The different shapes and symbols will overwhelm you if you have never created a flowchart before. Unfortunately, the shapes can confuse even professional chart creators too. Here is a refresher course on the fundamental shapes/symbols necessary to create a complete and fully functional flowchart
The oval shape is also called the terminator in the flowchart. The shape represents the beginning and conclusion of a process. The word start and end are often written inside the shape to make the procedure clearer to the reader. Remember to place the shape at the start and the end. Otherwise, the flowchart is incomplete.
A diamond represents a true/false or a yes/no scenario where the query moves in two directions. The shape is usually placed in the middle of the procedure, where the user must question an answer to proceed. Lines come out of the diamond shape depending on the outcomes.
Thirdly, a rectangle represents a pending process. It is an essential shape highlighting a minor process within a procedure or a step. A rectangle is usually used to denote an intuitive process where spelling out instructions is unnecessary, such as uploading files or logging in.
Drawing a circle in a flowchart means the ongoing procedure has shifted to the next page. Sometimes, the procedures are too lengthy, and creating a flowchart on the same page will cause confusion. Therefore, a circle containing the same number or later represents continuation.
In addition, a square is a data symbol representing the input and output of information. It means the data was successfully received. Users add the same symbol to incoming and outgoing spheres to represent cohesion. A data symbol is used less frequently in a basic flowchart.
Are you unable to fit information in a symbol? Stay calm, as a note symbol provides additional space for explanation. It creates the required comment section within the flowchart surface area. The user connects the note symbol to the flowchart using a dotted line. Do not use a straight line, as that means something completely different.
Understandably, not all procedures are automated. Therefore, the flowchart offers an action symbol representing an external interaction with the procedure. It could be an employee, a team, or a third-party organization. The same symbol is used for external and internal applications too.
A wavy document tool means a report or a document that explains the procedure. Common examples are a printout, an email, or other physical documents. Adding a wavy line underneath the document tool means multiple reports, emails, and documents. In short, the user must study the attachment to understand the process.
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The primary symbols are sufficient in guiding novices to construct flow charts. Each procedure begins with an oval and progresses into a diamond or rectangle. Be sure to study the scenario so applying the shapes is not confusing. Happy flowchart-ing!
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