A flowchart is often used to manage, analyze, design a process in many different fields. It is a useful tool that everyone should learn to help solve problems easier and more efficiently.

System flowchart is one of the common variations of the flowchart. But what is it exactly? What should you keep in mind when creating one? 

Do not worry! This article will answer all the unanswered questions regarding the system flow chart. Without further delay, let's get into the flowchart tutorial!

What Is System Flowchart

As you may have already known, a flow chart is a graph that shows process flow, decisions, and outcomes. They are common tools of quality control that are utilized in many fields. There are four basic categories of flowcharts:

- Document flowcharts show you the flow of documents from one business unit to another.

- Data flowcharts let you see the overall data flow in a system. 

- Program flowcharts show you a program’s control in a system. They are also one of the essential tools in programming. We have already covered it in an article, so check it out on our website!

- System flowcharts are the diagram type that shows you the flow of data and how decisions can affect the events surrounding it. 

Like other types of flowcharts, system flowcharts consist of start/end terminals, processes, and decisions, all connected by arrows showing the flow and how data moves in the flow.

Flowchart Symbols
Flowchart Symbols

Are System Flowchart And Data Flowchart The Same

Some people might think that system flowcharts and data flowcharts are the same. However, the truth is far from it. They might have common symbols, but they are not the same things.

Data flowcharts show how data flows in the system. In other words, data flowcharts show where the data goes, then process all that data and output them. 

However, data flowcharts do not show you the decisions, only the data flow. On the other hand, system flowcharts show you the data flow and its outcomes.

What Are Input And Output

Input is the data that the system receives, while output is the data that the system sends out. To put it in a nutshell, you can think of input as what comes in, while output is what you receive at the end of the program.

In a system, the process usually involves feeding the system with a source of input. Then, that input will be processed and modified in some way to produce the output that you will get in the end.

Imagine a kitchen where the chef receives basic components like eggs, flour, milk (input). He then transforms these components into something different, a cake (output). That is how a system works.

System Flowchart Examples

Example 1: A Car's Cruise Control

In this example, we will look at a car's cruise control. Cruise control allows the car to stay at the desired speed that the driver set. It works by adding or cutting the fuel according to the car’s speed.

To keep the car at a constant speed, we will have a major component called a speed sensor that records the car's speed. If the car is too slow, we can speed it up by adding more fuel, while if the car is too fast, we can slow it down by cutting some fuel. 

A simple flow chart for this system should be like this:

system flowchart

Example 2: A Library Management System

Back in the day, it was harder for librarians to manage borrowed books before the digital age. Nowadays, a library would have a digital management system that allows people to borrow and return books to the librarian much easier. 

The system starts with the user logging into their account. The system will then verify the user, allowing them to access all the library's services, such as changing passwords, borrowing, and returning if they pass all the verification steps. 

The library management system should have a basic flow chart like this one below:

system flowchart

Example 3: Profit/Loss Calculating System

Profit is one of the important aspects that business runners often care about. It is one of the duties of finance teams. Usually, if the production cost is higher than the income, it is a loss. If the income is higher than the cost, it means you have profit.

The system is simple. It will compare the cost and the income to determine your profit or loss. The detailed flow chart of this system will be like this:

system flowchart

Example 4: Hospital's Medical Services

In a hospital, hundreds of medical cases arrive every day. To manage all those medical cases, they usually have to follow a long procedure to register and process their patients.

Usually, the procedure starts with a patient, or patients, arriving at the hospital. Then they will register the patient into their system, have a doctor record their health conditions, and give prescriptions. If the patient needs a follow-up session, the doctor will arrange an appointment.

The detailed hospital flow chart should be as follows:

system flowchart
Hospital's Medical Services Flowchart

System Flowchart Guideline

A flow chart tutorial would not be completed without a guideline. As with other types of flowcharts, for system flowcharts, you should follow the current standard guideline below:

  • Step 1: Start the system.
  • Step 2: Begin Process 1.
  • Step 3: Check conditions and decide (Decision, "yes" or "no" answer)
  • Step 4: Proceed according to the Decision. If it is "yes", proceed to Process 3. If it is "no", proceed to Process 2 and return to Step 2.
  • Step 5: End of the system.

It also helps if you remember the following flowchart tips:

  • Do not add more than one start/stop. Flowcharts should only have one start and one end. 
  • The flow of processes is generally from top to bottom or left to right, not the other way around.
  • It is important not to make the arrows cross each other, as the flowchart is more confusing with crossing lines. 


System flowcharts are one of the most basic tools you should learn to use. With a system flowchart, it might be easier to look at complex processes of your system to figure out bottlenecks and problems, thus saving you from a lot of headaches when trying to find and solve them.