How to add a process flow chart diagram into Office 365 / 2016 / 2019 applications?

Applicable to: Word, PowerPoint 2019, 365, 2016, ; Windows 7,8,10 and macOS.

Here’s a question we received some time ago:

I am working on a report for my business manager, in which i would like to describe a simple process flow. I have saw some examples online. I guess my question is whether i can use Microsoft PowerPoint or Word to create my chart and then add it to the report. I understand that Microsoft has a software named Visio that focuses on charts? Is there a template creator tool in the other Office 365 applications or only in Visio?

Usually,the best way to describe complex business processes in a document or presentation is to use flow charts (rather than numbered lists for example). Similarly, flowcharts are great to visualize decision making processes.

When working with Microsoft Office applications, and more specifically with Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, you are able to use the Smart Art Graphics template library in order to easily make flow chart diagrams by re-using predefined templates that ship as part of the Office suite. This is pretty nice time saver.

Inserting flow charts diagrams into Word, PowerPoint and Excel

Here’s the detailed walk-through process, which i would like to showcase using Word 2016, although it’s fully applicable to newer Microsoft Office versions.

  • Navigate to the place in your Word document into which you would like to insert your process chart.
  • Hit Insert and select Smart Art.
  • Choose the Process section and select a specific flowchart template. As an example, we have selected a continuous block process.
  • Next, hit OK.
  • Using the Smart Art pane in the left hand side, assign a name to each of the diagram steps
  • Note that you are able to define additional steps as needed.
  • Once done, you might want to use the Design tab functions to change the color or design of your flow chart as well as customize your selected design as needed using the Format tab.

As mentioned, you can use the process we just outlined in order to insert flowcharts in PowerPoint presentations and Excel spreadsheets.

Inserting Visio flow charts

Microsoft Visio, is probably the best and most complete tool for charting that is included in the Microsoft Office suite. If you have access to Visio, you can use it in order to create professional looking diagrams which you can then embed into Word, Excel and PowerPoint as flow charts.

Creating flow charts with VBA

Couple of readers asked whether it’s possible to make embedded flow charts (or other diagrams) by using user recorded macros or  programmatically using Visual basic procedures. The answer is yes, and we’ll cover that soon in other post that will be linked from here.

In case of any question, feel free to leave us a comment.

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