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How to Create a Flowchart in Seven Easy Steps

By Danesh Ramuthi, Nov 28, 2023

How to Create a Flowchart

Learn how to create a flowchart in just 7 steps in this article. From defining your flowchart’s purpose to customizing its appearance, each step is designed to streamline the process. 

Discover the various types of flowcharts to enhance your skill set. 

Begin creating your own using Venngage’s flowchart maker and a wide range of flowchart templates.

 

How to create a flowchart in seven steps?

Step 1: Find out the purpose of your flowchart

Step 2: Outline key steps with appropriate symbols

Step 3: Arrange the elements correctly

Step 4: Link elements with lines and arrows

Step 5: Create the flowchart

Step 6: Test and enhance the flowchart as needed

Step 7: Opt for a pre-designed template for ease

Creating a flowchart can be a straightforward yet powerful tool for visualizing processes, from simple tasks to complex workflows. Whether you’re mapping business processes, computer programming algorithms or project management steps, a well-structured flowchart can transform complex processes into easy-to-understand diagrams. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you start creating effective flowcharts.

Step 1: Find out the purpose of your flowchart

The first step in creating a flowchart is to determine its purpose. This is crucial as it influences the type of flowchart you’ll use and the level of detail required. There are various flowchart types, each suited for different needs:

  • Process flowchart: Often used to map out the steps in a process, making it ideal for understanding and improving business processes.
  • Workflow Diagrams: These focus on the movement of tasks or data through various stages, useful in optimizing workflows.
  • Data flow diagrams (DFD): Primarily used in software development, DFDs illustrate how data flows through a system.
  • Swimlane diagram: This type is useful for showing how different departments or roles contribute to a process.

Understanding the main flowchart types helps in choosing the right format for your needs, whether it’s a basic flowchart for simple tasks or a complex flowchart for detailed processes.

Problem Agitate Solution Flow Chart Template
 

Step 2: Outline key steps with appropriate symbols

Once you’ve identified the purpose of your flowchart, the next step is to outline the process steps. It involves identifying all the components of the process and representing them with common flowchart symbols. These symbols serve as the visual representation of the process steps and are key to making the flowchart easy to understand.

Common flowchart symbols include:

  • Oval: Represents the start and end points.
  • Rectangle: Used for a standard process step.
  • Diamond Shape: Denotes a decision point.
  • Parallelogram: Indicates input or output.
  • Arrow: Shows the direction of the flow.

Different flowchart symbols serve various purposes and understanding what each symbol represents is crucial in accurately mapping out the process. In tools like Microsoft Word, Google Docs or online flowchart makers, you can easily access these symbols from the shape menu. Additionally, flowchart templates can be a great starting point, offering a blank canvas with basic shapes to drag and drop as needed.

Customer Service Swimlane Chart Template
 

By correctly using these symbols, you can create flowcharts that are not only visually appealing but also provide a clear and concise visual representation of complex processes, ensuring that all stakeholders are on the same page.

Step 3: Arrange the elements correctly

Arranging the elements correctly is another important step in how to create a flowchart. At this stage, various flowchart symbols and shapes are placed in a logical order to reflect the actual process flow.

In this step, it’s important to ensure that all components of the process – from manual input to data flow and decision points – are represented using the correct flowchart symbols. Common shapes like rectangles, diamonds and arrows are used to denote different stages of the process.

For instance, a diamond shape is typically used as a decision symbol, indicating a point in the process where a decision must be made.

Simple Recruitment Process Flowchart
 

Step 4: Link elements with lines and arrows

Next, link the elements with lines and arrows. Start by connecting the various shapes (which represent process steps) to depict the flow of the process. Arrows, in particular, are essential in a flowchart as they indicate the direction of the process flow.

Ensure that these lines and arrows point in the right direction and clearly demonstrate the sequence of steps in the process. Proper linking of elements helps in creating a flowchart that is easy to follow and understand, especially for complex processes.

