Create a new node with a single click, or link separate nodes easily with smart connectors. Your flowchart is just clicks away!
Easy as drag & drop
Our shape library and flowchart templates offer all flowchart symbols and countless shapes, so you can build all kinds of diagrams.
Minimal & intuitive free flowchart maker
To make flow charts more accessible, we stripped away all complicated and unnecessary features from our free flowchart creator. The result is a thoughtfully simple, yet fully capable interface.
Customize your chart with simple styling options: pick a node color, style your texts or your lines. Get creative with our free flowchart maker!
Collaborate in real-time
Invite team members and clients to view, comment, or edit your work. Whenever ready, export or publish your interactive flowchart to a shared link which automatically updates any changes you make.
Online flowchart maker of choice.
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What is a Flowchart?
In simple terms, flowchart or flow chart, is a type of diagram that describe processes. These diagrams compose of blocks, often rectangular, connected by arrows. The blocks contain information of a step in a process. In such way, flow charts help keep the information of a process clear and concise.
Learn more about Flowchart's History, Tutorial, Symbols, Tools, Flow Chart Creator, Free Online Flowchart Maker, Flowchart Software, Flowchart Examples, Flowchart Templates and much more in our Comprehensive Flowchart Guide.
History of Flowcharts
It is not clear who was the true inventor of flowcharts, but the first standardized documentation on flow chart was first introduced by Frank and Lillian Gilbreth. In 1921, the couple presented the graphic-based method in a presentation titled: “Process Charts: First Steps in Finding the One Best Way to do Work”, to members of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).
After that, in 1930s, Allan H. Mogensen, an industrial engineer trained some participants in his Work Simplification Conferences in New York. Participants from this conference such as Art Spinanger and Ben Grahamthen began to use flowchart in their respective fields, which helped propagate the usage of flowchart.
In the year 1949, flowchart began to be used for planning computer programs and quickly became one of the most popular tools in designing computer algorithms and programs. Nowadays, flow chart is an important productivity tool, serving employees in various industries and functions.
What a Flowchart is Used For?
Flowchart is a very versatile tool that can be used to:
Document a process
Present a solution
Brainstorm an idea
Design a system
Explain a decision making process
Our Online Free Flowchart Maker
Zen Flowchart is the simplest online software to create flowcharts, flow chart, org charts, process charts, sitemaps, and more. With a minimal and intuitive user interface, creating professional flowcharts and diagrams with our online flowchart maker / flowchart generator is easy and delightful. Our simple free flowchart maker also has Export and Publish features, which allow users to easily share their work. Try our free flowchart creator now!
How to use Zen Flowchart?
At Zen Flowchart, we pride ourselves in having the most intuitive, easy-to-use flow chart maker / generator on the market. And as such, we hope you’ll be able to create flow charts with our flowchart tool without much help. However, here’s a quick guide on the main features to get you started. Let us know if you have any issues by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Zen Flowchart offers ready-made free flowchart templates that let you create flow chart with just 1 click. To use any flowchart template, log in to your Zen Flowchart, click on Templates > Hover over the flowchart template you would like to use > Then click on "Use Template".
Flowchart is a very versatile tool that can be used across industries and in endless use cases. View our curated flowchart example collection to see flowchart in action.
How to Create a Flowchart?
Step 1: Map out major steps in a flowchart maker
Start with a piece of paper, or a free flow chart creator like Zen Flowchart with ready-made flowchart templates. Next, draw several major blocks that represent the most important steps in your process. Don’t worry about the details for now. Because flow charts are read left to right and top to bottom, start your first node at the top left corner of your workspace.
Step 2: Key in details of your flowchart
Fill in the remaining steps. We recommend working in the natural order of the process. An optional step here is to style your chart with different shapes and color to make it easier to follow.
Step 3: Test your chart
Work through all the steps in your chart to make sure they are clear and exhaustive, and that there is no open-ended node remained.
Step 4: Gather feedback & share with an online flow chart creator
Share a draft of the flowchart and get feedback from the intended users to improve upon it. Flowcharts should be made easily accessible to all parties involved. So make sure you publish your work in the right place. Our online interactive flowchart maker Zen Flowchart has a handy publishing feature, which allows you to publish and share your flowcharts. Any future updates you make to the document will automatically be updated.
