How to open VSD file without Visio

What to Know

  • A VSD file is a drawing project created and used by Visio.
  • It contains things like CAD drawings, charts, text, and annotations.
  • Convert one to PDF, an image format, or HTML at Zamzar.

This article describes what a VSD file is and how to open one or convert one to a different format.

What Is a VSD File?

A file with the .VSD file extension is a drawing file created by Visio, Microsoft's professional graphics application. These are binary files that might hold text, images, CAD drawings, charts, annotations, objects, and more.

Visio files are used to make everything from software and network diagrams to flowcharts and organizational charts.

Microsoft Visio 2013 (and newer) default to storing Visio drawing files with the .VSDX file extension, which is based on XML and compressed with ZIP.

VSD is also short for some things that have nothing to do with computer file formats, like variable speed drive, Visual Studio debugger, vertical situation display, and virtual shared disk. It's also the name of the disc-based analog video format that stands for Video Single Disc.

How to Open VSD Files

Visio is the primary program used to create, open, and edit VSD files. If you don't have that program, you can still open the file with CorelDRAW, iGrafx FlowCharter, or ConceptDraw PRO.

Some other VSD openers that work without having Visio installed, and that are completely free, include LibreOffice and Microsoft Visio 2013 Viewer. The former is a free office suite similar to MS Office (which is what Visio is a part of) and the latter is a free tool from Microsoft that, once installed, will open VSD files in your web browser.

LibreOffice and ConceptDraw PRO can open VSD files on macOS as well as Windows. Mac users can also use VSD Viewer.

If you need to use the file on Linux, installing LibreOffice is your best option.

The Visio Viewer iPhone/iPad app can open these files as well.

VSDX files are used in MS Office 2013 and newer, so you need the Microsoft Visio Compatibility Pack if you want to use the VSDX file in an older version of the software.

VSDX files are structured differently than VSD files, which means you can extract some of the contents out without even needing any of these programs. Your best bet is with a free file extractor like 7-Zip.

How to Convert a VSD File

Zamzar is a free document converter that lets you convert a VSD file online to PDF, BMP, GIF, JPG, PNG, and TIF/TIFF.

You can use Visio's File > Save As menu option to convert the file to VSDX and other Visio file formats like VSSX, VSS, VSTX, VST, VSDM, VSTM, and VDW. Visio can also save the file to SVG, DWG, DXF, HTML, PDF, and a number of image file formats, making sharing really easy.

The other programs mentioned above can probably save it to other formats as well, probably through a Save as or Export menu.

Still Can't Open the File?

If the information above isn't helping you open or convert your file, you might not be dealing with a VSD file at all. Check that you're reading the file extension correctly; it should read ".VSD" after the file name. If it doesn't, then you have a file that just shares some of the same letters as this extension.

For example, PSD looks almost like VSD, but it's used with Photoshop, not Visio. ESD files are similar, but might be used with either the Microsoft operating system or the Expert Scan software. VSO files are used by the DirectX SDK's vertex shader tool.

Another one that's a little confusing is the VST file extension. It could be a Visio drawing template, but it might instead be a VST audio plugin. If it's the former then it, of course, can open with Visio, but if it's a plugin, it has to be used with a program that can accept that format, which isn't Visio.

The VHD and VHDX file extensions are similar, too, but those are used for virtual hard drives.

More Information on the VSD Format

This format uses lossless compression to compress the contents of the file. A similar format called Visio drawing XML (it uses the .VDX file extension) does not. This is why VDX files are often three to five times larger in file size than VSDs.

Even though Visio 2013+ doesn't default to storing new documents in the VSD format, these versions still fully support the format so that you can open, edit and save to it if you want to.

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Do You Want to Open and Operate Your Visio File?

If you have the VSDX format file and do not have access to this Microsoft product, you must be wondering how to open Visio files without Visio. This article will help you understand how to open a Visio file in Visio-viewer and an easier way.

Microsoft Visio is one of the highly used diagramming tools. Most companies use it as the interface looks familiar to other Microsoft products. Visio can export the diagrams into multiple formats, including VSDX, PDF, and graphics. It should be noted here that VSDX represents the Microsoft Visio file format introduced from Microsoft Office 2013 onwards to replace its binary file format, VSDX, which was supported by the earlier versions of Microsoft Visio.

Even though there are better tools in the market, most companies still use Microsoft Visio for their diagramming requirements. If you happen to have the VSDX format file with you and do not have access to this Microsoft product, you must be wondering how to open Visio files without Visio or how to open Visio files in general? This article will help you understand how to open a Visio file in Visio-viewer and how EdrawMax lets you import and export Visio files without losing any formatting.

