How to Make a Flow Chart in Notion: A Step-by-Step Guide

Flow charts help solve a problem by breaking down the steps into a diagram. You only need to use shapes, images, and arrows to show the process in order.

But how are flow charts made in Notion? You’ll find out by continuing to read below.

How to Make a Flow Chart in Notion

Flow charts are a visual way of explaining a process, a procedure, or workflow. It’s like a how-to guide, only you’re using pictures or other visual elements to lay down the steps.

There are 5 different types of flow charts depending on the purpose of creating them.

  • Process Flow Diagram: This is the most common type of flow chart. It shows how a procedure is done; arrows fork out from the steps depending on certain factors
  • Work Flow Diagram: A flow chart that is used to explain the workflow of a company
  • Data Flow Chart: The type of flow chart that shows the flow of information within a system.
  • Decision Flow Chart: Another common type of flow chart used that shows how to make a decision based on various factors
  • Swimlane Flow Chart: A type of flow chart that shows differing information side by side and at what points they intersect

But to make any of these types of flow charts, you need to create one using code blocks.

Code blocks allow the user to type code using a certain language that will later display the image or chart.

In Notion, you can insert a code block using the “Mermaid” language. This is a syntax specifically used for creating charts with text.

Here’s how you can make a flow chart in Notion using the “Mermaid” coding language.

1. Open a code block on a Notion page.

How to Make a Flow Chart in Notion Step 1

Use the slash command “/code” for this. A dropdown menu then appears.

2. Select the “Code: Capture a Code Snippet” option.

How to Make a Flow Chart in Notion Step 2

This opens a blank code block.

3. Select “Mermaid” as the code language.

How to Make a Flow Chart in Notion Step 3

You can do this by clicking on the “Down” button of the toggle menu found in the upper left corner of the code block.

Then scroll down the list of code languages. Click the “Mermaid” code language option.

You’ll then see red text appear within the code block along with another dropdown menu to the right of the “Code Language” toggle.

4. Click the “Split” option in the “View” toggle menu.

How to Make a Flow Chart in Notion Step 4

By default, there are 3 view options available in the code block. First is the “Code” view where you can only see the code of the flow chart you’re creating.

Another view is “Preview.” Here you’ll only see the flow chart generated from the code.

Lastly, we have the “Split” view, which shows both the code and the flow chart generated.

For sample purposes, we’ll use the “Split” view so we can see the flow chart’s final look as we type the code. Plus, we’ll know if we have entered the correct code if the new node displays in the flow chart.

5. Type “flowchart” in the code field.

How to Make a Flow Chart in Notion Step 5

This gives the command that you’ll create a flowchart. But, there are other charts that you can create using the “Mermaid” language. Pie charts and Gantt charts are some of these charts.

6. Decide on the orientation of the flow chart you’re making.

How to Make a Flow Chart in Notion Step 6

Orientation refers to the direction the flow chart will follow. There are 4 options here, each with their corresponding codes:

  • “Left to Right” (LR)
  • “Right to Left” (RL)
  • “Top to Bottom” (TB)
  • “Bottom to Top” (BT)

But you won’t type the whole word in the code. Simply type the code that represents the orientation for your flow chart.

The good thing with this is that you can always change the orientation even when you’re in the middle of coding.

Then tap “Enter” to add a new line of code.

7. Type the first node’s unique ID and enclose its label (node text) in parentheses.

How to Make a Flow Chart in Notion Step 7

Nodes refer to the labeled shapes in the flow chart that represent the steps in the process.

To do this, assign a letter that will serve as the code of the first component or the starting point of the flow chart. 

Make sure though that there is no space between the unique ID and the opening parentheses for it to be displayed properly. Otherwise, a “Parse error on line “number”:” will appear.

Since I’m going to create a simple decision flow chart based on “Input-Output,” I’ll begin with “Start.”

8. Add a flowline from the first node.

How to Make a Flow Chart in Notion Step 8

Flowlines show the direction of the process, connecting two nodes. They can be plain lines, one-sided, or two-sided arrows.

By default, dash lines are used for creating the lines or arrows of the flow chart you’re creating on Notion. One-way arrows follow this code: “—>” (dash lines + “greater-than” symbol).

But there are different ways to show that the flow stops in a particular node in the chart. 

  • Two-way arrows: “<—>” 
  • Line with a circle: “node 1” –o “node 2”
  • Line with an X: “node 1” –x “node 2”
  • Dotted line: “node 1” -.-> “node 2”
  • Bold arrow: “node 1” ⇒ “node 2” 

9. Type the unique ID and enclose its label (node text) in parentheses for the second node of the flow chart.

How to Make a Flow Chart in Notion Step 9

Once done typing the code for the second node and you don’t have anything to connect to it, press “Enter.”

How to Make a Flow Chart in Notion Step 9

If you have a third node to add, repeat Steps 8 and 9.

10. Connect the common node to two (or more) forked connections with lines.

How to Make a Flow Chart in Notion Step 10

The code for adding lines is similar to that of the arrow code but without the “greater-than” sign. 

Then for the two options diverging from that common node, connect them with an ampersand (&).

You should now see two lines connecting the common node and the forked connections.

11. Add entries under each of the forked connections by adding arrows or lines.

How to Make a Flow Chart in Notion Step 11

Add a new unique ID and its node text under each of the split nodes. 

