This guide will show you how to make a flow chart in Google Docs using the drawing tool. You can do this in a few minutes, and it works for smaller flow charts. But, if you have to make a larger flowchart, we recommend using a third party app and then pasting the flowchart as an image into your Google Doc. Luckily, we also cover how to do this. Read on to learn in detail.
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What Are Flowcharts?
Flowcharts are a graphical representation of a process, computer, or system algorithm. They use ovals, rectangles, diamonds, and other shapes to indicate the type of step and linking arrows to define sequence and flow. Flowcharts are widely used in various fields to plan, document, examine, enhance, and convey complex processes in straightforward diagrams.
It is a general-purpose tool that may define a range of processes. These include manufacturing processes, administration or service processes, or maybe a project design. It is a standard process analytical technique among the seven fundamental quality tools.
Flowcharts help provide:
- Clarity: The team can easily see each step of the project’s lifecycle.
- Coordination: Flowcharts can promote transparency for all the members as it helps them know all the project aspects and their roles in the workflow.
- Communication: Flowcharts are made with simple graphics that convey the complicated processes, making it easier for the team members to understand them quickly.
- Analysis: Flowcharts show how processes flow from the beginning to the end, allowing the project managers to easily determine the project’s obstacles and make adjustments accordingly.
Steps to Creating a Flowchart
Here are the steps you should follow when creating a flowchart:
- Define the scope and purpose: You need to know what you hope to achieve. Make sure to have a defined starting and ending point. Ensure you are thorough in the research while keeping your charts simple enough to convey the data to the intended audience.
- Identify tasks chronologically: This involves talking to the participants, observing the process, and reviewing the documentation. To begin, create a rough flowchart to write down the steps.
- Organize everything by the corresponding shape and type: This includes the input, output, process, data, or decisions.
- Draw the chart: you can either sketch it by hand or use the drawing option in Google Docs.
- Confirm the flowchart: Go through all the steps with participants who take part in the process. Examine the procedure and ensure you haven’t overlooked anything crucial to the goal.
How to Make a Flow Chart in Google Docs Using Google Drawings
Google Docs has a drawing tool that allows you to create simple charts and graphs. You can use this tool to create a flowchart in docs. Here is how to make a flowchart in Google Docs:
- The first thing to do is select the page setup you wish to choose when creating a flowchart in Google Docs. By default, Google uses a Portrait page setup. To change it, click on File in the main top bar and click on Page setup. This will open a window allowing you to select the page layout.
- Here, click and select the Pages and set the Orientation as Landscape. This step is optional and depends on the type of flowchart you want to create. Most flowcharts are created in landscape format.
- Now, go back to the main screen of the document and click on Insert in the main top bar. Click on the Drawing option in the dropdown menu and then click New. This will open a blank canvas in the middle of the screen where you can sketch the flowchart.
- The first thing you need to know when creating a Google Docs flowchart is how to use the shapes tool. To do this, click on the Shape icon in the toolbar. Click on the Shapes option and select the shape you wish to add.
- With the shape selected, click and drag your cursor to align the canvas to draw the shape. You can also drag the shape’s sides to change size and dimensions. To change its position, click and drag the shape.
- You can use the Line tool to connect any two shapes. Click on Line to select it from the toolbar. You can click on the arrow beside the icon to select the type of line you wish to add. This will show anchor points on the shapes in the drawing. Click on an anchor point and drag across the screen to connect the line to another shape’s anchor point.
- Repeat steps 4 to 6 to create the shapes in your flow chart template in Google Docs.
- Once done, you can add text inside the shapes. To do this, click and select the Text box option in the toolbar and click and drag your cursor to create a textbox. There, you can add the text.
- After making any changes, click the blue Save and close button to take you back to the main document and place the chart on the page.
After adding the flowchart Google Docs, you can make edits if needed. To do this, simply click on the flowchart to select it and then click on the Edit button, which will take you back to the drawing window.
How to Create a Flowchart Using Third-Party Tools
You can also use other online tools to create a flowchart. A great tool you can use is Diagrams.net, which is free to use and open source. You can save your diagrams to Google Drive, Dropbox, or a local device when opening them. Once you select the save location, you will be taken to the main screen.
Here, click and choose the Flowchart option to show you shapes better suited for creating a flowchart. After creating the chart, you can download it by clicking on File in the main bar and then on Export as an option. To add the flowchart to your Google Doc, simply copy the file from your local storage and paste it into the Google Document.
Common Flowchart Types
There are several flowchart types that you can use for various purposes. Here are some of the more commonly used ones:
- Process Flowchart: A process flow diagram, also known as a process flowchart, is one of the most adaptable flowcharts of the four. This is because it can be used for virtually anything. Companies use the process flowchart to explain how things operate within the organization.
- Workflow Diagram: Workflow diagrams explain how processes or organizations operate. They help you analyze the flow of documents and data around the organization.
- Swimlane Flowchart: The swimlane flowchart is the go-to tool to convey many different types of data side by side. Swimlane diagrams might seem quite similar to process flowcharts. However, the main difference is that they enable you to categorize activities. A swimlane flowchart is beneficial for documenting a complex process involving numerous teams or affecting various parts of an organization.
- Data Flowchart: A data flowchart displays the flow of the data process. It is useful while developing new systems or evaluating an existing one. Even though data flowcharts are most typically used in the development and design of software, they may also be used to assess any information’s distribution, including how data travels within an organization, similar to a Google Sheets Org Chart.
Pros and Cons of Making a Flowchart in Google Docs
There are several benefits to creating a Google Doc flowchart template rather than using other tools or software. Here are some of the pros of using a Google flowchart maker:
- Familiarity: Most people use the Google Workspace tools in their work environment. Most software shares similar interfaces and features whether you’re using Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides. Creating a flowchart in Google Docs won’t require much work as you’re already familiar with the tool.
- Cloud-Saving: Google Docs works in real-time, saving all changes to the cloud. This means that there is no risk of losing progress. As long you have an internet connection, changes will be saved online and accessed from anywhere without needing the original file.
- Shareability: Google Docs has a great sharing feature that allows you to give access to the document to others simply using a link or their email. This makes collaboration on a single document easy, as multiple people can work on the same file simultaneously.
Using the flow chart creator Google tool can have its limitations as well. Here are some of the cons of using Google Docs for making a flowchart:
- Inconvenience With Offline: Google Docs can be accessed using a web browser, meaning you will need an internet connection to use it, unless you have your Docs set to offline mode.
- Complexity: Although Google Docs is great for making basic flowcharts, creating advanced and complex flowcharts in Google Docs is difficult as Docs doesn’t have advanced features for drawings. You can use a third-party Google Docs flowchart template, which is still more time-consuming than flowchart software.
- No Workflow Capability: The flowcharts you can make in Google Docs are essentially pictures, meaning you can’t use them to create interactive tasks or use them for scheduling.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does Google Docs Offer Flowchart Templates?
Google doesn’t offer a flowchart template by default. However, you can download a third-party template online for Google Docs. Some extensions allow you to create a flowchart template in Google Docs. You can find these extensions in the Google Workspace Marketplace.
What Is a Flowchart?
A flowchart is a general-purpose tool that is used to define a range of processes. These are used to make a graphical representation using ovals, rectangles, diamonds, and other shapes that indicate the steps and define the sequence and flow with linking arrows.
Although we showed you how to make a flow chart in Google Docs using the drawing tool to create a flowchart template, we’d recommend using a third-party tool and then simply pasting the image into your Google Docs. Doing it this way is usually quicker and easier.
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