A flow chart is a way for you to visualize what goes on in a process. It has different boxes that represent steps in the process and arrows that show how control moves from one box to another. A flow chart example is very useful because it helps people see the many different parts of a process by looking at it as one simple picture. Understanding processes is very important to succeeding in life. You most likely go through processes every day. Learning how to understand them will help you get through your daily routines faster and easier.
There is a legend that goes along with flow charts. Although making a flow chart is very similar to the process when using a mindmap maker, different shapes in the boxes and arrows represent different parts of the process. The shapes will be explained below:
Process: This shape represents where the process starts and ends. If you were to look at an overall view of a chart, this would be it. Usually, this box takes up one line or row.
Decision: This box is where the decision is made before moving on to do something else. Halfway down the shape, two-directional arrows show which direction you would go depending on the answer. If it’s a Yes then you go left and if it’s a No then you go right. These boxes are usually shaped like diamonds or rectangles.
Data: These boxes are where you find out certain information to base your decision on. Sometimes, there is one box that tells the whole data, but sometimes it’s broken into two separate boxes depending on what you’re looking for. This process can happen multiple times within a chart as well. This shape is usually a long rectangle.
Action: This box is where you take action once you have figured out the information from the previous boxes. They are shaped like a circle because it’s the basic shape of an object that has no end or beginning to it.
Loop: This shape means that you would repeat this process multiple times depending on how many times the shape is repeated within the chart. It’s shaped like a circle with dots around it.
Comment: This box provides extra information that might be useful to you depending on how deep into the process you are. These are usually boxes shaped like triangles pointing down where there is room for text inside of them.
Flow Chart Lines
Different line types go along when making a flow chart. Different lines represent how information is passed around in the workflow diagram depending on what happens at each stage.
Arrows: This line type shows where control is passed to depending on your answer to the previous box’s question. They are shaped like triangle arrows pointing up or down.
Feedback Lines: This line type shows feedback from one box after you take the action in the previous box. It is shaped like a semi-circle split vertically to show where control or information moves from each direction.
X lines: This line type means that something has been stopped due to a problem with it. They are shaped like x’s on top of the line.
Connectors: This line type connects different parts of a flow chart depending on how related they are to each other. They are shaped like circles with dots around them, but instead of dots, there is a straight or curved line connecting it to another part of the box that has arrows coming from it or going into another section.
Text In Flow Charts
In some examples of a flow chart template, there can be text inside of a box or outside of the main shape depending on whether it is action item instructions or informational instructions. All text in flow charts is written from top to bottom and then left to right unless they are flowing into another box.
Check out Venngage to see how text is incorporated in some flow chart examples.
Colors In Flow Charts
Believe it or not, there is a legend for color in flow charts. Colors represent different types of information that you’re looking at depending on what the chart is about. Seven colors can go with any type of information:
Black: This color represents negative numbers, amounts, and times. It’s usually used when you need to subtract something from a total or use a time frame in seconds.
Blue: This color represents money amounts and dates. It’s usually used when showing current or future times with months, days, and years.
Green: This color represents positive numbers, ratios, and speed. It’s usually used when showing absorbance rates, percentage of growth, or miles per hour.
Red: This color represents errors and different types of warnings. It’s usually used when an error or warning pops up in your program such as a file not found or insufficient funds.
Orange: This color represents text and process steps that need to be followed. It’s usually used when giving instructions on what you have to accomplish.
Yellow: This color represents text that is informational, but doesn’t need to be followed. It’s usually used when showing key information or shortcuts to save time.
Purple: This color represents everything that does not fit into any of the categories mentioned before. It’s usually used when you need an extra color for something if blue and red are taken.
The most important thing you can take out of this article is that flow charts are a way to visualize the different stages of a process. It’s easier to understand how something works by putting it into boxes and shapes with arrows on them to show where information travels through the chart. Using a flowchart maker makes it even easier to make and understand. The different types of lines, shapes, colors, and text are all there to help you understand how a process works and whether or not it’s going to be effective in the end.