Introduction to Flowcharts

Flowcharts, also called process flow diagrams, are figures that display the steps of an algorithm in sequential order. American engineer Frank Gilbreth is considered by many to be the first to document a process, having introduced the concept of “process chart” to the American Society of Mechanical Engineers in 1921. Moreover, flowcharts can be helpful when writing programs and explaining them to others, and they could help you understand the performed process better. However, we will look at different flowchart symbols and how to use them in programming!

Flowchart symbols:

1- Start/Stop Terminal – Represents the Start/End of a process.

2- Input/Output – Shows the Inputs/Outputs of a process.

3- Flow Line – Indicates the direction of flow.

4- Decision – Used when deciding between two or more options

5- Preparation – Initialises a process or sets values.

6- Processing – Used to show instructions/operations

7- On-page Connector – Connects different flowlines.

8- Off-page Connector – Connects the previous and following parts of a flowchart located on different pages.

9- Pre-defined Process – Represents several statements performing a specific task that you can
use in your program.

What are the three basic flowcharts structures?

1- Sequence
2- Selection
3- Repetition

How to draw a flowchart?

Flowcharts always begin and end with the terminal symbol that indicates their start/end. Next, you need to identify your data or inputs/outputs and specify their tasks for the computer to process. Afterwards, the result of the process must be displayed. Besides, you need to list the tasks in chronological order before attempting to draw a flowchart. This will help you learn to solve problems step by step and effectively deliver your solution.

Example 1 (Sequence):

Draw a flowchart that will print the addition of three numbers entered by the user.

Draw a flowchart that will ask the user to input a number in meters to print it in centimetres.

Example 2 (Selection):

Draw a flowchart in which the user is asked to enter a number that will be classified as even or odd.

Draw a flowchart that will find the minimum between three numbers.

Example 3 (Repetition):

Draw a flowchart that will print only the odd numbers between 5 and 30.


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