How to Use Flowcharts to Visualize Complex Data

Are you tired of staring at a screen full of numbers and feeling overwhelmed? Do you wish there was a better way to understand complex data? Well, there is! Using flowcharts is a powerful and effective tool for visualizing complicated information. In this article, we'll explore some tips and tricks for using flowcharts to make sense of your data.

What is a flowchart?

In case you're not familiar with the term, a flowchart is a diagram that represents a process or workflow. Flowcharts use symbols to denote specific steps or actions and arrows to indicate the direction of the flow. You can use flowcharts to illustrate a wide range of processes, from simple tasks like making a cup of tea to complex business workflows.

Why use flowcharts?

So, why bother with flowcharts in the first place? Well, there are several benefits to using flowcharts, especially when dealing with complex data:

Types of flowcharts

Before we dive into how to create a flowchart, let's take a look at some of the different types of flowcharts that you can use:

How to create a flowchart

Now that we know why flowcharts are useful and the different types of flowcharts available, let's dive into how to create a flowchart. Here are some steps to follow:

Step 1: Determine the scope of the flowchart

Before you start creating the flowchart, it's important to determine the scope of the process you want to document. This will help you to identify the individual steps and actions that need to be included in the flowchart.

Step 2: Define the start and end points

Once you've determined the scope, you need to identify the starting and ending points of the process. This will help you to define the boundaries of the flowchart and ensure that you don't miss any important steps.

Step 3: Map out the process steps

With the start and end points defined, you can now start mapping out the individual steps or actions required to complete the process. You can use symbols to represent each step, such as rectangles for actions, diamonds for decision points, and triangles for start and end points.

Step 4: Draw the flow arrows

Once you've defined the steps, you can use arrows to show the direction of the flow between them. Make sure to label each arrow with the action that it represents.

Step 5: Add additional details

Depending on the complexity of the process, you may need to add additional details to the flowchart, such as input and output data, decision criteria, and exceptions.

Step 6: Revise and refine

Once you've created the initial flowchart, take some time to review it and make any necessary revisions or refinements. This may involve rearranging the steps, adding additional details, or simplifying the chart to make it easier to understand.

Best practices for using flowcharts

To get the most out of your flowcharts, it's important to follow some best practices:


Flowcharts are a powerful and versatile tool for visualizing complex data and processes. By breaking down the process into individual steps and actions, you can gain a clearer understanding of how everything fits together and identify areas for improvement. With a bit of practice and some best practices in mind, you'll be able to create effective and informative flowcharts that are useful to you and your team.

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