BPMN support in Visio 2010

Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN) is a standard maintained by the Object Management Group which gives businesses the ability to understand their business processes using a graphical notation and to communicate these processes in a uniform manner. The basic BPMN shapes are similar to traditional flowcharting shapes, which makes modeling in BPMN easy for new users. For advanced users, the BPMN standard contains a large number of detailed shapes—more specialized versions of the basic shapes—which are useful when modeling complex interactions or precise behaviors within a process.

Companies have told us that they would like to enforce a standardized notation, like BPMN, within their organization to ensure that processes are graphically expressed in a consistent manner. Based on this feedback, we introduced the following support for BPMN in Visio 2010.

  • We support all shapes defined in the BPMN 1.2 standard.

  • Our BPMN shapes have associated element attributes, as specified by the standard.

  • Using Diagram Validation, a user can check the visual correctness of a diagram against logical rules specified in the standard.

You can find the BPMN Diagram template under the Flowchart category on the New tab of the Backstage View.


The BPMN Diagram template contains five stencils of BPMN shapes: the BPMN Basic Shapes, BPMN Events, BPMN Activities, BPMN Gateways and BPMN Connecting Objects stencils.


For new BPMN users, all the basic BPMN shapes are located on the BPMN Basic Shapes stencil. For more advanced users, additional BPMN shapes can be derived from the basic shapes or taken from the other BPMN stencils.

You can derive a more specialized shape from a basic shape by right-clicking on the shape. The menu below shows how you would change a Task to a Standard Loop Task or a Multi-Instance Loop Task. Each of these shapes have different graphical symbols to distinguish them and different BPMN properties, or attributes, associated with them.


Notice the BPMN Attributes… option located at the bottom of the above menu. This option launches the Shape Data window which displays the shape’s BPMN attributes, properties specified by the BPMN standard. This gives advanced BPMN users to option to edit the complete set of BPMN attributes associated with a shape.

Shape Data

The BPMN Diagram template and shapes take advantage of many of the new Visio 2010 features. You will notice that the ease of use and flowcharting improvements in Visio 2010 make it easy to build visually-appealing BPMN diagrams. Below, we focus on some of the other Visio 2010 features that you will encounter when using the BPMN template and shapes.

Diagram Validation

The BPMN standard contains a large number of rules about the visual, structural and semantic properties of a diagram: these rules must be satisfied in order to comply with the standard. The standard documentation is long and it is hard for new users to understand its intricacies. We use Diagram Validation to help users ensure that their BPMN diagrams are visually conformant with the standard.

The BPMN Diagram template includes validation rules based on the BPMN 1.2 standard. This means that you can use the Check Diagram button on the Process tab to check for visual issues with your BPMN diagram. After you validate your diagram, any issues are listed in an Issues window.


To easily find shapes with issues, you can click on an issue and the corresponding shape will be selected. Once you fix the issues, you can check the diagram again to confirm that there are no longer any problems. This makes it much easier to create a BPMN-compliant diagram.


Expanded Sub-Process and Group shapes in the BPMN template are Containers. This means you can take advantage of all the built-in container logic. For example, when you move an Expanded Sub-Process, all the member shapes move automatically. In addition, when you select an Expanded Sub-Process or Group, you see the containers contextual tab, which gives you the ability to further customize these shapes.

Contextual Tab


The Text Annotation shape in the BPMN template is a Callout. A callout points at or references another shape, which we call the “target” of the callout. When a target shape is moved, copied or deleted, any callouts attached to the shape will be moved, copied or deleted too.  Thus callouts stay with their target shapes, though you can reposition the callout to any offset from its target.

Text Annotation

Cross-functional Flowcharts

The Pool /Lane shape in the BPMN template allows you to add a Pool or Lane shape to your diagram. This shape is based on our Cross-functional Flowchart (CFF) shape, which means that Pools and Lanes are easy to manipulate using CFF functionality. For example, to add more lanes, you can mouse along the edge of the cross-functional flowchart to where you want to add the lane and a blue arrow will appear. Click on the blue arrow and voila, you have a new lane!


The BPMN template combines a large number of new Visio 2010 features to make building BPMN-compliant diagrams easier. Both new and advanced BPMN users will benefit from the depth of functionality available while using this template.

