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8 Best Free Fishbone Diagram Templates & Examples for Analysis in 2024

Yiyang Zhang

Ever felt overwhelmed trying to untangle the complexities of your projects or understand the roots of persistent problems? Enter the fishbone diagram – your ultimate solution for organizing ideas,brainstorming, and dissecting challenges.

Curious about how to unleash its potential? We've got you covered with 8 ready-to-use fishbone diagram templates. Whether you're navigating a complex project or just craving clarity in your thought process, these templates are your secret weapon. Ready to revolutionize your problem-solving game? Let's dive into the transformative world of fishbone diagrams.

What is a Fishbone Diagram?

A fishbone diagram, also known as a cause and effect or Ishikawa diagram, is a helpful tool used to identify and analyze the root causes of problems or challenges. It is called a fishbone diagram because it looks like a fish's skeleton, with the problem at the head and potential causes branching out like bones. This diagram helps to clarify the relationships between various contributing factors by categorizing elements into groups such as people, processes, equipment, materials, and environment. This helps to shed light on potential issues or barriers to success. The fishbone diagram encourages collaboration and brainstorming among team members while also ensuring a systematic exploration of causes, which prevents the oversight of critical aspects. It provides a structured framework for discussions that emphasizes addressing underlying issues instead of treating symptoms. Whether you are enhancing business processes, troubleshooting technical challenges, or analyzing customer feedback, the fishbone diagram is an essential tool in your problem-solving toolkit.

How Can You Utilize a Fishbone Diagram Template: Step-by-Step Guide

Fishbone diagram templates can be a valuable tool in various scenarios. To utilize a fishbone diagram template effectively, follow these steps:


Step1: Identify the Problem

  • Clearly define the problem or issue that needs to be addressed. This will serve as the "head" of your fishbone diagram.

Step2: Determine Major Categories

  • Think about different factors that could contribute to the problem. Common categories include people, processes, equipment, materials, environment, and management systems.

Step3: Brainstorm Possible Causes

  • In each category branch of your fishbone diagram, brainstorm all potential causes related to that category. Encourage input from team members or colleagues to ensure comprehensive coverage.

Step4: Analyze Cause-Effect Relationships

  • Connect each potential cause with arrows to its corresponding category branch. This helps visualize how different factors may interact and contribute to the overall problem.

Step5: Prioritize Root Causes

  • Evaluate which causes are most likely responsible for the problem by considering their impact and frequency of occurrence. Focus on addressing these root causes first for maximum effectiveness.

Utilizing fishbone diagram templates empowers individuals and teams with an effective framework for organizing thoughts, analyzing problems from multiple angles, generating innovative ideas, identifying root causes efficiently, and communicating findings effectively!

8 Free Fishbone Diagram Templates To Use

If you're looking to create a fishbone diagram, also known as an Ishikawa diagram or cause-and-effect diagram, but don't want to start from scratch, we've got you covered. Here are eight free fishbone diagram templates that you can use to streamline your brainstorming and problem-solving processes.

1. AFFiNE Marketing and Sales Pipeline Fishbone Template


This AFFiNE marketing and sales pipeline fishbone template strategically guides your business through seven key stages, from prospecting to business growth and referrals. Tailored for in-depth analysis and improvement, this template visually dissects your pipeline, empowering you to identify bottlenecks and optimize performance. Whether refining prospecting strategies or enhancing customer retention, it's your comprehensive guide to elevating your marketing and sales journey.

2. AFFiNE Cause & Effect Diagram Template


Instead of the fish-like format, this AFFiNE cause-and-effect diagram template is your tree-like tool for structured problem-solving. Aimed at identifying and analyzing root causes, the template features five categories—People, Processes, Equipment, Materials, and Environment. It facilitates a comprehensive exploration of factors contributing to the identified issue. From insufficient training to outdated equipment, each branch offers a detailed exploration of potential contributors, setting the stage for actionable solutions.

3. Creately Simple Fishbone Diagram Template


This editable fishbone diagram template from Creately is designed to help you identify the possible causes of an event or problem. You can use it to brainstorm, discuss, and analyze with your colleagues. Once you have identified the root causes, you can export the diagram in various formats like JPEG, PNG, and SVG and easily add it to your Word documents, Powerpoint (PPT) presentations, Excel sheets, or any other documents.

