flow chart

A flowchart can help you explain to someone else how a process works. More importantly, it can also help you understand the steps better yourself!

Each flowchart is different, they are made depending on a variety of users and contexts. As a result, an online flow chart can vary greatly on how they look by the way they are created using a flowchart maker. 

Understanding how to make a flowchart is essential because knowing the key concepts of creating it allows you to choose the best flowchart template that can turn into an amazing flowchart. 

To create a flowchart, remember these 16 things:

1. Label your shapes

When you create flowcharts, don’t just leave them anonymous.

Use words that are easy to understand, brief, and accurate. In this way, your flowchart will be catchy and interesting. 

Don’t use the same word over-and-over again either. Use different words to label each shape properly.

2. Make relevant connections

Flowcharts are used to connect shapes together in a linear fashion, so it’s important to link them in a way that makes sense.

If you’re creating a flowchart for yourself, make the links clear and easy to follow. If you’re creating them for someone else, link the shapes in a way that they can follow.

3. Don’t forget directional flow

If there are two paths the flowchart could take, consider whether or not it is useful to show both paths on your flowchart.

If so, then include arrows at the beginning of each path indicating which direction they go in.

4. Do not connect shapes

Don’t use lines to connect two different shapes together, with one exception: if there is no relationship between them

Connecting things with lines implies that they have something in common. Therefore, don’t connect anything with a line unless it makes sense and doesn’t confuse anyone who might read it.

5. Make sure you know what to include

Is there something related or unrelated that you want to include? You can! Just label it with its own shape. In that, your audience will be able to identify it. 

6. Make your flowchart simple and easy to read

Shape colors are irrelevant since they will be printed in black and white, but font color is important. Choose one color to represent all text on the flowchart, including labels for shapes, titles, arrows, etc. For readability, use a sans serif font like Arial or Verdana. Anything too fancy might not be easy to read.

7. Keep it clear and concise

Your flowchart should make sense even if someone reads only one section of it at a time. Don’t make them follow complicated data and risk the chance of misinterpretation. Also, you can ask yourself, is this the best way to present information?

8. Number your shapes and lines carefully

This will help you rearrange your flowchart if needed, and also help others understand which order the steps go in.

9. Leave room to add information later

You might not think all of the information is necessary at first, but leave room on your flowchart just in case! This allows future edits without having to recreate the whole thing from scratch again later on down the road.

10. Don’t leave any gaps

Make sure you have all the necessary pieces before sending the flowchart off to another person. To review your chart more easily, go through each step in your mind and ask yourself: do I have everything? Does anything need to be added or removed? What’s missing?

11. Refer back to the original problem when labeling shapes

Ask yourself: why am I making this in the first place? This will help you remember what each part means in context. Keep in mind that some steps may not be necessary for others who are reading it, so be sure to use words that are relevant only to the original problem.

12. Save it!

After creating your chart, save it in a place you can easily find again. Keep your final version of the flowchart somewhere safe -you might need to update or reference an older version that isn’t saved anywhere. You can even upload your file into Venngage and keep all of your templates in one spot. 

13. Don’t get lost along the way 

Remember to take breaks and let your mind rest when creating a flowchart. If you get overwhelmed, take a quick break to clear your head.  You can always come back and work on it another day.

14. Get someone else to look at it

After you’re done, show your flowchart to a few different people who aren’t familiar with the process and see what they think about it. Ask them if anything needs added or removed, or if there’s any room for improvement in general.

15. Get feedback

As with any work that involves sharing it with others, receiving feedback is an essential part of the process! Let at least one other person read over your flowchart after you’ve finished editing it – this can help give you an outside perspective on what you might have missed before. Feedback doesn’t need to be formal either, in fact sometimes it’s more helpful when people offer their insights informally.

No time for all of this?  

Want a faster alternative? Venngage Flowcharts and Pie Chart Makers make it simple for you to create and edit free flowcharts online- no technical skills are needed! You can access hundreds of icons, shapes, and lines or upload your own custom images. Plus, all of the templates are free to use, so there’s no reason not to give it a try today!