I had searched for a tool and always came back to "You need Visio Professional for the software and database templates" unless you are using Oracle/mySQL tools.

  6. Eric says:

    Yes, like the previous poster. Can you please tell us what these new ERD tools are called?

  7. Scott says:

    2013 visio SUCKS, just like everything with Metro bland crap. Users absolutely, unconditionally hate all the Windows 8/Metro stuff. I am losing business because some idiot at Microsoft can't get his hands out of his pants dreaming about the BS Microsoft comes up with.

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