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Flow charts

2nd edition, September 1966

A Technical Committee of ECMA met for the first time in 1960, to prepare a Standard for Flow Charts. The work has led in November 1964 to the issue of the Standard ECMA-4. In view of the changes entered in the final version of the ISO Recommendation (R 1028) for Flow Chart Symbols, the present revised 2nd Edition of this Standard has been issued. It is in full agreement with this ISO Recommendation.

Today flow charts are in wide use for the diagrammatic representation of processes.

They consist of symbols with appropriate text, and connecting lines.

Such a representation can be followed more easily than a narrative description, chiefly because of its two- dimensional structure. It also simplifies checking for completeness and logical consistency.

This Standard for Flow Charts is not intended as a primer in flow charting, but is designed to ensure the general intelligibility of the diagrammatic part of flow charts. Note that the diagrammatic part has no meaning by itself until supplemented by the insertion of appropriate text into the symbols, and that this text will not be standardized. The standard is not rigid in that some freedom of adaption is permitted under certain circumstances.

The proposed graphical forms of the symbols were chosen bearing in mind the following objectives

The number of basic graphical forms should be small.

The symbols should be easily drawn freehand, by means of template or by any automatic process (see Appendix IV).

Those symbols which may contain a varying amount of text should be easily adaptable in size.

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Technical CommitteeTC3 (this TC is no longer active)


  • ECMA-4, 1st edition, November 1964Download