4. Lucidspark Fishbone Diagram Template


The Lucidspark fishbone diagram template is designed to assist teams in brainstorming solutions by identifying the root cause and effect of current problems. You can use this template to consider all the potential factors contributing to your specific issue and develop effective strategies to address it.

5. SmartDraw Product Failure Cause and Effect Template


Smartdraw's fishbone diagram templates are free and customizable, providing an effective solution. This template helps you group causes into categories, display them in a structured manner, and build new processes to prevent recurring issues. It also helps improve understanding with stakeholders.

6. Smartsheet Fishbone Diagram Template


This Smartsheet fishbone diagram template can assist you in identifying the underlying causes of a problem quickly and efficiently. With the fishbone diagram template, you can solve problems effectively. This example is provided to help users with their fishbone diagram designs. You will find it convenient to use this editable template.

7. Venngage Production Process Fishbone Template


The Venngage production process fishbone template is a useful tool that can help you structure brainstorming sessions. It's designed to identify and analyze the potential root causes of a problem or effect. The diagram takes the shape of a fishbone and breaks down the causes into broad categories, often using the '4Ms': Methods, Machines, Materials, and Measurement. By laying out the complexity of the causes of a problem, this fishbone diagram promotes deep understanding, enabling more effective solutions and strategies to be developed.

8. Vertex42 Fishbone Diagram Template


The Vertex42 fishbone diagram template is designed in an angled format, similar to most fishbone diagrams. This template is quite easy to customize and edit, unlike the hassle of constantly adjusting text boxes and arrows. You can utilize cell formatting to add or remove branches to the diagram. Additionally, you can insert rows to create more space for primary causes. For secondary or tertiary causes, you can use text indenting within a cell.

Whether you're tackling organizational challenges in healthcare or trying to optimize your marketing strategy, these free fishbone diagram templates are versatile tools that will guide your analysis and decision-making process with ease!

Incorporate Fishbone Diagram Templates into Your Workflow

A fishbone diagram is an effective tool for organizing ideas and identifying the root causes of a problem. By visually mapping out all possible causes, it allows you to analyze and address issues more efficiently. A well-organized fishbone diagram can be meticulously crafted by using AFFiNE's fishbone templates. Try it now!


AFFiNE is a versatile editor that lets you write, draw, plan, and present all in one place. Easily capture detailed information about your new business using the page mode, allowing for straightforward document editing. Efficiently organize your projects by using a database to keep track of deadlines, assign responsibilities, and effortlessly monitor project progress. Take advantage of AFFiNE's powerful whiteboard feature to brainstorm ideas with your team. Moreover, craft visually appealing posters about your business for seamless publication and display on different social media platforms. AFFiNE offers a user-friendly platform for comprehensive business management and seamless team collaboration.

Key features:

  • Template Gallery in AFFiNE: There is a curated collection of powerful whiteboard templates in AFFiNE. From the robust concept map to the insightful fishbone diagram and the comprehensive SWOT, an array of additional templates awaits your exploration, promising to expand the horizons of your marketing and sales pipeline crafting and execution. These templates serve as your launchpad, enabling you to skip the groundwork and jump straight into action. Crafted for seamless collaboration, AFFiNE's templates provide structured canvases for various tasks, saving you valuable time and enhancing efficiency in project management, content creation, and planning.


  • Content Creation & Visual Brainstorming: Use AFFiNE to design visually appealing posters for your business. Create eye-catching visuals that can be embedded within your diagrams to highlight special offers, product launches, or events. Boasting essential features like a plethora of colors, diverse font options, shapes, and connectors, this powerful tool is designed to elevate your creative process. Transform your ideas into compelling business posters with unparalleled ease and versatility!


  • Collaborative Editing: Foster collaboration among team members by using AFFiNE's collaborative editing tools, and foster collaboration among team members. Multiple team members can work on email content simultaneously, ensuring a seamless and efficient content creation process. Share files, exchange ideas, and provide feedback in real time through AFFiNE. With AFFiNE, everyone can contribute to the same set of notes in real time.


Upgrade your diagram, embrace the power of AFFiNE, and witness the transformative impact on your design abilities. Now that you have learned about the fishbone diagram template, it's time to put your knowledge into action. And what better way to do that than with AFFiNE? Commence crafting a fishbone diagram by using AFFiNE's user-friendly tool. Presently, AFFiNE has launched its Stable Version, with ongoing efforts to develop a more comprehensive and dependable iteration. Join us on our voyage through our social media channels and be part of the experience. Come and join us on our journey over on our media platforms. 🚀

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