What is a flowchart? In Visio terms, it's any of several templates stored in the Flowcharts folder that you can use to create a connected diagram. Most flowcharts (also called flow sheets or flow diagrams) include text and lines that imply a process or order, but such a simple explanation doesn't adequately express the variety of diagrams that you can create, as Figure 9-1 shows. A flowchart can schematically represent items in a structure, steps in a process, or a chronology. For example, you can use a flowchart to depict the sequence of operations in an accounting system, departmental interdependencies in a new process, or the steps that contributed to the fall of the Roman Empire. To Visio, they're all types of information that a connected diagram, or flowchart, can convey.
Figure 9-1. You can use a flowchart template to create a variety of diagrams, all of which organize information in a sequence or hierarchy.
Visio includes several flowchart templates, each designed for a different purpose. Which one should you use?
To start a new flowchart based on one of these templates, choose File, New, Flowchart, and then select the type of diagram you want to create.
The rest of this chapter describes how to create flowcharts using the Basic Flowchart, Cause And Effect, and Cross-Functional Flowchart templates. All the other flowchart types are created using similar techniques. For help getting started with audit, mind map, TQM, or work flow diagrams, refer to Visio Help.
Tip - Display Flowchart Help
To display a help topic about a specific flowchart type, choose Help, Microsoft Visio Help, and then click the Contents tab. (If it isn't visible, click the Show button.) In the Contents pane, expand Drawing Types, expand Flowchart, and then expand the topics for the type of flowchart you want to create.
An entire industry has arisen to support business and data modeling, which encompass a variety of theories and methodologies for streamlining business and engineering practices. Visio Professional provides additional flowchart templates for the following:
Although the methodologies underlying the data flow, SDL, and IDEF0 shapes impose rules for their use, Visio doesn't check for errors with these diagram types.
Figure 9-2. Visio Professional includes templates for creating diagrams based on business and process modeling methodologies.