How to make flow charts using Microsoft Word?

First, is it even possible to create flow charts in the computer using Microsoft Word (2000)? How can I do them?

I need to make a flow chart for a lab report, and I would prefer to make in computer since I also plan to type the rest of the report.

Thanks for the help.

You can use your drawing toolbar to draw or insert arrows and other symbols. AFAIK, there’s no template or anything specifically designed for flowcharts.

Visio or Powerpoint would be better programs to use, I think.

I make flowcharts in Word all the time. It offers me more flexibility than other programs written specifically for flowcharts.

Turn on your drawing toolbar.

Use text boxes for your boxes of text. If you want a shape other than rectangle, use the text box and make the line surrounding the box transparent. (right-click on the text box, choose properties, and change the line color)

Under the Auto-Shapes:Basic shapes menu you will find most of the unique shapes that you are looking for (such as diamonds, rectangles with rounded corners, etc.) Put them over the text box and change the properties (just like as above) to make the background transparent.

It’s good form to “group” these items together to be considered as one unit (draw menu, group option) before moving them around.

And of course the straight arrows can easily be found on the drawing toolbar. If you want a curved arrow, look under auto shapes: lines and choose the curved line. Make it curve the way you want to to, right-mouse click on it and choose properties, and you will see how to make an arrowhead on one end of the line.


DON’T, unless you are a masochist.

Thanks, NardoPolo.

Urban, unfortunately, I have to do it. My handwriting is variable, and I need to present this report in formal way. And it would look look weird to have everything typed and then the flow chart handwritten.

KarlGenze, I don’t think anyone is suggesting you hand-draw your flowcharts with pencil and paper. But there are much better programs available that are oriented towards graphics. Your drawing can then be either cut & pasted into your Word doc or saved as a Word-compatible file and imported (“inserted”).

You could always go with smartdraw. I used it until the trial period expired. It’s a lot better now than when I needed it.

Musicat, I now realize that (thanks, Monty). However, just saying I shouldn’t do that, without offering another alternative, wouldn’t help me and did lead me to believe the only other option was writing it out.

Powerpoint is much better for this. Do you have access to it?


Microsoft’s flowcharting software is called Visio. If you intend to do lots of flowcharts, I HIGHLY recommend that you make the investment. It’s well worth it.

I think Word XP has some sort of flow chart wizard althouh I have never used it.

I don’t have Windows XP, and I only need this flow chart. Thanks all, I’m starting to use PowerPoint to make the flow chart.

In my humble opinion, Powerpoint is not more useful for this. He’s writing a lab report already in MS Word, why is it beneficial to switch to a different program? Powerpoint is for slide presentations, and gives you less room to work with. Plus if you copy an item in one program and then paste it to MS Word, it usually changes formats and settings and looks different.

MS Word works just fine. And frankly, from what I’ve seen, it gives you more flexibility than the programs written specifically for flowcharting. Plus, you don’t have to learn a totally new application, and the skills you learn here will be beneficial to future document writing in Word.

Keep it simple.

I have Xp with MS Word. Just use F1, input ‘flow chart’ you get the info on how to write them & then some.

My humble opinion: Once you get used to it, Word is fine for making flow charts. Smartdraw is fine for a greater variety and, for me, was much easier to use than Word for flowcharting.

a) Uh, unless I’m missing something, the drawing capabilities for word and powerpoint are identical; not similar, identical.
b) Though Visio is much much better, especially for large scale flow charts and ones that will be modified regularly, the drawing capability in word/powerpoint/office (you can use it in Excel even if you want) is just fine, more then fine in fact for what you want to do.
c) I really recommend you don’t go use some 30 day eval copy of something you don’t intend to buy unless you absolutely will never change your drawing. If you think you might reuse it at some point, use a tool that will last more then 30 days, like your existing copy of word


The drawing capability of Word is abysmal. You can use it to draw very simple graphs, but nothing more than 5 or 6 shapes and a few arrows. You can’t fine tune the placement of shapes, and the arrows don’t connect well unless you have rectangular boxes. It’s a massive pain in the arse to use.


Input: flow chart

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