How to Create Org Charts in PowerPoint

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Organizational charts are useful tools for visualizing the hierarchy and structure of an organization. They can help you to communicate roles, responsibilities, and relationships among team members, as well as to showcase the overall workflow and reporting lines.

Creating an organizational chart template in Microsoft PowerPoint can save you time and effort when you need to create similar charts for different purposes or audiences.

This blog post, provides a step by step overview of how to create an organizational chart template in PowerPoint - with three different options. We also share some troubleshooting hints and tips.

Option 1: Create Org Charts using Smart Art

Step 1: Insert a SmartArt Graphic

One way to create an organizational chart in PowerPoint is to use the built-in SmartArt feature. SmartArt graphics are pre-designed layouts that allow you to create various types of diagrams, such as lists, processes, cycles, hierarchies, and more.

To insert a SmartArt graphic, follow these steps:

  • On the Insert tab, in the Illustrations group, click SmartArt.
  • In the Choose a SmartArt Graphic dialog box, click Hierarchy on the left pane.
  • Select a layout that suits your needs. For example, you can choose Organization ChartName and Title Organization ChartHalf Circle Organization Chart, or Picture Organization Chart.
  • Click OK.
Screenshot of PowerPoint showing Smart Art Hierarchy Org Chart options
Screenshot of PowerPoint showing how to find Org Chart templates in Smart Art Hierarchy

A SmartArt org chart graphic will appear on your PowerPoint slide, with some placeholder text boxes and shapes. You can resize, move, or delete the SmartArt graphic as needed.

Screenshot of PowerPoint showing a Smart Art Hierarchy Org Chart option inserted to PowerPoint slide
Screenshot of PowerPoint showing a Smart Art Hierarchy Org Chart option inserted to PowerPoint slide

Step 2: Add Text and Images

To add text to your organizational chart, you can either type directly in the text boxes, or use the Text Pane that appears on the left side of the SmartArt graphic. The Text Pane allows you to enter and edit text in a list format, and also shows the hierarchy level of each text box.

To add images to your organizational chart, you can either use the Picture Organization Chart layout, which has placeholders for images, or insert images manually. To insert images manually, follow these steps:

  • On the Insert tab, in the Illustrations group, click Pictures.
  • In the Insert Picture dialog box, browse to the location of your image file, select it, and click Insert.
  • Resize and position the image as needed.
  • Right-click the image and select Send to Back to place it behind the text box.
  • Repeat these steps for each image you want to add.

Step 3: Customize the Design and Format

You can customize the design and format of your organizational chart using the options on the SmartArt Design and SmartArt Format tabs. These tabs will appear on the PowerPoint ribbon when you click on the SmartArt graphic. The tabs allow you to change the layout, style, color, shape, size, alignment, and effects of your SmartArt Org Chart.

Some of the options available:

On the SmartArt Design tab:

  • In the Create Graphic group, you can add or remove shapes, move shapes up or down levels, promote or demote shapes, or rearrange shapes within the same level.
  • In the Layouts group, you can change the layout of your SmartArt graphic. For example, switch from a horizontal to a vertical layout, or from a standard to a stacked layout.
  • In the SmartArt Styles group, you can apply a predefined style to your SmartArt graphic. For example choose from various 3D, gradient, or colored styles.
  • In the Reset group, you can reset your SmartArt graphic to its original state if you want to undo any changes you made.
  • On the SmartArt Format tab:
    • In the Shape Styles group, you can change the fill color, outline color, and shape effects of your shapes. For example - apply shadows, reflections, glows, or soft edges to your shapes.
    • In the WordArt Styles group, you can change the fill color, outline color, and text effects of your text. For example - apply shadows, reflections, glows, or 3D effects to your text.
    • In the Arrange group, you can change the position and order of your shapes and images. For example - align them to the left, right, top, or bottom of the slide; distribute them evenly; rotate them; or group them together.
    • In the Size group, you can change the height and width of your shapes and images.

