Flow Chart in Excel
The flow chart in Excel is an excellent tool for representing a process flow in a sequential manner, especially business processes. The flow chart allows you to build flowcharts within your worksheets. We can make a flow chart in Excel using the SmartArt graphic. You have pre-set flowcharts in Excel in the SmartArt Tools Design section. Let us look at an example of a basic flowchart representing the series of steps of a simple counter.
In this Flowchart, the oval shape represents the terminator, the rectangle represents the process, the diamond shape represents decision-making, and the arrows are connectors and represent the direction of flow of the process.
Table of contents
- A flow chart in Excel is a pictorial representation outlining sequential steps and processes in an organization. It helps you take measured steps toward success.
- You have a pre-set flow chart in Excel in SmartArt Tools Design. You can also create flowcharts using shapes provided in the Insert tab and Illustrations.
- You can customize your flowcharts using the SmartArt Design Tools. You can also resize your grid, remove gridlines, and so on for a better look and feel of the Flowchart.
How to Create Flow Chart in Excel?
Let us create a simple purchase process flowchart in excel. Here, we can add symbols as follows.
- Let us first remove some gridlines to give the Flowchart a neat look. For this, select the cells where you want to remove the gridlines. Go to,
Right-Click 🡪 Format Cells 🡪 Border.
- In the pop-up window, you can select the color “White” and click on Outside and Inside. Press OK.
- The space is blank. You can now start inserting the symbols.
Go to Insert tab > Shapes > Flowchart > Terminator. Insert it in the Excel sheet. You can copy-paste it to get another one for the end of the process.
- Right-click on the first terminator. In the menu, choose “Edit Text.”
- Type the required text in the terminator. Here, we type “Start.” Then, we align the text to the center in the Alignment group.
- Repeat the same for the END terminator. Now, copy-paste three process rectangles which are different stages in the purchase. Go to,
Insert tab > Shapes > Flowchart > Rectangle
- Insert two Data shapes, that is, parallelograms, from Insert tab > Shapes > Flowchart > Data.
- Finally, let us insert a Decision shape (diamond) and connect them according to the flow. Double-click on each shape and enter the details accordingly.
Thus, creating a basic flow chart in Excel is simple and consumes less time.
Let us look at a few examples to create a flowchart.
Create Flow Chart using Shapes
Let us look at another flowchart indicating the different steps in a software project’s lifecycle. Again, we can make it look professional using Excel’s various features.
- First, select the cells in Excel which you want to be blank.
- Right-click and choose Format Cells.
- In the popup window, choose the color White under Borders and click on Outline and Inside.
Step 2: Let us add the flowchart. Choose elements from the following location.
Insert tab > Shapes > Flowchart.
Step 3: Let us choose the terminator for the beginning and end of the flowchart.
Step 4: Add the rest of the elements required for the chart and the connectors. Arrange them according to the process flow.
Step 5: Start adding the relevant text involved in the flow of the process by clicking on each element. You can add the “Yes’ or “No” of the decision-making chart using the Text Box option in Shapes.
Step 6: The final flow chart is as below.
Step 7: We can add some design elements and re-design the chart for a better look. Select all the elements and under the “Shape Format” tab, click on “Shape Effects” and choose the desired effect.
Step 8: Apply it to the elements. You can right-click on each component. Choose “Fill” and choose your required color.
Step 9: You get a beautiful flow chart in Excel, as shown.
Create Business Flow Chart Using Smart Arts
In the earlier example, we used the shapes in Illustrations to create flowcharts. Now, let us try to insert flow chart in Excel using SmartArt. For instance, an organization is taking up a project. The Manager must enlist the processes to be followed in a flowchart to complete the process successfully.
Step 1: Go to the following location.
Step 2: Under the SmartArt, select “Cycle.” We have several pre-defined templates which make our job much more manageable. Choose the “Basic Cycle” which is needed for our project.
Step 3: We have a default flow chart on our worksheet.
