A simple flowchart representing a process for dealing with a non-functioning lamp. A flowchart is a type of diagram that represents an algorithm, workflow or process, showing the steps as boxes of various kinds, and their order by connecting them with arrows. This diagrammatic representation illustrates a solution model to a given problem. Flowcharts are used in analyzing, designing, documenting or managing a process or program in various fields.
Techopedia explains Flowchart
Flowcharts are a methodology used to analyze, improve, document and manage a process or program. Flowcharts are helpful for:
- Aiding understanding of relationships among different process steps
- Collecting data about a particular process
- Helping with decision making
- Measuring the performance of a process
- Depicting the structure of a process
- Tracking the process flow
- Highlighting important steps and eliminating the unnecessary steps
A flowchart in computer science typically has the following types of symbols to represent a process or program:
- Oval/Rounded Rectangle/Circle: Represents any process having a start and an end activity.
- Rectangles: Represents a process activity or step.
- Diamonds: Used when there is a decision to be made or a question to be answered, such as Yes/No or True/False. The path to be taken is determined by the answer to the question.
- Arrow lines: Used to show the flow of control from one step to the other. They also indicate progress from one step to another.
- Parallelograms: Used to represent input/output.
Flowcharts are commonly used in developing business plans, designing algorithms and determining troubleshooting steps. Many software programs are available to design flowcharts. Some of the commonly used software programs are SmartDraw, Visio (designed for PCs) and OmniGraffle (designed for Macs).