How to Create an Excel Flowchart

Excel FlowchartExcel Flowcharts can be made by inserting shapes on the page and linking them with arrow lines. There is even a category of shapes for flowcharts. Excel is not designed to create flowcharts in the same way as a dedicated program or software app, but it does allow the creation of simple flowcharts with a little more effort than a dedicated program.

There are also Excel Flowchart add-ons and wizards available that make the creation of flowcharts in Excel a lot easier.

The method used is to first set out a grid with snap to turned on to make it easier to align the shapes.

Then add shapes and connection arrows from the Insert... Shapes menu.

Finally, insert text labels, and adjust the formatting. Save and use in Excel, Word or Powerpoint.

Creating a Flowchart in Excel

Step by step guide for creating a flowchart in Excel

Create a Grid

Excel Row HeightSetting out the page in an even grid will make placing shapes easier. Combined with the Snap to Grid feature it ensures all the flowchart shapes are aligned.

The column and row heights need to be the same, so the easiest way to do that is to right click on a row and select the Row Height... menu item. Note the value (highlight and copy as needed).

Excel Column WidthNext click in the top left box of the sheet to select the entire sheet. Then right click on the Column Bar at the top. Select the Column Width... menu item, and enter the same value as the row height. Click Ok and the even spaced grid will be set.

Enable Snap to Grid

Excel Enable Snap to GridThe Snap to Grid menu item can be found under the Align Menu, which may be under the Arrange Menu Item if the screen size is small and the top menu has been compressed. 

To open the Align Menu it may be necessary to first select a shape within the sheet so as to bring up the Shape Format tab in the Ribbon.

Select Align and then turn on Snap to Grid and Snap to Shape. This setting will then apply to all shapes added to the flowchart in the sheet.

Insert Flowchart Shapes

Excel has a basic group of shapes dedicated to flowcharts, such as Process, Decisions, Data, Document etc.

The Shapes Gallery is found under the Insert Tab on the Ribbon at the top. Shapes may be visible or it may be under Illustrations if the screen width has caused the menu bar to collapse.

Excel Shape Menu  Excel Shape Menu Excel Shape Menu

Select the Shapes menu item to bring up the gallery of shapes. Shown here is a category for Flowchart.

Excel Shape Menu

Select the shape required from the Flowchart group (or any other group) and then click on the Excel Sheet and drag to draw the shape to the size and dimensions required. Once the shape is placed the menu at the top ribbon changes to show the Shape Format tab which provides easy access to the Shape menu, and to the various format options for colour, background, fill, outline, effects etc.

Excel Shape Format Menu 

To quickly create another exact version of the shape, simply click on the shape to select it, then copy using either the edit menu or keys, then paste using the edit menu or keys, and a second copy will be created over the first. This can then be moved to a new location in the flowchart.

 Excel Copy Shape

 Using this method a flowchart can be constructed with the available flowchart shapes, connected with line and arrow shapes.

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