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What is a Flowchart

A flowchart is a type of diagram which visually represents an algorithm, workflow or process. Flowcharts can depict a process of any complexity and length. In practice, flowcharts are most commonly used to illustrate business processes and represent the logic of computer programs. They are also used in education and business scenarios where it is necessary to represent a process in a clear and intuitive format.

A flowchart is made up of different object blocks which represent various states of a process. Some objects may represent actions, while others represent various exchanges of a process, depending on its current state.

Flowchart - Selection Sorting Method

Example 1. Flowchart — Selection Sorting Method

The flowchart commonly uses the following objects:

  • Rectangle or box is a most often used symbol, it represents an activity or a step;
  • Rounded box or oval usually contains the word "Start" or "End";
  • Diamond is used to represent the decision point, it usually involves the branching yes/no;
  • Circle is used to represent the point of connection the flowchart to another process;
  • Parallelogram represents the Input/Output.

Object blocks are usually connected by arrows to demonstrate the process flow. One object may be connected to multiple objects from various directions.

Flowchart bloks

If an object presents several actions for different decisions or conditions within the process, the outgoing arrows are labeled with comments. The most common are the Yes/No blocks, although other types of conditional blocks are used to illustrate complex decisions.

Certain processes within a business include operations that run in a loop. In this case an object block must contain a loop end condition.

Flowchart Connection

Benefits of Flowchart

The Flowchart has a wide set of benefits:

  • gives a clear documentation of a process;
  • allows to define and offers common understanding of processes;
  • helps to build a process visual representation for analysis, discussion, and communication;
  • allows to identify the scope of the process;
  • allows to trace and analyze the process steps;
  • helps to standardize and find areas for monitoring, improvement and increased efficiency in a process;
  • allows to find and detach the steps of the process that are not essential;
  • helps in understanding the logic of complex problems;
  • offers a guidance for managers overseeing operations;
  • facilitates communication between programmers and business people;
  • helps programmers to write the programs of any complexity and on the any high level language;
  • helps in debugging process and provides efficient program maintenance;
  • helps to understand and explain to other people the logic of the complex problems and their solution;
  • assists to improve teamwork effectiveness.

Flowchart Software

ConceptDraw PRO is a powerful flowchart software thanks to the Flowcharts Solution from the "What is a Diagram" Area of ConceptDraw Solution Park and its set of useful tools which will help to make easier depicting your business processes, flowchart processes and creating professional Flowchart Diagrams of any complexity.

Flowchart in ConceptDraw PRO

Example 2. Flowchart in ConceptDraw PRO (Mac OS X™ and Windows™)

The Flowcharts Solution provides the extensive Flowchart and Flowcharts Rapid Draw libraries of ready-made symbols and blocks.

The Flowcharts Solution provides also ready-to-use template which can be filled in a few minutes, and numerous collection of predesigned samples and examples of flowchart diagrams of various types, such as flowchart process diagram, business process flow chart, data flow chart, org flow chart, program flow chart, technical flow chart, flowchart procedure, online flowchart, and many other types.

All samples and template included in Flowcharts Solution are available for viewing and editing from ConceptDraw STORE.


Example 3. Flowchart — Website Login and Registration Process

This sample was created in ConceptDraw PRO flowcharting software using the tools of Flowcharts Solution from the "What is a Diagram" Area of ConceptDraw Solution Park. It shows the detailed flowchart for the process of website login and registration. An experienced user spent 15 minutes creating this sample.

Use the Flowcharts Solution for ConceptDraw PRO software to create your own Flowchart of any complexity quick and easy.

All source documents are vector graphic documents. They are available for reviewing, modifying, or converting to a variety of formats (PDF file, MS PowerPoint, MS Visio, and many other graphic formats) from the ConceptDraw STORE. The Flowcharts Solution is available for all ConceptDraw PRO v9.5 or later users.

