Create a flow chart

Align chart shapes

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We’re ready to add connectors to the flow chart shapes we’ve laid out. The first step is to align the shapes so the connectors will be straight.

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Create a flow chart

We’re ready to add connectors to the flow chart shapes we’ve laid out.

The first step is to align the shapes so the connectors will be straight.

The flow of the chart is top to bottom, left to right.

So to start, we’ll drag to select the leftmost column of shapes.

And click the Drawing Tools Format tab.

To center the shapes vertically, we click Align Objects > Align Center.

Next, we’ll adjust the space between the shapes, vertically, so it’s consistent.

Keeping them selected, I’ll now click Align Objects again and, this time, click Distribute Vertically.

I’ll repeat these steps for the next two columns of shapes: Select the column, click Align Objects > Align Center.

Then Align Objects and Distribute Vertically.

I’ve grouped the Decision shape with the Yes and No text boxes, and the group kind of sits alone.

I’ll come back to it.

But let’s select the shapes in the last column and click Align Objects and Align Center.

The Distribute Vertically command doesn’t apply to the two shapes relative to each other.

Now, for each horizontal row of shapes, I’ll press Ctrl to select each shape in the row, click the Format tab, and click Align Objects > Align Middle.

This aligns the shape middles horizontally.

I’ll repeat those steps for each row, without including the Decision group.

For the Decision group, I’ll press the Left Arrow key to nudge it closer to the shapes in its row.

We’re ready to add connectors.

I’ll zoom in for a closer view.

I’ll add connectors in the order of the flow.

So, I’ll click the first Terminator shape, click the Format tab, and in the Shapes gallery, click arrow.

When I point to the selected shape, black dots show the center point of each side, and the cursor becomes a crosshairs.

I’ll drag the crosshairs from the center black dot down to edge of the shape below.

When I release the mouse, the line stays selected and has a green circle at both ends.

I’ll click away to see the arrow.

Because the shapes are aligned at the centers, the arrow connects in a straight line.

Now, let’s format the arrow. I click to select it, and on the Format tab, click Shape Outline.

In the Theme Colors, I’ll choose a dark blue for the arrow color.

And to make the connector line thicker, I’ll reopen Shape Outline, point to Weight, and choose 1½ pts.

I like this arrow style. So, I’ll right-click the arrow and choose Set as Default Line.

All the connectors will look like this, now.

To add each arrow connector, I select the shape; on the Format tab, I click the Arrow in the Shapes gallery—and note, frequently used shapes also appear at the top of the gallery—and draw the arrow.

We’ve got most of the simple arrow connectors in place and we’ve zoomed back out.

What we still need are elbow arrows to connect the bottom task in one column to the top task in the next.

To apply an elbow arrow, I’ll select the shape I need to draw the arrow from, click the Format tab, and in the Shapes gallery, click Elbow Arrow Connector.

I click from the middle black dot on the side of the shape and drag the crosshairs to the middle edge of the destination shape.

The arrow rotates into the right configuration automatically. I’ll add the other elbow arrow connectors.

All the shapes are connected.

Looking at the overall spacing, I can tighten the space between the Decision shape and outer two shapes.

I’ll press Ctrl and select the outer two shapes, then press the left arrow key to nudge them to the left.

Now I’ll drag to select the whole chart and click the right arrow key to move it to the right, referring to the grid to even out margins.

Let’s look at the chart in Slide Show view.

The flow chart is finished, with every step and connector formatted and in place.

For more information, see the Course Summary, and experiment on your own.

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