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Formatting Connectors within Flowcharts

Learn about formatting connectors within flowcharts in Microsoft Office applications such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.


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Product/Version: PowerPoint, Word, and Excel versions of Office 2013
OS: Microsoft Windows 8 / 7







Once you add multiple connectors that emanate from a Decision shape, you need to help your users decide where they branch their thought or work processes within the flowchart. This is typically done by adding a Yes or No caption to the connectors that output from a Decision shape.

Tip: Don't know what a Decision shape is? Explore our Getting Started with Flowcharts and Flowchart Symbols: What They Represent? pages.

So how do you add these captions? Look at Figure 1, where we have added two connectors that output from the "Are you happy?" Decision shape – at this point of time, these two connectors don't have Yes or No captions.

Two connectors are emerging from "Are you happy?" Decision shape
Figure 1: Two connectors are emerging from "Are you happy?" Decision shape

Depending upon whether the user's answer is Yes or No, they will decide which shape they need to move towards next within the flowchart -- the Yes and No captions can be easily added by inserting individual text boxes for both Yes and No, as shown in Figure 2, below.

Yes and No captions added
Figure 2: Yes and No captions added

To add such captions beside the connectors, and to format the connectors – please follow these steps:

  1. First access the Insert tab of the Ribbon (in Word, Excel, or PowerPoint) and then click the Shapes button to summon the Shapes gallery, as shown in Figure 3. Within the Basic Shapes category, select the Text Box option (highlighted in red within Figure 3).

    Text Box within the Shapes gallery
    Figure 3: Text Box within the Shapes gallery

  2. At this point, your cursor turns into a cross-hair. Now, drag and draw to create a text box besides the connector for which you want to type Yes. Next select this text box, and type Yes.

  3. Similarly, place a second text box besides the other connector emanating from your Decision shape, and type No within this text box. Your flowchart will now look similar to what you last saw in Figure 2.

  4. Optionally, you can now rotate the No text box. To do that, select the text box so that you can see the Rotation handle, highlighted in red within Figure 4. Click this rotation handle and drag it towards the right or left as required so that your text box is rotated.

    Click and drag the Rotation handle to rotate the text box
    Figure 4: Click and drag the Rotation handle to rotate the text box

    Tip: Press the Shift key while dragging the rotation handle so that you can drag in increments of 15 degrees -- you'll feel a distinct snap as you rotate at each 15 degree level -- six such snaps equal 90 degrees!


  5. Now your text box that contains No has been rotated, as shown in Figure 5, below (compare with Figure 2).

    Rotated caption
    Figure 5: Rotated caption

  6. Other than adding Yes and No captions to your connectors, you can also make them thicker or thinner. To do so, select the connector(s) -- then access the Drawing Tools Format tab of the Ribbon, and click the down-arrow within the Shape Outline button, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 6.

    Shape Outline button
    Figure 6: Shape Outline button

    Tip: Cannot see the Drawing Tools Format tab on your Ribbon? Make sure you select your Connector so that this tab turns visible!


  7. This brings up the Shape Outline drop-down gallery as shown in Figure 7 -- choose the Weight option to bring up a sub-gallery (again, see Figure 7).

    Weight option selected within Shape Outline gallery
    Figure 7: Weight option selected within Shape Outline gallery

  8. Choose a thicker or thinner Weight -- we chose a slightly thicker Weight at around 3 points -- you can see the thicker connectors in Figure 8, below (compare to Figure 5, above).

    Flowchart with thicker connectors
    Figure 8: Flowchart with thicker connectors

  9. Save your documents often!


See Also: Formatting Connectors within Flowcharts in Office 2011 for Mac

 

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