How to Create Flowcharts in PowerPoint

Flowcharts are visual diagrams that show a process or workflow. They outline the steps in a process and how they connect using symbols and arrows. Flowcharts are useful for documenting processes, visualizing workflows, explaining procedures, and more.

PowerPoint has built-in tools to easily create flowcharts. You can build a flowchart from scratch using Shapes or use SmartArt diagrams. This article explains the basics of flowcharts and provides step-by-step instructions to create them in PowerPoint.

What is a Flowchart

A flowchart uses special shapes to represent different steps in a process. Common shapes include:

  • Ovals – Represent the starting and ending points
  • Rectangles – Show tasks or actions
  • Diamonds – Indicate decisions or branching paths
  • Arrows – Connect the shapes and show the flow from one step to another

By connecting these shapes with arrows, you can lay out the steps of a process in a visual way that is easy to understand.

Flowcharts are used for:

  • Documenting processes
  • Analyzing workflows
  • Visualizing algorithms
  • Explaining procedures and instructions
  • Mapping out project plans
  • Diagramming organizational structures
  • Modeling programs and systems

Benefits of Using Flowcharts

Some key benefits of using flowcharts include:

  • Communicate complex processes – Simplify complicated processes through easy-to-understand visuals
  • Identify inefficiencies – Flowcharts make it easy to spot bottlenecks and areas for improvement
  • Onboard new employees – Use flowcharts to explain workflows to new hires
  • Collaboration – Flowcharts provide a common language for teams to discuss processes
  • Planning – Map out plans, milestones, and contingencies visually using flowcharts

How to Create a Flowchart in PowerPoint

There are two main ways to create flowcharts in PowerPoint – using Shapes or SmartArt.

Using Shapes

To create a flowchart using Shapes:

  1. Insert a Shape – Go to Insert > Shapes and select a process shape
  2. Add Arrow Connectors – Find arrow connectors in the Lines section to link the shapes
  3. Enter Text – Click inside the shape to add text
  4. Format – Adjust size, color, line width as needed
  5. Animate – Make shapes appear in sequence using PowerPoint animations

It takes more manual effort to position shapes and route connectors using this method. But you have more flexibility over the format and layout.

Using SmartArt

The easier way is to use PowerPoint’s SmartArt tool. To create a flowchart using SmartArt:

  1. Go to SmartArt – Select the Insert tab and click on SmartArt
  2. Choose Process Category – Select a flowchart layout under the Process section
  3. Add Text – Type text into the text boxes in each shape
  4. Format – Adjust colors, 3D effects, size etc. from the SmartArt Tools tab
  5. Animate – Make the diagram animate slide-by-slide

SmartArt takes care of positioning shapes and routing arrows automatically. But you are limited to the inbuilt layouts and have less control over individual formatting.

Tips for Creating Flowcharts in PowerPoint

Here are some tips to create effective flowcharts in PowerPoint:

  • Start with the main sequence of steps from top to bottom or left to right
  • Use diagonal arrow connectors to show alternative paths
  • Keep text short – focus on keywords rather than full sentences
  • Be consistent with shapes used for each step type
  • Use colors, icons and visuals for clarity
  • Break down complex processes into multiple slides if needed
  • Animate the flowchart to show the sequence clearly

Common Flowchart Types

Some common types of flowcharts include:

  • Basic Flowchart – Shows the steps in a process from start to finish
  • Workflow Diagram – Outlines a business process and workflow
  • Data Flow Diagram – Shows how data moves through a system
  • Organizational Chart – Visualizes the structure of an organization
  • Program Flowchart – Documents the logic and sequence in a program

The shapes and structure change slightly depending on the exact type of flowchart. But PowerPoint provides layouts and templates for most common flowchart varieties under its SmartArt collection.


By breaking down processes using standard flowchart shapes and connectors, you can create easy-to-understand visual diagrams of workflows in PowerPoint.

Both the manual Shapes method and the SmartArt tool allow you to make flowcharts. Using SmartArt provides automatic layouts while Shapes offer more flexibility.

Whichever method you use, apply best practices like consistent use of shapes, clear labeling, clean layout, and animations. This results in professional flowcharts that improve understanding of complex systems.