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How to Design a Flowchart in Google Docs

Read Time: 10 min
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Read Time: 10 min

Flowcharts enable you to visualize the process behind something. Many different industries use this tool. If you're in one of these industries, knowing how to make a flowchart in Google Docs can be helpful.

Keep reading to learn more about what a flowchart is and how to create a flowchart in Google Docs. We'll also share more details about flowcharts and what the various symbols mean.

What Is a Flowchart?

According to the American Society for Quality,

“A flowchart is a picture of the separate steps of a process in sequential order. It is a generic tool that can be adapted for a wide variety of purposes and can be used to describe various processes, such as a manufacturing process, an administrative or service process, or a project plan.”

Flowcharts have many uses and are used across many different fields. For example, you can use a flowchart to:

  • Demonstrate. Show how a process works.
  • Communicate. Show others a process.
  • Document. Record the steps of a process.
  • Organize. Use in project planning.
  • Train. Teach a process to others.

Because a flowchart is a visual representation, it allows others to grasp steps quickly. 

Now that you know what a flowchart is, let’s look at how to make a flowchart in Google Docs.

Build Your Flowchart From a Template

Flowchart from Envato Elements.Flowchart from Envato Elements.Flowchart from Envato Elements.
Flowchart from Envato Elements.

Envato Elements has flowchart templates. Flowy Flowcharts is a premium flowchart template that can be used in Adobe Photoshop.

You can import the image you create with this template into Google Docs, but you’ll need to convert it into a JPG file to do that.

To convert it, open the file in Adobe Photoshop, then click File> Save As> JPG. Next, select the flowchart file. Next, click open to convert the file to PDF. To add your JPG to Google Docs use the command  Insert>Image>Upload from Computer.

The flowchart you created using the template appears in your Google Doc as an image. You may need to resize or adjust the location of your flowchart.

Build Your Flowchart From Scratch

You can also create a flowchart in Google Docs from scratch. Here’s how:

1. Change the Page Orientation

Change the layout.Change the layout.Change the layout.
Landscape orientation makes it easier to fit your flowchart on one page.

After you’ve opened your Google Docs document, you need to change your document to landscape so that your document fits your flowchart in Google Docs. To do this, click on the File and then Page Setup.

Page Setup MenuPage Setup MenuPage Setup Menu
Once you click Page Setup, a Page setup window appears.

Once you click Page Setup, a Page Setup window appears. In this window, under the Orientation section, choose the Landscape option. Landscape orientation makes creating a flowchart in Google Docs easier. After selecting Landscape, press the blue OK button to save your changes.

2. Open the Drawing Tool

Open the drawing tool.Open the drawing tool.Open the drawing tool.
Open the Drawing tool so you can draw your flowchart shapes.

The next step in how to create a flowchart in Google Docs is to open the drawing tool. To open the tool, click on Insert from the menu. Then, from the drop-down menu, click on the Drawing option. After you click Drawing, click +New.

3. Add a Shape

Add a shape.Add a shape.Add a shape.
The Shape button opens a Shapes menu.

After you click +New you, a drawing window appears. Next, add a shape to create your flowchart in Google Docs. Then, click on the Shape button.

After you click the Shape button, choose which shape you want to use. We’ll use a rectangle in the tutorial.

4. Draw Your Shape

Select the shape that you want to use.Select the shape that you want to use.Select the shape that you want to use.
Select the shape that you want to use.

Select the shape that you want to use in your flowchart in Google Docs. You can use different shapes for different stages of the process. It depends on what you want your flowchart to look like. Draw your cursor diagonally to draw the shape.

Repeat drawing shapes until you have the right number you’ll need. Your flowchart in Google Docs at this stage should look similar to this:

Flowchart shapesFlowchart shapesFlowchart shapes
Your flowchart shapes will look similar to this.

5. Add Your Arrows

Add arrowsAdd arrowsAdd arrows
Connect your shapes with arrows to show the process.

The next step in how to create a flowchart in Google Docs is to draw the arrows. The arrows connect the steps so people can see the flow of the process.

To draw arrows, click the Line button next to the Shapes button. When you click on the Line button, a menu of different line types appears. Choose the Arrow option.

Once you select the Arrow option, your cursor turns into a drawing tool. Drag your cursor between shapes to connect them.  This is what is looks like when you connect the steps with arrows:

Connected shapesConnected shapesConnected shapes
This is what is looks like when you connect the steps with arrows.

6. Color Your Shapes

Customize your shapes by changing the colors.Customize your shapes by changing the colors.Customize your shapes by changing the colors.
Customize your shapes by changing the colors.

Automatically the shapes are a light blue color. If you want to change this, you easily can. Making each step in the flowchart a different color can help people visualize each step better.  

