Rules for Creating Flowcharts

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When creating a flowchart, there are some informal rules to follow, such as making sure that processes only have one arrow coming into them. Discover why decisions should have more than one arrow growing out of them with help from a software developer in this free video on Microsoft Word.

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Video Transcript

Hi, my name's Dave Andrews. Today, I'm going to show you some rules for creating flowcharts. Let's go to our computer. And I'm going to click on the Start button, and we're going to use Microsoft Word to create some flowcharts, so I'm going to click on Microsoft Office, and let's find Microsoft Word. Now, there are a couple of rules that you need to follow when you're creating a flowchart, and these are, you know, mostly informal rules. But also, if you break these rules, your flowchart will become unreadable. So let's go to Insert, and under Shapes, we're going to find the flowchart area. Now, the very first thing I'm going to do is I'm going to drop a process object onto my flowchart. Now, there's one rule you need to remember about processes, and that is that they can only have one arrow coming into them. If you...or rather, going out of them. Here's an arrow going into the process, and this is an input. Now, I'm going to create an arrow coming out of the process. Now, if you're looking at this process, you know that you're coming to it from here, and you're leaving it from there. Now, what happens if I'm then working on this process and I have another arrow going this way? Well, that leaves the question. I've just come into my process right here. What route should I take after I make this...after I execute this process? This is not a decision object; this is a process. So one rule about processes is that they should always have only one exit. Now, they can have as many coming into the process as you would like, but only one going out of. Now, I'm going to come down, and I'm going to show you a little bit about the...one of the other more important objects, and that is a decision. Now, under flowchart, let's drop a decision on there. Let's make it red. Now, decision is kind of the opposite. You can have all kinds of items coming out of a decision after you make your decision... But if you only have one coming out of your decision, then you didn't really make a decision to begin with. Let me draw this out for you. I'm going to put one more line here. Okay. We have a...coming from a process into our decision object here, and let's say this decision is, you know, "Should I eat lunch today?" Well, that's going to have two answers: yes or no. There...you know, there's no maybe. It's either going to be a yes or a no out of this...out of this decision. There's our yes and there's our no. So what happens if I'm working on this document and I delete my no? Well, I've just come into my decision. I have a yes. Well, that's the only thing I've got. So there's no decision to be made. I'm just going to come this way, I'm going to go out that way. So you have to have more than one exit coming from a decision. Really, those two rules will help you write just about any type of flowchart you need to write. Processes have only one output, and decisions have more than one output. Those will get you going in your life of creating flowcharts. My name's Dave Andrews, and I've just showed you a couple rules for drawing flowcharts.

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