The other day I needed to draw a quick flow chart while I was writing some documentation. I didn’t want to go through the trouble of opening up Visio to do that – in fact, the computer on which I was doing this didn’t even have Visio installed – and decided to give the shapes in Word a try. And it wasn’t even a real flow chart which I needed, I just wanted some boxes with text that could be connected using arrows.
The screenshots in this post are created using Microsoft Word 2010.
So I used the Shapes dropdown from the Insert menu to add two Rounded Rectangles to my document.
From that same menu, I used the arrow (second item in the Lines items) and tried to connect the two rectangles, ending up with this:
Okay, I dragged the rectangles around a bit for demonstration purposes, but I’m sure you can all see that the arrow is not connected to the boxes. I couldn’t find any way to get these items to connect with each other!
I almost gave up but then I thought:
Hang on, it can’t be that they’ve implemented this functionality to make it as useless as this, right??
So I decided to have a quick internet search and was glad to have found a solution. It turned out that I skipped a step. Apparently, to be able to connect shapes with each other, you first need to add a new Drawing Canvas to the document! That can be done using that same Shapes menu:
After adding the Canvas, I repeated the process of adding rectangles and connecting them using an arrow, this time with more success!
Many thanks to Nicholas Hebb for writing this How to Create a Flowchart in Word 2007 and Word 2010. Check out his article for more tips on flowcharting in Word!