Drawing UML diagrams with Visio 2016 (even with the Standard edition)

There are several ways to draw UML diagrams and Microsoft Visio 2016 is one of those! If you need only some diagram types, like the UML Sequence diagram, you can even find some online free tool that allows you, writing some line of simple code, to draw that time diagrams: for example, that is the case of www.websequencediagrams.com. However, even though it is very simple to use, you cannot decide too much and, for example, the line related to each actor of the communication is drawn not necessarily where you would like!

Drawing UML Sequence diagrams with the WebSequenceDiagram web tool

On the contrary with Visio you can manage as you like every UML diagram using the drag&drop feature it provides.

As stated in Microsoft support page related to Visio, Visio 2013 and Visio 2016 Professional have templates for UML 2.0 versions of several diagram types:

  • Class diagram
  • Sequence diagram
  • Database notation
  • Use Case diagram
  • Activity diagram
  • State diagram

Therefore to have embedder the UML templates, you need to have the professional version and not the standard one: in fact Software & Database templates is usually not in the Standard edition of Visio, but only the Pro version. It is in fact specified: If you are a Visio Pro for Office 365 subscriber, and have the latest version of Visio, the following UML 2.5 templates are available. Go to File > New > Categories > Software and Database and then choose one of the following:

I tried to install the Standard edition and, even after searching and selected the UML templates, after having selected one to create a new diagram, I could not find, on the left of the page, any shape related to UML. Even searching them using the More Shapes link, I could not find them among several shapes available!

Searching for UML diagram templates in Visio 2016 Standard

No Software and Database/Software section is available even from the More Shapes menu:

However, looking into the C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\root\Office16\Visio Content\1033 directory, where Visio Standard is installed, you can find two basic templates for UML (may be even other ones): BASIC_UMLSEQUENCE_M.VSTX and BASIC_UMLSEQUENCE_U.VSTX (where the capital M or U in the name of the template is for US Units or Metric Units). Therefore copying the one of your interest (e.g.  BASIC_UMLSEQUENCE_M.VSTX if you are European) in your C:\Data\Documents\My Shapes directory, you can then open that file from More Shapes ->My Shapes ->Favorites section and have the basic UML diagrams available to be used with the drag&drop feature!

Copy the BASIC_UMLSEQUENCE_M.VSTX in C:\Data\Documents\My Shapes directory

Basic UML diagrams are now available after opening that file from More Shapes ->My Shapes ->Favorites section

I also read in the stackoverflow forum this answer that suggests to search for the appropriate templates looking on some of the following websites that allows to download custom templates that can be then be imported in your Visio Standard:


Anyhow, especially if you are a MSDN subscriber, much better to download and install the Visio Pro version that already shows the UML templates.
Note that, as it happens for Office and every its extensions like Visio, if you want to install the 64bit version, you need to run the setup64.exe available in the office folder available in the iso, and you have not to use the setup.exe you find in the root.

if you want to install the 64bit version, you need to run the setup64.exe available in the office folder available in the iso, and not using the setup.exe you can find in the root.

Software and Database section available in Visio 2016 Pro

If you are interested in drawing an UML sequence diagram with Visio, see the following link:

Informazioni su Enzo Contini

Electronic engineer
Questa voce è stata pubblicata in Review e test, Tecnologia, Windows. Contrassegna il permalink.

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