How to Install Microsoft Visio Mac / MacBook Pro / Air

This article is written intended to guide you how to Install Microsoft Visio Mac / MacBook Pro / MacBook Air running OS X El Capitan.

One program that missing when using MacBook is there is no Microsoft Visio for Mac. Although Microsoft has been officially releasing Microsoft Office (e.g Word, Excel, PowerPoint) for Mac, Microsoft still does not release  Visio for Mac, at least until now.

Since I work as a network administrator, Microsoft Visio is very important for me to draw network diagram / topology. Although there are many Visio alternatives for Mac such ConceptDraw, LucidChart, SmartDraw, or OmniGraffle according to my opinion they can not replace Visio. It is the best because of its simplicity and easy to use. Another reason is I am already familiar with Visio when running Windows and also already bought the software license so buying another program for this purpose is wasting money.

In this article I will not talk about which software is better. I want to show you how to install Microsoft Visio on Mac running OS X El Capitan on top of Wine, thanks to WineHQ team for making this great tool. It should be applicable on previous version of OS X such as OS X Yosemite, OS X Mavericks, and Mac OS X Mountain Lion.

Lets start with the installation process

Windows programs can be run on OS X, Linux and BSD via WINE (Windows Emulator) so first we need to install wine and winetricks.

We can install wine and winetricks packages using Homebrew, follow this post how to install Wine on OS X.

brew install wine winetricks

Define Visio Home directory

Although it is not necessary, it is better to set environment folder for Visio. We will set it under $HOME/.vision2007. Inside your $HOME directory (/Users/your_username), create .visio2007 directory.

mkdir .visio2007

Perform Wine initialisation and setup of WINEPREFIX in .visio2007

env WINEPREFIX=~/.visio2007 wineboot

We need several packages be installed to run Visio 2007. Those packages are gdiplus, msxml6, dotnet20, riched20, and corefonts. Install them using winetricks as follows:

env WINEPREFIX=~/.visio2007 winetricks gdiplus
env WINEPREFIX=~/.visio2007 winetricks msxml6
env WINEPREFIX=~/.visio2007 winetricks dotnet20
env WINEPREFIX=~/.visio2007 winetricks riched20
env WINEPREFIX=~/.visio2007 winetricks corefonts

NOTES: Installing the packages above on the latest OS X 10.11.6 El Capitan or macOS 10.12 Sierra might encounter errors that the packages do not support 64-bit platform.

To work around this, set WINEARCH to win32 using the command below.


Then re-run to install the packages above. Thanks to ygrzl for pointing this out in the comment :)

Capture example of installing .Net Framework (dotnet20) is as in image below:

Install Microsoft Visio Mac dotnet20

After installing the packages above, then run Wine configuration editor (winecfg)

env WINEPREFIX=~/.visio2007 winecfg

In Wine configuration, under Libraries tab make sure that gdiplus, msxml6, riched20 are set to native. See image below!

Install Microsoft Visio Mac winecfg
Run Visio setup installation

Once the above dependency packages installed and configured, we are ready to run the installation.

env WINEPREFIX=~/.visio2007 wine /path/to/visio2007/setup.exe

Install Microsoft Visio Mac installation progress

After the installation completed and successful, you can run Visio using command below:

env WINEPREFIX=~/.visio2007 wine ~/.visio2007/drive_c/Program\ Files/Microsoft\ Office/Office12/VISIO.EXE

Visio should be running well without any problem.

Install Microsoft Visio Mac completed
Create visio script

To make it easier to run Visio using Terminal, create a script named as ‘visio’.

touch visio
vi visio

Copy and paste the following command into the visio script. Change the ‘your-username’ accordingly with yours.

/usr/bin/env WINEPREFIX=/Users/your-username/.visio2007 /usr/local/bin/wine /Users/your-username/.visio2007/drive_c/Program\ Files/Microsoft\ Office/Office12/VISIO.EXE &>/dev/null &

Make it executable and then move it into $PATH

chmod +x visio 
sudo mv visio /usr/local/bin/

To run Visio, just type visio in Terminal.

  • ygrzl

    Finally successfully installed Visio 2010 on 10.12 Sierra on MBP.

    Here is some feedback on this article

    ++ Excellent to have links to background info on installing wine – much appreciated for a newbie

    — I got errors when installing the packages, complaining about mismatch between 64-bit and 32-bit. So I ended up deleting that first attempt then backtracking to step “Perform Wine initialisation and setup of WINEPREFIX in .visio2007” and ran the following *before* doing anything.

    — After installation, when I went to start the application it crashed and said it “cannot verify the license”. I tried several things, and eventually some combination worked. What I tried:
    * Installing SMBup to install Samba (can download this app from various places)
    * Installing Windows Scripting Host via winetricks (was trying to manually register using the ospp.vsb script)

    • CH

      Great info… I have visio 2010 up and running on 10.11.6 el capitan… works perfectly except for Im unable to save. I get “Cannot create object.” dialog on startup of app, once i click ok, app comes up fine and works as expected except save. I see the same error on startup and on save:

      err:ole:TLB_ReadTypeLib Loading of typelib L”Z:\Users\myuser\.visioX\drive_c\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office14\VISLIB.dll” failed with error 3

      fixme:advapi:RegisterEventSourceW ((null),L”Microsoft Office 14 Alerts”): stub

      VISLIB.DLL exists at the location referenced. Any ideas?

      • Have you set the WINEPREFIX environment and install the gdiplus, msxml6, dotnet20, riched20, and corefonts packages? Previously I got the same error when saving the project but after reinstalling the packages and set the WINEPREFIX, then I am able to save the project without any problem.

    • Thanks for pointing this out. I run the installation on El Capitan 10.11.4 and did not need to set the WINEARCH=win32. I just tried it again in the latest El Capitan 10.11.6 and Sierra 10.12 and YES it need to set WINEARCH=win32, otherwise the packages will fail to install. I have added notes in the article related to this finding. Thanks again :)

  • Kyle

    Can this be done with the 2013 version?

    • Never try with 2013 version as I don’t have the license but it tested work on 2007 and 2010 version. Hopefully it works with 2013 version :)

      • mihaiDa

        unfortunatelly IOPL not enabled error appears here :(

      • Meenu

        I was trying with 2010 version and was getting the message:

        $ env WINEPREFIX=~/.visio2010 wine /path/to/visio2010/setup.exe

        wine: cannot find ‘/path/to/visio2010/setup.exe’

        Could you please help?

        • You must change the /path/to/visio2010/setup.exe with the path where the setup.exe file located in your Mac. If it is located in Downloads directory, you should change it with ‘$ env WINEPREFIX=~/.visio2010 wine Downloads/setup.exe’