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Fishbone diagrams

Lead problem-solving sessions with a well-designed fishbone diagram. Find solutions to any given issue with whiteboard templates and tools from Canva’s online fishbone diagram creator. We’ll give you the bones, you just add the rest!
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Playa Bowls
Painting with a Twist
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City of Los Angeles

Create a fishbone diagram online

Whether you’re attempting to solve a problem on your own or with a team, it helps to visualize your ideas. With our fishbone diagram maker, you can root out causes for existing and future problems and organize all your data in a format that just makes sense. Canva Whiteboards gives you editable templates, visualization and collaboration tools, and all the space you need to get to the meat of any issue.

Infinite space made for unlimited ideas

Professionally designed templates to fast-track your workflow

Share and ideate with anyone, anytime, on any device

Run a workshop with whiteboard elements, sticky notes, and a timer

Embed your fishbone diagram in Docs, presentations, and more easily

Easy online whiteboard tools and data visualization


How to create a fishbone diagram

How to create a fishbone diagram
Create a fishbone diagram(opens in a new tab or window)

Open Canva on your desktop or mobile and search for “Fishbone Diagram” or “Cause and Effect Diagram” to start a whiteboard design.

Select a free fishbone diagram template from our collection or start building your diagram from scratch using our whiteboard tools.

Write the main problem on the fish’s head. Then, add causes on each bone. You can break causes down into categories (i.e. manpower, methods, machines) and add details under each heading.

Use elements like connectors to draw bones and shapes. Add stickies to create headings and subheadings for the causes. Customize the fonts and colors. Browse our library for more elements.

Send a link to your team to collaborate on the diagram in real time. Set timed discussions and leave comments. Present your diagram straight from the editor or download it as an image/PDF.
Create a fishbone diagram(opens in a new tab or window)

What is a fishbone diagram?

A fishbone diagram, also known as an Ishikawa diagram or cause-and-effect analysis, is a visualization tool used to identify all possible factors contributing to an issue or defect. Fishbone diagrams are used not only to solve existing problems within an organization, but to map out and mitigate potential risks as well.

Why use fishbone diagrams?

Fishbone Diagrams overview

In the root-cause analysis approach, proponents believe that to solve a problem, you need to address the underlying issues first. Ishikawa diagrams are great for visualizing that very process, with a structure that encourages looking at a problem from multiple angles.


From corporate to medical settings, fishbone diagrams have a sea of applications. For example, in product development, fishbone diagrams are useful for identifying gaps in the current market, while in the medical setting, they can be used to prevent bottlenecks and inefficient processes.

Start fishing for ideas in a few clicks

Use Canva whiteboard to create Fishbone Diagrams

Creating fishbone diagrams can not only be fiddly but time-consuming as well. But with Canva Whiteboards, you can complete one in just minutes. Select a free template from our library and use our straightforward drag-and-drop editor to start customizing. No design experience? Get a helping hand from Canva Assistant.

Enjoy a treasure trove of tools and elements

Drag and drop elements in Fishbone Diagrams

Make your fishbone diagram completely your own with our expansive library of fonts, automatic connectors, customizable shapes, graphics, stickers, photos, videos, charts, frames, and other tools. Add a table(opens in a new tab or window) to summarize all points raised in your diagram and assign point persons to get to the root of each underlying cause.

Collaborate easily with your crew

Fishbone Diagrams team collaboration

Why work alone when you can invite your team aboard? Encourage collaboration with tools like sticky notes, comments, timers, and colored cursors that help keep track of who’s working on what. And if you’re presenting a diagram and a teammate wants to add their insights, you can easily transform your presentation(opens in a new tab or window) into a whiteboard with just one click.

Cast your net as wide as you like

Sketch your Fishbone Diagram ideas using Draw

Don’t let space — or lack thereof — affect the quality of your work. With Canva Whiteboards, everyone has unlimited space to process their thoughts, expand the diagram, and even sketch out their ideas using Draw(opens in a new tab or window), our online drawing tool.

Start inspired with a fishbone diagram template

Get to the bottom of any problem with our fishbone diagram maker. Browse our collection for a fishbone diagram template that fits your preferred tone and style and get started on your whiteboard design.
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“When it came to design reports, Canva had a wide variety of simple easy to use templates that allowed me to easily plug in my graphs and information, and helped me to focus on the actual content instead of spending hours and hours on design.”

Assem A


Frequently Asked Questions

A fishbone diagram consists of a “head”, where the main problem goes, and several “bones”, where you note down the causes that contribute to the problem. Sometimes, it is necessary to write broad headings atop each bone and add more specific subheadings and details underneath or between each bone.

In root-cause analysis, the “5 whys” technique involves repeating the question “why” five times. This technique helps break down the causes and sub-causes of a problem until you reach a clear and actionable root. Here is an example of a 5 whys analysis in a warehouse management setting:

Problem: Customers are complaining about delivery delays.
Why? Because the warehouse is taking more time than usual to ship out orders.
Why? Because the staff have to reprint the product labels.
Why? Because of a misprint issue on the last batch of labels.
Why? Because a staffer input the wrong information.
Why? Because of an outdated option listed on the website.
The root cause: the outdated information on the website.

Fishbone diagrams can be used to encourage students to investigate problems from multiple points of view and organize seemingly abstract concepts into categories. Fishbone diagrams can also be used to kick off discussions which, in turn, allow students to practice their analytical and critical thinking skills.

To make a fishbone diagram online, simply log into Canva and browse our library for dozens of free fishbone diagram templates. Select the template you like and start customizing it with our easy-to-use drag-and-drop editor. Once you’re done, share your diagram via email, download it as a JPG, PNG, or PDF file, or print it via Canva Print.

Related Charts and Graphs

Reel in problems big and small with a fishbone diagram