We are interested in your feedback on the new BPMN functionality. You can use the Send a Smile feedback tool or comment on the blog to let us know what you think.

Comments (62)

  1. Betty Carson says:

    Microsoft Visio templates in Visio 2007 helps you quickly implement new services as well as easily move, add, and make changes to existing ones. Visio 2007 download gives a wide range of templates, including logical, physical, rack, process, and asset diagrams help you visualize processes, optimize systems, track projects and resources, and resolve problems quickly. With Office Visio 2007, you can also visualize security issues on network diagrams. In addition, the Visio Toolbox Web site delivers more Visio tools, best practices, and reference materials to maximize your investment and simplify processes.  

  2. This a welcome move. We were expecting it in visio 2007. A little late but certainly welcome

  3. what about BPEL or ODX generation?

  4. The version of BPMN that is evident from the screen shots is 1.1.

    The latest version of BPMN is 2.0. Are there any plans to address this new standard?

  5. vicks says:

    BPMN is going to help IT Diagrams and flow charts which would surely help 2010 a lot and creating Visio shapes would be taken to another  step.

  6. MV says:

    Will there be an ability to collapse an expanded process on the diagram to hide details? Furthermore could you expand a collapsed process on a separate, linked diagram?

  7. Visio Team says:

    Hi Thomas.

    Visio 2010 does not natively support exporting to BPEL or ODX. Using custom code, however, it is possible to create a tool that exports the BPMN diagram to other formats.

  8. Visio Team says:

    Hi Gilles.

    Visio 2010 supports BPMN 1.2. Although the beta version of the BPMN 2.0 specification was released in September 2009, the final release is not scheduled until June 2010. At this point, we feel that it is better to support the currently released version of the BPMN standard.

  9. Visio Team says:

    Hi MV.

    We talk about subprocess support on our blog here:


    As an example, when you select several shapes in a BPMN diagram and use the “Create from Selection” button on the Process tab, Visio moves the shapes to a new subprocess page and replaces them with a subprocess shape. You can also link a shape to an existing subprocess page, or create a new page on which to build a subprocess.

  10. Barb D. says:

    A few years ago I worked with an application in Oracle which would transfer typed text of a process into a basic process flow.  This saved a huge amount of time!  It recognized certain verbs and would translate the writing into a picture.  It was fantastic.  what also saved time was the ability to change the text as processes change (as they always do) and it would change the picture accordingly.  Sure would be a great achievement if Visio could do this.  

  11. Ricardo says:

    Please Mr,

    I downloaded the Beta version of Visio 2010 and could not find the BPMN in backstage. Could you tell me where to find this model or stencils?

  12. Ricardo says:

    I downloaded the Beta version of Visio 2010 and could not find the BPMN in backstage. Could you tell me where to find this model or stencils?

  13. Adrian C Ferguson says:

    Great addition – initial testing indicates this is at least on par with the 3rd party add-ons for Visio 2007.

    Where does one register for Beta feedback?  I am getting a consistent shutdown error when navigating back to the "File" tab once starting Viso 2010.

  14. Adrian C Ferguson says:

    @ Ricardo

    You will find the BPMN elements under the Flowchart Shapes

  15. Ramón says:


    what are the advantages of VISIO vs other tools like:

    Enterprise Architect: BPMN plu0gin (Sparx Systems),Intalio BPMS (Intalio), Business Process Visual Architect (Visual Paradigm), etc.?


  16. Evan says:

    Hi Everyone,

    Good to know that Visio 2010 supports BPMN. Is there a facility available in Visio 2010 to import BPMN diagrams designed in other tools like Oracle BPA? In Oracle BPA it is possible to import Visio(VDX) formats. Just wanted to know if the other way is possible.



  17. Dinesh says:

    I am a MSDN subscriber and just downloaded Visio 2010. I checked all stencils for BPMN shapes, did not find any.

    WHere can I get BPMN shapes?


  18. Vincent says:

    What is the road map regarding the BPMN / XPDL import support in Visio?

  19. Hasan says:

    Evan's comment…

    "Good to know that Visio 2010 supports BPMN. Is there a facility available in Visio 2010 to import BPMN diagrams designed in other tools like Oracle BPA? In Oracle BPA it is possible to import Visio(VDX) formats. Just wanted to know if the other way is possible."