Step 4: Since these are predefined charts, they make our work easier. All we need to do is enter the text. However, my process has six steps. So to add another circle, choose one of the circles, right-click, and select the option “Add Shape.” Then, choose “Add Shape After.”
Step 5: You get six circles. Start entering the relevant text in each. For this, you have to double-click on each shape and start typing.
Step 6: Continue this for the rest of the steps.
Thus, SmartArt provides you templates that can directly be used to create attractive and informative charts.
Design Flow Chart Using Excel Smart Arts
Consider the above flowchart made using SmartArt. Since the chart looks monotonous, you can change some of its features. Thus, you can use the Design tab for this purpose.
Step 1: To change its color, go to the “SmartArt Design” Tab and click “Change Colors.”
Step 2: Choose a color palette you like. Notice how the chart changes and looks more attractive.
Step 3: You can also change the flowchart style as shown below in the Design tab.
You can also create a bubble flow chart in Excel the same way.
Using Smart Art Graphic
As seen in the above two examples, a beautiful flowchart in Excel is simple and helps you understand organizational processes easily.
Let us look at another simple data flow chart in Excel by creating a grid.
Step 1: The column width should equal the row height to create a square grid. Select all the cells in the worksheet by clicking the box in the top-left corner of the worksheet grid.
Step 2: Right-click on any column and choose “Column Width.”
Step 3: Enter 2.14 in the dialog box and press OK.
Step 4: You get a worksheet with a grid. Now, we need a flow chart describing Project Management’s stages. Let us opt for a template already predefined in SmartArt.
Go to Insert🡪Illustrations🡪SmartArt. In the window, choose Process🡪 Vertical Process.
Step 5: You get a graph as shown below. We will add another rectangle as four processes are to be mentioned. Let us enter the text in the relevant squares.
Step 6: Let us add appropriate colors. Now, we have a flow chart in Excel that represents project management in Excel.
Interpretation and Uses
Flowcharts help turn ideas into actions to solve problems and are used by every organization. They help visualize any plan’s scope, stages, and sequence. Flowcharts can be quickly built within Excel in a few ways.
The primary way is through SmartArt graphics (Insert tab > Illustrations). You can also find these symbols in the Add-ins group of the Insert tab under Illustrations > Shapes. We have certain predefined symbols to be used in flowcharts. Let us look at what they are and how they are used.
- Oval – It indicates the starting and ending point of a flow chart.
- Rectangle – Represents a step in the process.
- Diamond – Represents any decision-based action.
- Arrows – These are used as connectors to show the flow and the relationship between the shapes.
- Parallelogram – Represents data in a flowchart.
Important Things to Note
- Each shape in a flowchart has a different function. We should use the appropriate shapes depending on the processes.
- SmartArt graphics contain readymade templates for flowcharts, making them much easier to create.
- In a flow chart in Excel, you can click on each shape and enter text in them.
- Flowcharts are not an ultimate solution to process flow as they could change daily.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
A process flowchart in Excel can be created in two ways.
• Using SmartArt Graphics: You can find several predefined flow charts in Excel at Insert > Illustrations > SmartArt
• Using Flowchart shapes: They provide various figures for flowcharts at Insert > Illustrations > Shapes. These help you create some helpful flow charts for your business.
Sometimes your Excel flowcharts will not work when Excel may have some issues, such as an updated software version. You could also have issues with SmartArt. In such cases, try restarting Excel and inserting the flowcharts.
• Automated flow charts can be created in Excel using the option SmartArt in the following location:
• Insert tab > Illustrations > SmartArt
• This contains several automated flowcharts where you can choose one based on your type of project and insert the necessary data.
This article must help understand the Flow Chart in Excel, with its formula and examples. We can download the template here to use it instantly.
Guide to Flow Chart in Excel. Here we explain how to create it, its interpretations, and examples along with downloadable excel template. You may learn more from the following articles –
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