How to Make a Flowchart in PowerPoint
Although PowerPoint is usually reserved for slideshows and presentations, it can also be used as a flowchart creation tool. Follow this guide to make and edit rudimentary flowcharts in Microsoft PowerPoint 2013.
If you’re not sure of best practices to use when building a flowchart, including which shapes and information to add, see our guide on how to create a flowchart.
For a more versatile diagramming program, try Lucidchart. It was designed from the beginning to make great-looking flowcharts, as well as more specialized diagrams. Unlike PowerPoint, it’s available on almost any device, and collaborating with other users is quick and easy—not to mention free.Try it now Sign up free
Make a Flowchart in PowerPoint:
First, open a blank presentation in PowerPoint.
To simplify flowchart creation, you might want to change menu display settings. Do this by clicking the Ribbon Display Options icon in the top-right corner and choosing the option you want. This creates a cleaner-looking canvas in which to work.
Click the Insert tab and select SmartArt or Shapes. SmartArt graphics are pre-made collections of shapes. Shapes are individual objects that can be inserted into a slide and edited as necessary.
If you choose SmartArt:
- A dialog will pop up and prompt you to pick a SmartArt graphic from the gallery. The left panel contains several categories; click Process for flowchart-specific graphics. Then click the SmartArt selection you want to use. A preview of that graphic will appear in the right panel, along with an explanation of its logic. Click OK. Remember that not every option is classified as a flowchart shape.
- To replace your graphic, select it and press Delete. Then click the SmartArt Graphics (Insert > SmartArt) and choose a different chart type. If you prefer to change the layout of a graphic, select it and hit Design > Layout to pick another style. Chart layout can be edited without losing any text.
- Continue to add shapes and connect them with lines until your flowchart is ready. Some SmartArt Graphics don’t support unlimited shape addition. For those that do, select the shape nearest to where you want to add a new shape. Or select the entire chart, depending on which type of chart you’ve inserted. Then click the Design tab and choose an action, like Add a Shape.
If you choose Shapes:
- A gallery will appear with an assortment of shapes, including lines, arrows, and geometric shapes. Click the shape you want to add, then click and drag on the page to place it. The shape will resize according to the dimensions you’ve set.
- Continue to add shapes and connect them with lines until you’ve created your flowchart.
To draw lines between shapes, click Insert > Shapes and select a line style. Then click and drag on the page to add a line.
To add text to a SmartArt graphic, click on the filler text and begin typing. The text boxes will automatically resize based on how many words you add.
To add text inside a shape, double-click the shape and start typing. Font options can be edited from the dialog that pops up when you double-click a text box.
If you’re not sure whether an element supports text insertion, double-click it and start typing. Words will appear if they’re supported.
ADD A GRID
Grids can assist you in aligning shapes and creating consistent dimensions for each object. To see a grid, click the View tab and select the Gridlines check box.
To edit the grid, click Format > Align > Grid settings. From here, you can enable useful features like snapping shapes to each other and snapping objects to gridlines.
STYLE SHAPES AND LINES FROM THE PAGE
For simple edits, try right-clicking on an object. A menu will appear with popular editing options, like wrapping text or sending an item to the front or back.
To edit style, fill, or outline, click the graphical menu that appears when you right-click a shape.
To edit text layout—including position, text wrapping, and size—click the Layout Options icon that appears when you right-click a text box and pick your preferred layout. Click See More to view the rest of the options.
To move a shape (whether it’s a stand-alone object or part of a SmartArt graphic), click and drag. Drag from an edge or corner to resize, and click and drag the handle icon to rotate.
To move lines, click and drag them. Drag from the end points to resize.
To move or format multiple shapes and lines, click on a shape, press the Shift key, and select the remaining shapes by clicking on them. Or click and drag your mouse around each shape you want to select. Once the objects are selected, you can move them with arrow keys or your mouse. You can also add formatting, such as a different color fill, and it will apply to the entire selection of shapes. Deselect by clicking on another part of the page.
STYLE SHAPES AND LINES FROM THE RIBBON
For a comprehensive menu of editing and styling choices, click a shape or SmartArt graphic (or select multiple shapes by holding Shift as you click each object).
If you select a shape:
- You’ll see a new tab, Format, appear in the ribbon. Click here for a host of formatting options, including the ability to insert shapes, style shapes, modify text, arrange page elements, and adjust shape size.
If you select a SmartArt graphic:
- You’ll see 2 new tabs, Format and Design, appear in the ribbon. Click here for a variety of formatting and design options, including the ability to switch the layout style, change colors, alter SmartArt Styles, and reset graphics.
Any time you select shapes or SmartArt graphics, these options will appear.
Make a Flowchart in Lucidchart:
Compared to PowerPoint, Lucidchart is the better option for making flowcharts. Elements intuitively snap to each other, and publishing and sharing takes a single click. If you’d like to include a flowchart in a slideshow, simply make it in Lucidchart and insert as an image.
First, enter the demo environment or sign up for an account. If you sign up for an account, access the editor by clicking Create Document.
Make sure you have the correct shape libraries open by clicking the More Shapes button and selecting your desired shapes. In new documents, standard flowchart shapes will automatically appear in the left toolbox.
When you’re ready to begin, just drag a shape from the toolbox on the left and drop it onto the canvas.
Hover along the border of an object. When crosshairs appear, click and drag to draw a line. As you release the mouse, you’ll be automatically prompted to add the next shape. You can also draw a line by right-clicking and choosing Draw Line, or pressing L on your keyboard.
To add text, drag out the T icon from the toolbox, place it, and begin typing. To add text inside a shape, double-click the shape and start typing.
STYLE FROM THE CANVAS
For quick edits, right-click a shape or line. A menu will appear with popular editing options, like sending an item forward or backward, drawing a line, or switching the shape.
To move a shape, click and drag. Drag from an edge or corner to resize, and click and drag the handle icon to rotate.
To move multiple shapes, select them by holding down Shift as you click each object, then drag as needed.
Lines are designed to snap to connection points along the object’s border. Click and drag the end of the line along the border to change where it connects, or drag it to the center of the object to force the line to dynamically change position when the shape is moved.
STYLE FROM THE PROPERTIES BAR AND GRAPHIC PANEL
To modify text, including alignment and font size, select text and choose options from the properties bar at the top of the page.
To alter graphical qualities like fill color and gradients, select the element you want to modify and choose options from the graphic panel on the right side of the page.
To modify lines and shapes, select the element you want to change and choose options from the properties bar. Add text to any part of a line by double-clicking and typing on the line.
ADD TO POWERPOINT
To embed your flowchart into Microsoft PowerPoint, click File > Download As. Select the image file type you prefer, indicate which areas of the document you want to download, then hit the download button.
Open a blank presentation in PowerPoint. Then click the Insert tab and select Pictures. Find the image you downloaded and click Insert.
USEFUL FEATURES IN LUCIDCHART
Our program has a variety of helpful features that aren’t available in other diagramming programs. Instead of shape insertion that takes multiple clicks, Lucidchart lets you quickly drag and drop shapes. You can create and connect lines right on the canvas, and they instantly snap to the nearest point. Users can even add interactive links and layers to impress their audience. Lucidchart makes it easy to align flowchart symbols, apply coordinated styling, and share your flowchart across print and digital media.
With Lucidchart, you get affordable tools to easily make and share professional-looking flowcharts. See for yourself—we offer completely free accounts, as well as free trials of our premium levels.