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Introduction to creating flowcharts

Introduction to flow charts

One of the most universal chart types, flowcharts help people develop, document, and improve processes, systems, and algorithms.

In its most basic form, a flowchart consists of shapes and arrows. The shapes, including rectangles, triangles, and ovals, represent the steps of a process. Arrows are used to connect these shapes to show the path or flow through the process.

Basic flowchart elements

Here are some common objects you will see in a flowchart:

  • Arrows indicate the direction of the card’s flow.
  • The Decision form is a diamond that indicates a question that must be answered, such as yes/no or correct/incorrect.
  • The Process shape is a rectangle that represents a process, action, or operation.
  • The Terminator shape is an oval that indicates the start or endpoints of the flowchart.

More flowchart symbols

  • Connector: Connects individual elements on a page. Used for complex schedules.
  • Data (I / O): Represents input, output, or sources used or generated.
  • Database: Represents a database.
  • Conclusion: Indicates a question that needs to be answered – usually the answer is yes/no or right/wrong. The path can change based on the answer.
  • Delay: Indicates a delay or waiting period in a process.
  • Direct Access Storage (hard drive): Stands for data storage on a hard drive.
  • Display: Refers to the information displayed to a user, often with a computer screen.
  • Document:  Represents a document or report.
  • Internal storage: Represents data that is stored in RAM.
  • Manual Entry: Represents the manual entry of data into a computer, usually using a keyboard.
  • Manual control: Indicates that the step should be performed manually and not automatically.
  • Merge: Combines multiple paths.
  • Multiple Documents: Represents multiple documents or reports.
  • Note: Show comments on a flowchart.
  • Off-Page Link: Connects individual elements that are on more than one page. Used for complex schedules.
  • Or: Represents a path that diverges.
  • Paper tape: Represents input or output.
  • Predefined Process: Refers to a complex process that is known or described elsewhere.
  • Preparation: Represents preparation for the following steps.
  • Stored data: Represents data that is on a storage device.
  • Merge: Adds the input from several merging paths together.

Build a flow chart online

You can create a flowchart with online flowchart creator from scratch or from any of their homemade templates.

Create a flowchart from template

You can access various templates by clicking the Templates tab on your documents page, by clicking “+ New Document” in the File menu of an existing document, to open the Workspace Manager while you are in an existing document. Open the flowchart section, then click a thumbnail to preview a template. Click “Create Document” to create an editable copy of a template. There may be different approaches for different flowchart creator.

Create a flowchart

You can create a flowchart from scratch by dragging and dropping the shapes into the Flowchart shape library.

Note: The flowchart shape library should be automatically pinned to your toolbox when you create a new document. If you don’t see it, you can enable it from the Shapes section of the Workspace Manager.

After dragging out the first shape, you can add a second one by clicking the red connection point on the border of the shape and then selecting a second shape from the auto prompt menu.

You can add style to the shapes in your flowchart using the options in the property bar.

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