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How to Make a Flowchart in PowerPoint With Templates

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This post is part of a series called How to Use PowerPoint (Ultimate Tutorial Guide).
How to Make Great Charts in Microsoft PowerPoint
How to Make a Timeline in PowerPoint With Templates

Flowcharts are visualizations that help you see the parts of a sequence or process. They illustrate the way that individual parts "flow" together to create a finished product.

Instead of a technical document or detailed description, a flowchart summarizes a process visually. You can easily see steps or parts of a process and quickly gain an understanding.

Sales Flowchart made in PowerPoint
This circular flowchart was built right inside of PowerPoint using a feature called SmartArt.

Because flowcharts are so useful during presentations, it should come as no surprise that you can build these visualizations in Microsoft PowerPoint. Using a feature called SmartArt, we'll walk through making a flowchart without any additional apps.

Here are a few ideas for how you can use a PowerPoint flowchart in your presentation or for your own purposes:

  • Create a flowchart for a new teammate at work to show the steps of how to complete a new task, like how to order software.
  • Flowcharts can help you visualize how you interact with your customers to encourage them to work with you again.
  • Map out something new you're learning to cement your understanding.

No matter which purpose you'll use a flowchart for, you can build one right inside of PowerPoint. In this tutorial, I'll teach you how to make a flowchart in PowerPoint.

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Before you read on, be sure to grab our free eBook: The Complete Guide to Making Great Presentations. It will help you master the presentation process, from: initial idea, through to writing, design, and delivering with impact.

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Now, let's learn all about making great flowcharts in PowerPoint, starting with this quick video tutorial: 

How to Quickly Make a Flowchart in PowerPoint (Watch & Learn)

Watch this two-minute screencast, where I walk you through creating a flowchart using PowerPoint's built-in features. Then, we'll move on to using a premium PowerPoint theme with custom flowchart designs.

 

Check out the written step-by-step guide below to learn more. I'll show you how to use the premium Marketofy PowerPoint template to create a stylish flowchart to easily map out your processes.

Intro to SmartArt

I've always admired graphic designers—mostly because I know I could never be a great one. It takes a special touch to create awesome looking graphics and professional design apps like Adobe Illustrator or Sketch to build them in.

That's why SmartArt in Microsoft PowerPoint is one of my favorite features. Instead of hiring another designer or spending your time learning to build unique graphics, you can use SmartArt to create customizable graphics quickly—without leaving PowerPoint.

Use SmartArt to make Flowchart steps in PowerPoint
This example of SmartArt shows how we can combine text with graphics to create smart illustrations.

My favorite part about SmartArt is that it's adaptable. Instead of developing charts and constantly reworking them in another app, they automatically update and adapt in PowerPoint.

Make a SmartArt Flowchart in PowerPoint

SmartArt has a variety of designs. You can illustrate ideas like org charts, pyramids, and lists visually with SmartArt. In this tutorial, learn how to daw a flowchart in PowerPoint with SmartArt:

To build a SmartArt chart, start off by going to the Insert tab on Excel's ribbon. Click on the SmartArt button to get started.

Insert  SmartArt in PowerPoint
Go to Insert > SmartArt to get started.

Now, you'll see a variety of styles to choose from for creating SmartArt. For a simple flowchart, let's get started with the Vertical Bending Process.

Vertical Bending Process
Let's try out the Vertical Bending Process design to build a flowchart.

Once you've inserted the SmartArt, you'll see a box open on the left side next to the SmartArt to change the text in the art. This box allows you to type over the placeholders to update the graphic.

On the left side, try replacing the [Text] placeholders with the steps in the process to create a flowchart. Use each of these boxes to describe a step in your process.

If you have more boxes than you need, simply delete a bullet point by pressing backspace. Doing so will remove a step from the flowchart.

SmartArt Updated with flowchart steps
Using the outline on the left side, type over the placeholder text to add your own steps to the process.

If you need to update the steps in the process later on, that's no problem. Simply click on the flowchart again to reopen the text box, or type directly on the SmartArt chart itself.

Create Branching Flowcharts

A flowchart can also have branches, or options for how to proceed. Maybe your process is based upon a decision. If you're managing a sales process, you might branch depending on if you're selling to a new customer or a past customer.

To create a branching flowchart, try out the SmartArt style Horizontal Organization Chart. This might typically be used for showing the employees in a company, but it's a great way to show a branching flowchart.

Horizontal Organization Chart in PowerPoint
The Horizontal Organization chart can be used for a branching decision tree, also known as a flowchart.

After you insert the Horizontal Organization Chart, you can add your content that branches into multiple options.

