Dealing with Microsoft Office Visio Files (.VSD) in OS X

While Microsoft makes Office for Mac, it’s not the entire Windows Office Suite. One of the major exceptions in Office for Mac is Microsoft Visio documents. If you are transitioning to OS X in the workplace, you may run across this problem. Fortunately, there are ways to open and work on Visio documents within OS X.

Third Party Software:

To get around Microsoft’s omission of Visio for the Mac, you’ll need a third party solution. Also, since Microsoft’s Visio file format is proprietary, the third party companies that created Visio for Mac applcations had to license it. What this means for you is that it’s not a free solution. The two main solutions you’ll need for Visio on OS X are:

Omnigraffle Pro:

The Omni Group’s OmniGraffle Pro is a powerful diagramming and design application. Not only can it open and work on Visio files, it can also save your work as a Visio file. Support extends to Visio’s .VSD, .VSS, and .VST files.

Note: Visio support in OmniGraffle is only within the Pro version.

ConceptDraw PRO:

ConceptDraw’s ConceptDraw PRO is another full featured business and technical diagramming application that can easily take care of Visio files within OS X. Another bonus with ConceptDraw PRO – it’s cross-platform. You can work on a document in both OS X and Windows, skipping Visio entirely.

A Free Solution?

Both OmniGraffle Pro and ConceptDraw PRO are powerful and expensive. If you need a free solution, ConceptDraw offers a free Visio file converter on their website.

Unfortunately it only converts proprietary Visio .VSD documents into Visio XML (.VDX) so you’ll have to figure out a way to open them. Which leads you back to one of the two previous programs. If money is a concern, go with OmniGraffle Pro, it’s cheaper and works great.

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