How to open VSD file without Visio

In this article

  • 01 How to Open Visio Files in Visio-Viewer
  • 02 How to Open Visio Files in EdrawMax
  • 03 EdrawMax vs. Visio
  • 04 Free All-in-one Diagram Software
  • 05 Final Thoughts

1. How to Open Visio Files in Visio-Viewer

  • Open a Drawing Using Visio Viewer:
  • The first thing you need to do to open Visio files via Visio viewer is to open an account for the Microsoft 365 software so that you can use Microsoft Visio after launching it. The important thing you need to remember is that when you open a drawing file using a Visio Viewer, the drawing opens in a browser window. If more pages are in the file, more tabs will be opening in the browser seen at the bottom of the viewer.

    How to open VSD file without Visio

  • Zooming the Drawing:
  • If you want to look at a particular part of your diagram, you can zoom in on that specific part by pressing Control and Shift together. Drag the rectangle around the area you want to magnify to zoom in.

    How to open VSD file without Visio

  • Center the Page:
  • Sometimes you might want to center the page while using it in the browser. If you ever want to do that, all you have to do is right-click on the decided drawing, then you will have to press the zoom option, and then click on the whole page, and this is how you will be able to center the page with your drawing in it.

    How to open VSD file without Visio

  • Go to a Different Page:
  • If multiple pages have opened in different browser tabs, you will have to know how to go to a particular page of your file when you are using Visio Viewer to open Visio files. Click the page you want to go to, find it at the bottom of the drawing window, and visit a specific page of your file.

    How to open VSD file without Visio

How to Open Visio Files in Visio-Viewer:

  • Open a Drawing Using Visio Viewer;
  • Zooming the Drawing;
  • Center the Page;
  • Go to a Different Page;

2. How to Open Visio Files in EdrawMax

As you saw, not everyone can have access to Microsoft Visio if they are just starting out or a student who is trying their hands at business or academic diagramming. In such cases, you can opt for EdrawMax, which not only lets you import and export your diagrams in VSDX format but also help in making over 280 different types of diagrams -- 3 times more than what Microsoft Visio offers to its licensed users.

EdrawMax is not only a diagramming tool but an answer to the question -- how to open Visio files without Viso? In addition to this, it lets you present the diagrams right from the dashboard, making collaborations simpler and more convenient. Follow the below-mentioned steps to access the VSDX files stored in your system quickly.

Step1 Open EdrawMax & Import Visio Files

The very first step that you need to follow is to install EdrawMax in your system. Go to EdrawMax Download and download the software depending upon your operating system. If you need remote collaboration with your office team, head to EdrawMax Online and log in using your registered email address. Once downloaded and installed, head to the 'Import' section on the left and click on 'Import Visio.'

How to open VSD file without Visio

Step2 Select a Template

Once you have imported the VSDX file in EdrawMax, you can make all the changes that you want. You can modify the content, change the theme, update the fonts, and even go ahead and choose a template from the template community to enhance the content of the already imported VSDX file.

How to open VSD file without Visio

Step3 Add Symbols

EdrawMax comes with over 50,000 vector-enabled symbols that ease your efforts in making highly complex diagrams. If you are working on a Visio imported file, you can also try to import Visio Stencils (VSSX), which are palettes of shapes that can be used to create diagrams in Visio. With EdrawMax, you can easily import such VSSX files to work on your diagrams.

How to open VSD file without Visio

Step4 Add Other Components

Based on your diagramming needs, you can add different components to your Visio imported files. For example, if you are working on a floor plan, you can add components like furniture, bedroom decor items, and more.

How to open VSD file without Visio

Step5 Export & Share

After viewing or modifying the Visio imports files, you can save them in VSDX and other Microsoft formats. EdrawMax also lets you export the files into different graphic formats as well.

How to open VSD file without Visio

Basically, it is simple to open Visio files without Visio. Check the video below to find more stunning features of EdrawMax.

3. EdrawMax vs. Visio

Microsoft Visio and EdrawMax are both diagramming tools, but when we compare them to the core level, we find that EdrawMax has much more to offer, given the competitive price range. Some of the most common comparison factors between EdrawMax and MS Visio are:

  • Given the huge license fees ($650 for a one-time purchase), Visio has limitations when it comes to templates and symbols. EdrawMax is created for students and professionals alike, and we have over 3,000 pre-built templates and 26,000 vector-enabled symbols readily available for you to use.
  • There is a learning curve involved in Visio, and sometimes, new users often get confused with the software structure and how it operates. EdrawMax is a straightforward tool that offers templates right on the main screen. Click on any of the templates and start customizing.
  • Visio has limitations when it comes to exporting and importing different formats. EdrawMax can easily import and export different file formats, including Visio files.
  • If you are using Visio for the first time, you will find it difficult to ungroup any shapes or figures. With EdrawMax, you can easily ungroup or group any groups that you have selected.

