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Process Flow Charts: Some Common Symbols

A Flow Chart is a diagram that shows the steps of a process in the order that they happen. It can be used in several ways. A flow chart can help an individual or a group understand a process. It is also very helpful for improving a process. This tool is useful in the process of thinking through a new process before it is implemented so that problems can be avoided.

Flow Chart Symbols

Elongated circle
An elongated circle shows the starting and ending points of a process.

Box
Any step or activity that needs to be completed during the work process (except decision points and documents) are boxed. Each box should contain a short description of the step or activity being performed.

Diamond
Decision points are represented by diamonds. Draw a diamond around any step which involves making a decision between two choices, where the next step "depends" on something (e.g., yes or no, etc.).

Circle
(with letter)
Circles with a letter (A, B, C, etc.) in them are used as a "connector" from one step in a flowchart to another. Typically used when a portion of a flowchart cannot fit easily in the space available.

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