What is a flow chart

Flow Chart Defined

A flow chart is a graphical or symbolic representation of a process. Each step in the process is represented by a different symbol and contains a short description of the process step. The flow chart symbols are linked together with arrows showing the process flow direction.

  • Common Flowchart Symbols

    Different flow chart symbols have different meanings. The most common flow chart symbols are:

    • Terminator: An oval flow chart shape indicating the start or end of the process.
    • Process: A rectangular flow chart shape indicating a normal process flow step.
    • Decision: A diamond flow chart shape indication a branch in the process flow.
    • Connector: A small, labeled, circular flow chart shape used to indicate a jump in the process flow. (Shown as the circle with the letter “A”, below.)
    • Data: A parallelogram that indicates data input or output (I/O) for a process.
    • Document: Used to indicate a document or report (see image in sample flow chart below).

    A simple flow chart showing the symbols described above can be seen below:simple-flow-chart-example