Introduction to Flowcharting

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

Create a flowchart

  1. Drag a shape from the flowchart shape library to the canvas.

  2. Double-click the shape to add text. 

  3. To drag out a line from the shape, hover over it and drag from the connection points that appear.

  4. Once you release your mouse, you'll be prompted to add a new shape. This option can be turned off from the Lucidchart icon > Preferences.  

  1. Continue to add shapes and draw lines until the flowchart is complete.

  2. Format the diagram as desired. If you're not sure where to start, see our tutorials on formatting shapes, formatting lines and arrows, and using document themes.

  3. To distinguish between responsibilities and sub-processes, see our tutorial on adding and using swimlanes.  

Common flowchart symbols

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

9j.PNGConnector: Connects separate elements across one page. Used within complex charts. 

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

9a.PNG Database: Represents a database.

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

9g.PNG Delay: Indicates a delay or waiting period in a process.

9b.PNG Direct Access Storage (Hard Disk): Represents data storage on a hard drive.

9m.PNGDisplay: Refers to information being shown to a user, often with a computer monitor.

5.PNG Document: Represents a document or report.

9c.PNG Internal Storage: Represents data stored in random-access memory (RAM).

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

9f.PNG Manual Operation: Indicates a step that must be done manually, not automatically. 

9i.PNGMerge: Combines multiple paths.

6.PNG Multiple Documents: Represents multiple documents or reports.

9o.PNGNote: Shows comments on a flowchart.

9n.PNGOff-Page Link: Connects separate elements across multiple pages. Used within complex charts.

9k.PNGOr: Represents a path that diverges.

9d.PNG Paper Tape: Represents input or output.

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

8.PNG Preparation: Represents preparation for upcoming steps. 

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

9h.PNG Stored Data: Represents data housed on a storage device.

9l.PNGSumming Junction: Sums the input of several converging paths.  

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

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