Flowchart Symbols

What do the different flowchart shapes mean?

Which flowchart shape should you use? If you are new to flowcharting, the large number of shapes can be intimidating. This page should help in making your decision. Most charts can be drawn with the first five basic flowchart shapes listed. The others are optional and often only confuse people.

The following is a basic overview, with descriptions and meanings, of the most common flowchart symbols – also commonly called flowchart shapesflow diagram symbols or process mapping symbols, depending upon what type of diagram you’re creating. The table below lists the flowchart symbol drawing, the name of the flowchart symbol in Microsoft Office (with aliases in parentheses), and a short description of where and how the flowchart symbol is used.







The Most Commonly used Flowchart Symbols

The majority of flowcharts rely on just a few of the process-related symbols to do all the heavy lifting: TerminatorProcessDecision,Document, and Connector.