Smart Art Org Charts: Troubleshooting Hints and Tips

Here are some common problems and solutions that you may encounter when creating an organizational chart in PowerPoint:

  • Problem: Text boxes are too small or too large for the text.
    • Solution: You can resize the text boxes by dragging the handles on the corners or sides of the shapes. You can also adjust the font size, font style, or line spacing of the text using the tools on the Home tab, in the Font group.
  • Problem: Org Chart boxes are not aligned or spaced evenly.
    • Solution: You can use the tools on the SmartArt Format tab, in the Arrange group, to align and distribute your shapes. For example, you can click Align LeftAlign Center, or Align Right to align your shapes horizontally; or click Align TopAlign Middle, or Align Bottom to align your shapes vertically. You can also click Distribute Horizontally or Distribute Vertically to space your shapes evenly.
  • Problem: Images are distorted or cropped.
    • Solution: You can use the tools on the Picture Format tab that appears when you select an image to adjust the size, position, and crop of your image. For example, you can click Crop to crop your image to a specific shape or aspect ratio; or click Compress Pictures to reduce the file size and resolution of your image. You can also use the handles on the corners or sides of the image to resize it proportionally; or use the rotation handle above the image to rotate it freely.

Option 2: Create Org Chart in PowerPoint using shapes

Some people find the smart art shapes too annoying to use. So this option is to simply create an org chart structure in PowerPoint using shapes.

  • On the Insert tab, in the Illustrations group, click Shapes.
  • Select a shape that you want to use for your org chart, such as a rectangle or an oval.
  • Draw the shape on your slide, and resize and position it as needed.
  • To add text to the shape, right-click the shape and select Edit Text. Type your text in the shape.
  • To format the shape and the text, use the tools on the Shape Format tab that appears when you select the shape.
  • To copy the shape, select it and press Ctrl+D. Repeat this step as many times as you need to create more shapes for your org chart.
  • To arrange the shapes, you can use the tools on the Shape Format tab, in the Arrange group. For example, you can align, distribute, group, or rotate the shapes. Or if you have PPT Productivity add-in for PowerPoint, you can use the Format Toolbar features to align and arrange in less clicks.
  • To connect the shapes, use the tools on the Insert tab, in the Illustrations group. Click Shapes, and then select a line or an arrow shape. Draw the line or arrow between two shapes to show their relationship (again, PPT Productivity users can use the Format Toolbar instead).
  • To format the line or arrow, use the tools on the Shape Format tab, in the Shape Styles group. For example - you can change the color, width, or style of the line or arrow.

Option 3: PPT Productivity Slide Library - PowerPoint Org Chart templates

PPT Productivity PowerPoint add-in has a Slide Library Toolbar that makes it easy to save and reuse entire slides or slide elements - including images, shapes and even org charts.

You can create and save your own PowerPoint Org Chart templates using PPT Productivity, or you can use one of the Org Chart templates included in our 3000+ downloadable slides and elements which are included in licensing with the Slide Library feature.

For existing PPT Productivity Power Tools users (including Free Trial users), here are the steps to accessing an org chart template in PowerPoint:

  • Click on the search bar in the Slide Library Toolbar
  • Type Org Chart or Organizational Chart
  • Select your preferred option from the templates that display
  • Click to insert it into your PowerPoint presentation
  • Note that the Org Chart template will be automatically recolored to match your Template theme color when you insert it to your PowerPoint presentation.

Once you have pasted the Org Chart template to your PowerPoint presentation, you can customize it further. Once complete, you can also save your customized Org Chart template to your Slide Library as part of your Personal Library elements, or you can share it with your Team via the Team Library feature.

The screenshot below shows one of the org chart templates selected from the Slide Library Toolbar (note that the size of the Slide Library toolbar has been increased to make it easier to see the templates, you can make the toolbar narrower).

Screenshot showing a PowerPoint Org Chart Template from PPT Productivity Slide Library Toolbar
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