Video: Create a flow chart

Your browser does not support video. Install Microsoft Silverlight, Adobe Flash Player, or Internet Explorer 9.

Create a flow chart in PowerPoint 2013 to illustrate sequential steps in a process, and choose from a variety of layouts and options. Watch this video to learn more.

Use the right shape for the right purpose

For your flow chart, you want to be sure to use the right shape for the right purpose. Click INSERT > Shapes, and point to a shape for a Screen Tip to see its intended purpose. Here are some basics. For more about shape types, see the link to the right under See also:

  • The rectangle is a Process shape, used for main steps in the process.

  • The diamond is a Decision shape, used to show a decision point in the process.

  • And the elongated oval is a Terminator shape, used to start and end the process.

Start building your flow chart

  1. Click INSERT > Shapes and build the chart using shapes from the gallery. To insert a shape, click it, and drag the crosshairs to draw it.

  2. Specifically, use the Flowchart group for the shapes and the Lines group for the connectors between shapes.

  3. As a visual aid for sizing and positioning shapes, click VIEW and check Gridlines.

Want more?

Flowchart shapes explained

Microsoft Visio - flow chart software

You want to show a process flow that uses standard flow chart shapes that you can format and arrange in a very specific layout.

To do that in PowerPoint, click INSERT, Shapes. To build the chart using shapes from the gallery, specifically use the Flowchart group for the shapes and the Lines group for the connectors between shapes.

As a visual aid for sizing and positioning shapes, click VIEW and check Gridlines.

Back on the INSERT tab, Shapes. To choose a shape, point to it for a Screen Tip to see its intended purpose.

For example, the rectangle is a Process shape, used for main steps in the process.

The diamond is a Decision shape, used to show a decision point in the process, and the elongated oval is a Terminator shape, which is used to start and end the process.

You want to be sure to use the right shape for the right purpose. For more about shape types, see the course summary.

To insert a shape, click it (shape), and drag the crosshairs to draw it.

Once you draw the shape, it is selected, and the DRAWING TOOLS FORMAT tab appears.

Use the FORMAT tab to apply styles, such as a different shape outline.

To save the style for all your shapes, right-click the shape, and choose Set as Default Shape.

We detail shape formatting in Movie 2: Draw and format flow chart shapes.

The Shapes gallery is also available on the FORMAT tab, in the Insert Shapes group. I'll click More to display it.

And I'll insert a Process shape. As I draw, I'll approximate a size relative to the first shape.

To match the width of the first shape, I'll drag a sizing handle to the left and watch for this SmartGuide, a red line that appears when the edges of the shapes align.

Next, I'll use Shape Fill on the FORMAT tab, to give the Process shape a unique fill color.

Before I connect the shapes, I'll make sure their center points are aligned. I'll press Ctrl to select both shapes.

And on the FORMAT tab, I'll click Align Objects and Align Center.

With the shapes aligned, I can draw the connector.

Let's Zoom in a little bit.

In the Shapes gallery, under Lines, I'll click Arrow.

Then I'll draw the arrow from the center handle on the first shape to the center handle on the shape below.

Using Styles on the FORMAT tab, style the connector just like other shapes, using Shape Outline, for example, to change the Line Style.

Then right-click and set the Style as the default line.

We'll work with connectors in Movie 3: Align flow chart shapes and add connectors.

A final note: If you have a very large chart, with over 25 shapes, consider breaking it into two, or creating it in Microsoft Visio.

Up next: Draw and format flow chart shapes.

Expand your skills
Explore training
Get new features first
Join Office Insiders

Was this information helpful?

Thank you for your feedback!

Thank you for your feedback! It sounds like it might be helpful to connect you to one of our Office support agents.

×