Apart from opening Visio files without Visio, EdrawMax goes a step further and provides you with a symbol library that has over 26,000 vector-enabled symbols. All these diagramming symbols can be enlarged or reshaped as per your diagramming requirements. You can also create your own set of diagramming symbols by accessing the Pen and Pencil Tool. You can save your symbols to your personal library and use them every time you log in to your EdrawMax account.

EdrawMax is loved by over 25 million users and some of the most trusted brands in the world. These users, or as we call them, Edrawers, produce hundreds of templates that you can access from the Templates Community. From science diagrams to business prospects, from building plans to flowcharts, you can find almost all types of templates in the template section. As a registered EdrawMax user, you can securely publish your designs to the template community and inspire others.

Comparison of EdrawMax and Visio




Free or not

1-month trial


Diagram Types






Examples & Templates





11 (English, French, German, Japanese, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Korean, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese)


$309.99 (one-time Standard); $579.99 (one-time Professional)

$245 (one-time); $312 (one-time, bundled with EdrawMind and EdrawInfo)

Runs On

Win and Web

Win, Mac, Linux, and Web

Diagrams, Templates, and Symbols




Org Chart

Network Diagram

Process Flow Diagram

Gantt Chart and circuit Diagram

Mind Map

Office Layout

Floor Plan

Only Professional Available


Only Professional Available

Piping and Instrumentation Diagram (P&ID)

Only Professional Available

Rack Diagram

Only Professional Available

Azure and AWS Diagram

Only Professional Available

Business Process Model and Notation (BPMN)

Only Professional Available

Entity Relationship Diagram (ERD) and UML Diagram

Only Professional Available

Concept Map


Emergency Exit Plan


Template Community (A user-generated platform for creating & discovering templates)

Symbol Library (Create your own symbols and import symbols from external sources)




Infinite canvas and Multipage documents

Shape drawing & text tools

Position, alignment, and formatting tools

Custom diagram theme

Insert pictures, hyperlinks, notes, comments, and attachments

Custom diagram watermark

Insert QR codes

Area auto-calculation (floor plan)

Cloud Storage

Formula editor

Encrypt files

Auto formatting

Focus mode

Custom Shortcut keys

Version History

File Recovery

Import & Export



Import from Visio and Visio Stencils

Import from SVG

Export to Visio

Export to PDF, SVG, HTML, and Graphic Files

Export to Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint

Export to EPS

4. Free All-in-one Diagram Software

With EdrawMax, you no longer rely on Microsoft Visio to open Visio files. This free diagram software lets you easily import and export Visio files and, at the same time, helps you in making over 280 different types of diagrams. Some of the most amazing features of this all-in-one diagram software are:

  • EdrawMax comes with several amazing in-built features that make it the best diagram software in 2022. From presentation mode to switching to the Focus mode, from free templates to free symbols, with EdrawMax, you can create almost anything without losing your time and effort.
  • This free diagram software offers endless possibilities to those diagramming users who need to enhance their creativity. Head to the template community and search for the templates that resonate with your vision and thoughts.
  • From flowcharting to electrical engineering drawing, from org chart design to P&ID diagrams -- you can create and export hundreds of diagrams.
  • With this free diagram software, you do not have to rely on any third-party tools. Now everyone from every industry can easily visualize their ideas in a uniquely efficient way. EdrawMax has over 1,500 user-generated templates, and you can also take inspiration from the template community to make your diagrams.
  • The biggest advantage of EdrawMax is its ability for fast rendering of ideas and concepts.
  • EdrawMax dashboard resembles Microsoft's suite, making the functionality pretty intuitive. All the diagrams imported to this diagram software can be edited, modified, and manipulated as per your requirement.

EdrawMax Desktop

Create over 280 types of diagrams

Windows, Mac, Linux (runs in all environments)

Professional inbuilt resources and templates

On-premises software for business

Enterprise-level data security

EdrawMax Online

Create over 280 types of diagrams online

Access diagrams anywhere, anytime

Templates Community

Team management and collaboration

Personal Cloud and Dropbox Integration

5. Final Thoughts

People often think that only Microsoft Visio lets you open Visio files. However, with the advancement in technologies, there are better tools that help in opening Visio files without Visio. One such tool that we discussed here is EdrawMax. This best diagramming software is equipped with all the right tools that not only let you open the Visio files instantly but also help in editing them and later exporting them back in VSDX format.

EdrawMax also exports the diagrams in different graphic and Microsoft formats, which allows you to have better collaboration with your team members. So, instead of churning out your hard-earned money with complex tools, start using this free diagram software and create some wonderful diagrams that you can share with your peers and colleagues.

How to open VSD file without Visio

Visio Complete Guide

Check this complete guide to know everything about the Visio, like the development history, file formats and diagram types.

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