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Standard Flowchart Symbols and Their Usage

> Flowchart Symbols > Standard Flowchart Symbols and Their Usage
Posted by Allison Lynch | 09/18/2020
Here provides a rich set of standard flowchart symbols, which shows steps in the sequence and is widely used in visually illustrating the flow of algorithms, workflow, or processes.

flowchart shapes

5 Basic Flowchart Symbols

There are various flowchart shapes used for drawing different types of flowcharts. Each flowchart symbol has its own meaning and context where it is used appropriately. However, whether you want to read a flowchart or try to make one by yourself, knowing the common symbols and what they represent will make things easier. Here, you will see the 5 flowchart symbols that are very popular and commonly used in almost every flowchart.

The Oval or Pill Shape - represents the start/end.

start/end symbol

The Rectangle Shape - represents a process.

process symbol

The Parallelogram Shape - represents the input/output of the information.

input/output symbol

The Diamond Shape - represents a decision.

decision symbol

The Arrow Shape - represents the flow of the sequence.

connector symbol

Flowchart Symbols and Their Usage

Process/Operation Symbols

Name
Flowchart Symbol
Description
Process Symbol
Process Shape
Also known as action symbol. Represents a step in your process.
Sub Process Symbol
Sub Process Shape
Represents a sequence of actions that perform specific tasks within a larger and more complicated process, routine, or module.
Predefined Process Symbol
Predefined process shape
Indicates a set of steps that combine to create a complicated process that is defined elsewhere, often on another page of the same drawing.
Delay Symbol
delay shape
Represents a delay in the process. In Process Mapping, delays are often important as they may result in adding to the cost of the product or simply delaying its production.
Preparation Symbol
Preparation Symbol
Indicates the set-up to another step in the same process.
Manual Operation Symbol
Manual Operation Symbol
Represents a process step that should be performed manually, not automatically.
Parallel Mode Symbol
Parallel Mode Symbol
Also called "Concurren opeartion". Indicateds two or more simultaneous operations or process steps.

Branch and Control of Flow Symbols

Name
Flowchart Symbol
Description
Start/End Symbol
start or end shapes
Indicates the start/end of a process.
Arrows and Connecting Lines
Connector
Use this symbol to connect different elements and show the relationships between the shapes.
Decision Symbol
Decision shape
Indicates a point where the outcome of a decision dictates the next step. There can be multiple outcomes, but often there are just two - yes and no.
Yes/No Decision Point
Yes/No Decision Point
Indicates a sequence in the process at which the end-user chooses an option, i.e., a "yes-no," or "true-false" response, and then branches to different parts of the flowchart.
On-Page Reference
On-Page Reference
Use this symbol to connect separate processes on the same page of your flowchart.
Off-Page Reference
Off-Page Reference
Also known as off-page connector or link symbol. Use this symbol to connect separate processes across different pages with the page number written on or within the shape.
Merge Symbol
Merge Symbol
Indicates that multiple processes or pathes are combined into one.
Extract Symbol
Extract Symbol
Indicates that multiple processes or pathes are combined into one.
Or Symbol
Or Symbol
Indicates that the process flow diverges for more than 2 branches.
Summing Junction Symbol
Summing Junction Symbol
Indicates that multiple branches converge into a single process.
Control Transfer Symbol
Control Transfer Symbol
Indicates a process step that must go to one step other than the typical next step, when specific conditions are met.
Annotation Symbol
Annotation Symbol
Indicates additional information about a step in the flowchart.

Input and Output Symbols

Name
Flowchart Symbol
Description
Data(Input/Output) Symbol
data shape
Indicates that information is coming into the process from outside, or leaving the process.
Document Symbol
Document shape
Represents the data that can be read by people, such as a printed document or report.
Multi-Documents Symbol
Multi-Documents Symbol
Represents multiple documents in the process.
Display Symbol
Display Symbol
Indicates where the information will be displayed within a process flow.
Manual Input Symbol
Manual Input Symbol
Indicates a process step where a user/operator is prompted to enter information manually.
Card Symbol
Card Symbol
Indicates that data is input by using cards. But this symbol is seldom used now.
Paper Tape Symbol
Paper Tape Symbol
Indicates that data is stored on page tapes. But this symbol is also rarely ever used now.

Data and Information Storage Symbols

Name
Flowchart Symbol
Description
Stored Data Symbol
Stored Data Symbol
Also known as data storage symbol. Use this symbol to indicates where data get stored.
Database Symbol
database shape
Represents data/information stored in the storage device that allows for searching and sorting by users.
Internal Storage Symbol
Internal Storage Symbol
Usually used in the software design flowcharts and indicates that data/information is stored in memory during a program.
Sequential Data Symbol
Sequential Data Symbol
Represents the data that is accessible sequentially. The shape is supposed to look like a reel of tape.

Data Processing Symbols

Name
Flowchart Symbol
Description
Collate Symbol
Collate Symbol
Indicates a process step that organizes data, information or materials into a standard format.
Sort Symbol
Sort Symbol
Indicates a process step that organizes ata, information or materials into some pre-defined order.

How to Create A Professional Flowchart with Flowchart Symbols

First, we have to download a versatile flowchart maker.

Then watch the following video to start create your own flowchart instanly!

More Different Types of Flowchart Symbols

Cross-Functional Diagram Shapes

A flowchart is described as "cross-functional" when the page is divided into different "lanes," describing the control of various organizational units. A unit appearing in a particular "lane" is within the power of that organizational unit. This technique allows the analyst to locate the responsibility for performing an action or making a decision correctly, allowing the relationship between different corporate groups with responsibility for a single process.

flowchart example

Workflow Diagram Shapes

A workflow diagram shows the relationships among different departments in a fixed work sequence, which means that one department needs to finish its job, so another department can continue the rest. As the workflow shows how your work is completed from start to finish step by step, the development and maintenance of these workflow relationships are very important for managers. Because by seeing how the business works from a top-down perspective, you can identify it’s potential flaws, weaknesses, and areas for improvement.

Workflow shapes

Audit Flowchart Shapes

The following shapes are similar to the basic flowchart symbols but are specially used in the audit flowchart.

Audit Flow Diagram

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More Flowchart Resources

Highlight Flowchart Symbols

Accounting Flowchart Symbols

Process Flow Diagram Shapes

Manufacturing Flowchart Symbols

Program Flowchart Symbols

Six Major Flowchart Elements

Flowchart Examples

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