How to Create a Data Flow Diagram

Written by charles carswell
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How to Create a Data Flow Diagram
(John Foxx/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

To create a data flow diagram, you must identify a system or process with relationships that share data. The flow of the shared data relationships produces a data flow diagram. The data flow diagram can be represented using charting symbols in any software package that contains graphic symbols. Most word-processing, graphics and illustration software packages provide the shapes necessary to create a variety of data flow diagrams. A data flow diagram can represent a collection of data or a single data item that flows from one process to another.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Launch your illustration, word-processing or graphics software package.

  2. 2

    Select the rectangle or “System/Process” icon and drag it into the development window.

  3. 3

    Click inside the shape and type “Revenue” data for a single data item. If this data component uses a collection of data, then add rectangles within the rectangular icon created in the development window. If the box represents a collection of data such as “Internet Revenue” and “Other Revenue,” then add two rectangles within the larger Step 2 rectangle, and label the internal rectangles “Internet Revenue” and “Other Revenue”.

  4. 4

    Use the “Text” icon in your software package to create a label for the larger rectangle, and type the text “Revenue System Data”.

  5. 5

    Select the rectangle or “System/Process” icon and drag it into the development window underneath the Revenue System Data rectangle.

  6. 6

    Click inside the shape created in Step 5 and type “Payroll” data for a single data item. If this data component uses a collection of data, then add rectangles within the rectangular icon. If the box represents a collection of data such as “Internet Payroll” and “Other Payroll,” then add two rectangles within the larger Step 5 rectangle, and label the internal rectangles “Internet Payroll” and “Other Payroll”.

  7. 7

    Use the “Text” icon in your software package to create a label for the larger rectangle, and type the text “Payroll System Reports”.

  8. 8

    Click “File,” “Save” or “Save As,” type a filename, and click “OK” or “Save.” Now you have a data flow diagram showing the shared data relationships between the revenue and payroll reporting systems.

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