Volume Activation for Visio 2010 Explained

If you’re an IT administrator managing multiple copies of Visio and Office 2010, this post explains some changes and improvements we’ve made to the deployment experience for Visio 2010. Visio 2010 deployment is a little different than Office 2010 deployment, and this article will illustrate all those differences.

Volume Activation Methods

There are two supported volume activation methods for Visio and Office 2010:

  • Key Management Service (KMS). KMS uses a host computer to establish an activation service on your local company network. With a KMS host you can activate thousands of computers at the same time when they regularly connect to the company network. If you use a KMS host to activate Office 2010 or Visio 2010, you can use the same host to activate Windows.

  • Multiple Activation Key (MAK). With MAK, each computer activates Office 2010 and Visio 2010 with the Microsoft hosted activation servers over the Internet or by phone. MAK is recommended when you have fewer than 50 computers to activate, and for computers that are not regularly connected to the company network.

For more information about those activation methods, see this article on TechNet. There’s also a great blog post on the Office Engineering blog that talks about the differences between these methods.

Visio Single Image

Visio 2010 comes in one single-image SKU. This means that the edition of Visio installed is determined by the key that is used to install it. There are three different Visio 2010 editions: Standard, Professional, and Premium. (For more info on the three editions, see this previous post).

Before you deploy Visio 2010 to your users, you need to decide which edition(s) of Visio you want to deploy.

The Visio 2010 Single Image SKU is prepopulated with a Visio Premium 2010 KMS client key. This means that if you deploy the Visio 2010 Single Image SKU without making any changes, you will be deploying Visio Premium 2010. If you want to deploy different editions, you need to take additional steps.

Benefits of Single Image Architecture

Visio 2010’s new single image architecture was designed to make it easier for organizations to manage multiple editions of Visio 2010. Some of the benefits of single image include:

  • Only one set of bits to download and mange for multiple editions
  • Ability to change editions without having to reinstall Visio
  • Support for upgrading and downgrading editions

Changing Editions of Visio

If you’re planning on deploying a different edition of Visio (other than Premium), or deploying multiple editions of Visio, you will need to install the correct product key based on the edition you want. This section is targeted towards those who are using KMS as the activation method, though you can use the same tools to install the correct MAK key. Here are some different options to help you manage this easily:

    1. Pre-deployment

    By default, the KMS client key in the Visio 2010 Single Image SKU is the Visio Premium 2010 key. You may use the “Enter another product key” under the “Licensing and user interface” section in the Office Customization Tool (OCT) to enter the correct KMS client key:



    Visio Premium 2010


    Visio Professional 2010


    Visio Standard 2010


    If you don’t enter the key in the OCT, then you can also enter the key in the config.xml file.

    2. Post-deployment: Use VAMT 2.0

    If you’ve already deployed and installed Visio Premium 2010 and want to change editions, it’s easy to do so, and you don’t need to reinstall Visio. Using the Volume Activation Management Tool, you can change the key for every installation of Visio client installed.

    After you change the product key for an installation of Visio 2010, you will need to restart Visio twice for the changes to take effect. From then on Visio will update and run as the edition specified by the new key.

    You can download and get more information about VAMT 2.0 here.

    There’s also a great video here that shows how to use VAMT.

    3. Post-deployment: Ospp.vbs script

    The Office Software Protection Platform script (ospp.vbs script) enables you to configure volume editions of Office 2010 client products. With this script, you can change which keys are used for specific Visio 2010 installations. This is the command you can use to change the key:

    cscript ospp.vbs /inpkey:<Visio key>

    For more information on how to use this script, see this article on TechNet.

Deploying Multiple Editions of Visio

The above section talked about how you can change the edition of Visio before installing the single image SKU, and even after you’ve already installed Visio 2010.

If you’re planning on deploying multiple editions of Visio 2010 in your organization, we recommend you do one of the following:

  1. Keep multiple copies of the Visio 2010 Single Image SKU

    Follow the steps above to customize the single image SKU for each edition of Visio 2010 you are planning on deploying, and keep them around.
  2. Use VAMT or the ospp.vbs script to monitor and change editions of Visio in your organization. VAMT and ospp.vbs make it easy to manage multiple editions of Visio, and you have the option of either a graphical interface or a command line script.

While we recognize that Visio 2010’s single image SKU requires a little bit of planning before deployment, we hope the benefits of it will save you time in the long run.

As always, let us know if you have any feedback on Visio 2010, Visio Services, or suggestions for blog posts you would like to see.