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How to Make a Flowchart with Mermaid Chart

·6 mins

Learn how to make a flowchart with Mermaid Chart, the leading text-to-diagram platform for both developers and non-developers.

A snapshot of the Mermaid Chart Editor

A flowchart is often an excellent tool to help communicate information to a wide audience with different backgrounds. Learning to make a flowchart quickly and easily can help you enhance collaboration between your colleagues and improve business results.

But what’s the best way to do this? Building a flowchart in a graphical user interface (GUI) such as PowerPoint or Lucidchart can be time-consuming, especially if you’re not a graphic designer by trade. Plus, your visuals aren’t dynamic. If you make a change in your GUI, you could be left with multiple versions of the same diagram — and finding the right file is often difficult.

That’s why Mermaid Chart is a great option for anyone looking to build a flowchart.

Mermaid Chart offers a versatile solution for creating clear and concise flowcharts, whether you’re a developer looking to visualize code execution paths or a marketing associate seeking to map out a business process.

Mermaid Chart is the platform built on top of Mermaid, the award-winning, open-source text-to-diagramming tool. The Mermaid Chart team is comprised of the founding members of the Mermaid project and aims to provide additional tools and functionality to help anyone build diagrams with ease.

Here’s what one of our loyal customers, Ari Tal, had to say about using Mermaid Chart to make a flowchart:

“I came across Mermaid Chart when looking for an online tool to create flowcharts. Mermaid Chart’s syntax was easy to pick up and I quickly upgraded to the Pro plan so I could continue creating flowcharts with ease.”

Let’s discuss how to make a flowchart in Mermaid Chart, using both simple code and the new Visual Editor:

What is a flowchart? #

A Mermaid Flowchart

A flowchart is a visual representation of a process, workflow, or algorithm that shows the steps involved and the sequence in which they occur. A typical flowchart uses different shapes and arrows to illustrate the flow of information, decision points, and the direction of the process.

Flowcharts are widely used in various fields to help visualize, analyze, and communicate processes. These visuals are commonly built with the help of a diagramming platform, such as Mermaid Chart.

Flowcharts can be somewhat formal, with distinct semantic values for the different nodes. Another approach is to assign your own semantics for the types of nodes. When relying on your own semantics, it’s important to be clear about the order, so as to not to confuse the reader.

Common uses of flowcharts #

As we’ve mentioned, flowcharts can be useful for professionals in any focus area:

For developers #

  • Code Documentation: Flowcharts provide high-level overviews of a program’s structure and logic. This makes it easier to understand and maintain the codebase.
  • Algorithm Design: A well-designed flowchart provides a clear and structured way to represent the logical steps and decision points within an algorithm.
  • Program Logic: Flowcharts help devs map out the logic of a program, including the sequence of operations, conditional statements, and loops.
  • Troubleshooting and Debugging: Developers can use flowcharts to trace the flow of execution and identify potential points of failure.
  • Process Optimization: Visually mapping out the flow of operations can help developers identify inefficiencies and bottlenecks, leading to more streamlined workflows.

For non-developers #

  • Mapping Business Processes: Business analysts can visualize the flow of tasks and decision points within an organization to identify bottlenecks and streamline operations.
  • Quality Control: Mapping out the quality assurance process may ensure consistent delivery of products and services.
  • Training and Onboarding: A flowchart is a great option to map out step-by-step instructions, decision trees, and other guidelines for anyone learning a new job or process.
  • Event Planning: Event logistics can be robust. A well-designed flowchart helps visualize the sequence of tasks, responsibilities, and dependencies involved in a successful event.

A flowchart can be used for anything — from hard-core technical documentation to giving directions on how to hide buried treasure.

To learn how power-user Ari Tal is building flowcharts on Mermaid Chart to help teach people about explainable AI (XAI), click here.

How to make a flowchart with Mermaid Chart #

A view from an editor with an embedded Mermaid Diagram

Learning how to make a flowchart with Mermaid Chart takes just three easy steps.

But first, a quick vocabulary lesson:

A node is a shape that exists within your flowchart in Mermaid Chart. Nodes represent elements or stages within the process you’re documenting.

An edge, which typically takes the form of an arrow, shows relationships between two or more nodes within your flowchart.

1. Start with a template – or build from scratch. #

If you haven’t already, click here to create your free Mermaid Chart account. Our Free plan gives you the ability to build five diagrams to start.

Once you’ve entered your workspace, click “+New Diagram” in the top right of the screen. Signing up through the Pro plan will allow you to click the “New AI Diagram” button, which recruits Mermaid Chart’s AI assistant to help you build your diagram.

You may start from scratch, or use Mermaid Chart’s pre-built flowchart sample diagram to give you an easy starting point. If you do start from scratch, ensure that the word “flowchart” is the first word within your code, as this distinguishes the diagram type (and in turn enables the Visual Editor - more on that in a moment).

2. Edit your diagram. #

Once you’ve got your flowchart set up, Mermaid Chart offers three unique ways to build it out:

  • Simple Code: The text in the editor to the left and the visual to the right are in sync. If you make a change to your code, it’ll automatically be reflected in the diagram. Mermaid Chart’s flowchart syntax is easy to learn.
  • Code Snippets: Our Code Snippets functionality provides pre-built nodes and edges, which you can drag and drop into your visual or copy and paste from your clipboard.
  • Visual Editor: The Visual Editor provides robust click-and-drag functionality — like a souped-up GUI — that works in conjunction with the existing text-to-diagramming workflow. As you make changes in the Visual Editor, Mermaid Chart will dynamically tidy up the code and make it as neat as possible with the latest syntax.

3. Save, share, and collaborate! #

Mermaid Chart is designed for collaboration. Once you’ve built your flowchart, take advantage of all of our collaborative features:

  • Export your diagram as a PNG or SVG file
  • Generate a sharable diagram link
  • Build a presentation (without exporting anything to PowerPoint)
  • Connect your diagrams to your code via our Visual Studio Code or Jet Brains IDE plugins
  • Collaborate dynamically with teammates in “Google Docs” style (for Pro users only)
  • Speed up your workflow with Mermaid Chart’s AI tools

Try Mermaid Chart for free! #

Flowcharts are versatile visuals that can be utilized by developers and non-developers alike to graphically represent processes and make complex concepts more accessible. Whether you need a flowchart for software development, business planning, or educational purposes, Mermaid Chart can help you create an effective diagram in minutes.

Click here to create your free account, which allows users to build five diagrams and use all of our plugins.

Our Pro tier begins at $80/year for even more robust diagramming features. You’ll gain access to unlimited diagrams, Mermaid AI diagramming, multi-user editing, and more.

We’ll see you in the Mermaid Chart editor — happy flowcharting!