waterfall with flowing water

Microsoft is every now and then releasing some information about their new Visio to Microsoft Flow feature.  Last week yet another article describing this new feature but is this really something that you are going to use?

Time to have a look in the past:

Visio to SharePoint Designer workflow

Do you remember Visio to SharePoint Designer workflow? Back in 2014 I even write a post about code free  workflows in SharePoint 2013. I have the feeling that Visio to SharePoint Designer workflows never really got started.

Of course, Visio then replaced the textual interface which was a great improvement, but the conversation from one product into another gave plenty of issues on the way. Therefore developing the workflows manually would be just as easy as making the migration from Visio to workflow work.

The major benefits of using Visio to workflows are:

  • Nicer to use interface while getting your head around the problem.
  • No need to know which text to type for each action
  • No need to worry about the details

Visio to Flow

5 years later, Microsoft Flow has taken over the complete SharePoint Designer’s workload. Only if you are still 100% on premises, you will find that you are bound to use the painful textual editor for Workflows. Or of course you could try and spend time with the Visual Designer 😉

Workflow Designer

With Microsoft Flow things have become so much easier. You simply drag steps into your flow and all is working.

test flow

With Flow the interface is better than SharePoint Designer, therefore do we really need this new feature?

I understand that you would use Visio to create a simplified version of your larger process. Typically I would not include error handling in my Visio diagram. In my flows however I wouldn’t start a flow without putting error handling in place.

Also, if the Flow interface is really that horrible (which it is not!) that it needs another Microsoft product to help out then wouldn’t it make more sense to improve the Flow interface? Personally I do think that it would be great if we could save the Flows that are incomplete. Leaving out all the required details. For this idea there already is a uservoice on the community site. Maybe time to up vote this idea.

I’m interested to hear your opinion.



By Pieter Veenstra

Business Applications and Office Apps & Services Microsoft MVP working as a Microsoft Productivity Principal Consultant at HybrIT Services. You can contact me using contact@veenstra.me.uk.

One thought on “Visio to Microsoft Flow is it going to help you?”
  1. Great topic, Pieter! I personally find Visio more visually appealing than Flow and a better tool to use to flush out requirements with business users. For quick Flows, I tend to start using Flow right away, but for complicated processes, Visio is invaluable. I think it might save some time with the Visio-Flow connector, but hard for me to arrive at the decision until I see it in action. I doubt Flow will ever be as versatile and visually appealing with icons and diagram shapes as Visio – and this is critical for Business Users, in my opinion.

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