How to create a simple flowchart in Apple Freeform

I created this simple flowchart when I was trying to illustrate how the program code worked. That was a really big help.

David Gewarts/ZDNET

Ok, look. I fully understand that some people don’t like flowcharts. Educator Stephanie Lawless said:a little part of me dies Whenever you have to draw an arrow on a box. “Need a flowchart remotely?There have been 34 comment threads on this subject.

But here’s the problem. Flowcharts are helpful when you need them. I’m not talking about the flowcharts your first-year programming instructor gives you, or the flowcharts required in certain management courses. I’m talking about creating flowcharts because I think they help you visualize things when you want to chart the flow of something, you want to do it, or you want to get a better perspective.

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In my case, I was trying to figure out why some piece of code wasn’t working. After a lot of checking in the debugger, I decided it would be easier to just draw the flow and stare at it for a few minutes. I have Apple Freeform on my Mac. Freeform is somewhat limited (especially on a Mac, where I don’t have an iPad pencil for freehand drawing), but it’s also very fast to put together graphs of basic shapes.

How to create a simple flowchart in Apple Freeform

Apple Freeform requires an iPhone or iPad running iOS 16.2 or later, or a Mac running MacOS 13.1 or later. I use it on Mac Studio, but it works equally well on any device.

If you open Apple’s Freeform, you can create a flowchart as follows:

A shape selector is an icon with a square and a circle. A simple click reveals the shape selector options pane.


Screenshot by David Gewirtz/ZDNET

As you can see, there are many categories to choose from. You’ve only used basic shapes for your charts, but the only limit is your creativity.

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Once you click a shape to add it to your document, you can click it once to change its color. Alternatively, you can click again to write text inside the shape. One of the reasons Freeform is so fast is that the size of your text adjusts to the size of the shape you write.

Notice that the Shape Selector shows three line styles. The first two are the line tool and the arrow tool. They draw straight lines or arrows. Double-clicking on one will place an arrow at the end to give you the option to zoom in or out, so it’s pretty much the same tool.

The actual tool used in this flowchart is the Spline Tool. This is because this tool actually attaches to the shape. Drag the edge of the curve over the square to highlight it. This is because they are connected to splines.


Screenshot by David Gewirtz/ZDNET

A really useful feature of this is that when you connect two shapes together, you can move the shapes and the spline will move with them. In the two images below, I just moved the rounded rectangle. The line continued naturally.

moving shape

David Gewarts/ZDNET

Once you have decided where to place the shapes and how to connect them, you can change the connecting lines. To do this, click in the middle of the line. A small connector dot and a menu will appear.


Screenshot by David Gewirtz/ZDNET

If you use the curve option above, you can click the little green dot to move the center of the curve. When using the Orthogonal option, you can move the points to adjust how the lines are drawn between the shapes. Here are the more prominent curves:


Screenshot by David Gewirtz/ZDNET

And here is the version with the lines at right angles:


Screenshot by David Gewirtz/ZDNET

that’s all. When I put together the chart, I only included the bare minimum to help you understand the flow of the program. It took me maybe 10 minutes to fully understand the flow of the program. This also serves as a helpful chart if someone else needs to know the same.

What is your favorite feature of Flowchart?

My three favorite features are:

  1. Ability to connect lines to change shape and move shapes to move lines.
  2. How the text is automatically stretched or shrunk within the shape. This reduces the work done by the user.
  3. Since the entire canvas is essentially infinite, you can chart in any direction you want.

What are the limitations of Apple Freeform?

The product is clearly more powerful on the iPad. However, my biggest complaint is the inability to save drawings in formats other than PDF. If you want to save your drawing (as the screenshot example shows), we recommend using a screenshot tool or program.Describes how to generate screenshots in This helpful article.

How much does Apple Freeform cost?

Free if you have an iPad, iPhone, or Mac with the required OS version. In summary, 16.2 or higher for iOS and 13.1 or higher for MacOS.

You can follow my daily project updates on social media. follow me on twitter @DavidGewirtzon Facebook Facebook.com/David Gewirtzon Instagram Instagram.com/David Gewirtzand on YouTube YouTube.com/David GewirtzTV.

https://www.zdnet.com/home-and-office/work-life/how-to-make-a-quick-flowchart-with-apple-freeform/#ftag=RSSbaffb68 How to create a simple flowchart in Apple Freeform

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