Visio for Mac and Other Frequent Requests from Mac Users

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Mac users aren’t at all shy about making their requests for applications known:

How about Visio for Mac?

When will IE return to Mac?

Will we ever see a Microsoft Project for Mac?

Where can I get Access for Mac?

When will (insert name of hot new game here) be available for Mac?

Most of these requests are for well-known Microsoft applications on Windows, and Mac users want them. Let me address a few of these in some detail.

Microsoft Visio

It’s unwise to say “never” with regard to future development efforts by a company as large as Microsoft, so I will predict this about Visio for Mac: it’s very, very unlikely to ever happen.

I, and many others, believe the development costs to produce a Mac Visio that would faithfully render any existing Visio drawing (and have almost all the functionality of Visio for Windows) would never be recouped by Microsoft.

For any Mac software company, a software product that brought in $50 million per year would be viewed as a fantastic success. But in the rarified world of the Microsoft Office team, such a product would be considered a dismal failure.

For any Mac software company, a software product that brought in $50 million per year would be viewed as a fantastic success. But in the rarified world of the Microsoft Office team, such a product would be considered a dismal failure.

 Microsoft Access

Exactly the same as Visio: very, very unlikely to ever happen, and for exactly the same reason.

Internet Explorer

Never going to happen.

There was a version of IE for Mac about 15 years ago. Microsoft ceased development of IE for Mac in July 2003. Given that there is no new development for IE for Windows (because of the release of Microsoft Edge in 2015), there is no chance at all for a future release of IE for Mac.

Any Hot New Game by Microsoft

Never going to happen.

The graphics foundations on Mac and Windows diverge sufficiently that porting any hot new Windows game over to the Mac is a major undertaking. It would be unlikely to recoup development costs, for the same reasons as the Office applications. You can read more details about DirectX and OpenGL.

What’s a Mac User to Do?

There are a couple of options for a Mac user:

  • Use a viewer application. In some cases, a viewer application that faithfully renders a document that you could not otherwise open will suffice. In the case of Visio, Microsoft has released a Visio Viewer for iOS, as shown in Figure 1. 
Visio on Mac

Figure 1_Visio Viewer on an iPadPro

  • Use a competing application. Search for “Visio for Mac” on Google, and many of the results will be for third-party applications for Mac that open Visio drawings and provide much of the same functionality.
  • Run the real Windows application on your Mac. If you need the real Visio with all its functionality, then use Parallels Desktop® for Mac to run Windows 10 on your Mac and purchase Visio from Microsoft. You lose no functionality or visual fidelity, since you are running the real Visio in the environment it expects: Windows 10.

(Already own Visio? No problem. Just use the Migration feature in Parallels Desktop to move everything on your PC—including Visio—into a virtual machine on your Mac.)

Figure 2 shows Visio running on my MacBook Pro®.

Visio on Mac

Figure 2_Visio 2016 running in Windows10 on a Mac with Parallels Desktop

Figures 3 and 4 show Access, and Figure 5 shows IE—all running on my MacBook Pro.

Visio on Mac

Figure 3_Access 2016 in Windows 10 running on a Mac with Parallels Desktop

Visio on Mac

Figure 4_Access 2016 in Windows 10 running on a Mac with Parallels Desktop

Visio on Mac

Figure 5_IE in Windows10 running on a Mac with Parallels Desktop

While you may not be able to get the Mac applications you desire, you can get the Windows versions and run them right alongside your Mac applications.

As the product manager for Parallels Desktop, you might consider my opinions to be a bit biased. (They aren’t, but you might think that.) So, here is a quote from a Network World review (emphasis mine):

“I’ve been a Mac user for many years, and like with most Mac users, there are occasions when I have core business apps that require me to run Internet Explorer for a browser, or run Visual Studio for app development work, or even run Microsoft Project and Visio that just aren’t available on a Mac. And while Apple provides BootCamp where I can switch between booting from a Mac to booting as a Windows system, that means I have to constantly reboot my system to switch between operating platforms. So I’ve been a happy user of Parallels for years where I can run Windows and Mac applications side by side at the same time.” –Rand Morimoto, Network World

Try Parallels Desktop for free for 14 days!

Kurt has been a Mac developer since before the Mac came out. Today he is the Senior Product Manager at Parallels where he works on both Parallels Desktop for Mac and Parallels Access. Prior to Parallels, he was the Senior Mac Evangelist in the Macintosh Business Unit (MacBU) at Microsoft Corp. Kurt is the author of three books and has lectured internationally on object-oriented programming, UI design, and virtualization. Kurt is also a Microsoft Office for Mac and iOS Accredited Support Professional for 2014 and 2015. Outside of work, Kurt has been a fencer for many years, has four times been a member of the US team at the world championships, and has also been the coach of the US team: http://www.naginata.org.