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Free Workflow Templates

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In this article, you’ll find free, downloadable workflow templates in Microsoft Excel, Word, and PDF formats. Document and streamline each unique business process with a visual flowchart to ensure continuity and efficiency for even the most detail-heavy projects.

Project Management Workflow Template

Project Management Workflow Template

Align your project strategies, track project progress, and streamline each step in your project with this free, downloadable template. Use this template to propose new project plans, gain approval from key stakeholders, create actionable steps to complete the project, and deliver the project with ease. This template is available for download in Microsoft Excel, Word, PDF, and Visio formats.

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Construction Workflow Template

Construction Workflow Template

For all of your construction projects, use this comprehensive workflow template to document and track each step of a very detail-oriented process. With space to document every step, from construction preparation to foundation laying and maintenance, your construction project will be easy to follow, with clearly enumerated steps. This template is available for free use in Microsoft Excel, Word, PDF, and Visio formats.

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Excel | Word | PDF 

Recruiting Workflow Template

Recruiting Workflow Template

Use this template to streamline your company’s recruiting process and efficiently filter through resumes, applications, and potential candidates. This workflow template includes every crucial detail of the recruiting process, like determining selection criteria, interviewing candidates, assessing candidates against criteria, and following up with candidates after assessment.

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Excel | Word | PDF 

Software Development Workflow Template

Software Development Workflow Template

As you develop and update new software, use this workflow template to ensure that you don’t miss any critical steps of the process. With space to document the six steps of the process, including concept, inception, construction iterations, transitions, production, and retirement, your software development process will always be consistent, efficient, and thorough. Download this ready-made template in Microsoft Excel, Word, PDF, and Visio formats.

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Excel | Word | PDF 

Healthcare Workflow Template

Healthcare Workflow Template

Use this template to streamline the healthcare process in order to ensure that every patient receives the best, most efficient care concerning their healthcare plan. This workflow documents each healthcare process from start to finish, including key details like medical history and vitals information, procedures, lab tests, and prescription orders. This template is available for free use in Microsoft Excel, Word, PDF, and Visio templates.

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Excel | Word | PDF 

Document Management Workflow Template

Document Management Workflow Template

Use this template to manage, submit, and store documents, both in their physical and digital forms. With space to include everything from document creation to publish date and archival location, you can safely manage and track all documents using this streamlined workflow template.

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Excel | Word | PDF

E-Commerce Workflow Template

E-Commerce Workflow Template

In a world dominated by online transactions, you can use this template to track and document every aspect of an e-commerce purchase. View the workflow from order submission to order shipment, and refer back to this document to ensure continuity among orders. This template is available in Microsoft Excel, Word, and PDF formats.

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Excel | Word | PDF

Finance Workflow Template

Finance Workflow Template

This template offers a comprehensive overview of the workflow involved in a typical finance field. Use this template to document inbound and outbound payments, financial reporting, and future budgeting and forecasting. This template is available for you to use and customize in Microsoft Excel, Word, and PDF formats.

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Excel | Word | PDF

Architecture Workflow Template

Architectural Workflow Template

Use this template to document and track the process associated with the architecture or design of a project. This template outlines the steps involved in creating an architectural idea, gaining approval, gathering appropriate permit documents, and selecting a general contractor. Maintain this structure throughout every architecture-based project with this free workflow template.

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Excel | Word | PDF

 

Sales Process Workflow Template

Sales Process Workflow Template

Use this template to establish a consistent plan for sales lead generation and follow-up, ensuring you never miss a potential revenue-earning opportunity. This template includes a process map that indicates marketing campaigns, how to follow up with qualified leads, what information to gather from each lead, and how to turn a lead into a sales opportunity.

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Excel | Word | PDF

Manufacturing Workflow Template

Manufacturing Workflow Template

Document the manufacturing process from start to finish to remain consistent and thorough during every step of the process. Include key details in the manufacturing industry, such as suppliers, raw materials, quality assurance, and packaging, to ensure that each product is manufactured with efficiency and accuracy.

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Excel | Word | PDF

What Is the Purpose of a Workflow Diagram?

Workflow templates are a crucial part of every business, as they help to visualize the working and thinking behind each process that goes into a larger project. Workflow templates showcase a graphic illustration of sequential steps, making understanding, following, and analyzing the steps easier and more effective for the end user.

Additionally, workflow templates describe the order in which steps must be completed in a visually satisfying manner, determining specific activities in a structured, easy-to-follow format. You can easily identify and make changes within a process to render even the most common business situations more efficient.

Workflow templates communicate how to handle and carry out a process or project, and the visual flowchart or diagram, providing a structured format, helps to make the process even easier to follow. Capture, visualize, and build process requirements unique to each business process and vertical, from project management to healthcare and even construction.

Customize your workflow template with columns, headings, metrics, and data that you have to track or include, and document targeted rules for a workflow, including approval, order of approval, and the steps that ensue after an approval.

The History of the Workflow Diagram and Flowchart

The workflow diagram, or flowchart, was first created and introduced by Frank Gilbreth in 1921. At the time, it was referred to as a process flowchart, but after many years and many iterations, we have arrived at the modern workflow diagram.

Allan H. Mogensen, an American industrial engineer, was the first person to apply the workflow consistently in his business and teach it to his team members in the early 1930s. He is considered the “father of simplification” for his popularization of workflow diagrams and flowcharts.

Why Is a Workflow Diagram Necessary?

A workflow template can seem cumbersome and unnecessary in a business process, as it outlines and details even the simplest of tasks. However, workflow templates are an extremely helpful resource in identifying key details, including the following:

  • Appropriate team members for each process

  • Areas for improvement or a process that could increase efficiency

  • Data collection or monitoring

  • Approval processes and key stakeholders who provide approval

Additionally, workflow templates can make even the most complex, detailed processes more understandable, clear, and concise — this helps to not overwhelm anyone learning or carrying out a detailed process. Workflow templates can also help businesses and their team members do the following:

  • Easily show the flow between steps.