First, select the shape in your flowchart in Google Docs. You’ll know it’s selected when blue handles appear around it. Next, click on the Fill Color button. From the drop-down menu, choose a color that you want to use. Repeat this step for all of your shapes.

7. Save Your Flowchart

Save your flowchart.Save your flowchart.Save your flowchart.
Check your flowchart and save it when you're done.

To save the flowchart in Google Docs that you’ve created, click on the blue Save and Close button at the top right of the window.

Before saving, make sure everything in your flowchart is how you want it. Changing your flowchart after you click the Save button can be difficult.

Common Flowchart Shapes & What They Mean

Before you build your flowchart, you should know what the symbols in the chart mean. Here are some common symbol meanings:

1. Flowline


This symbol shows the direction of the process. This arrow connects two blocks in the flowchart.

2. Terminal


This symbol is typically found at the end or beginning of a flowchart. It represents the end or beginning of the flowchart.

3. Decision


The Decision symbol looks like a diamond. It symbolizes that a step is the next one in a process. Typically, this is used for a yes/no or true/false question.

4. Process


This symbol is a rectangle and represents a step in a process. It's one of the most common symbols in a flowchart.

5. Input/Output


Represents the process of inputting or outputting external data.

6. Comment


This symbol lets you add extra information on a step in a process in the form of a comment or annotation.

7. Predefined Process

Predefined ProcessPredefined ProcessPredefined Process

This symbol is used when you've got a process included in your chart that's defined somewhere else.

8. Off-Page Connector

Off page connectorOff page connectorOff page connector

The connectors are always used as a pair. The first connector shows where the end of an object is. The second connector shows where the object continues. The off-page connector is used when the target is on another page.

9. On Page Connector

On page connectorOn page connectorOn page connector

On-Page Connectors are used to replace long lines on a flowchart.

10. Delay


Use the Delay symbol to show any delay period that's part of a process.

11. Alternate Process

Alternate processAlternate processAlternate process

If you want to show an alternate process to the normal process, use this symbol. Flow lines connecting the alternate process block are typically dashed.

12. Document


This symbol indicates that there's a document for this process.

13. Multi-Document

multi documentmulti documentmulti document

This is similar to the Document symbol. It indicates that there are multiple documents for this document.

14. Preparation


Use this symbol to show a preparation or initialization step in a process.

15. Display


The display symbol is used for machine displays.

16. Manual Input

Manual InputManual InputManual Input

The Manual Input symbol shows that data or information should be entered into a system.

17. Manual Operation

Manual OperationManual OperationManual Operation

Use this symbol to show a process step that isn’t automated.

18. Data Symbol


Use this symbol to show input or output of external data.

Learn More About Flowcharts

Do you want to learn more about flowcharts in general? Here are some additional tutorials that can help:

Google Doc Frequently Asked Questions

Do you want to learn more about Google Docs? Here are some frequently asked Google Docs questions:

1. Can I Use Google Docs When I’m Offline?

Yes, you can. Using Google Docs when you are offline can be helpful. To use Google Docs offline, you’ll need Google Chrome. Here is a tutorial on how to use Google Docs when you're offline:

2. Which Is Better, Google Docs or Microsoft Word?

Both have their own reasons for why you should use them. Knowing which software is better depends on what you need them for. For a full breakdown of both programs, read this article:

3. How Do I Share My Google Doc?

There are several ways that you can share your Google Doc. One is simply changing the visibility and inviting the person to your document. You can share a link that'll enable anyone with the link to view your document. For more Google Doc sharing information, read this article:

4. Can I Create a Survey in Google Docs?

Yes, you can use a template or create a survey from scratch. Google Docs has a blank form that makes it easy to create a survey. For more information, read this tutorial:

5. Can I Upload My Word Document Into Google Docs?

Google Docs is compatible with many different file types, and Microsoft Word files is one of them. All you need to do is upload your file into Google Drive. Read this helpful tutorial article for more information:

The Best Source for Premium Templates (With Unlimited Use)

Envato Elements is the top source for premium templates. It’s a subscription service where you pay a low monthly fee to access to a wide variety of digital assets. These digital assets include Google Slides templates, fonts, graphics, images, etc.

Professionals make every digital asset on Envato Elements look stylish and impressive. Even though the template is premade, it doesn’t mean that you can’t add a personal touch. A good premium template can be customized to suit your needs.

Templates give you a good base to start with. Then, all you need to do is add text and images into the placeholders. In addition, most premium templates have labeled sections. This means that it can give you ideas or jog your memory of what sections you want.

Find Top Templates

Download a Premium Template Today!

Now that you’ve learned how to create a flowchart in Google Docs use that knowledge. If you've got a project that you're working on, check out Envato Elements for many different types of digital assets.

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