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2 methods to make a flow chart in Word – easy tutorial

Author: Siluvia Last Modified: 2024-05-31

Flow charts are essential tools for illustrating processes and making complex information easier to understand. Microsoft Word offers versatile tools to create flow charts, which can be particularly useful in business presentations, educational materials, and workflow documentation. In this tutorial, we'll explore two effective methods to create flow charts in Word. Each method has its advantages depending on your specific needs for customization and complexity.


Video


Make a flow chart in Word

In this section, we will demonstrate step-by-step how to use these two methods to create a flow chart in MS Word, helping you to visually represent processes efficiently.


By using SmartArt

SmartArt provides a quick and organized way to create professional-looking flow charts with minimal effort. This section will show you how to use the Hierarchy category, particularly the Organization Chart option to make a flow chart in Word.

Step 1: Insert SmartArt Graphic
  1. Go to the Insert tab on the Ribbon and click on SmartArt in the Illustrations group.
  2. In the Choose a SmartArt Graphic dialog box:
    1. Select a SmartArt category in the left pane according to your needs. Here I select Hierarchy.
    2. Choose a layout. Here I select the Organization Chart.
    3. Click OK. See screenshot:

The SmartArt graphic is now inserted into your document.

Step 2: Customize the Chart

Now you need to customize the chart to show the process flow you need.

  1. To remove default boxes, select them and press the Delete key.
    Tip: Here I need to remove all the default boxes from the chart and start with a new box, so I click inside the SmartArt graphic to activate it, press Ctrl + A to select all elements within the SmartArt, and then press the Delete key to remove them.
  2. Click on the Type your text here box on the left of the SmartArt graphic.
  3. Type text for the start of the entire process. Here I start the process with "Lamp doesn't work".
  4. After typing text, press the Enter key.
    Note: Pressing the Enter key will add a sibling box to the current box. If you want to add a child box under the selected box, press the Enter key followed by the Tab key.
  5. Press the Tab key to make the newly inserted box a child of the start box.
  6. Follow the instructions above to complete the creation of the boxes required for the entire process.
  7. Type text in each box using the Type your text here placeholder.
Step 3: Modify Box Shapes

To make the chart look more like a flow chart, you need to change the box shapes as follows.

  1. Select a box or multiple boxes by holding the Ctrl key.
  2. Go to the Format tab.
  3. Click the Change Shape drop-down list, and then choose a more suitable shape for this box in the Flowchart section.
  4. Repeat the above step until the shapes of all needed boxes have been changed.
Step 4:  Modify the Fill, Font Colors and other elements of the Process Boxes

To make the flow chart more vivid, adjust the fill color, font color, and other stylistic elements of the process boxes.

  • Change the fill color of the process boxes
    Select one or multiple boxes, go to the Format tab, choose a fill color from the Shape Fill drop-down list.
  • Change the font color of the process boxes
    Select one or multiple boxes, go to the Format tab, choose a font color from the Text Fill drop-down list.
  • Change the font size of the process boxes
    Select one or multiple boxes, under the Home tab, choose a font size from the Font Size drop-down list.
  • Resize the boxes
    After enlarging the font size, you may notice the text exceeds the box area. To resize the box, select it and move your cursor over one of the corners. When the cursor changes to a double-headed arrow, click and drag the handle to adjust the size of the box.
  • Add outline to the boxes
    Select one or multiple boxes, go to the Format tab, choose a color from the Shape Outline drop-down list.
Step 5: Adjust Connectors

Change connectors to arrows by selecting the lines and choosing an arrow style from the Shape Outline > Arrows option on the Format tab.

Result

The flow chart is now complete.


By using Shapes

Using Shapes for creating flow charts offers flexibility and customization but can be more time-consuming. This method allows for intricate detailing and personalization of each element.

Step 1: Add Shapes
  1. Navigate to the Insert tab.
  2. Click to open the Shapes menu, and then choose the shapes that best represent different stages of your process in the Flowchart group.
  3. Draw each selected shape in the document where it belongs.
    Tip: You can use Ctrl + C and Ctrl + V to copy and paste shapes, which saves time when creating repetitive elements.
Step 2: Connect the Shapes
  1. Again under Shapes, select Line or Line Arrow to connect the shapes.
  2. Draw connections where necessary.
    Tip: Holding the Shift key while drawing lines keeps the line aligned horizontally or vertically.

After adding connections, the flow chart is now displayed as follows.

Step 3: Label the Shapes one by one

Click on a shape to add text directly.

Tip: If you want to label lines and arrows, use a Text Box from the Insert tab.

Step 4: Customize the Appearance

Customize your flow chart by adjusting the fill color, line style, and text formatting of the shapes and connectors to enhance readability and aesthetic appeal.

  • Change the fill color of the shapes
    Select one or multiple shapes, go to the Shape Format tab, choose a fill color from the Shape Fill drop-down list.
  • Change the font color of the shapes
    Select one or multiple shapes, go to the Shape Format tab, choose a font color from the Text Fill drop-down list.
  • Change the font size of the process boxes
    Select one or multiple boxes, under the Home tab, choose a font size from the Font Size drop-down list.
  • Change the color of the connected lines
    To change the color of the connected lines, select all the lines by holding the Ctrl key and selecting them one by one, and then select a color from the Shape Outline drop-down list under the Shape Format tab.
Result

A flow chart created with shapes is now complete.

Tips:
  • Holding the Shift key while drawing shapes or lines keeps them aligned horizontally or vertically.
  • Use Ctrl + C and Ctrl + V to copy and paste shapes, which saves time when creating repetitive elements.
  • Group shapes and lines together once your flow chart is set to move or format them collectively without altering their layout.

Whether you choose SmartArt for its efficiency and simplicity or Shapes for their flexibility and detail, Word provides robust tools to create clear and informative flow charts. By following these steps, you can effectively communicate processes and systems visually in your documents, enhancing both understanding and engagement of your audience. For those eager to delve deeper into Word's capabilities, our website boasts a wealth of tutorials. Discover more Word tips and tricks here.


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