    Can someone please tell me how to import Visio 2010 Business Process Diagrams into Oracle BPA?

    Many Thanks

  20. hd says:

    I have installed MS Office 2007 and Visio 2010, and I cannot find BPMN template, though when I used Office 2010 before it was there. Does anyone know what could be the reason and how to fox this?

    Thank you


  21. Remco says:

    I'm using an MSDN version in Dutch (I assume it's a standard edtion), there is no BPMN in the flowcharts section or elsewhere (some of the shapes can be found with the shape search function though).

    Do you need the professional version to have BPMN included?


  22. ManuelS says:


    the Visio templates for BPMN are not available in the German Visio Version.

    How can I add the feature afterwards?



  23. Brett says:

    I have Visio 2010 Professional and there are no BPMN shapes anywhere to be found.  What am I missing?

  24. Martin says:

    It is not available? I cannot see any BPMN Stencils???

  25. Heinz-Jürgen says:

    We designed a tool called BPM-X to import any kind of model or diagram data into Visio. That includes BPMN 1.1, 1.2 and 2.0 that may available in vendor specific data formats as well as in XPDL format. BPM-X is a EAI component for exchange and transformation of non-tansactional data like given by Visio diagrams, model, master or meta data.

    But please be aware: not simply transform XPDL XML scheme to Visio VDX scheme. There are many different XPDL versions and vendors are using specific XPDL implementation like using annotatons to store information. Also there are diffent BPMN versions and vendor implementations, so more or less transformaton of the meta model is needed beside of the scheme transformation. This works also to convert Non-BPMN diagram types (methods) like EPC  or Flowchart to Visio BPMN.

    You may check out http://www.bpm-x.com for more details.



  26. Visio Team says:

    If you are looking for the BPMN template in Visio 2010 but cannot find it, go to File > Help to make sure you have the Premium version (as opposed to Standard or Professional, which don't include BPMN).

  27. Craig says:

    Does Visio 2010 support export and import of VMI files?  There was an add-on for 2003, but could not find anything after that version.

  28. Craig says:

    Does Visio 2010 support export and import of XMI files?  There was an add-on for 2003, but could not find anything after that version.

  29. Typically Microsoft says:

    Just installed Visio 2010, however the Flowchart category does not contain the BPMN Diagram Template. What gives!?

  30. Mack says:

    You explained how to add pools but how do you make the individual Pools/Lanes wider?

  31. Stavros Macrakis says:

    I used "Create from Selection" successfully once (though in the sub-process, the tasks were no longer aligned with the pools/lanes).

    I tried to use it again on a different part of the same diagram and got the error:

        An error (1) occurred during the action Move to Sub-Process.

        Unexpected end of file.

    This appears to be a bug.  Is there a workaround?



  32. Carl says:

    Hi All,

    Now that BPMN 2.0 has (just) been released, are there plans to support this? And if so,  by when?

    Many thanks.

  33. Paul says:

    My Visio 2010 version 14.0.5128.5000 (32 bit) does not have this template – what do I need to do to find it?

    Is there any plans for similar capabilities in Visual Studio 2010 ?

  34. Kerry Rogerson says:

    Please advise when the stencil for BPMN 2.0 will become available.

    Many thanks,


  35. Howard Edidin says:

    How do you "key" the BPMN 1.2 Attributes to the diagram shapes?

    The diagrams alone do not provide sufficient information for creating functional requirements. I cannot find any documentation to support this.

  36. Roan says:

    Is is possible to upgrade profesional to premium in order to try BPMN diagrams. I tried to install everything from very beginning and i have an error when i try to use premium key. Is there any other way to have access to BPMN from Prof version?

  37. Joe says:


    is it possible to include that ( BPMN template ) for Visio 2010 Professional , I need to use it but I only have Visio Professional

  38. VISIO Fan says:

    Hi there VISIO Team and Fans and Users! I just wonder, wheter VISIO 2010 support BPMN 2.0? Shapes, Validation etc.?

