What is a Flowchart? - Flowchart Tutorial
A flowchart is a diagram that represents a process or algorithm. The steps are represented by a series of boxes or other specialized symbols, then connected with arrows.
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Why Use a Flowchart?
Flow charting allows you to break down any process into bite-sized sections and display them in shorthand form. That way, your audience can easily see the logical flow and relationships between steps.
Flowcharts are an important tool across various industries and careers, since they’re a clear, concise method of displaying information. Plus, flowcharts can convey data in a visually pleasing way, so your work looks professional and communicates its information effectively.
When to Make a Flowchart
Flowcharts are ideal for communicating a step-by-step process to others. You may also want to create a flowchart if you’re confused about the process; the act of mapping out the steps in flow chart format can clarify your own understanding. When a process is particularly complex, flowcharts allow you to focus intently on each step or element, so you don’t get overwhelmed by the bigger picture.
Drawing a flow chart might be helpful when:
- Defining, analyzing, or discussing a process (or a set of processes).
- Drawing a step-by-step picture of the process for your own or others’ understanding.
- Standardizing or finding areas for improvement in a process.
Flowchart Examples by Industry
If you’re looking for more specific examples of when to use a flowchart, we’ve listed some below. Remember that there are specialized applications for flowcharts within certain contexts, like engineering, science, and computer programming.
Your professor or supervisor can assist you in selecting the correct symbols for your needs. In most cases, you can rely on a few common symbols to represent events and steps of a process. Use our comprehensive list of flowcharting symbols (available here) as a reference if you’re not sure which symbols to employ.
EDUCATION FLOWCHART EXAMPLES
- Plan coursework and academic requirements
- Create a lesson plan or oral presentation
- Organize a group or individual project
- Show a legal or civil process, like voter registration
- Plan and structure creative writing, like lyrics or poetry
- Demonstrate character development for literature and film
- Represent the flow of algorithms or logic puzzles
- Understand a scientific process, like the Krebs cycle
- Chart an anatomical process, such as digestion
- Map out symptoms and treatment for diseases/disorders
- Communicate hypotheses and theories, like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs
SALES/MARKETING FLOWCHART EXAMPLES
- Plot out the flow of a survey
- Chart a sales process
- Plan research strategies
- Show registration flows
- Disseminate communication policies, like an emergency PR plan
BUSINESS FLOWCHART EXAMPLES
- Understand order and procurement processes
- Represent an employee’s tasks or daily routine
- Understand the paths that users take on a website or in a store
- Develop a business plan or product realization plan
MANUFACTURING FLOWCHART EXAMPLES
- Denote the physical or chemical makeup of a product
- Illustrate the manufacturing process from beginning to end
- Discover and solve inefficiencies in a manufacturing or procurement process
COMPUTER PROGRAMMING FLOWCHART EXAMPLES
- Demonstrate the way code is organized
- Visualize the execution of code within a program
- Show the structure of a website or application
- Understand how users navigate a website or program
ENGINEERING FLOWCHART EXAMPLES
- Represent process flows or system flows
- Design and update chemical and plant processes
- Assess the life cycle of a structure
- Chart a reverse-engineering flow
- Demonstrate the design and prototype phase of a new structure or product
Creating flowcharts in Lucidchart is simple and intuitive. Simply drag shapes onto the canvas and draw lines to connect them. If you're not sure where to begin, check out this tutorial for tips on how to create a flowchart.