How to create a flowchart in Word

Word 2007 2003
A flowchart or flow chart usually shows steps of the task, process or workflow. There are many different SmartArt templates predefined in Microsoft Word that you can use to make a flowchart, including visually appealing templates with pictures. However, if you have a process with a complex flow or you need a custom layout it is better to build a flowchart using rectangular, diamond, round and other box types.
Flowchart in Word 2016

Flow charts usually assign specific symbols for different types of entities, actions, etc. E.g.:

Flowchart terminator in Word 2016 Rectangle with round corners is used for starting and terminating states
Flowchart process in Word 2016 Rectangle with straight corners is used for process stages
Flowchart data in Word 2016 Parallelogram is used for data input/output illustration
Flowchart decision in Word 2016 Diamond is used for conditional branching
Flowchart arrow connector in Word 2016 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 of Microsoft Word.

To create a flowchart like the one above, follow the next steps (we recommend to check the tip how to easily organize shapes in Word, which simplify drawing):

Add the drawing canvas

It is important to add the drawing canvas before adding the flow shapes because it allows you to use the flowchart connectors:

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

Shapes in Word 2016

   2.   On the Shapes list, in the bottom, choose New Drawing Canvas:

New Drawing Canvas menu in Word 2016

Word adds the new drawing canvas to your flow chart:

New Drawing Canvas in Word 2016

Draw the flowchart blocks

   3.   On the Shapes list, in the Flowchart group, choose the item that you want to add:

Flowchart items in Word 2016

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

Connect the flowchart blocks by connectors

   5.   To connect shapes, do the following:

  • On the Insert tab, in the Illustrations group, click in the Shapes list and then select one of the connectors in the Lines group:
    Lines group in Word 2016
  • Select the beginning point in a border of the first shape and the ending point in a border of the second shape:
    Draw Connectors in Word 2016

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

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

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