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.