Online Data Flow Diagram

DFD Design and Modeling for Teams

Visually represent how data flows through systems. Collaborate in real-time with your team to show how data interacts and how it's stored.

Create a DFD

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  • Easy drag-and-drop interface and tools to draw multi-level DFD diagrams
  • Infinite canvas to analyze existing systems or model new ones
  • Custom shape libraries to showcase entities, processes & data stores
Online Data Flow Diagram
National Geographic

How to make a Data Flow Diagram?


Visualize System Data Flows

Visualize System Data Flows
  • Simple drag and drop tools to define complex systems with ease.

  • Multiple DFD templates with industry specific notations to show how data flows.

  • Multiple styling and color options to create fully customizable DFDs.

  • Plus Create to intuitively suggest the next shape based on what you are creating.

Visualize System Data Flows
Link and Connect Multiple Data Flows

Link and Connect Multiple Data Flows

Link and Connect Multiple Data Flows
  • DFD shape libraries to detail processes, analyze and identify areas to improve.

  • Dynamic connectors and advanced linking to create easy navigation flows.

  • Infinite canvas to visualize multiple DFDs in one place for analysis and reference.


Gather Multiple Inputs from Your Team

Gather Multiple Inputs from Your Team
  • Real-time cursors for any number of participants. Work together on a shared canvas.

  • Use @mention comments to have discussions and follow ups on the same DFD.

  • Embed data flow diagrams on any site or share with anyone via an email or link invite.

Gather Multiple Inputs from Your Team
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What is a Data Flow Diagram?

What is a Data Flow Diagram?

Data flow diagram depicts the way data is processed by a system, the inputs and outputs with a special focus on the information flow and storage. DFD’s describe the movement of data within an information system and visualizes the data processing and transformation activities. 

DFDs are used to analyze and design information systems, and can also be used to identify potential bottlenecks and areas for improvement. They are commonly used in software development, business process modeling, and system design.

How to Create a Data Flow Diagram with Your Team?

  1. Gather information about your systems

The team should first focus on defining the system and gathering the necessary information. This should include processes, external entities, data inputs, outputs, storage points, and pathways.

Get all your team members together on the same platform with Creately. Make use of Creately’s integrations with Microsoft Teams, Google, etc., to carry out dynamic discussions and planning sessions. Feel like you are in the same room.

  1. Understand the data flow

Identify where the data comes from, where it goes, and how it is transformed.

  1. Decide on the level of detail

Discuss with your team and understand the level of detail to include in the DFD. Should it be a high-level diagram or a detailed one?

  1. Create a context diagram

Create your DFD context diagram first. It should show the system’s boundary and external entities and their relationship with the system.

Select a data flow diagram template in Creately or start a workspace from scratch, and then name the workspace you just created.

  1. Create DFD levels

Create DFD levels that represent the system in more detail. Start with the context diagram and proceed to the lower levels. Add the identified processes, inputs, outputs, external entities, and data stores into the workspace. Denote how data flows through your system in the DFD and name them.

Open the shape library and locate the standard symbols and notations under ‘database’ to structure the diagram. Use dynamic connectors and the quick access toolbar to indicate the direction of flow and customize with preset color themes. Use links to go from context diagrams to other levels in the DFD.

  1. Validate the DFD

Validate the DFD by reviewing it. Share your data flow diagram with other key stakeholders or team members to gather their feedback with contextual comments on Creately. You can download your DFDs as PNGs, SVGs, PDFs, and JPEGs for printing, sharing, or publishing on websites, presentations, etc. You can also share it with anyone via an email or link invite.

  1. Document and update 

Document the DFD with your team before sharing it with others in the organization. Periodically review and update. Use Creately’s extensive documentation capabilities and notes panel to create a central repository of information for each element and level.

Editable Templates to Create Data Flow Diagrams

Online e-Learning System - Data Flow Diagram

Online e-Learning System - Data Flow Diagram

Communication System - Data Flow

Communication System - Data Flow

Restaurant Ordering System - DFD

Restaurant Ordering System - DFD

Ordering System Data Flow - Warehouse

Ordering System Data Flow - Warehouse

FAQs About the DFD Maker in Creately

Who uses data flow diagrams?
Data flow diagrams are used mainly by data analysts, product teams, and growth teams.
What are the different DFD levels?
  • Level 0: Context diagram

    • The most basic data flow diagram. Provides a broad overview of a process or system that is easy to understand. 
  • Level 1: Process decomposition

    • Level 1, while remaining broad, offers more detail than Level 0. The single process node from the context diagram is broken down into sub-processes. 
  • Level 2: Deeper dives

    • This level goes deeper into detail by breaking down each Level 1 process into granular subprocesses. 
  • Level 3: Increasing complexity

    • This level or any higher is rarely used as it requires more detail, which can make the diagram more complex.
Does Creately include symbols used specifically for data flow diagrams?
Yes! Creately supports both DFD - GS and DFD - YC standards. You can easily access the required symbols through the shape library. Click on the ‘plus’ sign located at the left-bottom corner of the workspace to open the shape library. Then click ‘All Shapes’ in the shapes section and select the icons you want to display. You can also type in your query in the ‘Search Items’ bar to search.
Can I format the colors, icons, and shapes in my DFD?
Yes, you can! Use Creately’s advanced formatting tools, including shape library, text editing functions, colors, and more, to shape your data flow diagram the way you want. Use dynamic connectors to connect shapes easily and to keep the flow intact.
Does Creately offer free online data flow diagram creating ability?
Yes. Sign up for Creately’s basic plan to access three canvases (with 60 items max) for free! For more information, check out
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