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Flow Chart

Create a flow chart diagram of a process.

Flow Charts are diagrams that use symbols to represent the steps in a process. Arrows connect the symbols to show the process flow.

Flow charts can be used to:

  • Define and document a process.
  • Visually represent the steps of a process.
  • Learn more about a process by mapping it out.
  • Analyze a process.
  • Communicate a process to others.
  • Find areas for improvement in a process.

There are three main types of symbols used to create flow charts:

  • Elongated Circles - represent the 'start' or 'finish' of a process.
  • Rectangles - represent 'instructions' or 'actions'.
  • Diamonds - represent 'decisions' that must be made.
Elongated Circle Rectangle Diamond

Within each symbol, write down what that symbol represents. This could be the start or finish of a process, an action to be taken, or a decision to be made.

Symbols are connected to one another by connector arrows. These arrows show the direction of flow within a process.

To create a Flow Chart:

Step 1:  Create a list of the process tasks in the order they occur.

Step 2:  Start the flow chart by drawing the elongated circle shape and labeling it “Start”.

Step 3:  Next, draw a rectangle or diamond. Write the instruction/action or decision inside the appropriate symbol. Then draw a connector arrow from the start symbol to the new symbol.

Step 4:  Work through your whole process, adding symbols and arrows as you go. Remember to show the end of the process by using an elongated circle labeled “Finish”.

Step 5:  Challenge your flow chart. Walk-through it step-by-step asking yourself if you have correctly represented the sequence of actions and decisions involved in the process.

Step 6:  Analyze your flow chart. Think of ways you can improve different parts of the process.

There are many resources available on the internet. You can start by searching, "How do I make a flow chart?"

Diagram of a Flow Chart:

Flow Chart

Word version of Flow Chart.docx (Click link to download Word version).

PDF version of Flow Chart.pdf (Click link to download PDF version).

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Mind Tools web site at

The Basics of Process Mapping, Richard Damelio, Florence, KY: Productivity Press, 2006.