How to Create a Flow Chart in Excel: Step-by-Step Guide

Creating a flow chart in Excel can seem daunting, but it’s not as tough as you might think! Excel has built-in features that make it easy to create professional-looking flow charts for presentations or reports. In just a few quick steps, you’ll have a chart that clearly communicates your process or data flow.

Step by Step Tutorial to Create a Flow Chart in Excel

Before diving into the nitty-gritty steps, understand that we are going to use Excel’s SmartArt graphics and shapes to create our flow chart. These tools offer a variety of design options and can be customized to fit your needs.

Step 1: Open Excel and Choose SmartArt Graphic

Open Microsoft Excel and click on the “Insert” tab. In the Illustrations group, click on “SmartArt.”

Choosing a SmartArt graphic is the first step because this is where you’ll find the flow chart templates. There are several styles to choose from, so select the one that best fits your needs.

Step 2: Select the Flow Chart Template

In the Choose a SmartArt Graphic dialog box, click on “Process” to see all the flow chart templates. Select the template you want to use and click “OK.”

This step is where you decide the overall look of your flow chart. Take a moment to browse through the template options to find the perfect fit.

Step 3: Add Text to the Flow Chart

Click on the individual shapes within the SmartArt graphic and type in your text.

This step personalizes your flow chart. Each shape represents a different step or part of the process, so fill them in with the relevant information.

Step 4: Customize the Flow Chart Design

Use the SmartArt Design and Format tabs to change colors, add effects, and adjust the style of your flow chart.

The customization step is where you can get creative. Change up the colors to match your branding or add effects to make certain steps stand out.

Step 5: Insert More Shapes as Needed

If your flow chart requires more shapes than the template provided, click on the shape closest to where you want to add a new one, and under SmartArt Tools, click on “Add Shape.”

Sometimes your process might be more complex than the template allows. Adding additional shapes ensures your flow chart is complete and accurate.

After completing these steps, you’ll have a flow chart that’s ready to be shared with colleagues or included in a report. It should visually represent the process you’re trying to communicate in a clear and organized manner.

Tips for Creating a Flow Chart in Excel

  • Keep it simple. Don’t overload your flow chart with too much information.
  • Use consistent shapes. For example, use the same shape for all steps and a different shape for decision points.
  • Make sure the flow is logical. Each step should naturally lead to the next.
  • Use color strategically. Different colors can represent different types of actions or decisions.
  • Align your shapes. A well-organized flow chart is easier to understand.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I create a flow chart with multiple branches in Excel?

Yes, you can. Use the SmartArt options to add “decision” shapes and create branches from any point in your flow chart.

Flow charts with multiple branches might require a bit more planning, but Excel’s SmartArt graphic options are flexible enough to accommodate complex processes.

How do I change the direction of my flow chart?

Click on the SmartArt graphic, then go to the SmartArt Design tab. In the Create Graphic group, use the “Right to Left” button to change the direction.

This feature is useful if your flow chart needs to fit a specific layout or if you need to change the reading direction for cultural reasons.

Can I move the shapes around after I’ve created my flow chart?

Yes, you can. Click on any shape and drag it to a new location. The connecting lines will adjust automatically.

Being able to move shapes around means you can always edit your flow chart to better fit your data or the page.

How can I make my flow chart look more professional?

Use the SmartArt Design and Format tabs to apply consistent styles, effects, and colors to your flow chart.

A professional-looking flow chart is not only easier to read, but it also makes a better impression when included in presentations or reports.

Is it possible to convert my flow chart into a different type of diagram?

Yes, it is. Click on your SmartArt graphic, then go to the SmartArt Design tab and click on “Convert.” Choose the type of diagram you want to convert it to.

This feature is handy if you decide that a different diagram type better represents your data or process.


  1. Open Excel and choose a SmartArt graphic.
  2. Select a flow chart template.
  3. Add text to the flow chart.
  4. Customize the design.
  5. Insert more shapes if needed.


Creating a flow chart in Excel is a skill that can greatly enhance your data visualization and process communication abilities. Whether you’re presenting to a team, mapping out a project, or organizing data, a well-crafted flow chart can make complex information much more digestible. Remember, the key is to keep it simple, consistent, and logical. Don’t be afraid to customize and play around with the design until it perfectly conveys your message. With a bit of practice, you’ll be knocking out professional-level flow charts with ease. Your colleagues will be impressed, and you’ll wonder how you ever managed without this nifty Excel feature. So go ahead, give it a try and watch your data come to life in a flow chart in Excel.

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