I am a believer in using the right tool for the job and, fundamentally, Excel is not the right tool for producing process flowcharts. However, sometimes you just need something really quick and simple, and if you don’t have “proper” process software, Excel might just fit the bill.
I was pleased to find this really excellent guide to using Excel for process flowcharting and it helped me draw a quick whole-system diagram for a colleague who only had access to Excel. Breezetree also offer an Excel add-in that automates flowcharting and there are some useful tips on disciplines to follow to produce flowcharts.
It’s often the simplest tips that make all the difference and the two that helped me most were:
- Set the default column width to 2.14 (which makes a grid of cells)
- Set snap to grid (to keep all the boxes and arrows tidy)
My “weapon of choice” for process mapping is Nimbus Control and I’ve been a fan, user and advocate for over a decade. Read my articles on process management and improvement to see how I’ve helped clients improve performance, using Nimbus Control as an enabler.