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Introduction

Flowcharts, also known as process charts, are a visual representation of a sequence of steps. Most flowcharts have a box in the upper left corner labeled "Start" and one in the lower right corner labeled "End". The boxes on each side of this line are referred to as "nodes". The flowchart does not typically specify any starting or ending point - it is simply an illustration of a process or set of steps. Flowcharts are typically used in business settings to illustrate various processes such as software design, project management, etc.

Below are some flowchart tips to get you started on how to make a flowchart effectively.

What Is A Flowchart?

A flowchart is a type of diagram that illustrates the progression of steps in a process. It shows how one step leads to another by connecting them with arrows.

Flowcharts, or flow charts, utilize shapes such as ovals, diamonds, and rectangles to indicate the steps and linking arrows to represent order and flow. These are also the common flowchart symbols.

Flowcharts will have different names in different fields: Business Process Maps, Process charts, Process Flow Diagrams (PFD), or Data Flow Diagrams

flowchart
Flowchart


The Pros and Cons Of Flowcharts

Pros

  • Allow everyone to understand complicated processes more easily. 
  • Save time and effort on analyzing issues or problems.
  • It can be used to document and share processes at scale.

Cons

  • When there is a change in the process, even the slightest, the whole chart needs to be redrawn.
  • The flowcharts will look messy and hard to comprehend if the process includes too many steps.

What Are The Rules For Drawing Flowcharts?

Must-Have Start and End Points

There must be a beginning and an end to every flowchart. The words "Start" and "End" are placed within ellipses or rounded rectangles to signify them.

When drawing, always draw the "Start" first and "End" sign last, as you may not know how much space is sufficient.

A Flowchart with Start and End Points
A Flowchart with Start and End Points


Steps in a Process

The next stage within the process is symbolized by a rectangle, representing an action or activity that must be completed. Parallelograms should be used for both output and input. Action verbs are often included in the rectangle, indicating what the user should do next.

Flowchart Arrows And Connectors

The arrowed lines depict the workflow from one procedure to the next. As the process progresses, the arrows guide the reader through the many input and decision points until they arrive at the finish.

Other Symbols

Click here for a full list of flowchart symbols that you can use.

Tips To Create Better Flowcharts

Use Consistent Format

There must be consistency among all Flowchart Symbols in the diagram as it makes the chart look aligned, easy to follow, and prevent any distraction that might happen. Color coding can be applied in the chart to make the steps clearer and catchier, but can be time-consuming.

Fit In One Page

The perfect situation is when all the complex processes can fit on one page, and the text is readable. However, some time flow chart makers encounter a complex flowchart that can get too big to fit on a page.

The solution is to create multiple flowchart documents that are linked together. Another solution is to scale down the graph but ensure that the text is still readable.

basic flowchart
Basic flowchart


Start From Left To Right

Among all the flowchart tips, this tip is the most fundamental one. When the information is structured to the right, readers can easily comprehend and follow the information. 

Split Path - A Great Alternative For Traditional Decision Symbol

When it comes to representing a decision, the diamond symbol is the number one choice, but it also causes a few problems, such as being hard to understand and follow for the majority. They even confuse a few creators who are not using these shapes frequently.

Therefore, split-path is a prominent alternative for diamond shape as it solves all the above problems.