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A Complete Guide on Drawing Data Flow Diagram

> Flowchart How-Tos > A Complete Guide on Drawing Data Flow Diagram
Posted by James Freeman | 10/31/2019
A complete data flow diagram drawing guide containing basic data flow knowledge and simple drawing steps. Help system designers to start quickly and produce quality data flow diagrams.

Data Flow Diagram Definition

A data flow diagram is a graphical tool that allows system analysts to depict the flow of data in an information system. It's a visual picture showing where data comes from and where it goes.

Who uses data flow diagrams?

  1. System Analysts
  2. End Users
  3. Database Designers
  4. System Programmers

What does a Data Flow Diagram Look Like?

Data flow diagram is made up of basic geometric shapes connected by arrows showing the flow direction.

Data Flow Diagram

Data Flow Diagram Basic Symbols

Process - a process or task performed by the system, such as create, modify, store or delete.


Data Store - a place where data is kept. Can be a file or database.

Data Store

Entity - is the source or destination of the data. Entities are external to the system.


Data Flow - is the flow of data.

Data Flow

Data Flow Diagram Drawing Principles

  1. Completeness: It refers to the extent to which all necessary components of a data flow diagram have been included and fully described.
  2. Consistency: It refers to the extent to which information contained on one level of a set of nested data flow diagrams is also included on other levels.

Data Flow Diagram Software

Edraw is an excellent data flow diagramming tool well received by many system designers. The reason why people love to use it is because it has quality built-in symbols and easy layout tools. With a simple interface everyone is familiar with, you can manage it at the first sight and create presentation quality data flow diagram in minutes.

Data Flow Diagram Drawing Steps

1. Start a Drawing Page:
Open Edraw, go to Flowchart category and double click Data Flow Diagram to start a new drawing page, or go to Software category and double click Data Flow Model Diagram.

Data Flow Start New Page

2. Add Symbols:
From the data flow symbol library (which is automatically opened when a new drawing page starts), drag required symbols and drop onto the drawing page.

Data Flow Add Symbols

3. Add Text:
Double click on the default text to replace with your own text.

Edit Text

4. Connect Symbols:
Use smart connectors to connect the shapes. Connectors will be glued with the shapes.

Connect Shapes

5. Customize the Appearance:
Fill the shapes with your favourite colors, and choose a theme for your diagram.

Customize Appearance

Data Flow Samples

Below are samples showing complete data flow diagram designs. Some are created using the circle and curve line style. You can click the picture to view bigger image.

Related Articles:

How to Design Data Flow Diagram

Data Flow Symbols

Get Started! You Will Love This Easy-To-Use Diagram Software

EdrawMax is an advanced all-in-one diagramming tool for creating professional flowcharts, org charts, mind maps, network diagrams, UML diagrams, floor plans, electrical diagrams, science illustrations, and more. Just try it, you will love it!