Microsoft Visio Student Edition Download & Installation Guide

This quick tutorial is going to walk you through the process of downloading and installing the Microsoft Visio student version. 

Microsoft Visio is a popular vector graphics software for creating diagrams, flowcharts, org charts, floor plans, mind maps and more. It is included as a part of the Microsoft 365 subscription package or it can be purchased as a standalone program. 

Run Microsoft apps on Mac with Parallels (50% OFF for students).

If you only need this software, there are two payment plans, monthly or annual subscription starting from 5$/month or a one-time license starting from 310$.

Standard vs Professional

Visio has two different editions: Standard and Professional. Although they share the same interface, the main difference is that the professional plan includes more templates, shapes and collaboration features, as well as link diagrams with live data and to validate using industry standards. Both support the native file formats .vsd (drawing) and .vss (stencil). The price for the Standard plan is $5 a month and $15 a month for the Professional plan.

How to access Microsoft Visio for students

The software is now treated as a standalone product and not as part of Microsoft Office Suite. The program is web-based, meaning you don’t have to install anything on your computer as the entire program can be accessed through a web browser. The downside is that you’ll need internet access whenever you want to use the software. However, even if you lose the connection or it’s too slow, your work will be saved locally on the computer and as soon as you get back online, it will update your project to the cloud.

  1. Go to the official Visio website
  2. Click on “See plans and pricing”
  3. Pick between Standard and Professional packages and decide on a payment plan and then click on “try free for one month”
  4. On the next page, you will need to set up your Microsoft account. Start by entering an email address (work or school) that you want to be associated with the account and click on the “Next” button and then on the “Set up an account” button
  5. On the next page, fill out the form with your personal details, such as your full name, country, business phone number, and company name (you can put a random company name in this field)
  6. Then you’ll have to verify your phone number by entering a code that Microsoft will send you through a text or voice message. Enter the code that you have received and click “Verify”
  7. Then set up a username and a custom domain name and click “Save”. This can be anything, it doesn’t have to be a company name if you don’t have one.
  8. Below that, create a new password that you will use to log in to your account later. Make sure to remember the username and password. If you forget it, you can always reset it through the email address that you have entered in the previous step.
  9. Once your account is successfully created, sign in with your username and password to continue with the downloading process
  10. Once logged in, you’ll receive a confirmation email with the link to start the free trial. Click on “Start your trial” button
  11. Then go to admin dashboard and click on Open Visio for web

Microsoft is slowly moving away from the local installation approach to web-based apps hosted in the cloud. This is a much safer and faster approach as they remove the technical step needed to install the software on a machine.

*If you decide to continue using Visio, make sure to update your billing details so you don’t lose access to the software.

Can you install Visio on a computer or Mac?

Currently, the latest version of Visio can not be installed on your local machine. The only way is to find older versions somewhere. However, this is risky since older software versions are not actively maintained and are used as bait by hackers, especially if you download them for non-reputable websites.

Mac users don’t need to install anything on their machines, the software can be accessed through Safari browser.

Visio alternatives for students

Even though the software is affordable in a monthly payment plan, there are several alternatives that you can use as a student that have similar functionalities.

In many cases, students only need a couple of functionalities to get the job done. Here are some alternatives to Visio that are available for free:

Google Drawings – Completely free web-based app for creating beautiful diagrams and charts

LucidCharts – Some say it’s even better than Visio. Almost all of the Fortune 500 companies use LucidCharts. With their forever free plan, you can access most of the functionalities without paying a single dollar. Although the free plan has limited features, for most students and school projects, it will be more than enough.

EdrawMax – Professional diagram and chart software available for Windows, Mac and Linux. It is used by over 25 million brands and individuals. They have a forever free trial plan with limited features as well as a 25% student and teacher discount on every product.


This post outlined how to download and set up Microsoft Visio for students. Unfortunately, as of right now, there is no free student version, just a free trial of the Visio 2013 edition that is time limited to one month. By following the advice from this post, you’ll know how to set up a user account and install the software on your computer. After the trial period expires, you can subscribe to one of their monthly or annual subscription plans or even opt for a one-time purchase.

Rilla Easter
Chief Content Officer, digital marketer and technical writer specializing in the IT field. Holds a bachelor's degree in economics. Loves hiking with her two Vizslas.