Last edited 15 Apr 2021


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A schematic is a diagram used to illustrate the elements of a system at an abstract level. This typically involves the use of graphic symbols and lines rather than a 'realistic' representation.

A schematic will generally not show details unless they are expressly relevant to what is being conveyed, unless they assist comprehension.

A common example of a schematic is an electrical circuit diagram, which uses symbols in a layout which may not resemble the actual circuit layout but are instead arranged for ease of interpretation. Similarly, a transit map uses graphic symbols to represent stations and the arrangement of the train lines will often not resemble the geographic location of the stations in relation to one another.

NB The Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply (CIPS) Glossary of procurement terms, defines a schematic as: ‘A diagram showing the main form and features of something to help people to understand it.’

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