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Cross-Functional Flowchart

There are many tools to manage a process or to illustrate an algorithm or a workflow. Flowcharting is one of those tools. However, it may be difficult to show complex processes that require multiple attributes or several people in a simple flowchart, so a cross-functional flowchart would be a solution for that situation. To create such flowchart, group processes and steps to labeled rows or columns, and divide those groups with horizontal or vertical parallel lines. It is worth mentioning that there are different types of cross-functional flowcharts, like opportunity or deployment flowchart. This diagram shows a cross-functional flowchart that was made for a trading process. It contains 14 processes, distributed through 5 lines depicting the participants who interact with the process. Also there are connectors that show the data flow of information between processes. The cross-functional flowchart displays a detailed model of the trading process, as well as all participants in the process and how they interact with each other. The lines in the flowchart indicates the position, department and role of the trading process participants.Cross-Functional Flowchart. flowchart maker
Picture: Cross-Functional Flowchart
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Process Flow Chart

A Process Flow Chart is a type of flowchart which is mostly used in industrial, chemical and process engineering for illustrating high-level processes, major plant processes and not shows minor details. ConceptDraw PRO diagramming and vector drawing software extended with Flowcharts Solution from the "What is a Diagram" Area of ConceptDraw Solution Park is the best way to create Process Flow Chart and other types of flowcharts.Process Flow Chart
Picture: Process Flow Chart
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Basic Flowchart Symbols and Meaning

While creating flowcharts and process flow diagrams, you should use special objects to define different statements, so anyone aware of flowcharts can get your scheme right. There is a short and an extended list of basic flowchart symbols and their meaning. Basic flowchart symbols include terminator objects, rectangles for describing steps of a process, diamonds representing appearing conditions and questions and parallelograms to show incoming data. This diagram gives a general review of the standard symbols that are used when creating flowcharts and process flow diagrams. The practice of using a set of standard flowchart symbols was admitted in order to make flowcharts and other process flow diagrams created by any person properly understandable by other people. The flowchart symbols depict different kinds of actions and phases in a process. The sequence of the actions, and the relationships between them are shown by special lines and arrows. There are a large number of flowchart symbols. Which of them can be used in the particular diagram depends on its type. For instance, some symbols used in data flow diagrams usually are not used in the process flowcharts. Business process system use exactly these flowchart symbols.Flowchart Symbols and Meaning, workflow diagram symbols, process flow diagram symbols
Picture: Basic Flowchart Symbols and Meaning
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Types of Flowcharts

A flowchart is a simple but very functional tool when it comes to understanding a workflow or to removing unnecessary stages from a process. When drawing flowcharts, keep in mind that there are four common types of flowcharts, like document flowcharts and data flowcharts that show control over a data or document flow over a system. To show controls on a physical level, use system flowcharts. In addition, to show controls in a program, you can draw a program flowchart. This flowchart diagram represents the piece of an article editing process, that involves the author and editor. It was created using the Basic Flowchart notation that consists from the basic flowchart symbols. The start and the end of the process are indicated with "Terminator" symbols. The "Process" symbols show the action steps consisting from making edits and searching for a compromise, when the author does not agree with the suggestions of the editor . The "Process" symbol is the general symbol in process flowcharts. The "Decision" symbol indicates a branching in the process flow. There are two branches indicated by a Decision shape in the current flowchart (Yes/No, Disagree/Agree). This basic flowchart can be used as a repeating unit in the workflow diagram describing the working process of some editorial office.Types of Flowcharts
Picture: Types of Flowcharts
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Process Flowchart

