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Organisation charts

An organisation chart is a useful tool which lets you graphically display the reporting lines of staff within all or part of a business. At a glance it shows the various sections and either the names of the departments or the actual names of staff.

draw an organisation chart on a worksheet
Drawing objects for flowcharts (Excel 2003)

Excel contains tools and drawing objects which can simplify the process of drawing Organisation charts.

See below for help in creating organisation charts with Excel 2003.

Excel 2010 and Organisation Charts

There are two separate processes for creating the charts. There is a category of drawing objects for flowcharts which includes various shaped boxes and line connectors. Alternatively Excel contains a wizard based set of SmartArt graphics for creating hierarchies.

The drawing objects may be familiar to users of Excel 2003 although there is now a much improved collection of formatting options. This is probably a better method (than SmartArt) for drawing large or complex hierarchies.

Select (Insert) Illustrations | Shapes and then one of the Flowchart shapes. Click on your worksheet to place the object there. When an object is selected on your worksheet, the (Drawing Tools) Format | Insert Shapes ribbon will display the Flowchart shapes - including line connectors.

Drawing tools formatting for workflow shapes

To apply a formatting option to several shapes on your worksheet, select them by clicking each one in turn while holding down the <Shift> key. Also note that to change the text size or justification, use the normal formatting options on the [Home] ribbon.

If two boxes are placed on a sheet a connector line can be used to attach them. After selecting the connector line, when the cursor is moved over a shape object, small marks will appear on the mid points of each side. Move the cursor over one of the marks and click to attach one end of the line to it. Then repeat the process to attach the other end of the line. Once both ends of the line have been attached the line will adjust and follow the box if it is moved.

The SmartArt tools are also found in other Office 2010 applications and can quickly produce a simple and attractive diagram. Select (Insert) Illustrations | SmartArt and then choose an option from the Hierarchy collection.

Choose an Excel SmartArt graphic

When a SmartArt object is selected, two new ribbons become visible for formatting the elements of the diagram and for modifying the design of the chart. Making a complex chart or attempting to make changes to the default design can be tricky and practice is required with the Promote and Demote ribbon options.

SmartArt Design tools ribbon

Excel 2003 and Organisation Charts

Open the drawing toolbar (menus: View | Toolbars | Drawing) - it will typically display at the bottom of your Excel window. On the Autoshapes sub menu there are two sub menus for Flowcharts and Connectors. These contain the tools required for drawing the charts. By opening a sub menu, selecting and dragging the blue bar at the top of the box away from the main menu, these options can be temporarily detached and made available on your worksheet.

drawing objects and connectors

The plain rectangle flowchart object should normally be sufficient for creating organisation charts. Click on the shape on the menu dialog and then click on the worksheet to put it in position. If two boxes are placed on a sheet a connector line can be used to attach them.

After selecting the connector line, when the cursor is moved over a rectangle object, small marks will appear on the mid points of each side. Move the cursor over one of the marks and click to attach one end of the line to it. Then repeat the process to attach the other end of the line. Once both ends of the line have been attached the line will adjust and follow the box if it is moved.

Creating the charts can be a bit laborious when attempting to drag to space and align all of the boxes. Fortunately Excel can assist with this task. While holding the <Shift> key click on a few boxes. They should all remain highlighted. On the Drawing toolbar, the Draw sub menu has an option to Align or Distribute the selected objects.

It can be a slow process to draw all of the boxes in a chart and fix their positions and contents. If you need to build a series of charts it is possible to use a macro to draw them based on a list of data.


excel 2010 Get this information as a document
accompanied by Excel worksheets
Document is in PDF format Click here for details about obtaining this
file. It has been rewritten for Excel 2010.

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