What is a Flowchart (an Overview)


A flowchart is the pictorial representation of a process, which specifies the sequence and flow of the control and information in a process.

A flowchart is a graphical presentation of a process. It is a step-by-step graphical representation of program logic or flow. Some special symbols are used to make any flowchart.

The code written by one programmer in any programming language is somewhat difficult for the other programmer to understand it. 

He has to understand it by reading and understanding each and every line of code which is very time consuming and a difficult task. 

Here, the flowchart comes and helps the other programmers to understand the code easily by just having a look. 

The programmer represents the code into simple graphical forms what we call flowchart so that the other programmers can understand the logic of the code very easily by seeing that flowchart.

Actually, the flowchart represents the logic of any programs. It is also a form of documentation. You can even convert all the functions of any program into a flowchart.

If you have done so then it will become easier for you to revise the functions in the future by just looking at the flowchart you have prepared. There are several symbols that are used in creating a flowchart.

Basic symbols of a flowchart

The following are the different symbols used in a flowchart.

1. Terminals
2. Flow Lines
3. Decision box
4. Input-Output box
5. Process box
6. Predefined process
7. Connectors
8. Annotation or comment

Terminals are used to show the starting and ending points of the process in a flowchart. Flow lines in a flowchart show the flow and direction of the process by an arrow. It connects two blocks. 

The decision box is a diamond box that shows the decision making statements of a program. It decides the next step of the process. Generally, it is a yes or no question. Input-Output box shows the given input and the produced output of the process.

The process box in the flowchart shows the steps involving in the process. There may be some predefined process which are represented for program modules or sub-programs.

Connectors in the flowchart are that connect different processes and boxes with each other. It is of two types namely ON page connectors or OFF page connectors. 

An on-page connector is a connecter that is used for the same page while an off-page connector is a connector that is used for targeting different pages.

Annotation or comment is used in the flowchart to describe what is happening in the flowchart and declaring more details of the variable and data that are used in the flowchart. 

It shows some additional information about various steps of a process. It helps other people to understand the flowchart more easily.

1. An oval or rounded rectangle is used to denote START and STOP in the flowchart.

2. Parallelograms are used to represent input/output operations in the flowchart.

3. A rhombus or a diamond shape is used to denote condition or decision making activities in the flowchart.

4. Rectangles are used to shows the actions, logic, also calculations in the flowchart.

5. Arrows are used to show the flow of the process and the sequence of steps in the flowchart.

6. Circles are used to indicate the sequence of flow of steps in the flowchart.

Flowcharts can be broadly subdivided into two parts.

  1. System Flowchart
  2. Program Flowchart
System flowchart is that flowchart which represent the functionality of a system and tells how the entire system is working. It shows the progress of the entire system. 

The system flowchart is more complex as compared to the program flowchart. It is difficult to understand than that of the program flowchart.

The program flowchart is simply a small part of the system flowchart. It means that multiple programs combine to form a system flowchart. It describes the single program and shows how a single program is performing and solving any problem or given tasks.

Program flowchart is made before actual programming because designing a program flowchart helps the programmer to better understand the programs and it also helps programmers in designing the programs easily.

Reference: Flowchart   >>  Wikipedia
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