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In Design Last updated: April 5, 2023
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Use these templates and diagram-maker tools to create Fishbone or Ishikawa diagrams in a jiffy. 

A Fishbone diagram is a graphical way to recognize, understand, and resolve problems around a topic or an organization. Hence, whether you are a student or a project manager, this diagram can assist you with problem identification. 

By using this for risk management, you can prevent your team from performing unnecessary production steps and revealing bottlenecks of a business process. 

To learn more about this method, continue reading this post. Here, we will also share the resources that help you create Ishikawa diagrams in a few minutes.

What is a Fishbone Diagram? 


Fishbone diagrams are a type of casual diagrams that are used to identify the reasons for a certain action. People also call these diagrams Ishikawa diagrams, Fishikawa diagrams, Herringbone graphs, and cause-and-effect illustrations.

The main objective of it is to make you understand the causes of a problem that you should handle to prevent a certain occurrence. Its design can seamlessly show the potential causes of a particular process.

You will commonly see its use by product development who need it for brainstorming and outlining the different stages of a process. Besides, one can use it to find out which quality control issues can arise during production.

As you look at this diagram, its structure will look similar to a fish skeleton. The head contains the central problem, also known as the effect. The ribs or branches growing from the spine contains the causes or affinities. 

While working on this diagram during brainstorming sessions, you can also add smaller branches to these affinities to include specific causes.

The popular use cases of this diagram include:

#1. Cause & Effect Analysis

Cause & Effect Analysis

The most common use cases of Fishbone diagrams are to determine the underlying cause of the problem or reasons for the failure of a product. Teams should come up with a problem statement that contains the failed product name and observations regarding it.

Based on that statement, they can create an Ishikawa diagram for a visual depiction or explanation of the failure. With its elements, they can easily find out what was responsible for the failure.

#2. Product Development

These diagrams are also useful for product development teams to clearly outline the stages of the process. Using it, the development team can figure out the necessary resources for specific times and potential quality control issues.

#3. Troubleshooting

Apart from the above cases, organizations also use the diagram for troubleshooting or resolving systematic problems. As the diagram puts all the possible causes before you in the text format, finding the possible troublemakers of each category becomes easier. 

Concept Behind a Fishbone or Ishikawa Diagram


Every classic Ishikawa diagram consists of 6 bones or ribs, known as 6 Ms. These represent potential failures that have to be identified and rectified.


This indicates all the people involved in the organizational work. Though uncommon, it can cause unfavorable consequences.


It refers to the production process and its related services. If the methods or processes are not streamlined and standardized, they can become hard to follow and cause trouble.


Mismanaged machines and equipment are often responsible for underlying technical or maintenance difficulties.


Materials are resources used in the production line. When incorrectly characterized, labeled, or stored, these can cause serious trouble.

Mother Nature

Mother nature means any environmental factors such as climate, storms, earthquakes, fires, and flood which is beyond our control and prediction. 


Every production involves measurements of various kinds such as distance, quantity, temperature, and tension. When not done correctly, it might cause issues with a long-lasting impact.

How to Create a Fishbone Diagram


Now that you are aware of the basic principles behind an Ishikawa diagram, creating one for you or your team should not be an issue. All you need to do is follow the below workflow:

#1. Identify and Document the Problem

Since a Fishbone diagram revolves around a single problem, you need to identify that first. If working as a team, everyone should agree on the problem unanimously. Once you are determined, write down the problem statement.

In the diagram, you should write this statement in the fish’s head. You can also note down when and where the issue occurs.

#2. Brainstorm the Categories 


Now is the time for your team to decide upon the main categories of causes. For example, people, materials, systems, or vendors might be the significant forces behind an issue. For every category, you need to draw one rib or line from the fish spine of the diagram. 

#3. Identify Potential Causes 

At this point, consider each factor you have figured out earlier to find out the potential causes behind each of these. Draw shorter lines from the bones you drew to visualize these potential causes. For complex cases, one might have to draw smaller sub-branch lines.

#4. Analyze the diagram

With a diagram that has all possible causes of the problem statement, you can investigate further using surveys. Try to analyze these causes to locate the main culprit.

Resources for Fishbone Diagram Templates

Templates are a great way to start creating a chart or diagram. Here are some reliable websites where users will find a variety of templates for the Ishikawa diagram.


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Miro offers you an effective Fishbone diagram template that you can use to visualize the probable causes of a problem. If you are part of a team or project that needs to solve a problem collaboratively, this platform is perfect for you.

The template allows you to find the root causes of a problem, know the outcomes of the diagram, and perform voting. Here, users can add text, put an arrow to extend a point, comment on a cause, and do many more things. 

