Numerous types of flowcharts are now available to help represent information in various fields of work. That said, their effectiveness will never get optimized with the wrong application. A process chart could work better for procedures than any other type, for example. Here are some popular types of flowcharts that you may come across:

Flowchart Example - Sales Process Map
Types of Flowcharts

The following is some information needed to bear in mind for better understanding. 

About Flowchart – Definition & Use 

What Is A Flowchart?

The flowchart constitutes a diagram that depicts a system, an algorithm of the computer, or any process. There are numerous lines and standard symbols in each chart, including ovals, rectangles, diamonds, etc. All of them have the function of indicating the process's procedures, decisions, and inputs. 

For various purposes, the chart often comes with different levels of complexity. It could be a simple chart, a hand-drawn diagram, or the comprehensive one created by computers. 

There are several names used to call the flowcharts. They include Process, Functional, etc. Or some abbreviations, namely BPMN (Business Process Modeling & Notation), PFD (Process Flow Diagram), DFD (Data Flow Diagram), etc. 

What Advantages Does Flowchart Provide?

For those considering suitable charts to present their work, the flowchart is one of the most common ones. This type can meet requirements well for non-technical and technical users in various fields. 

Visuals are always better than words to indicate things. It is why these charts become more useful to improve the study and plan. 

In particular, the well-created diagram can help make the document much easier to understand and follow. Thus, people apply it for multiple fields from manufacturing to software engineering, etc. 

Types Of Flowcharts 

Among the mass, there are four common types of flowcharts. They include the process flowchart, the workflow diagram, the swimlane flowchart, and the data flowchart.  

Process Flowchart

In comparison with a group of four, the process chart (also the process flow diagram) is the most versatile option. This type is suitable for users to apply to almost anything. 

Flowchart Example - Process Flowchart
Hiring Process Flowchart

A process flowchart lets readers know about the way in which a process works or a project is planned. In other words, the mapping helps explain quickly how things get done through the whole procedure. This type of diagram often applies the notation or standard language like the Business Process Modeling. 

Generally speaking, a process diagram can help:

  • Represent responsibilities and roles of members within an organization with the aim of gaining clarity.
  • Illustrate inputs or the manufacturing process to create the finished products.
  • Explain the way in which people in an organization communicate with related information. 
  • Represent a proposal forward to a new project or process to make its steps and scopes understandable.
  • Show how a person wakes up in the morning, etc.

Workflow Diagram

A workflow chart is commonly in use to show how a process or business functions. It brings great effectiveness in helping readers understand how documents and data flow within an organization. For example, the diagram illustrates essential steps which customers need to renew the policy via the website. 

Furthermore, the chart is also helpful for employee training programs. People use it to discover all potential problems in a flow, too. 

The workflow chart comes in handy when creating the new standards for the operating procedure. This type should be a great choice to clarify the business operation by showing an overview.

Swimlane Flowchart

When describing how a separate procedure, employee, or department interacts, the swimlane diagram proves its potential. In other words, this type can help represent multiple information flows side by side. 

swimlane flowchart
Swimlane Flowchart

The swimlane chart sounds quite similar to the workflow one. That said, the key shows that this diagram allows creators to show numerous categories in which the activities take place. 

A typical swimlane chart is often useful to document a flow interacting with various segments. Moreover, it also works to represent a collaboration that consists of different teams. 

Not only simple representations, but the swimlane also shows its effectiveness with the more complicated form. There could be more than five lanes in total. For instance, the chart describes multiple departments in an organization. Each department is responsible for multiple functions, then. 

There is no doubt that the swimlane style helps clarify the chart. However, it would be better to apply as few lanes as possible so that the diagram will be simpler to follow. 

Data Flow Diagram

With the purpose of representing the “in and out” flow of the information system, people can choose the data chart. For better understanding, this type of diagram is an effective way to illustrate how the data in the system is processed. 

The effectiveness can reach the highest level for designing or analyzing systems. In fact, many people apply this type almost for design and software development. Moreover, it becomes considerably common for information analysis in a business.