12. To close the flow chart, add arrows or lines from the split options to the common end node.

How to Make a Flow Chart in Notion Step 12

To connect the last nodes from the forked connections, type their unique IDs. Use lines or arrows to connect them to the common end node.

Then type the unique code of the end node and its node text. 

You should now see the forked connections converge to the common node.

If you want to add comments, shapes, links, or color coding, refer to the next sections below.

How to Add Comments to a Flow Chart in Notion

Comments refer to the text found between nodes of the flow chart. These provide more context to the flow chart so everyone who sees it knows what those arrows mean.

To add the comments, add a pipe between 2 nodes and type the text inside those pipes.

How to Add Comments to a Flow Chart in Notion Step 1

For forked connections with the “&” symbol, the comment inside the pipes is applied to both or all of them.

How to Add Comments to a Flow Chart in Notion Step 2

How to Use Shapes for the Nodes in the Notion Flow Chart

Every node you add to the flow chart uses the same shape by default, which is the rounded rectangle. Now if you want to use the correct flowchart symbols, there are symbols you can add for each node.

Here are some of the commonly used shapes for flow charts:

Database: straight brackets AROUND the parentheses of the node text ([(“node text”)])

How to Use Shapes for the Nodes in the Notion Flow Chart Database

Terminal (Pill shape): straight brackets INSIDE the parentheses of the node text ( ([“node text”])

How to Use Shapes for the Nodes in the Notion Flow Chart Terminal (Pill Shape)

Predefined Process: double brackets AROUND the parentheses of the node text ( [[“node text”]] )

How to Use Shapes for the Nodes in the Notion Flow Chart Predefined Process

Decision: replace parentheses with curly brackets ( {“node text”} )

How to Use Shapes for the Nodes in the Notion Flow Chart Decision

Process: replace parentheses with straight brackets ( [“node text”] )

How to Use Shapes for the Nodes in the Notion Flow Chart Process

How to Add Colors to a Notion Flow Chart

Flow charts can be quite dry to look at if you only use shapes and lines to show a particular process. So to help your target readers understand the flow of the process better, add colors to the nodes and links.

Adding Colors to the Nodes of a Notion Flow Chart

But first, you have to create a separate section for the colors you’ll add using this code.

%% Color %%

How to Add Colors to the Nodes of a Notion Flow Chart Step 1

Then define the colors you’ll use starting with the “classDef” syntax. Make sure to type this syntax the correct way as it is case-sensitive.

How to Add Colors to the Nodes of a Notion Flow Chart Step 2

Then add a space and type the color you want to define. For example, “red.”

classDef red

How to Add Colors to the Nodes of a Notion Flow Chart Step 3

Then add the fill or the hue you want for a particular node. Here you can use the name of the color you want to use or a hex code to be more specific.

classDef red fill:red

How to Add Colors to the Nodes of a Notion Flow Chart Step 4

Now to change the color of the outline (stroke color), you can add the “stroke” syntax and add the name of the color next to it. Separate the syntaxes using a comma, but not adding a space between them.

classDef red fill:red,stroke:black

How to Add Colors to the Nodes of a Notion Flow Chart Step 5

Then change the stroke width or the thickness of the outline as well. Use the “pixel” (px) unit for this.

classDef red fill:red,stroke:black,stroke-width:3px

How to Add Colors to the Nodes of a Notion Flow Chart Step 6

Lastly, add the color of the text as well so they will still be readable despite adding colors to the nodes.

classDef red:fill:red,stroke:black,stroke-width:3px,color:white

How to Add Colors to the Nodes of a Notion Flow Chart Step 7

Then assign the nodes that will use the color you just defined earlier. Add 3 colons after the node label and add the name of the class after them.

How to Add Colors to the Nodes of a Notion Flow Chart Step 8

Copy the code you made for defining the first color and paste it to a code line below it. Just change the name of the colors or hex codes used before assigning those colors to their specific nodes.

How to Add Colors to the Nodes of a Notion Flow Chart Step 9

You should now see every node on the flow chart popping out with the colors you assigned to them.

How to Add Colors to the Nodes of a Notion Flow Chart Step 9

For adding colors to a flow chart’s links in Notion, make another separate section to define the link colors.

Make sure though to place the codes for the link colors under the coding with the links.

Start with this code:

%% Link Colors %%

How to Add Colors to the Links of a Notion Flow Chart Step 1

Then assign numbers to the links, starting with the number 0. Link “0” refers to the very first link you made between the first 2 nodes of the flow chart. Then the number progresses from there.

How to Add Colors to the Links of a Notion Flow Chart Step 2

Once you assigned the link numbers, assign colors to the links using this code. Make sure to type the code correctly as it is case-sensitive.

linkStyle 0 stroke:red

How to Add Colors to the Links of a Notion Flow Chart Step 3

Repeat this step until you have assigned colors to all the links on your flow chart.

How to Add Colors to the Links of a Notion Flow Chart Step 3

But if you prefer to use only one color for all the links, then set a default “linkStyle” code instead under the “Colors” section.

linkStyle default stroke-width:3px

Conclusion

Learning to create flow charts in Notion can improve communication by using diagrams. No need to list the steps to fully explain the procedure.

The flow chart uses visuals, text, and dynamic elements to make your processes clearer for the intended audience.

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