You can increase the template size and use the undo/redo buttons. You can also share the diagram created on this template with other stakeholders.


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Lucidchart is a platform that lets you analyze cause and effect quickly using its Fishbone diagram creator. Use it to analyze and pinpoint the root causes of problems and find out the possible solutions.

It has a collection of more than 800 diagram templates that you can share with your colleagues. With it, brainstorming can become a real-time event with mention commenting and in-editor chat.

On this platform, you can create thorough Fishbone diagrams that include an abundance of lines, spacing, and texts. It does not limit your space and lets you add as many lines as you want to draw and write down as much text as necessary to identify all possible causes. 

Lucidchart also helps you keep the diagram professional and clutter-free by offering features such as adding, grouping, and formatting any section of the diagram. 



If you are looking for an array of templates for the Ishikawa diagram, TemplateLAB should be your go-to option. Here, you get more than 20 templates of this diagram and that tool of various file formats such as MS Word document, MS PowerPoint, and Photoshop

The templates are available in different designs and color schemes. In case you want to use a template that matches the color palette of your brand, pick from this wide range of collections.

These are available for one-click download and social sharing on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.


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Whether you need a Fishbone diagram for brainstorming, thought processing, and problem resolving, Canva will provide you with astounding templates. Here, you get more than 25 templates for this particular diagram type. 

All available templates are professionally-designed so users can fast-track their workflow and collaboration. Anyone can use it straight away for data visualization without any need to learn any complex tool. 

Furthermore, it allows you to edit the templates with drag-and-drop tools that you can use without any prior experience. It also offers ample options to customize the look of the diagram by changing the images, background, font, and text box colors.

The diagrams created using this platform can be downloaded, published, and shared with others. 


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As people might need to create Fishbone diagrams for analyzing problems of various domains, they can choose suitable templates from the collection of Edraw. It only takes one click to download the template. However, you need to use the EdrawMax application to open the templates available in eddx file format. 

On this website, you get templates for time management, labs, categories, Electrolytes, cause and effect, node, service problem, market cause, academic record, result delay, reading interest, and various other topics.

Fishbone Diagram Makers

If you need online platforms to collaboratively make Fishbone diagrams, these are some top resources:


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Creately is an online platform for visual brainstorming and collaboration in order to create Fishbone diagrams. Teams and individuals can utilize it to improve organizational processes and performance.

This tool empowers you with powerful styling and text formatting options. Other features of this app include group brainstorming functionalities and the facility to link the diagram with documents, spreadsheets, and reports.

Creately also supports powerful integrations so that you can link the tool with other tools and workflows. Users can add comments, mention people, or even take notes for effortless follow-up.

Its color scheme is also configurable which allows you to differentiate between cause and effect. Every participant gets a dedicated cursor to identify who is making changes to the diagram in real-time.

EdrawMax Online

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Teams that need to identify possible causes of their problem and come up with a quick solution should go for EdrawMax Online. This powerful online tool helps you overcome organizational issues by letting you create a professional Fishbone diagram.

It provides you with a collection of templates with different styles where you can simply drag and drop your preferred shapes and add your content. The shapes are flexible while the connection points and branches are nicely spaced for a neat layout.

Also, there is no need to worry about data security as Edraw protects your data from advertisers and data analytic companies. It is also possible to export the diagram in PPT format and present it in a meeting. Its automatically generated HTML link is another way to share it with your teammates. 


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When it comes to creating professional Fishbone diagrams, SmartDraw is here for you. Using this online platform, you can create an Ishikawa diagram in a few minutes. You can also use it on your Windows and Mac computer. 

Drawing this diagram on this tool is super easy. All you need to do is to open a relevant template and add ribs or causes to it to include the causes by typing. Since the app does much of the drawing, you can focus on adding the causes only.

Additionally, it automatically connects the causes and allows you to move or delete them without manual connection redrawing. One can share these diagrams with teammates for collaboration using Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, etc. For non-SmartDraw users, emailing the link is enough.

Wrapping Up

An Ishikawa or Fishbone diagram is a visual approach for proactive risk controls. It lets you identify the causes and threats that you may not see with bare eyes. 

Companies can use it for cause and effect analysis and avoid employee burnout. It also benefits the individual users by ensuring corrective actions.

You can either follow the manual method of creating a Fishbone diagram or use built-in templates to get going immediately. Besides, you can use the online diagram makes for collaborative work.

If you are into charts and diagrams, do not forget to check out our articles on application architecture diagram and comparison charts.

  • Tamal Das
    Tamal is a freelance writer at Geekflare. After completing his MS in Science, he joined reputed IT consultancy companies to acquire hands-on knowledge of IT technologies and business management. Now, he’s a professional freelance content… read more
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