A well-designed flowchart can help you brainstorm ideas, diagram system processes and explain them to others in a compact, visual diagram. Unlike Visio, which comes with extensive flow tools, Microsoft Word only has shapes you can use to create a diagram. However, with a little creativity, you can learn to draw flowchart shapes and connect them in a variety of ways. Word also gives you the ability to format your shapes to create the exact look you like.

Step 1

Create a new Word document and click "Insert." Click "Shapes" to view a pop-up menu that contains shapes. Move to the Flowchart section and review its shapes. They don't have visible names, but you can see their names when you hover over them. For instance, if you move your mouse cursor over the rectangle, you'll see a tool tip that identifies the shape as a Process symbol.

Step 2

Click the shape you'd like to place on your flowchart, hold down your left mouse button and click the location in the document where you want to place the shape. Drag your mouse cursor to draw the shape on the document. Click inside the shape, hold down your mouse button and drag the shape if you need to reposition it to a better location.

Step 3

Click "Shapes" again, click another shape and add it to the document as you did with the previous shape. For instance, you might add a Decision symbol to the right on the Process symbol if you want to illustrate a process that requires a decision.

Step 4

Click "Shapes" and click one of the lines in the Lines section. Since all flowcharts have lines that connect shapes, you can use one of the lines in the Lines section to connect any two shapes.

Step 5

Click the line you'd like to use to connect the two shapes and click a point to the right of the first shape. Hold down your left mouse button and drag the cursor to the right until it almost touches the second shape’s left edge. Release the mouse button, and Word draws a line between the two shapes. If the line isn't exactly where you want it, click the line and drag it up or down to position it accurately.

Step 6

Right-click a shape, select "Add Text" and type the text you want to appear in the shape. Repeat these steps to add additional shapes, lines and text to your flowchart.