How To Build an Organizational Chart

A basic organizational chart shows the different departments and jobs within a company. Much like a pyramid formation, an organization chart helps insiders and outsiders to see how a staff or department is organized, who reports to whom, and in general, who works where. You can use almost any word processor (Microsoft Word, Corel WordPerfect, or the like) to build an organizational chart. These steps will guide you through the process.

Step 1

Familiarize yourself with your word processor's graphics capabilities. You don't need to use a fancy program to design an organizational chart. Your every-day word processor has the capabilities to insert boxes and connectors onto a page, which is all you need to do to build an organizational chart. Look through your menus in your word processor to find this option. It is likely under the ‘insert' menu at the top of your screen. Click on ‘insert', ‘shapes' and then ‘connectors' or ‘lines'. Create a box on your screen by clicking on the box shape in the ‘shapes' menu, then click on your page and hold it down and drag it. This will create a box. Let go of your mouse button, and the box will stay. You can then click and hold anywhere on the box and you should be able to move it around your page. Create a second box on your screen using the same method. (Or right click on your first box and click ‘copy'). Move the boxes to two separate locations on your page and then insert a connector or a line to join the two boxes. Click on ‘lines' and then click on where you want the line to start. Then drag it to where you want it to end. You should end up with two boxes joined by a line. If you can do this, then you've got the basic instructions for building an organizational chart.

Step 2

Change your page setup. In order to fit all of the boxes of your organizational chart onto one page (which is common practice), it is necessary to turn your page sideways. (Technically, this is known as changing the page layout from portrait to landscape). Under the ‘home' menu, click on ‘page setup' and then select ‘landscape' orientation. Some newer versions of word processors have a ‘page layout' menu, where you should select ‘orientation' and then ‘landscape'. Either way, your page will turn lengthwise on your screen if you have completed this correctly.

Step 3

Begin at the top of your organizational chart. Once you are familiar with the basics of creating shapes and joining them with lines, you can begin to create your organizational chart. Start at the top of your organizational chart and list the upper-most person of your company or department (such as your president or department head). Do this by creating a box in the center of the top of your page. Click on the box to add words to the box.

Step 4

Add lower departments. Now you're beginning the pyramid shapes of your organizational chart. For each person that works under your upper-most authority listed at the top of your organizational chart, create a box on the line underneath the first box. These boxes should sit perfectly in line with each other to show the equal status of the individuals. Then, join all of those boxes to the upper-most box with a line or connector. (You may want to join side-by-side boxes with a dotted line as well.)

Step 5

Add subsidiary departments. Below your lower departments, add any remaining departments that work under your lower departments. For visual purposes, you may wish to create smaller boxes for each lower status. (You may need to do this anyway to accommodate the numerous boxes that all must fit on one page).  As always, connect each department to the one it is connected to above by using a line or connector.

Step 6

Make any visual changes. You've now got the basic organizational chart completed. There are still a few formatting options to consider though. You can change the size, line color or fill color of each individual box. Simply right click on the box and select ‘format box'. You may wish to do this to color-code each department within your organizational chart. View your page at ‘full page' to get a full page view of your organizational chart. Make any necessary changes so that the chart flows nicely and looks professional. When you've done this, you've successfully built an organizational chart.


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