Process Flowchart question


I’m working on helping my company update our process flowcharts. Some of the flowcharts are many years old and use symbols that are no longer available in newer versions of Visio.

One of the symbols that was used was the Internal Storage shape, but it was used to reference a work instruction:


We want to change any flowcharts with that symbol for work instructions to use the current symbol that is used for documents:


Our QA department is also suggesting that we use the “Multiple Documents” symbol for when a step references more than one document:


However, I’ve found that this is a cumbersome shape to deal with, since it’s rather large and hard to make small enough to accommodate any flowcharts that have a lot of information on them.

My question is how strict do we need to be about adhering to the use of symbols within our flowcharts. Visio is a program that seems to strike fear into the hearts of people, and I don’t want to over-complicate updating the flowcharts, so I’m wondering if it’s permissible to use the single document symbol for both single and multiple documents. It would make life easier if we could just use one symbol for documents, but if it’s necessary to also use the multiple documents symbol, then we’ll figure out a way to make it work.


2 Replies
Janet Lentz
113 Posts

You can use whatever symbols work for you, as long as they are understood by everyone needing to use the flow charts. Since you can add text to any symbol, you could just type ’Multiple” in it to indicate that symbol represents multiple documents.

Jay Arthur
21 Posts

@Christopher Tait
Most people are not afraid of Microsoft Excel. It has a mini-Visio built in (look under Insert Shapes-Flowchart. I have been using this feature for decades because it's easy and other people can view my output without any additional readers. You can connect shapes with arrows.

The multiple documents shape reduces the area for text, so I stick with the single document shape. Here's a simple how-to: