How to quickly create an Organisation chart

Apr 14, 2022 | Excel Hints and Tips, PowerPoint Hints and Tips, Word Hints and Tips

Organisation charts allow you to show the hierarchical structure in something like a company. If you try to create them by hand they are a nightmare because every time the structure needs to be changed a load of manual alterations follow. Countless hours can be spent realigning boxes and connecting lines only for more changes to be required a few months down the line and you are back to the time consuming and frustrating task of altering it again. 

But what if there was a tool that did it for you where all the boxes automatically aligned and any changes were quick to implement.  Let me introduce you to organisation chart in SmartArt Graphics!!  This feature is available in PowerPoint, Word and Excel although it is more likely to be used in the first two of these products.

Creating an Organisation Chart using SmartArt 

  1. Select SmartArt from the Insert tab 
  2. Choose Hierarchy to view the available hierarchy options. Many of these would be suitable for an organisation chart so it depends how you want it to look. Select the one you prefer (this can be adjusted later).  An explanation of how this diagram type would be used is given on the right. 
SmartArt Dialog box

3. In this case the first option will be used 
4. A diagram is produced showing a top level box with 3 below it and an assistant to the side 
5. To add text either type in the box or in the bulletted list to the left 

Company Structure

NOTE: In PowerPoint SmartArt Graphics can also be accessed by creating a slide with “content”. This content could be a chart, table, picture or more including SmartArt 

Adding more boxes to the Organisation Chart

There are several ways to add new boxes (people) to the chart.  The method detailed here is one of the most flexible 

  1. Select a box already created in the Organisation Chart 
  2. Click on the SmartArt Design tab that has appeared near the end of the ribbon. (If you are using an earlier version then this may be called Design.)  These tabs will only be present when you are clicked on the Organisation Chart created 
  3. Click on the drop down for Add Shape 
  4. The shapes can be added before, after, above or below the shape selected or an assistant can be produced that creates a box that pops to the side.  The boxes automatically resize and realign 



Add Shape

5. Text can be added to these shapes as before 

Removing boxes from the Organisation Chart 

The easiest way to remove a box is to click on the border of the box and press the Delete key 

Quick formatting of the Organisation Chart 

Using preset styles and colours the whole look and feel of the chart can be quickly altered. 

  1. Click on the SmartArt Design tab 
  2. Choose from the selection of Styles provided 
  3. Use the Change Colors icon to select a different colour combination from the default 
Styles and colours

Changing the Layout of the Organisation Chart 

If the diagram layout initially chosen proves not to be quite what you wanted you do not need to start again. 

  1. Click on the SmartArt Design tab 
  2. Choose from the selection of Layouts provided 

3. The initial ones shown are most likely to be suitable for the type of data shown in an Organisation Chart but more layouts will provide other choices. The look of the change can be seen by hovering over the layout before clicking on it so if the choice isn’t a good one you can move on to something better or stick with what you have got. 

If SmartArt graphics does not give you enough flexibility in the Organisation chart layout (and it is pretty good) then using Microsoft Visio is another option. This package is specifically designed to create diagrams. 

Further Reading

If you’ve enjoyed reading about how to quickly create an Organisation chart in Microsoft Office, there’s some other blogs below that you might find useful:

Want to learn more about Microsoft Office? Then email to discuss how I can help or have a look at the Microsoft Courses I run.