Workflow in Excel: A Must-Have Guide

In this article, we have given a detailed guide for creating and automating workflow in Excel. Workflow is necessary for company to synchronise steps of a project. We have used built-in shapes in Excel to create workflow. You create your own workflow by going through the article.

We used Microsoft 365 to prepare this article. However, the methods are also applicable in all Excel versions.

Creating a workflow in Excel can be a powerful way to streamline and organize the sequence of operations for a specific job or process. By visually representing the steps in a flowchart format, you can easily track and manage the progress of tasks, ensuring efficient information exchange within your organization. In this article, we will guide you through the process of creating a workflow in Excel to optimize your work processes and enhance productivity.

We have an example of a workflow progress tracker to ignite your curiosity.

Overview of Workflow in Excel

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Workflow in Excel: 2 Suitable Ways

1. Creating Workflow Using Shapes

Here we will use Insert tab and select shapes to create a workflow. Remember you can use your own shapes to create your own workflow.

  • To select shapes, we must choose Insert >> Illustrations >> Shapes >> Flowchart.

Adding shapes for workflow

  • After that, we have to select Text Box to create process and decision boxes and select connector lines to connect those boxes.

Adding Textbox

  • Using those shapes, connectors, and text boxes, we can create any type of creative workflow we want. But, for example, we have given one below.

Creating Final flowchart

2. Using SmartArt Graphic

Using SmartArt is the easiest way to add workflow in Excel.

  • At first, we select Insert >> Illustrations >> SmartArt to insert SmartArt.

Adding smart art

  • Then we select ALL > Scroll Down > Process or directly select Process. Choose any process you like to unleash your creativity. Here, we selected the first one for example.

Adding smart art

  • Now we have created a workflow using SmartArt.

Finally process flow with smartArt

Workflow Chart in Excel: 3 Practical Examples

1. Funnel Workflow Chart

Using a magnetic disc we have created a funnel flow chart.

  • Here we have selected Insert >> Illustrations >> Shapes >> Magnetic Disk to insert a magnetic disk.

Adding Magnetic disk

  • Next, we have to add Text Box to insert text in the magnetic disc.

Adding Text box

  • Now, we have to use Format Painter to have the same format as Magnetic Disk in Text Box.

Adding shapes and text

  • After adding a second disk like the first one, we have to right-click on the Magnetic Disk and Send to Back > Send Backward to get the embedded disk.

Added magnetic disc sent to back

  • Finally, like the process above, we can add many disks and create our own funnel workflow chart.

Finally funnel chart

2. Timeline Workflow Chart

We have created a timeline workflow chart using basic shapes.

  • Like before, we will insert the necessary shapes.

Adding shapes for mind map

  • Then we have to rotate Block Arc to 90° to adjust with rectangular shapes and you have to stretch rectangular shapes.

Adding arrows and connections

  • Now create your own timeline workflow. Here we have given an example.

Mind map flowchart

Read More: Workflow Chart in Excel

3. Simple Mind Map Workflow

Using shapes we can create any type of workflow we want. Here we have created mind map workflow.

  • Here we have added shapes like before by going to Insert >> Illustration >> Shapes.

Adding shapes for timeline workflow

  • Now we have added Text Box and connectors like before.

  • Create your own map as you like. Exercise your freedom and conditions for creating a mind map. Here we have given an example.

Timeline workflow chart

Read More: How to Create a Workflow in Excel

Things to Remember

  • Choosing any type of workflow depends on your purpose and requirements. So, specify your goal to get better visualization for creating a workflow in Excel.
  • Save your created workflow so that you can use it as a template later. This is also time-saving.
  • Adding a text box to describe the workflow diagram is widely used. But remember the text box should not be so wordy.
  • To format the shape as you desire, simply right-click on the shape and access the formatting options from the Context menu.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is it possible to insert images or icons into a workflow chart in Excel?

Yes, you can insert images or icons into a workflow chart in Excel. From the Insert tab, you can use the Pictures option to insert images from your computer, or you can use the Icons option to choose from a library of pre-designed icons. You can then position and resize them accordingly.

2. Can I create a hierarchical workflow chart in Excel?

Yes, you can create a hierarchical workflow chart in Excel. By using shapes with different sizes or levels of indentation, you can represent a hierarchical structure. For example, you can use larger rectangles for main processes and smaller rectangles for sub-processes. Connectors can be used to link the shapes accordingly.

3. How can I align and distribute the shapes in my workflow chart evenly?

Excel provides alignment and distribution options to help you arrange the shapes in your workflow chart evenly. Select multiple shapes, right-click, and choose the alignment or distribution options from the context menu. You can align shapes horizontally or vertically and distribute them evenly in terms of spacing.

4. Can I link or add hyperlinks to specific shapes in a workflow chart?

A: Yes, you can add hyperlinks to specific shapes in a workflow chart in Excel. Right-click on a shape, choose Hyperlink from the Context Menu, and enter the URL or select a location within the workbook to link to. This allows you to navigate to external websites or other parts of the workbook.

5. Is it possible to create a dynamic workflow chart in Excel that updates automatically?

Excel has some features, such as data validation and conditional formatting, that allow you to create a dynamic workflow chart. By setting up rules and formulas based on the data, you can create a chart that updates automatically when changes occur. Additionally, you can use Excel’s VBA programming to create more advanced and interactive workflow charts.


Automating your Excel workflow will save you time and enhance your work efficiency. Creating a workflow management template will help you easily track the workflow in your business. However, visit our website, Exceldemy, a one-stop Excel solution provider, to explore more insightful articles.

Workflow in Excel: Knowledge Hub

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Joyanta Mitra
Joyanta Mitra

Joyanta Mitra, a BSc graduate in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, has dedicated over a year to the ExcelDemy project. Specializing in programming, he has authored and modified 60 articles, predominantly focusing on Power Query and VBA (Visual Basic for Applications). His expertise in VBA programming is evident through the substantial body of work he has contributed, showcasing a deep understanding of Excel automation, and enhancing the ExcelDemy project's resources with valuable... Read Full Bio

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