Sale Procedure Sales Process Flowchart
 

Step 5: Create the flowchart

Once you are done with linking the element, proceed with reviewing and finalizing the diagram. Here you need to ensure that every process step is correctly represented and linked, and the overall design is coherent and logical. It’s often helpful to share the draft flowchart with others for feedback, especially those who are unfamiliar with the process, to ensure that it’s easily understandable.

Once the flowchart is finalized, it can be saved and shared with the intended audience. Most flowchart software allows you to save the document in various formats, making it easy to share on different platforms. 

Hiring Process Flowchart
 

Step 6: Test and enhance the flowchart as needed

Testing and enhancing your flowchart is a critical step to ensure its effectiveness. This involves reviewing the flowchart to verify that it accurately represents the process and is easy to understand for the intended audience. Here’s how you can approach this:

  • Review for clarity: Examine the flowchart to ensure that each step is clearly represented and easy to follow. This includes checking the flowchart symbols, the order of steps and the overall design.
  • Feedback collection: Share the flowchart with colleagues or those familiar with the process. Their insights can reveal areas that might need more clarification or simplification.
  • Iterative improvements: Based on the feedback, make necessary adjustments. This might involve rearranging steps, refining the use of flowchart symbols or simplifying complex parts of the diagram.
  • Consistency check: Ensure that all parts of the flowchart are consistent in terms of symbols, terminology and layout. It is especially crucial for complex flowcharts or those depicting business processes or data flow diagrams.
Hiring Flowchart
 

Step 7: Opt for a pre-designed template for ease

Using pre-designed templates can significantly simplify the process of creating a flowchart, especially for those who are new to this or are dealing with complex processes. Here’s why and how to use them:

  • Time-saving: Templates provide a ready-made structure, which can save time and effort, especially when dealing with standard processes or common business scenarios.
  • Customizability: Many templates, such as those offered by Venngage, are customizable. This allows you to adjust the template to fit your specific needs while maintaining a professional look.
  • Consistency and professionalism: Templates are designed to be visually appealing and consistent, which adds a level of professionalism to your flowcharts.
  • Accessibility: Most online flowchart makers, including Microsoft Word and Google Docs, offer a range of flowchart templates. These can be easily accessed and used as a starting point for your flowchart.
  • Versatility: Whether you’re creating a basic process map, a swimlane flowchart or a data flow diagram, there’s likely a template that suits your needs.
UAT Process Flow Diagram Template
 

Related: How to Make a Flowchart in Microsoft Word in 2023

What are the types of flowchart?

Flowcharts are versatile tools, with each type designed to address specific aspects of processes and decision-making. The most common types include the Process Flowchart, ideal for outlining business or operational processes and the Decision Flowchart, which is focused on mapping out decision-making paths and their potential outcomes. 

For organizational tasks, the Workflow Flowchart is key, showing how tasks and data move through a system, while the Swimlane Flowchart is perfect for delineating responsibilities across different departments. Further specialized types include the Use Case Flowchart, often used in software development to depict interactions with a system and the EPC Flowchart, which models business processes by highlighting events, functions and connectors. 

The System or Program Flowchart is crucial in programming, detailing the control flow in systems or algorithms and the Data or Document Flowchart is used to illustrate how data is managed within a system.

For a more in-depth exploration of these flowchart types and to see practical examples, check out this detailed article on Venngage on types of flowchart. It’s a great resource for anyone looking to learn more about the different flowcharts and their applications.

Related: 7 Best Flowchart Software for 2023

Drawing things to a close

Perfectly outlining the fundamental steps, the article demonstrated how to create a flowchart, an indispensable tool for visualizing and simplifying both simple and complex processes

Starting with identifying the purpose of your flowchart, you have learned how to outline the key steps using appropriate symbols, arrange elements correctly, link them with lines and arrows, and finally, create the flowchart.

Moreover, I have briefly explained the different types of flowcharts, each serving specific purposes, from decision-making to data flow visualization. Understanding these types enables you to select the most suitable type for your specific needs, whether in project management, software development or business process modeling.

Flowcharts are powerful tools for breaking down and communicating complex information in a clear, concise manner

Ready to start creating your flowchart? Explore Venngage’s flowchart maker and a wide array of customizable flowchart templates to bring your ideas to life with ease.