Brief guidebook for loading PDF drawings in MS Visio

This short article is dedicated to people, who use Microsoft Visio on a daily basis.
The PDF format isn’t supported directly by MS Visio software, although we can get this drawing in place easily by using third-party tools. In fact, you will find quite a lot of handbooks online, which suggest using PDF-dedicated software like PDF. Wondershare, PDF Element Pro, or others. Apart from them, everyone can find a multitude of web-based converters, which offer direct transformation of the .pdf to .vsd files. Some of them like PDFfiller require a subscription the same as the Insert PDF in Visio add-in. The other ones are for free, but like in the case of, the action might not be successful. Of course, you can select the one from many of the by trial & error method, although I believe it will take your precious time.
First of all, let’s consider some alternative file formats, which Microsoft Visio can open. I will take into account just these ones, which don’t require additional tool installations on your PC (Pic. 1).

MS Visio Open .svg Scalable Vector Format

Pic. 1 Selecting the .svg (Scalable Vector Format) files for open in MS Visio.

The image above shows all the file formats compatible with Microsoft Visio. Because I am interested in converting the vector PDF format, I decline the raster file extensions like .jpeg (JPEG File Interchange Format), .gif (Graphic Interchange Format), .tiff (Tag Image File Format), or .png (Portable Network Graphics). I also won’t decide on the .dwg (AutoCAD Drawing), because it requires the AutoCAD installation, which isn’t for free.
The best choice could be the .svg (Scalable Vector Graphics) format, which is produced mainly by the Inkscape environment.
Our PDF file looks like below (Pic. 2). We want to have exactly the same quality editable in MS Visio.

PDF SLD drawing examle

Pic. 2 The example of the drawing schematic in the .pdf extension, which we want to edit in Microsoft Visio.

The best way is to use this web-based converter, which returns drawings exactly the same as it is! We just need to upload a file from our PC and hit the “Convert” button. Once completed, the tool will show the pop-up with converted stuff, which output quality can be double-checked by the way prior to pushing the “Download” button (Pic. 3).

Cloudconvert converting PDF to SVG

Pic. 3 Converting .pdf to .svg by using the Web-based OpenSource tool

When our file is downloaded, we can open it in Microsoft Visio after the selecting proper file format, which in our case is .svg (Scalable Vector Graphics). Files with this extension are also served by browsers, so you can open them directly i.e. Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge, and check the quality in detail. Notice, that the .svg file isn’t treated as a “Visio File”, hence remains invisible in the directory until the correct file format is chosen. (Pic. 4)

Opening .svg Scalable Vector Format file in MS Visio

Pic. 4 Opening the .svg file in Microsoft Visio. Look at the file icon, which can be opened by the MS Edge browser as default.

The file is finally opened in our blank Visio drawing. It comes out in a very good quality, but it’s treated as one piece (Pic. 5).

PDF drawing SLD opened in MS Visio

Pic. 5 Our former .pdf drawing opened in MS Visio as the .svg file.

With respect to this situation, we just need to right-click on the object -> Group –> Ungroup (Pic. 6). Our PDF content is fully editable from now (Pic. 7).

MS Visio ungroup elements

Pic. 6 Ungrouping elements in MS Visio drawing.

MS Visio pdf drawing ungrouped elements

Pic. 7 Our former .pdf drawing is ready to use in MS Visio.

Coming to an end, you can be convinced, that the exercise with importing PDF drawing format to MS Visio isn’t a complicated thing.

Mariusz Krukar



  6. Can you open PDFs in Visio?


  3. Any way to import PDF files into Visio?
  4. Has anyone found a way to Export a pdf to Visio?

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