Page Summary
Instructions for drawing flow charts in Word and Excel.

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Flow Charts in Word and Excel

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The purpose of this lab is to get us started on the same page as far as playing with MS Word and Excel goes and to start to push us all to a "next level" in terms of drawing diagrams. In addition to acquiring (or reviewing) specific skills, a goal of the lab is to give students a definitive sense of what more there is and how to find it.

The problem set that goes with this lab will focus mostly on flow charts with a few problems involving other types of charts.

  1. Skim through all the entries on MS Excel Help page for "Entering and editing data"
  2. Read MS Excel Help: Overview of formulas
  3. Read MS Excel Help: Under "absolute cell reference" view the video: Understanding relative and absolute in Excel (Brainstorm Inc.)

Drawing Flow Charts in Word

The following to be carried out interactively in lab with one-on-one assistance as required.


  • INSERT … Illustrations … Shapes … New Drawing Canvas.
  • Draw one circle. Hold shift down while using ellipse tool to guarantee a circle.
  • Select circle. On menu bar click on "Format" under "Text Box Tools" and then click on Shape Fill and select a color and then Shape Outline and select a color.
  • Next, right click on the circle and select "Set Autoshape Default" to save this formatting for subsequent shapes.
  • Draw another circle and two rectangles. Hold down shift while using ellipse tool to guarantee a circle.
  • Right click on one of the circles … Click on Add Text. Type "begin." Highlight text and make it smaller fontsize (right click is one way, menu bar another). Adjust circle size so whole word is on one line (hold shift down while dragging on circle's handles to keep it a circle).
  • Right click the circle … Format Auto Shape … Vertical Alignment Center. You might want to adjust Internal margins to zero. Adjust circle size as appropriate. Repeat for other circle with "end." Repeat for two rectangles with "step 1" and "step 2."
  • Move cursor over one circle until you get the crossed double arrows and then click and hold and drag the circle toward the top center of the drawing canvas.
  • Next, roughly arrange the two rectangles below the circle and the other circle at the bottom center of the canvas.
  • Now click anywhere on the canvas to unselect all objects. Mover cursor to lower left and click and hold and drag a rectangle around all four objects. Release mouse — they should all be selected (blue handles and a green rotation dot). Look up on the ribbon and click "Format" under "Text Box Tools." Over toward the right on the toolbar that opens click on the "Align" pop down menu and select "Distribute Vertically."
  1. Repeat, but this time select "Center." Click anywhere in the canvas to deselect the objects.
  • Now go back to the Insert menu item and click on shapes and from the "lines" section select a single headed arrow. Bring the cursor near the bottom center of the top circle in the diagram. When you hover over the circle points along the edge should light up. Click on the one in the 6 o'clock position and draw down toward the top center of the rectangle below. The arrow should snap to this position. Repeat for an arrow connecting the two rectangles and the bottom rectangle and the bottom circle.


  • New drawing canvas.
  • Four circles ("begin" and "end" and two with no text). Three rectangles ("read recipe," "buy ingredients," "cook"), and one diamond ("have ingredients?"). You might need to make canvas a little larger using the handle at the bottom center.
  • Arrange (roughly centered from top to bottom): begin circle, rectangle 1, blank circle, diamond, rectangle 2, blank circle, rectangle 3, end circle.
  • Slide rectangle 2 about halfway over to the right.
  • Select all objects except rectangle 2 and distribute vertically and align center.
  • Adjust vertical location of rectangle 2 so it's about halfway between the two blank circles vertically.
  • Insert a single arrow from begin circle to rectangle 1 and from it to the upper blank circle and from this blank circle to the top center of the diamond. And draw an arrow from the lower blank circle to rectangle 3 and from rectangle 3 to the end circle.
  • From the Insert … Shapes … Lines select the double jointed arrow and draw a line going from the right point of the diamond to the top center of rectangle 2.
  • Draw another from the bottom center of this rectangle to the 3 o'clock position on the blank circle below this.
  • Finally draw one from the left point of the diamond to the 9 o'clock position on that circle.
  • Click outside the objects and surround them all to select all.
  • Click Drawing Tools Format on menu bar and then click on the Group pop down menu and select Group. Now notice how you can grab a corner hand and change the shape of all these objects together. The text has problems but otherwise you can stretch it smaller and larger.