Get up to speed with flowcharts and refresh your terminology.
Author: Geetesh Bajaj
A flowchart is a diagram that explains a process visually and sequentially in a series of steps. Each such step is represented visually by a
flowchart symbol. Common flowchart symbols look no different than your regular oval, diamond, or rectangle shapes, as shown in
Figure 1, below.
Figure 1: Common flowchart symbols
Each of these shapes can be connected to another with lines that have arrows on one end indicating the direction of a flowchart process
(see Figure 2).
Figure 2: Flowchart shapes connected
Notice that the flowchart you last saw in Figure 2 was not completed. That explains why you see an "arrow with the word No" (highlighted in red within Figure 3, below) going nowhere!
Figure 3: Arrow with the word "No"
Figure 4, below shows the completed flowchart. Look closely and you will see that this example continues to use just 3 symbol types: ovals, diamonds, and rectangles.
Figure 4: A completed Flowchart
Notice these nuances in the flowchart you just saw:
We have just explored three flowchart symbols (Terminators, Processes, and Decisions) and connectors now. But in the real world, there are several other standardized flowchart symbols used. Flowchart gurus dream about these symbols even when they are wide awake. Unaware to you, they may be semi-consciously in another world altogether where every human is a flowchart symbol! OK, I made that up. But that may still not be too far from the truth.
Later in this series of tutorials, we explore all flowchart symbols. For now, let us look at flowcharts, and how and when they evolved.
Common flowchart symbols are available to all users of Microsoft Office programs such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Explore a quick walkthrough in our Basic Flowcharts in Microsoft Office tutorial.
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Go and get a copy of our PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts and Sequences ebook.
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