Just as we did with the first flowchart, you'll see a box on the left side where you can add content for your flowchart.

To create multiple branches in the flowchart, you can press return in the outline box, and press tab to indent. In the example below, I've created "yes" and "no" branches that each have one indent. Then, I add more indents to the points under it to keep the decision on its own branch.

Create a Branching Flowchart in PowerPoint
The branching flowchart design is very useful to create a chart that shows how decisions impact the flow.

Flowcharts don't always describe simple processes. That's why branches, indents that help us choose different paths, are so useful in SmartArt.

How to Use a Pro PowerPoint Flowchart Template

SmartArt is a great way to get started with flowcharts, but it's not the only option. If the styles I showed you above aren't up your alley, it might be time to think about downloading a premium PowerPoint presentation template. Discover great PPT template designs with pre-built infographic slides and more modern features includes: 

You probably already know that PowerPoint has built-in themes that you can choose from. I think of those as "styles", because they don't come with ideas or designs inside of them. Sure, you can choose from one of these to change the fonts and colors of the slide, but you're still left to design the slides yourself from scratch.

Marketofy Potential flowchart design
Marketofy is what's called a premium theme, a custom PowerPoint presentation that you can drop your own content into to save time.

In this tutorial, you'll see me work with Marketofy PowerPoint template. This is a premium PowerPoint theme that you can download and use for your next presentation. It has 390 different slide designs. Use any of these designs and drop in your own content to skip the work of building charts from scratch.

Marketofy PowerPoint template with flowchart slides

Using Marketofy Slides for Your Flowcharts

This theme includes a custom flowchart design that you can add your own steps to. In fact, there are at least four slide designs in Marketofy that you can use for a creative flowchart style. 

Let's take a look at those designs and when you might want to use them:

1. Arrow Flow Chart

The first of these (slide #145 in Marketofy) is what's called an Arrow Flow Chart, a simple stacked arrow chart. If you have a sequential set of steps you want to show, this is a great choice.

This chart is ideal when each step has to be completed to advance in the process.

Arrow Flow Chart in PowerPoint
The Arrow Flow Chart (slide design 145)  is a very good choice for showing a sequential set of steps where each part of the process is necessary.

If you wanted to add more arrows, you could always copy and paste any of these to add another step.

2. Spider Web Flowchart 

Another choice for building a flowchart with Marketofy is the Spider Web Flowchart style that is pre-built on slide 119. The spider web style flowchart design could be used if you have many small steps of a process that lead to a key result.

In this example, you could use each of the smaller circles to show each of the employees involved with creating a finished product.

Spider Web PowerPoint Flowchart
Think of the Spider Web Flowchart (slide design 119) as a way to show how many parts of a process come together to create a final outcome, like assembly of smaller parts creating a finished item.

3. Multimatch Flowchart

Another option is what I call the "multimatch" flowchart, which is on slide 139. Items on the left have multiple matches to the items on the right.

A slide design like this is ideal when you're comparing two groups of objects. On the left side, maybe you have your raw materials. The right side could show which products those raw materials go into. In any case, this is a non-traditional flowchart that shows how items can move between groups.

Mutliple connections Flowchart
This flowchart design shows how items can belong to multiple categories; imagine using the left side for basic raw materials and the right side for the finished products that they create.

4. Benchmarking Flowchart

Slide 142, the Benchmarking Flowchart is my last pick for charts in Marketofy. This is a grid of linked boxes that are sectioned by color.

This chart would work great if you have tasks that move between different departments. You could use the dark blue boxes for the steps in finding a new supplier, the teal boxes for reviewing the vendor, and the green boxes for the steps to arrange shipment.

Benchmarking Flowchart in PowerPoint template
Marketofy calls this slide "Benchmarking" (#142) and it's a great way to show a process split up into "sections."

No matter which PowerPoint flowchart template you use, think of these as a starter kit to drop your own content into quickly. SmartArt isn't the only choice for making attractive flowcharts; don't forget about using a template like Marketofy instead.

Recap and Keep Learning More PowerPoint Techniques

In this tutorial, you tried out SmartArt as a technique for building flowcharts. Think about this tool when you need to show how several steps fit together.

These tutorials will give you more ideas about how to build great presentations. While we usually know what we want to say to an audience, it's challenging to build the slides that support it. 

Need Help? Grab Our Making Great Presentations eBook (Free)

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You can find more information in our new eBook on making great presentations. Download this PDF eBook now for FREE with your subscription to the Tuts+ Business Newsletter. 

It will help you master the presentation process, from: initial creative ideas, through to writing, design, and delivering with impact.

Do you use flowcharts in your presentations? Let me know in the comments below.

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