How to Create Flowcharts in Word

By David Weedmark

Add a flow chart to illustrate any process, like a life cycle or decision tree, using the drawing tools available in Microsoft Word.

Illustrate any process, life cycle or decision tree diagram by drawing your own flowchart in Word. When drawing arrows from one stage of the chart to another, use connector lines. Unlike basic arrows, connectors are pinned to the shapes; if you need to move the shapes around, the connectors adjust automatically.

Step 1

Click the Insert menu and select Shapes. To use connectors in Word 2013, the chart has to be drawn inside a Drawing Canvas, so click the New Drawing Canvas option at the bottom of the drop-down menu.

Step 2

Adjust the Drawing Canvas size.

Adjust the Drawing Canvas's size by dragging any corner. If you plan to add text to the same page as a Drawing Canvas, you can click the Layout Options icon that appears in the corner to specify how words should wrap around the Drawing Canvas.

Step 3

Select a shape for the flowchart.

Select the first shape for your flowchart from the Shapes icon in the Insert ribbon. The following examples use an oval shape for the start-and-stop processes, rounded rectangles for the steps, or middle processes, and a diamond shape for a decision that needs to be made between steps.

Step 4

Right-click the shape and select Add Text.

Right-click the shape and then select Fill or Outline to change those options, or select a pre-formatted Style. Right-click the shape again and select Add Text. A cursor appears in the center of the shape.

Step 5

Format the font as desired.

Type the label for the first process. To format the text, highlight it by double-clicking it and then select the formatting options in Word's Home ribbon.

Step 6

Use Gridlines to get even spacing between shapes.

Add a new shape to the Drawing Canvas for each process. Toggle on a grid to help you position the shapes by clicking the View tab and then clicking the Gridlines check box.

Step 7

Select the elbow arrow connector.

Click the Insert tab, select Shapes and then select a connector in the Lines section. For most flowcharts, choose the elbow arrow connector, which has one arrow and can be drawn as a straight line or as a bent line depending on the location of the shape it's attached to.

Step 8

Connect two shapes with a connector.

Hover the cursor over the first shape in the flowchart. Red anchors appear on the border. Click one of these anchors and -- without releasing the mouse button -- drag the cursor to the second shape. Click one of the red anchors that appear on the second shape. Note that the connector is now attached to both shapes and the arrow points to the second shape.

Step 9

Increase the weight to make the line easily visible.

Click the Drawing Tools' Format tab while the connector is selected and click the Outline icon. Choose a color, line weight and arrow style from the drop-down menu.

Step 10

A completed flowchart.

Add Elbow Arrow connectors to each of the shapes in the flowchart. When you're finished, you can drag the shapes to any position in the Drawing Canvas and the elbow connectors adjust their size and the elbow position to accommodate the new position.