It's always a treat to find a MS program that doesn't suck. I'm currently writing this on my linux box which, although it does reset itself from time to time due to a bad heatsink on the mobo, boots SO much faster due to not being an MS program :o) But I spent a lot of time today using MS Visio and I have to say, it didn't suck too bad. Visio is a drawing program, mostly for diagrams, flow charts, and that kind of thing. Like EVERY MS program, you do quickly have to get out of all the templated, pre-set crap that they assume will just be soooooo helpful, and get to where you can tell it what you actually want it to do. But once you do that it works. I'm doing some diagrams for an upcoming presentation where I'm reporting on this SEM/CFA modeling (if it would mean anything to you, you'll know what that means) and I've seen people do diagrams in Word, in Powerpoint, and now (myself) in Visio and so far Visio is my favorite. The arrows go where I want them, it's easy to insert text for each path you draw, circles are circles, squares are squares. It doesn't take too much to make me happy.
So, if you happen to need to do a bunch of path diagrams and you have access to it, Visio is not a bad way to go. If you don't, just use the Openoffice.org Draw program - that will work almost as well. When I used it in a grant application though I found that it's figures tended to be a bit fuzzy and weird on printout.
There ya have it. Geek out, world.