P&ID Tutorial

P&IDs are specialized charts for use in engineering. Follow this tutorial to make visual representations of the functional relationship between piping, instrumentation, and system equipment units.

Built specifically for creating P&IDs and other technical diagrams, Lucidchart's P&ID software is both intuitive and powerful. Use Lucidchart to make and share professional-looking diagrams from your browser.

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How to Make a P&ID

To draw a piping and instrumentation diagram, you’ll need a basic understanding of what a P&ID is. You may want to review a P&ID symbols legend to ensure that you’re using the correct shapes in an appropriate context. When you have the right tools on hand, it’s time to begin.



First, choose your medium. Most P&IDs are created with specialized computer software, but very simple diagrams can be constructed with pen and paper. Engineers prefer digital P&IDs because they’re easy to share, edit, and publish. Another advantage is the addition of built-in shape libraries, which allow the creator to choose pre-made, standardized symbols.

For the purposes of this guide, we’ll proceed as though you’re using Lucidchart. You can get started with Lucidchart's free editor right away.



Remember that P&IDs represent the hardware and software necessary to design, build, and run a process industry facility. To create such a comprehensive design, start by listing the elements in a standard P&ID. Your list should include all piping elements, including the order and placement of:

  • Branches
  • Control interlocks
  • Equipment
  • Instrumentation
  • Reducers
  • Valves


These options and others are available from Lucidchart’s P&ID shape library. Simply drag the necessary shapes onto the canvas and configure them by clicking the context panel icon that appears next to the shape. A variety of options appear here; for example, a tank can be customized with various roof types, and users can toggle between hiding and showing the stump. If you get lost in the vast array of P&ID shapes, use the toolbox’s search function to find a specific symbol.



Now that you’ve assembled the components, connect them to each other in the appropriate order. In Lucidchart, each shape snaps cleanly to a connecting line or pipe. If you’re not sure how the process ought to flow, ask yourself,

Which action triggers this process?

What happens next?

To move onto the next step, what equipment do I need?

Does this unit require special configuration?



Whether your P&ID charts the flow of doll manufacturing or sewage treatment, accuracy is critical. Try reviewing the details with someone you trust. Make sure the P&ID is thorough and exact by walking through each step and checking whether it accurately represents the sequence of actions and reactions. If you’re searching for inefficiencies, ask yourself,

Does this step duplicate work? How can I keep work to a minimum?

Should another step be involved?

Is each machine being utilized to its fullest extent?

Piping & Instrumentation Shapes in Lucidchart

All of Lucidchart’s P&ID shapes and options are based on the ISA S5 standards. Within the application, they are categorized according to the following groups (which do not constitute a comprehensive list):


  • Compressors
  • Conveyors
  • Motors
  • Turbines
  • Vacuums


  • One-to-many pipes
  • Multi-line pipes
  • Separators
  • Reducers
  • Flanges


  • Vessels
  • Tanks
  • Cylinders
  • Columns
  • Bags


  • Boilers
  • Condensers
  • Exchangers


  • Pumps
  • Fans


  • Indicators
  • Transmitters
  • Recordings
  • Controllers
  • Elements


  • Valves
  • Rotameters
  • Orifices

With Lucidchart, you can easily create clean, streamlined P&IDs, then share with colleagues or classmates. Start a free trial and see for yourself.

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