How to Create a Basic Flowchart Using Visio Microsoft Office Online

Written by charles carswell
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How to Create a Basic Flowchart Using Visio Microsoft Office Online
Use MS Visio to chart and graph your concepts. (business flow chart orange image by Nicemonkey from

Using the diagramming and flowchart program Microsoft Visio, create graphical representations of sets of instructions represented by shapes, lines and arrows. Styles of flowcharts vary greatly depending on the purpose and application to be depicted. Computer programmers, systems and financial analysts, and engineers use Microsoft Visio, just to name a few. Anyone who needs to show a logical set of procedures or instructions can use Visio for that purpose. Or, attach hyperlinks to the components of your Visio flowchart and create a customised navigable site map for a website you may have created or are about to create.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Launch Microsoft Visio. A new screen appears titled “Choose a Template.” The selections presented range in Template Categories from Business, Engineering, Flowchart, General, Maps and Floor Plans, Network, Schedule and finally Software and Database.

  2. 2

    Choose the Business category to begin creating a basic flowchart. The “Choose a Template” page under "File"-->"New" is expanded to show more selections. Select "Audit Diagram" by double-clicking its icon. The audit diagram is one of the easiest and most basic of the shapes and contains many of the standard flow shapes used in the business and technology industries. The drawing screen titled Drawing1 appears. This is the “canvas” used to drag and drop shapes and arrows from the Shapes templates in the left column.

  3. 3

    Start dragging different shapes into the work space from the Audit Diagram Shapes template and begin typing the labels and associated text into the actual shapes. As an example, drag the “Tagged process” block diagram from the Audit Diagram Shapes template chosen in Step 2 to the top middle of the work space. Drag the “Multi proc/doc” diagram from the same template to the work space and align it next to the first image.

  4. 4

    Connect the two shapes with a line by clicking once on the "Connector" tool on the tabbed task bar at the top of the Home menu. A small plus sign and connector symbol appears as your cursor. As you move the cursor to the edge of the “Tagged Process” block diagram, a red square appears. Hold the left mouse button down as you drag the cursor to the side of the “Multi proc/doc” and release it. The shapes are now connected with an arrow showing directional flow. Change the attributes of the connector line and arrows by right-clicking on the line and choosing any of the options that appear in the dialogue box.

  5. 5

    Insert text in the shapes by double-clicking the centre of the images and entering the desired text. Alternately, double-click on any of the lines to enter text there. The font can be reduced, enlarged or colorized as desired to accommodate the specifications and design of your choice. To change the size of any shape, use the pointer tool from the Home tabbed menu and click on it, hold down the "Shift" key and the left mouse button and drag the lower right corner in any direction. The colour of any shape can also be changed by first selecting the shape with the pointer tool and clicking the “Fill” icon, also on the Home tabbed menu. View the coloured preview by holding your mouse cursor over each colour before choosing it.

  6. 6

    Create more shapes with lines and connections to add more detail to your flowchart. As an example, select the “Compare 1” shape from the Audit Diagram Shapes template you first selected and drag it to the work canvas area. This is a standard decision or branch diagram used to construct logical “yes” or “No” decision paths. Position this diagram directly under the “Tagged process” shape. Click on the Connector icon on the Home tabbed menu and use the mouse to connect a line from the “Tagged process” image you created to the new “Compare 1” shape.

  7. 7

    Create a “Disk storage” shape directly to the right of the “Compare 1” you just created by dragging the shape titled “Disk storage” from the "Audit Diagram Shapes" template. Use the Connector tool as in Step 6 above to connect from the “Compare 1” to the “Disk storage” shape. Double-click on the “Compare 1” shape. A text insertion space appears. Enter some text here to depict a logical decision branch such as “Is Data Correct?” Additionally, by double-clicking on the line between the “Compare 1” shape and the ”Disk storage” shape, another text entry space will appear and you can enter the text “Yes” or “No” as appropriate. Create another “Disk storage” shape directly underneath the “Compare 1” shape and repeat the line connection as above.

  8. 8

    Save the entire drawing by clicking “Save” (Ctrl+S) or “Save As” from the “File” button on the main menu. The document is saved anywhere on your computer as the software will prompt you for the directory and file location at time of save.

  9. 9

    Exit the flowchart program by either choosing "Sign out" or "Exit."

Tips and warnings

  • Periodically save your work.

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