  • Define, analyze, and discuss any part of the process.

  • Standardize a process, and find and identify any gaps in the process.

  • Identify and eliminate any processes that are not adding value to the business.

  • Facilitate communication and teamwork among team members.

  • Keep everyone on the same page about a process and its ensuing processes.

  • Provide a clear understanding of a process, why it’s carried out, and the business value of the process.

People tend to veer away from using workflows for a variety of reasons. They may be hesitant to disrupt an already-existing process, want to maintain complete control over a process and try things themselves, or want to construct their own unique process that doesn’t follow a preformatted structure.

However, workflow templates help to provide consistency and efficiency for all unique processes, increasing overall control and effectiveness of processes as they are carried out by other team members.

Capabilities of a Workflow Diagram

Workflow diagrams can help businesses who employ them in several ways — for instance, by creating an efficient approval process, assigning resources and participants to specific parts of the process, postponing or restarting workflow activities with ease, and designing workflow conditions or specifications.

In addition to the aforementioned benefits, workflow diagrams offer the following capabilities:

  • Specify the frequency of tasks and the ideal amount of time it should take to complete each task.

  • Include task instructions for each process or an individual step in the process.

  • Initiate the workflow after preceding steps, either automatically or manually.

  • Send documents to key stakeholders for approval after step or process completion, and create one-time reviews for time efficiency.

  • Set approval status and ensure steps are carried out only after approval is granted.

  • Pause or stop the workflow at a specific step, or until a specified date.

  • Set the workflow status and send updates to any involved resources.

  • Update steps directly within the workflow to increase efficiency.

Creating a Workflow Diagram or Template

As you begin creating your own workflow diagram for your unique business process, consider the purpose for diagramming your workflow, whether to streamline a process or make a process less confusing overall.

Make sure you understand the entire process, from start to finish, and identify the basic steps of the process to ensure that those are highlighted and included within the diagram. Document clear start and end points for the process, and, as you progress, draft the steps that occur in between these two points of the process.

Look for alternate ways to complete each process, and make sure to note each exception within the diagram. Doing this will give you and your team members the flexibility to customize the workflow as it progresses, as pointing out exceptions will force you to keep only the most efficient steps of each process.

How to Create a Workflow Template in Word

Microsoft Word offers a variety of free workflow templates that you can use to design and format your own workflow template. Follow the steps below to achieve the best results:

  1. Open Microsoft Word.

  2. In the window, select the Lightbulb icon at the top of the page, and search for “Workflows.”

  3. Choose the related link that comes up under the “Workflows” search.

  4. Select a workflow template that suits your needs, and click OK.

  5. Create and fill out the workflow template based on your unique business process by editing or adding workflow steps.

How to Create a Workflow Template in Excel

Microsoft Excel has preformatted workflow templates within its platform, which you can download and customize for your needs. To access these templates, follow these steps:

  1. Open Microsoft Excel.

  2. Using the search bar at the top of the Excel workbook, search for “Workflow Templates.”

  3. In the Flowcharts Template Workbook, you will find a variety of existing workflow templates.

  4. Select the one appropriate for your business needs, and click Create to open the worksheet.

  5. Create and fill out the workflow template based on your unique business process by editing or adding workflow steps.

How to Create a Workflow Template in Powerpoint

Microsoft PowerPoint offers a unique capability called SmartArt that allows users to insert premade flowcharts directly into a PowerPoint slide. To access this feature, follow these sequential steps:

  1. Open Microsoft PowerPoint.

  2. Select the Insert tab at the top of the screen in the Illustrations Group, and select SmartArt.

  3. In the SmartArt Gallery, click the Process tab. Here, you will find a large quantity of flowchart templates.

  4. Select the SmartArt process template that suits you, and insert it into the PowerPoint.

  5. Edit the template for your process. You can insert both text and pictures within the template to efficiently explain and represent you process as needed.

How to Create a Workflow Template in Visio

Visio offers every from basic to detailed workflow templates that outline business process with shapes, images, and text. Follow these steps to learn how to build the most effective Visio template for your business:

  1. Open Visio and select the Flowchart category, and select Basic Flowchart.

  2. For each step in your process, select and drag a new flowchart shape into your template.

  3. Connect flowchart shapes by simply holding your mouse over the first shape, selecting the arrow that pops up after a few seconds, and dragging it over to the shape you want to connect it to.

  4. Select any shape and click inside of it to add text to it to include additional information not evident from the shapes alone.

  5. Continue to add shapes and text to the template until your business process is completely explained via the visual Visio workflow template.

Build Powerful, Automated Approval Processes and Workflows with Smartsheet

Using standalone workflow templates is one way to document and monitor your processes. However, consider using tools that allow you to build repeatable, automated processes for larger scale work. One such tool is Smartsheet, an enterprise work execution platform that fundamentally changes the way teams, leaders, and businesses get work done. Over 74,000 brands and millions of information workers trust Smartsheet as the best way to plan, capture, manage, automate, and report on work.

You can build automated approval processes without a single line of code, complex formulas, or help from IT. Achieve faster progress by creating automated approval requests and automated update requests that are triggered based on preset rules. Use Smartsheet to automate and streamline the following approval processes: time card tracking, sales discounts, procurement, HR hiring, content, and more. Plus, Smartsheet integrates with the tools you already use, to seamlessly connect your efforts across applications.

Get from idea to impact, faster, by building a powerful, automated approval process in Smartsheet.

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