6 Best Ways to Create Organizational Chart in Microsoft Excel

Don’t know how to create an organizational chart in Microsoft Excel? Let me describe to you the top methods in simple steps.

Org chart of the organizational chart is a great way to visualize the structure and hierarchy of a modern organization. It allows the people involved in an organization to get a clear idea about all personnel and their relationships.

With this chart, it becomes easier for the team members to communicate, collaborate, and make any crucial decisions. As this chart plays an important role for the officials, every company would want to get one.

While there are various software available for creating organizational charts, you might want to use Microsoft Excel if you are already familiar with the interface of this versatile application. This application also lets you easily create the chart and modify it whenever there is a change in the company hierarchy.

So, what are you waiting for? Start reading this article and find out how you can cut on using a new application for the purpose of org chart creation and use MS Excel instead.

What Is an Organizational Chart?

What Is an Organizational Chart?
Example of an Organizational Chart

An organizational chart is a visual representation of the hierarchical structure and relationships within a business. The diagram illustrates the chain of command, reporting relationships, and the distribution of responsibilities among various roles.

Typically presented in a hierarchical tree format, an org chart provides a clear and concise overview of how different roles and departments interact. The chart showcases positions from the top leadership, often the CEO or founder, down to frontline employees. Sometimes, the org chart may include functional divisions, teams, or specific job titles.

Beyond depicting reporting structures, organizational charts can also display information about the flow of communication, coordination, and decision-making processes. This visual tool is invaluable for employees to understand their roles, responsibilities, and the broader structure of the organization.

Reasons to Create Org Chart in Microsoft Excel

As mentioned earlier, an organizational chart is the most convenient approach to convey the relationship dynamics of an organization among its members and employees. But, that’s not the only reason a company might want to make an org chart defining all the roles of the team members.

Find below the reasons why you may want to create an organizational chart, that too in Microsoft Excel.

  • Convey organizational structure and team dynamics at a glance
  • Visualize organizational strengths to assist in strategic decision-making
  • Ensure streamlined communication among the team members
  • Visualize succession planning and talent pipelining effortlessly
  • Define roles and responsibilities necessary for workflow optimization
  • Generate professional-looking charts on Microsoft Excel, ideal for reports and presentations
  • Create easily editable charts where any structural changes can be accommodated
  • Make the org chart creation process easy with the familiar Excel interface
  • Skip the need to download and install another software to create an org chart
  • Create custom charts with adjustable hierarchies for specific organizational needs

Using Excel Shapes and Connecting Arrows

There are many vector art shapes in Excel. You’ll find these in the Illustrations commands block of the Insert tab.

These are perfect elements for creating an organizational chart. If you already know how to create an organizational chart and have the content for it, here’s how you can do it in Excel:

Shapes in Illustrations of Excel
Shapes in Illustrations of Excel
  1. Open your Excel worksheet that contains the hierarchy of people in the business.
  2. Go to the Insert tab.
  3. Click on the Shapes drop-down in the Illustrations dialog box.
  4. On the Shapes context menu, you should be able to get all the vector art you need in the Lines and Rectangles category.
  5. The most common shape to put the names of employees of the organization is the Rectangle: Rounded Corners vector art.
  6. Make multiple copies of it and place it on the worksheet in a hierarchical order or as per your organizational chart design.
  7. You can connect the shapes using various Line vector arts like Line Arrow, Connector: Elbow Arrow, etc.
Entering text and personalizing Shapes
Entering text and personalizing Shapes
  1. Double-click on the shapes to enter the names and roles of the employees.
  2. To customize the shapes, click any shape and go to the Shape Format tab on the Excel ribbon menu.

If you’re new to making org charts, find below an example you can follow:

Org chart contents
Org chart contents
  • CEO/Founder
    • Marketing Director
    • Sales Manager
      • Sales Team Alpha
      • Sales Team Beta
    • Content Manager
      • Copywriter
      • Editor
    • Social Media Manager
    • SEO Specialist 
    • PPC Specialist
    • Web Developer

Now, I’m going to create an organizational chart using the above data in Excel using Shapes and Lines.

Org chart created using Shapes and Lines
Org chart created using Shapes and Lines

I added 12 Rectangle: Rounded Corners from Insert > Illustrations > Shapes.

I linked all the shapes using the Connector: Elbow Arrow from the Lines category of the Shapes vector art library.

Connector lines and points
Connector lines and points

The Connector: Elbow Arrow should automatically connect one shape to another when you insert it and click on the originating shape. You should see connecting dots on other shapes adjacent to the originating shape.

Using Excel Drawing Tools

The Excel Drawing Tools is another feature you can make use of to create custom org charts by handwriting and hand drawing.

It works best on tablet computers where you can use a stylus to write or draw things. The Drawing Tools items like Ink to Shape and Ink to Math enable you to convert raw hand writings and drawings into digital texts, numbers, and shapes.

Find below the quick steps to create an org chart in Excel using the Drawing Tools:

Excel Drawing Tools
Excel Drawing Tools
  1. Open the Excel workbook where you saved the org chart content.
  2. Click the Draw tab on the Excel ribbon menu.
  3. In the Drawing Tools command block, choose any Pen like Black or Red.
  4. If you click the drop-down menu on the Pen, you can change the color and thickness.
Hand drawn shapes
Hand drawn shapes
  1. Now, draw the shapes you need by hand.
Lasso Select
Lasso Select
  1. Then, click on the Lasso Select tool.
  2. Use the Lasso Select cursor to circle the hand-drawn shapes.
Convert your ink
Convert your ink
  1. A box selection with a Lightning icon will appear around the hand-drawn shape.
  2. Click on the Lightning icon.
Convert your ink
Convert your ink
  1. Excel will automatically refine the circled shapes into similar fine-tuned shapes.
  2. Repeat the steps for the rest of the shapes.
Text box in shapes
Text box in shapes
  1. Align the shapes in a hierarchy of the org chart.
  2. You can now draw lines using the Pen tool and again use the Ink to Shape to fine-tune the hand-drawn lines.
  3. To enter texts inside these shapes you can go to Insert > Text and add Text Boxes as much as you need.

Using Cell Border Modifications

You can also use the Format Cells > Border feature to create org chart in Excel using Excel cells. There’s no need to add additional shapes or text boxes. You can simply modify the visuals of the cells to give them an org chart structure.

Also, you can any time change the contents of the cell either by manual data entry or referencing to other cells using formulas and fucntions.

Find below how to create the above org chart in Excel simply modifying cell borders:

Org chart contents in cell
Org chart contents in cell
  1. Input the org chart contents in cells of the Excel worksheet.
  2. Organize the cells into a hierarchy tree.
Thick borders outside cells
Thick borders outside cells
  1. Create thick borders around these cells using Borders > Thick Outside Borders in the Home tab.
Cell borders line style
Cell borders line style
  1. Click on the Borders tool again and choose a thick Line Style from the context menu.
Draw borders pen tool
Draw borders pen tool
  1. Again, click the Borders tool and select the Draw Border option.
  2. Your Excel cursor will change into a pen icon.
Drawing borders
Drawing borders
  1. Use that to draw borders around the cells to create connecting lines between all of the previously bordered cells.

Using SmartArt Graphics

In Excel, SmartArt graphics enable you to illustrate concepts and ideas by choosing from a gallery of predefined shapes and layouts.

You can easily create hierarchy charts, process diagrams, cycle diagrams, and more using SmartArts. You don’t need advanced graphic design skills to use SmartArts. SmartArt graphics are dynamic and can be easily linked to cell values from an Excel worksheet.

Here’s how you can start using SmartArt for org chat-making:

Selecting a SmartArt graphic
Selecting a SmartArt graphic
  1. Open the worksheet that contains the company employee details.
  2. Click on a blank cell and go to Insert > SmartArt.
  3. Select the Hierarchy category on the SmartArt dialog box.
  4. Choose a hierarchy that best matches your organizational chart requirements, for example, Name and Title Organization Chart.
Editing SmartArt graphics
Editing SmartArt graphics
  1. A template of the selected org chart will show up on the worksheet.
  2. You must enter the org chart details in the Type your text here side panel of the SmartArt object.
  3. Excel will automatically enter the details into the actual org chart elements.
  4. To enter more than one top-level role, select the first box and hit Enter.
  5. Once done editing the org chart, close the Type your text here navigation pane.

Using Excel Templates

The Microsoft 365 Create portal contains multiple chart templates and some of those are org chart templates.

You can download such a template and edit it to create your own org chart in Excel. Here are the steps you can try:

Layered 5 level org chart
Layered 5 level org chart
  1. Visit the Excel Microsoft 365 Create portal.
  2. Ensure you’re logging in using your Microsoft 365 subscription email.
  3. Click on the Layered 5 level or Org charts (visual) template.
Customize in Excel
Customize in Excel
  1. If you wish to edit it in Excel for the web app, click Customize in Excel.
  2. Alternatively, if you wish to edit the template in the Excel desktop app, click the Download button.
Enable editing
Enable editing
  1. Open the downloaded Excel file.
  2. Click on the Enable Editing button on the top, near the Excel ribbon menu.
Editing an org chart template
Editing an org chart template
  1. The Contents worksheet contains the information regarding the template.
  2. The second worksheet is for the Layered 5 level and the third worksheet is for Sub-layered 5 level org charts.
  3. Now, edit the texts of the shapes in the org chart to customize it.

Using Visio Add-In for Excel

All the org chart-making methods mentioned so far need manual entry of org chart contents. Manually editing the content could be time-consuming and error-prone.

If you wish to automate the process of organizational chart-making in Excel, you must try the Microsoft Visio Data Visualizer tool.

The tool comes as a separate desktop or web app in Microsoft 365. However, Microsoft also developed an Excel add-in for Visio. You can add this add-in to Excel for dynamic org chart-making in Excel. Find the steps to use the Visio add-in below:

Install Visio Add-In

Installing the Visio data visualizer
Installing the Visio data visualizer
  1. Open your Excel workbook and go to a blank worksheet.
  2. Click on the Developer tab.
  3. You should find the Insert an Add-in button inside the Add-ins block. Click on it.
  4. Click the Store tab on the Office Add-ins dialog.
  5. In the Search box, type Visio, and hit Enter.
  6. The Microsoft Visio Data Visualizer will show up on the top of the Excel add-in search results.
  7. Click the Add button.

If you don’t have the Developer tab in your Excel desktop app, learn here how to add the Developer Tab in Microsoft Excel.

Add Org Chart Using Visio Add-In

Run Visio add-in
Run Visio add-in
  1. Click the Add-ins button of the Developer tab again.
  2. On the My Add-Ins tab, double-click on the Microsoft Visio Data Visualizer add-in.
Adding an org chart
Adding an org chart
  1. Click on the Organization Chart category on the left side panel.
  2. Choose an org chart from the right-side menu.
  3. Click the Create button to import the org chart template inside the Excel worksheet.

Customize the Org Chart

Organization chart of Visio
Organization chart of Visio

The org chart you get from the Visio add-in comes with a stock Employee ID, Name, Title, Manager ID, and Role Type.

Data table of org chart
Data table of org chart

The org chart’s content comes from a table linked to it.

Create an org chart content table that’s similar to the one shown above. Copy and paste its content into the data table of the Visio org chart.

Customizing the org chart content
Customizing the org chart content

Click the Refresh button on the org chart template to update the content of the chart with custom values.

Conclusions

From the above discussion, you can see that every company should have an organizational chart for easy communication. It also ensures transparency and accountability among the team members.

Creating an org chart becomes easy when you use a compatible application. Nowadays, you will find a lot of tools that let you create this chart. Some of them come with a steep learning curve, which means you can’t start creating this chart right away.

But, why go for a new application when you can create it on Microsoft Excel? For MS Excel users, the process is quite easy.

Here, I’ve included some seamless techniques to create an org chart in Microsoft Excel. You can try any one of these to create an organizational chart for your company.

How was your experience of creating an organizational chart in Excel? Tell us in the comment section.

About the Author

Tamal Das

Tamal Das

I'm a freelance writer at HowToExcel.org. After completing my MS in Science, I joined reputed IT consultancy companies to acquire hands-on knowledge of data analysis and data visualization techniques as a business analyst. Now, I'm a professional freelance content writer for everything Excel and its advanced support tools, like Power Pivot, Power Query, Office Scripts, and Excel VBA. I published many tutorials and how-to articles on Excel for sites like MakeUseOf, AddictiveTips, OnSheets, Technipages, and AppleToolBox. In weekends, I perform in-depth web search to learn the latest tricks and tips of Excel so I can write on these in the weekdays!

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