### Definition

A Flow Chart is a structurally ordered representation of how the different stages in a process are interconnected. Flow Charts diagrammatically represent algorithm(s) with the use of rectangle, oval, rhombus and other shapes.

### Introduction

‘Flow Chart’ is a commonly used methodology to represent the work flow of various processes. Flow charts are often used for representing procedures and also prove helpful in

- Defining and analyzing processes in an algorithm
- Eliminating ambiguity by defining proper flow areas

### Components of a Flow Chart

Flow Chart is usually created using various geometrical shapes which are interpreted in different ways:

1) **Elongated Circle**

This signifies ‘start’ or ‘end’ of the process.

Representation:

2) **Rectangle**

It signifies an ‘instruction’ or ‘action’

It is represented as:

3) **Diamond**

It signifies ‘decisions’ to be made’.

It is represented as:

4) **Arrow**

It signifies ‘Flow of control’.

It is represented as:

### Drawing flowcharts to represent an algorithm or a procedure

- Write down the steps of the algorithm/procedure
- Map the steps of the procedure to corresponding symbols or components of the flow chart.
- Write some descriptive text within the components to make the flow chart self- explanatory.
- Connect various components drawn with downward arrow, starting from first drawn components to last one.
- Review the flowchart and try to increase the efficiency by removing redundancy within the flow chart.

### Example of Flowchart

Q. For an algorithm to find largest number from a given set of N positive inputs, draw a flowchart.

Ans: Algorithm

- Let largest number, L = 0 and counter, n=0
- Input a number ‘P’ from the user.
- If P > L then store P in L and increment ‘n’. Else just increment ‘n’.
- If ‘n’ is not equal to ‘N’ then take the user input ‘P’ again.
- If n=N then print ‘L’.

Now the above steps uses three variables (L, n, P ) to implement the algorithm where

L – Keeps track of largest number

n – Keeps track of total of finite inputs

P – Lets input number from the user

**Drawing the flow chart for the given problem is as follows:-**

All the steps of the algorithm have been matched to draw its flow chart.

## Advantage of Flowcharts

The act of mapping out a process in a flowchart format helps understanding the process for anybody without having a deeper insight and also helps in optimizing the process by reducing redundancy and simplifying the work flow.

## Disadvantages of Flowcharts

For long procedures, flowcharts become quite complicated and it becomes tougher to represent the complete flow diagram on a single sheet. In such an event, ‘connectors’ are used to connect the broken flow charts. These are called “Off-page or On-page connectors”

### References

*Flow Charts – Understanding and communicating how a process works*- Knelth, Donald (1997)
*Fundamental Algorithms*, Third Edition. Reading, Massachusetls Addision – Wesley. - Image Link : edrawsoft.com/images/examples/Process-Flowchart.png