If you have tried to create flow charts in Word or PowerPoint you will know that the SmartArt graphic options are very limited while drawing one using the drawing tools in fiddly and time-consuming.  That’s where Visio comes in.  As a dedicated diagram creation package it is designed for just this job and a professional-looking flow chart can be created in a fraction of the time.

Image of a basic flowchart

Step 1

Choose a basic flow chart diagram

Step 2

Drag your first shape from the stencil pane on the left to the drawing canvas.  The first shape will usually be a start/end shape

Step 3

Auto connectors (blue arrows) will be visible when you hover over this shape and give the option to add the basic shapes with a connector arrow already in place.  Process, Decision, Subprocess and Start/End are the shapes available.  The shapes automatically line up and space consistently

Step 4

Continue this process to add any of the shapes mentioned above

Step 5

Adding any other shape is more complicated.  Drag the shape from the stencil pane on the left using the guides to line up with shapes already in place

Step 6

Add a connector by selecting the connector tool from the Home tab.  Hover over one of the connector points until it is highlighted in green then drag to the second connector point until this is also green.  The connector points may vary in colour depending on the version of Visio you are using.

Step 7

When connectors are no longer required then click on the pointer tool to turn it off.  When shapes are connected they can be moved and the connector line will remain in place

Step 8

Text can be added in the shape by clicking and typing.  Text can be added to the lines by double-clicking on the line.  This is particularly useful for the Yes/No options from a decision box

Step 9

The design and colours can be altered from the design tab.  This changes the look and feel of the whole diagram

Step 10

Alternatively, individual shapes can be formatted using the shape styles from the home tab to work with preset designs or the fill, line and effects options to have full control

Within minutes a neat, complex diagram can be created which took minimum effort.

If you found this useful see what Visio courses are available or email lara@laramellortraining.co.uk to discuss any training requirements.