Standard Flowchart Symbols and Their Usage
Basic Flowchart Symbols
Flowcharts are the ideal diagrams for visually representing business processes. For example, if you need to show the flow of a custom-order process through various departments within your organization, you can use a flowchart. This paper provides a visual representation of basic flowchart symbols and their proposed use in communicating the structure of a well-developed web site, as well as their correlation in developing on-line instructional projects. A typical flowchart from older Computer Science textbooks may have the following kinds of symbols: * Start and end symbols, represented as lozenges, ovals or rounded rectangles, usually containing the word "Start" or "End", or another phrase signaling the start or end of a process, such as "submit enquiry" or "receive product". * Arrows, showing what's called "flow of control" in computer science. An arrow coming from one symbol and ending at another symbol signifies flow passes to the symbol the arrow points to. * Processing steps, represented as rectangles. Examples: "Add 1 to X"; "replace identified part"; "save changes" or similar. * Input/Output, represented as a parallelogram. Examples: Get X from the user; display X. * Conditional (or decision), represented as a diamond (rhombus). These typically contain a Yes/No question or True/False test. This symbol is unique in that it has two arrows coming out of it, usually from the bottom point and right point, one corresponding to Yes or True, and one corresponding to No or False. The arrows should always be labeled. More than two arrows can be used, but this is normally a clear indicator that a complex decision is being taken, in which case it may need to be broken-down further, or replaced with the "pre-defined process" symbol. * A number of other symbols that have less universal currency, such as: * A Document represented as a rectangle with a wavy base; * A Manual input represented by a rectangle, with the top irregularly sloping up from left to right. An example would be to signify data-entry from a form; * A Manual operation represented by a trapezoid with the longest parallel side upmost, to represent an operation or adjustment to process that can only be made manually. * A Data File represented by a cylinder
Flowcharts may contain other symbols, such as connectors, usually represented as circles, to represent converging paths in the flow chart. Circles will have more than one arrow coming into them but only one going out. Some flow charts may just have an arrow point to another arrow instead. These are useful to represent an iterative process (in Computer Science this is called a loop). A loop may, for example, consist of a connector where control first enters, processing steps, a conditional with one arrow exiting the loop, and one going back to the connector. Off-page connectors are often used to signify a connection to a (part of a) process held on another sheet or screen. A flowchart is described as "cross-functional" when the page is divided into different "lanes" describing the control of different organizational chart units. A symbol appearing in a particular "lane" is within the control of that organizational unit. This technique allows the analyst to locate the responsibility for performing an action or making a decision correctly, allowing the relationship between different organizational units with responsibility over a single process. Standard Flowchart Symbols
Flowcharts use special shapes to represent different types of actions or steps in a process. Lines and arrows show the sequence of these steps, and the relationships between them.
Workflow relationships are where work is done by different departments in a fixed sequence. This means that one department needs to finish its job before work can continue in another department. The development and maintenance of these work...
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