Answered By: Emily Gilbert, Health Sciences Librarian
Last Updated: Jan 03, 2019     Views: 72

A process map is also called a flow chart. This is a visual tool that lays out the steps of a process. In a business context, a process map can be used to show employees or stakeholders how processes are accomplished. 

To create your own process map, follow these steps: 

  • Determine the boundaries of the process you want to map. Processes are often tangled up in adjacent processes, so it's important to make this distinction from the beginning
  • Determine the actions involved in the process and put them in order. 
  • Assign symbols to each action. Common process map symbols include:
    • Oval: start and end of a process
    • Rectangle: Action
    • Diamond: Decision point
    • Arrows: Direction of the process
  • Draw out the process map using the symbols. You can use Microsoft Word or any free process mapping/flow chart creators online (there are many!).
  • Review the process map and make sure it makes sense to an outside reader.

Below is an example process map:

Flow chart with one decision

Figure 1. Example of a flow chart with one decision. Taken from: Creately. (2018). "Flowcharting basics: How to create a simple flowchart." Retrieved from Copyright 2018 by Creately.

For information on creating process maps in Microsoft Word, see our Answer here


Creately. (2018). Flowcharting basics: How to create a simple flowchart. Retrieved from

LucidChart. (n.d.) How to make a process map. Retrieved from

Salemme, I. (n.d.) How to process map: A step by step guide. Retrieved from 

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