Flowchart Symbols & Components
Flowchart is a very intuitive method to describe processes. As such, in most cases, you don’t need to worry too much about the standards and rules of all the flow chart symbols. In fact, a simple flowchart, constructed with just rectangular blocks and flowlines, can already get most jobs done.
However, if you want to get technical and precise, there are preset rules and standards you can follow. Specifically, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) set standards for flowcharts and their symbols in the 1960s. Afterwards, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) adopted the ANSI symbols in 1970. In general, flowcharts flow from top to bottom and left to right. For a full list of flowchart symbols, read our Flowchart Symbols Guide.
1. Flowline: Shows the process’ direction. Each flowline connects two blocks. 2. Terminal: Indicates the beginning or end of a flowchart 3. Process: Represent a step in a process. This is the most common flowchart symbol. 4. Decision: Shows a step that decides the next step in a process. This is commonly a yes/no or true/false question. 5. Input / Output: Indicates the process of inputting or outputting external data. 6. Annotation / Comment: Indicates additional information regarding a step in a process. 7. Predefined Process: Shows named process which is defined elsewhere. 8. On-page Connector: Pairs of on-page connecter are used to replace long lines on a flowchart page. 9. Off-page Connector: An off-page connector is used when the target is on another page. 10. Delay: Any delay period that is part of a process 11. Alternate Process: An alternate to the normal process step. Flow lines to an alternate process block is usually dashed. 12. Data: Data input or output 13. Document: A document 14. Multi-document: Multiple documents 15. Preparation: A preparation step 16. Display: A machine display 17. Manual Input: Data or information into a system 18. Manual Operation: A process step that isn’t automated.
Flowchart - FAQs
What is a Flowchart?
Flowchart (or flow chart) is a type of diagram that describe processes. These diagrams compose of blocks, often rectangular, connected by arrows. The blocks contain information of a step in a process in a concise manner.
How to create a Flowchart?
Follow 4 simple steps to create a flowchart: 1. Map out major steps: Start sketching several major rectangles that represent the most important steps in your process. Don’t worry about the details for now. 2. Key in details: Fill in the remaining steps. We recommend working through in the natural order of the process. 3. Test your result: Work through all the steps in your chart to make sure they are clear and exhaustive. 4. Gather feedback & share: Share a draft of the flowchart and get feedback from the intended users. It’s important to get their feedback to make sure that your flowchart is accurate and helpful. It's very easy to generate flowcharts with a flowchart generator tool like Zen Flowchart.
What is a Flowchart used for?
Flowchart is a very versatile tool that can be used to: - Document a process - Present a solution - Brainstorm an idea - Design a system - Explain a decision making process - Store information
What are the Basic Symbols of a Flowchart?
The top 4 main flowchart symbols are: - Process: Represents a step in a process. This is the most common component of a flowchart. - Terminal: Indicates the beginning or end of a flowchart - Flowline: Shows the process’ direction. Each flowline connects two blocks. - Decision: Shows a step that decides the next step in a process. This is commonly a yes/no or true/false question.
What are some Types of Flowcharts?
These are several types or variations of flowcharts: - Process Flowchart - Data Flow Diagram - Swimlane Flowchart - EPC Diagram - SDL Diagram - UML Diagram
What makes a good flowchart maker?
A good flowchart maker needs to meet several criteria: - Easy to use, ideally with drag & drop feature - Support of all common flowchart symbols - Ability to customize styling - Easy to share - Export features - Live collaboration
What is the best free flowchart maker?
The best free flowchart maker is Zen Flowchart. Other options include Diagrams.net & LucidChart. To view the full list, read our 11 Best Flowchart Makers Guide.
How do I create a flowchart in Word?
Creating a flowchart in Word is somewhat inconvenient, but possible. You can create a flowchart in Word using regular shapes or SmartArt object library. Read our guide on How to make a flowchart in Word for a detailed tutorial.
Does Google have a flow chart maker?
Google does not have a dedicated flow chart maker, but you can create flowcharts in Google Docs fairly easily with their Drawing feature. Read our guide How to make a flowchart in Google Doc for a detailed tutorial.
Where can I make a flow chart for free?
There are many tools to create flow chart for free. Zen Flowchart is our favorite free flowchart maker. Diagrams.net is also a good alternative, but does not have any sharing features. For detailed reviews of top flowchart software, read our guide here.