Draw a flowchart in Excel

Excel 2016
A flowchart or flow chart usually shows steps of the task, process or workflow. There are many different SmartArt templates predefined in MS Excel that you can use to illustrate the process, including visually appealing templates with pictures.
However, if you want to use different shapes and a complex topology it is better to create your own flowchart.

Flow charts usually define specific symbols for different entities, e.g.:

  • Rectangle with round corners is used for starting and terminating states
  • Rectangle with straight corners is used for process stages
  • Parallelogram is used for data input/output illustration
  • Diamond is used for conditional branching
  • Arrow is used to show the process flow

All these and other useful visual elements you can find in the Shapes dropdown list of the Insert tab in Excel.

Drawing a flow chart in Excel 2016

To create a flowchart like the one above, follow the following steps (we recommend to see tips how to change width of gridlines in Excel and easily organize shapes in Excel, which simplify drawing):

   1.   On the Insert tab, in the Illustrations group, select Shapes:

Shapes in Excel 2016

   2.   On the Shapes list, in the Flowchart group, choose the item that you prefer:

Flow chart shapes in Excel 2016

   3.   To add text in the selected shape, just double-click in it and enter the text.

   4.   To connect shapes, do the following:

  • On the Insert tab, in the Illustrations group, click on the Shapes list and then select one of the connectors in the Lines group:
    Connectors for flow chart in Excel 2016
  • Select the beginning point in a border of the first shape and the ending point in a border of the second shape:
    Flow chart connector in Excel 2016

For customizations of shapes and connectors see how to change format for diagram shapes in Excel and how to change flowchart shapes in Excel or how to change connector type for flowchart.

See also this tip in French: Comment créer un organigramme des opérations dans Excel.

If you have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to ask OfficeToolTips team.