Do you need to create a flowchart for your project? A flowchart is a diagram that shows the steps of a process or a decision in a logical order. It can help you visualize and communicate your ideas more effectively.
You might think that creating a flowchart requires specialized software like Visio, but you can actually use Microsoft PowerPoint to complete the task. While PowerPoint is better known for presentations, it allows you to insert and customize different types of shapes and connectors and create a professional-looking flowchart for your data.
There are two ways to make a flowchart in PowerPoint. You can use the built-in SmartArt feature or you can create your own using shapes and connectors. To create flowcharts in PowerPoint, follow the steps below.
How to Use SmartArt to Create a Flowchart in PowerPoint
The easiest way to create a flowchart in PowerPoint is to use the SmartArt feature. SmartArt is a collection of pre-designed graphics that you can insert and modify on your slides. It includes various categories of diagrams, such as process—the category that best describes a typical flowchart.
To use SmartArt to create a flowchart in PowerPoint, follow these steps.
- Open PowerPoint and select Insert > SmartArt.
- In the Choose a SmartArt Graphic window, select Process.
- Select a flowchart design in the middle. You’ll see a descriptive name and description (as well as possible design) on the right. SmartArt has a number of different types of flowcharts you can choose from, such as basic, linear, vertical, horizontal, funnel, and more.
- Once you’ve selected a flowchart, press OK to insert it into your presentation.
- After inserting the flowchart design, replace [Text] with the steps you want to include in your flowchart using the Type your text here box or by replacing them on the flowchart directly.
- To format and style your flowchart, you can use the options on the SmartArt Design and SmartArt Format tabs. For example, you can change the color, shape, size, outline, layout, and alignment of your flowchart. You can also add or delete shapes in the flowchart in the SmartArt Design tab.
Using SmartArt is a quick and easy way to create a flowchart in PowerPoint, but it does have some limitations. For instance, you can’t use custom shapes or connectors, and you’ll have less control over the spacing and positioning of your shapes.
How to Draw Your Own Flowchart in PowerPoint
If you want more flexibility in the design of your flowchart, you might want to draw your own flowchart using shapes and connectors.
It isn’t as quick a process as using the SmartArt method, as you’ll have to manually draw each shape and connector and adjust their size and position accordingly. You’ll also have to make sure that your shapes are aligned and spaced evenly.
You can create a flowchart in PowerPoint using the shapes and connectors made available in the Insert tab. To draw your own flowchart in PowerPoint, follow these steps.
- In PowerPoint, press Insert > Shapes.
- In the Shapes drop-down menu, select a shape from the Flowchart section near the bottom. You can hover over each shape to see its name and purpose. For example, a rectangle is typically used for process steps, a diamond is used for decisions, an oval is used for start and end points, etc.
- Once you’ve selected a shape, click and drag on your slide canvas to draw it. You can resize and move it as needed afterward. To insert text inside the shape, select the shape and begin typing.
- Repeat these steps to insert more shapes and create your flowchart.
- To connect the shapes together, go back to the Shapes menu and select a connector from the Lines group near the top. You can choose from different types of connectors, such as straight lines, curved lines, and more.
- Click on a connection point (a small circle) on one shape and then drag to another connection point on another shape. The connector will snap to the connection points and stay attached to them even if you move the shapes around.
- Repeat these steps to connect all of the shapes in your flowchart together to complete the process.
- To format and style your flowchart, you can use the Shape Format tab that appears when you select a shape or connector. For example, you can change the fill color, outline color, line width, line style, and 3D effects from this menu.
Creating Powerful Diagrams in PowerPoint
Thanks to the steps above, you can quickly create flowcharts in your PowerPoint presentation. They can be as simple or as advanced as you like—just make sure you leave enough room on your slide canvas to fit everything in.
Want to create flowcharts in other Office documents? You can create flowcharts in Excel or Word using similar tools to the PowerPoint method above. You can also use the Microsoft Visio app to create them or consider some Visio alternatives to get the job done instead.