When trying to figure out the nature of the problems occurring within a project, there are many ways to develop such understanding. One of the most common ways to document processes for further improvement is to draw a process flowchart, which depicts the activities of the process arranged in sequential order — this is business process management. ConceptDraw PRO is business process mapping software with impressive range of productivity features for business process management and classic project management. This business process management software is helpful for many purposes from different payment processes, or manufacturing processes to chemical processes. Business process mapping flowcharts helps clarify the actual workflow of different people engaged in the same process. This samples were made with ConceptDraw PRO — business process mapping software for flowcharting and used as classic visio alternative because its briefly named "visio for mac" and for windows, this sort of software named the business process management tools. This flowchart diagram shows a process flow of project management. The diagram that is presented here depicts the project life cycle that is basic for the most of project management methods. Breaking a project into phases allows to track it in the proper manner. Through separation on phases, the total workflow of a project is divided into some foreseeable components, thus making it easier to follow the project status. A project life cycle commonly includes: initiation, definition, design, development and implementation phases. Distinguished method to show parallel and interdependent processes, as well as project life cycle relationships. A flowchart diagram is often used as visual guide to project. For instance, it used by marketing project management software for visualizing stages of marketing activities or as project management workflow tools. Created with ConceptDraw PRO — business process mapping software which is flowcharting visio alternative or shortly its visio for mac, this sort of software platform often named the business process management process flowcharts, flowchart symbols, process flow diagram, workflow diagram, flowchart maker
Picture: Process Flowchart
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Business process Flow Chart - Event-Driven Process chain (EPC) diagrams

Event-Driven Process chain Diagrams for improvement throughout an organisation. Best software for Process Flow Diagram. The Event-driven Process Chain (EPC) Diagrams allows managers to plan processes and resources.Business process Flow Chart - Event-Driven Process chain (EPC) diagram, Process flow diagram tool
Picture: Business process Flow Chart - Event-Driven Process chain (EPC) diagrams
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Example of DFD for Online Store (Data Flow Diagram)DFD Example

Structured-systems analysis and design method uses data flow diagrams to represent the process of data flowing through a system. Talking about this might be useless without a proper example of DFD for online store (Data Flow Diagram). This DFD example shows all the distinctness that a diagram can bring into a scattered data structure. Data flow diagrams are used to show how data is processed within some business processes. Making DFD is a common practice for business process modeling and analysis. This diagram represents the online store business flow. It describes inputs and outputs within online selling process and depicts the interactions between its participants. This DF diagram can be used by system analysts to create an overview of a business, to study and discover its inherent strengths and weak points.Online Store Data Flow Diagram
Picture: Example of DFD for Online Store (Data Flow Diagram)DFD Example
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Data Flow Diagram

There are many ways to define the flow of information within a system. Structured-systems analysis method often uses data flow diagrams to show data flow, data storages and data processing visualization. These diagrams are easy to develop and quite useful. Here is a dataflow diagram presenting an example of the manufacturing process flow. The oval process shapes represent a process that controls data within the current system. The process may produce data or make some action based on data. Data flows are represented by lines. They show the movement of information through the system. The direction of the data flow is depicted by the arrow. The external entities are shown by rectangles. They represent the external entities interacting with the system. The data store objects (unclosed rectangles) are used to show data bases participating in a process flow.Data Flow Diagram
Picture: Data Flow Diagram
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Data Flow Diagrams

There are a lot of structured analysis and design technique methodologies used to describe systems and data sources. To visualize data structures, data flow diagrams can be used for various purposes in the area of software engineering. Nowadays these diagrams are also used in the area of business analysis and information system analysis. This data flow diagram depicts an account processing system of a typical account department of a small manufacturing enterprise. It shows the data transmission through the order processing to shipping verification. This data flow diagram was created according to standard of Yourdon and Coad notation. The vector graphic objects of Yourdon/Coad notation symbols was delivered by ConceptDraw Data Flow Diagrams solution. The current DFD can be employed as an example of a business process model, representing the set of business events and interactions commonly engaged in a accounts receivable process.Data Flow Diagrams
Picture: Data Flow Diagrams
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Form Maker

Use the Basic Diagramming Solution from the Universal Diagramming area of ConceptDraw Solution Park to easy create simple forms, questionnaires, survey forms, registration and application forms, etc.Registration form template
Picture: Form Maker
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