What is an SOP template?

Mar 28, 2023

An SOP template is a document format used to create an organisation’s standard operating procedures so that they are consistent and easy to follow. The style of the template tends to have varying formats but is generally step-by-step in nature. Where the task is a physical interaction such as operator tasks for machines the, it is helpful include images and even video.

A well-designed SOP Template will help employees to follow the process when conducting the task, and it will help managers to implement a clear, systematic approach in a well-written document.

The content and level of detail in the standard operating procedure template shall be proportional to how critical the instruction is. If the consequences of human error or violation are not acceptable then the SOP template shall have a greater level of detail. The readers capabilities and circumstances will also influence the template I.e., for the public you must use very simple templates and even consider language barriers, whereas professionals with time to review and have understanding assessed can be longer and more detailed SOP templates.

Procedure steps

Different SOP Formats

Checklist Format

This style of SOP template is simple and the most straightforward, as it resembles a ‘to-do’ list. This type of SOP format is extremely easy to follow and can be used for a variety of applications, from individual preparation for a task, or seeing through project completion. SOP templates that take on this format are highly flexible and can be customised easily. Checklists are a good way to measure results as the employee can record the ticked tasks at a glance. It also effortlessly captures processes without overcomplication and confusing the user. However, there might be certain applications where a checklist is too ‘simple’; it may not accommodate variables or differing outcomes. A flowchart template may be more accommodating in these cases.


Flowcharts are mostly used in complex decision-making, where the process needs to be simplified. It represents actions using shapes and instructions and enables the user to map procedures with possible outcomes. These should only be used where the reader has sufficient understanding of the flowchart format to readily understand it. The two different types of flowcharts are:

Organisational: This type of flowchart enables the user to see their responsibilities and that of their team members on a hierarchical basis. When they perform a task, they know whom to pass the ‘baton’ to in any given work process.

Process Chart: This type of chart highlights the process of achieving tasks using a visual overview.

Step by Step

This type of SOP includes bulleted or numbered lists that outline the steps necessary to complete processes. Step by Step SOP checklists are best suited for more simple tasks that require little detail or explanation. This is ideal for tasks such as how to use a particular piece of equipment, or how to log into a programme.

This type of SOP template will be a document that presents a linear way of developing a task. You cannot accomplish task 2 before finishing task 1.

Please Read our SOP Guide to learn more = The Complete SOP Guide

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