  39. omg says:

    Hi, I've bought Visio 2010 premium since it says "BPMN support", but it doesn't support BPMN 2.0 XML import/export…. are there any plan to support them??

  40. Prince Riley says:

    I am impressed with the BPMN functionality included in Visio 2010 (Professional) as described here. However, I was disappointed to discover the validation tools are only available in the Premium version of Visio. This isn't necessarily a deal breaker for me, but does mean that I have no easy way to ensure the Visio BPMN diagrams I create comply with the current OMG standard or check the Visio file XML files (XMI)

  41. Rimvydas says:

    I`m not able to find BPMN templates on my Viso Professional 2010. Shall I separatelly install BPMN templates separatelly?

  42. Eleni Chaniotaki says:

    I have the Visio 2010 version and I want to create a BPMN diagram, but I dont see BPMN diagram under New>Flowchart. WDo you have any idea what is the problem?

  43. webuser5 says:

    Unfortunately, this notation doesn't easily or consistantly enable a user to capture process step numbers or performance data (Timing infrmation) using the stencil. Since this is the case, how can effective SOP's be built? or how can one talk against an activity without having step numbers visible? As a Six Sigma Black Belt, I have built my own BPMN 2.0 stencil which effectively enables me to capture the entire process along with metrics (and more).

  44. DMikeS says:

    Not fair – this is only in Visio 2010 Premium from what I read.  Those of us with Basic will have to make do without (not sure about Pro users but you may have to make do without as well).

  45. Jeff says:

    This is lovely and hats off to Microsoft. They have cut out scores of corporate users and wondering why they are losing to the likes of IBM BlueWorks Live!

  46. Selina says:

    Indeed a welcomed move and one that is long overdue since finding that most conpanies have and use Visio for modelling.  Shame not available in Visio 2007.  Look forward to an upgraded version.  Does anyone know the best place to get BPMN 2.0 elements from?

  47. Neelakanta says:

    Hi Visio Team,

    I need to export the BPM Diagram to Bpmn2.0 xml format

    is there any way to get the above requirement please reply to this ASAP

    Thanks in advance

  48. NeelakantaReddy says:

    Hi Visio Team,

    Is there any way to export visio 2010 bpmn diagram to BPMN 2.0 xml format

    if solution is  there please tell me hod to export

    Thanks in Advance for your help

  49. Ali says:

    I have downloaded a copy of visio professional from msdn and it doesn't have any BPMN anywhere. does anyone how to get the add on and install any plug in? Does microsoft provide since it seems it's only available on Premium version.

  50. Gael says:

    This article is misleading since BPMN is only available in the premium edition.

  51. Jose Boyero says:


    I have experince shape problems when linking BPMN shapes to data and try to reshape, change size, color etc.

    Are you aware of the problem? Any solution?

  52. joyce says:

    I have trouble re-sizing the pool once I've dragged it into the canvas

  53. Beth Jackson says:

    It is very important for my group to have BPMN support in Visio. We appreciate Microsoft's support for this standard and it helps us retain Visio as a valuable tool, rather than moving to another tool for representing business processes.

  54. Hanif says:

    Hi, I have installed visio 2013. I want draw BPMN diagram. I see only BPMN basic shapes under flowchart. How how to enable BPMN Events, BPMN Activities, BPMN Gateways and BPMN Connecting Objects stencils ?

    I need it urgently.

    Please help me.


  55. Joe Vogel says:

    We have run into the issue that when linking Participant data to the Pool from an external spreadsheet – the shape label is not replacing the default "Function" text, but places the label in the center of the pool itself.  Any comments?

  56. VP says:

    Where can I download Visio 2007 BPMN template

  57. dorian says:

    Are the BPMN models made with Visio 2010 compatible with those made in Visio 2013

    http://tinycc.me/zaftJV ?

    Thank you

  58. Matthew says:

    No functionality to export the BPMN as an xml?

    What's the point of having BPMN if all you can do with it is view it as a jpg or Visio file?

  59. ken says:

    is there any support for BPMN 2.0 now for Visio 2010 Premium?

  60. Luis CORDOBA says:

    Hi !… Please: How can I get BPMN 1.2 template for VISIO 2010 ? Where is the online resource?
    My VISIO have not his template by default in the pack 🙁
    Thanks !

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