The websites in the government sector often provide Word files containing flowcharts. They are simple flowcharts with at most ten nodes in size, showing common workflows to people. There are several problem with this: downloading a separate file and opening it in a separate application is a pain. File is in proprietary format and is big. Lastly it is not friendly to search engines.

I thought of using image files instead, however this will be difficult to modify later on (for them at least), plus it is not index-able.

Are there other approaches to this? I have thought of PDF but still does not like how chunky it is. I have also thought of SVG but I do not know it well enough to say anything constructive.

An example would be this Word document

  • You're going to need to define "flow chart" a little more than that. Whether it's simple isn't only defined by the number of nodes. Can you provide an actual example? As far as being indexable, though, that's going to be limited no matter what. CSS trickery isn't going to really carry along the path information necessary to really understand the chart.
    – Su'
    Sep 2, 2011 at 3:38
  • Also, previous SO question with a very, very simple case and solution(that requires probably more code than it's worth).
    – Su'
    Sep 2, 2011 at 3:46
  • Sorry about that, I have added a sample document.
    – lulalala
    Sep 2, 2011 at 4:07

2 Answers 2


SVG would be a good approach for the future. However you'll need to find a tool to create SVG code because it's going to be fiddly to do it by hand. Also, it doesn't work on all browsers http://caniuse.com/#search=svg, particularly IE8 and earlier.


After a few days of searching I have the following potential answers:

  1. Use Google Doc's Drawing and embed using iframe. It's very accessible, easy to use and works. However it does not work in IE8, so one has to use its published PNG which is not indexable.

  2. Use SVG, but use svg2vml to dynamically convert it to VML, which should be viewable in IE.

  3. Use normal image but to put meta data in the tag, which is a hassle.

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