How to Create  a Flowchart

So you want to know how to make a flowchart online? Using Gliffy, it's no problem to create one — and have it come out looking professional with only one quick lesson.

To create a flowchart, first launch Gliffy and scroll to the Flowchart section of the Shape Library. From here, drag a ‘terminator’ shape to the top of your Canvas.

Flowchart - Terminator

With this shape selected, simply type to label it. Try it by typing “Sleep”.

Next, drag a rectangle onto your Canvas and label that shape “Alarm goes off”. Rectangles stand in for process steps that do not require a decision. For the full rundown on flowchart shapes and what they mean, read our guide.

Flowchart - Icons

To line these two shapes up precisely, make sure you turn on Drawing Guides and Snap to Grid, both found in the toolbar. Drawing guides will appear as faint green lines.

Flowchart - Drawing Guides

Continue by dragging in a diamond shape. Diamonds stand in for process steps that require a decision. Label this one “Hit snooze?” and finally drag in another terminator, which you can label “Wake up.”

All four shapes should now be in a column as pictured below.

Flowchart - Column

To have Gliffy space these four shapes out evenly, select them all with your mouse and click Edit Group Properties. Among the preferences you can set in this window, you’ll see ‘distribute vertical center’. Click this.

Flowchart - Edit Group

Then, for your flowchart to flow, you need to indicate sequence. Do that by adding arrows.

Select the Connector Tool from the toolbar and hover your mouse over the bottom edge of your top terminator. A green dot will appear. This dot indicates that the connector you’re about to draw will be locked to that shape. Drawing from top to bottom, connect all four shapes.

Flowchart - Connector

Now, you need to add the multiple option paths required by the diamond shape. These need to be labeled, too — just select the connector and type. Try it by labeling the one you’ve already drawn with ‘No.’

Draw another connector from the diamond’s bottom to the left side of the rectangle above it. Label this one ‘Yes.’ A third connector should extend from the same bottom point to the diamond’s own right corner. This one gets labeled 'Try and fail.'

You can shift where along a connector the label falls by selecting the connector and using your mouse to move the green text box that surrounds each label.

Flowchart - Line labels

To add arrowheads to your connectors, select them all, open Edit Group Properties, and switch to the Line Properties tab. From here, change the ‘arrow end’ option from no arrowhead to the arrowhead style you prefer.

Flowchart - Line Properties

Apply one of Gliffy’s Diagram Themes to finish. Hover your mouse over any theme option to see how your flowchart would look with that theme applied and simply click to apply the change.

Flowchart - Diagram Themes

And that’s how to make a flowchart with Gliffy. You can export or publish your flowchart or invite others to collaborate with you on further drafts through the built-in functionality of Gliffy’s online flowchart maker.


To take full advantage of Gliffy’s features and make your flowchart the baddest on the block read our post on pro flowchart diagram tips.

Want to give Gliffy’s flowchart capabilities a test run?