Introduction to Flowcharting

Flowcharts provide a visual representation of processes or algorithms. Streamline your diagrams by using standard elements and shapes.

  1. Drag a shape from the shape library to the canvas.
  2. Double-click the shape to add or edit text.
  3. To drag lines out of a shape, hover over the shape, click on the red connection points that appears and drag your mouse.
  4. When you release your mouse, you will be prompted to add a new shape. This feature can be turned off as follows: Lucidchart icon > User Settings > Preferences > After Drawing Lines > Do nothing
  5. Format the diagram as desired. If you're not sure where to start, see our Getting Started Guide.
  6. Continue to add shapes and draw lines until the flowchart is complete.
  7. To distinguish between responsibilities and sub-processes, see our Creating Swim Lanes tutorial.

Arrows: Show the general direction of the chart and the next steps in a path.

ConnectorConnector: Connects separate elements across one page. Used within complex charts.

Data Data (I/O): Represents input, output, or resources used or generated.

Database Database: Represents a database.

Decision Decision: Indicates a question to be answered—usually yes / no or true / false. The path may change depending on the answer.

Delay Delay: Indicates a delay or waiting period in a process.

Direct Access Storage Direct Access Storage (Hard Disk): Represents data storage on a hard drive.

DisplayDisplay: Refers to information being shown to a user, often with a computer monitor.

Document Document: Represents a document or report.

Internal Storage Internal Storage: Represents data stored in random-access memory (RAM).

Manual Input Manual Input: Represents the manual input of data into a computer, usually through a keyboard.

Manual Operation Manual Operation: Indicates a step that must be done manually, not automatically.

MergeMerge: Combines multiple paths.

Multiple Documents Multiple Documents: Represents multiple documents or reports.

NoteNote: Shows comments on a flowchart.

Off-Page LinkOff-Page Link: Connects separate elements across multiple pages. Used within complex charts.

OrOr: Represents a path that diverges.

Paper Tape Paper Tape: Represents input or output.

Predefined Process Predefined Process: Indicates a complicated process or operation that is well-known or defined elsewhere.

Preparation Preparation: Represents preparation for upcoming steps.

Process Process: Shows a process, action, or operation.

Stored Data Stored Data: Represents data housed on a storage device.

Summing JunctionSumming Junction: Sums the input of several converging paths.

Terminator Terminator: Represents the start points, end points, and potential outcomes of a path.

Related Articles
Creating Swim Lanes
Use Layers to Create a Current/Future State Swim Lane Diagram
Work with Lines
Access More Shapes