Because of its unlimited canvas and smooth interaction, XMind is often used as flowchart makers. Although XMind is a part-time flowchart maker, (and a full-time mind map maker obviously), some handy features really help brainstormers to create their workflow diagrams quickly.

A simple flowchart

In XMind, Floating Topic and Relationship, work as the core of flow-charting. They can break the limits of auto-generated structures and allow you to play freely with the layout.

The following are the detailed steps.

Step 1: Turn on Topic Free-positioning

Click the Format icon on the top right corner, then click the Map section. Go to Advanced Layout before ticking the box of Topic Free-positioning. 

The author puts a picture showing where Advanced Layout features are.

(XMind: The Advanced Layout)

As XMind has an auto-attaching feature, topics close to each other will be added into the same branch. But with free-positioning, the topics keep independent all the time. If you intend to play with the shapes and layout, you can even turn on Topic Overlap

The author puts a picture showing topics overlapping each other.

(XMind: Topic Overlapping)

Step 2: Connect the Floating Topics with Relationship

Double-click on blank space to create Floating Topics. Then hold the key Command/Control to multi-select and click Relationship to connect them.

(XMind: Creating Floating Topics and Adding Connections)

But the more convenient way is to add a Floating Topic directly using the Relationship. Select a topic, then click Relationship before clicking on the blank space to add another Floating Topic

If you like to use shortcuts, you can also use the shortcut key combination Command + Shift + L/Control + Shift + L to callout the Relationship.

(XMind: Quicker Way of Flowcharting)

In the process, you can move between topics by arrow keys and press spacebar to start input text.

Repeat the above steps until the drawing of the process is completed.

Step 3: Align topics and multi-change the style of Relationship

We have drawn a rough flow chart, but the curved Relationship and the unaligned topics look a bit awkward. You can hold the key Command (Mac)/Control (PC) and select the topics you want to align with. Then right-click to call up the alignment option.

(XMind: Topic-Alignment)

In the same way, by holding down Command/Control, select all the Relationships you want to adjust. You can modify them in batches to a straight line or Z-line on the Format panel.

(XMind: Modify Line Styles)

Step 4: Add decision logics in between

The decision/condition topics are a vital part of the flow chart. You can modify that between topic creation process or after Relationship modification.

Adding text to the Relationship is very simple. Click them and type text inside the text box.

(XMind: Adding-Text-to-Relationship)

Step 5: Continue modifying other topic shapes and line styles

If your flowchart has specific requirements for the form of the topics, such as a data parallelogram, you can select the topic and change the shape on the Format panel. 

(XMind: Topic-Shapes)

At this point, a draft of the flowchart is done. You can click the image below and download the template.

(XMind: Registration-Flow-Phone-Number)

Apart from features, the key of efficiency is to switch tasks at the right time. Do the content first, then change visual styles. We list it as top 1 must-do for visual mappers in our blog post on beginner mistakes of mind mapping.

More flowchart examples

You can click the link at the bottom and get the download link.

(XMind: Android App Flow)

(XMind: How-to-Activate-XMind-ZEN)

Handy tips:

  1. Use a Relationship to create the process directly would be the quickest action.
  2. If you prefer to put out topics first, you can press Enter to add the next Floating Topic after you create the first. 
  3. Use Command/Control to multi-select objects and make batch style change. 
  4. Use Copy Style and Paste Style more.
That’s it for our tutorial. Do you have other suggestions for making flowcharts?

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