Creating an Org Chart in Excel with Examples

Microsoft Excel is one of the most universally loved tools in business. It’s a powerful spreadsheet maker that easily stores numbers, data, budgets, formulas and more that all help contribute to core business functions.

But did you know that it can also be used by human resources teams to create organizational charts? That’s right, making an org chart in Excel is simple, quick and effective.

If you’re a founder or HR leader at a startup, chances are you already have an Excel doc full of your organization's people. The good news is, you can easily copy and paste your spreadsheet into an existing Excel template and a working org chart will appear in seconds. Follow along in this guide to see how.

If you don’t have previous data to work with, no sweat. We'll also go over how to make an org chart in Excel from scratch.

Time to take that unruly spreadsheet and turn it into something visual.

What is the purpose of an org chart?

Before we get into making org charts, it's important to understand why a business uses one.

Org charts act as the source of truth of all the roles and responsibilities employees hold in any successful company. Its main benefits revolve around information and positive communication.

An org chart is one of the easiest ways to make sure all employees are aligned on the company’s strategy. By viewing who reports to which manager, and how teams work cross-functionally together, an org chart becomes a living, breathing document of all the people at a company.

It helps HR leaders and hiring managers quickly see where the gaps are within organizations like which teams may need more support or need more company resources, and employees can easily reach out to the correct person to push their initiatives forward. This improves faster, more efficient communication between employees, and new joiners can get a sense of exactly where they fall into their organization.

Make an org chart in Excel from scratch

1. Click SmartArt

excel oc 1

In the Insert option on the top ribbon, choose __SmartArt. __

2. Click Hierarchy

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From there, a dropdown menu will roll out. Hover over Hierarchy. Then choose the image of the org chart structure you’d like to create.

3. Add text to position boxes

excel org chart 3

Think of the boxes that pop up in your org chart as employee positions. What can go inside position boxes?

  • Names
  • Job titles
  • Bios
  • Contact information

Read more on: Different Job Titles and Why They Matter.

To add these in, edit text directly by clicking on one of the position boxes. Another option is to edit the [text] in the SmartArt editor window that will pop up alongside your org chart image.

If you want to add in multiple lines of text, just hit enter to start a new line within the position box.

4. Add or remove shapes inside your org chart

excel oc 4

You can add new shapes by either right clicking on your mouse or clicking ctrl + click (command + click on Macs) in the spot where you want a new shape.

Hover over add shape and choose where you want it to go. You can also do this in the SmartArt editor by clicking + in the top banner.

5. Format or edit org chart style

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To adjust the format or edit the colors or style of your org chart, click on the SmartArt Design tab in the top ribbon. Make sure you are still working within your SmartArt text box. Click change colors to edit the design.

If you want to edit font styles or the org chart shape, click Format in the top ribbon.

Boom! That’s all there is to it. Make sure to hit File → Save As and name the org chart as a unique file name, so you don’t lose progress.

Make dynamic org charts in Excel by uploading data

Looking to spice up your org chart outside of just boxes and lines? Check out this trick to add in a dynamic org chart using the Microsoft Visio plug-in. Don’t worry—you don’t need to have a paid Visio account to access this. All you need to have is Excel for Office 365. This also allows you to easily copy over data from a pre-made spreadsheet into this template.

1. Click Insert → Add-ins

excel oc 1.1

2. Search for Visio

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In the search box in the top left corner, type in Visio. The Microsoft Visio Data Visualizer (Preview) should pop up. Click Add and then Continue.

3. Choose org chart in Data Visualizer

excel oc 1.3

The data visualizer window should pop up in your spreadsheet. You have the option to create a basic flowchart, cross-functional charts or pre-made organizational charts. Simply click on the image of the one that you want to use.

4. Fill in table with employee data

excel 1.7

Take a second to review the mock data Excel uses in the table on the left. To add in direct reports, simply type in the Employee ID number for the manager you want into Column D. Org chart positions also come in different colors based on an employee’s role type. Managers are green, staff are blue, and consultants are orange.

excel 1.5

To add in your own employee data, make sure you create a separate table in a new tab in the same format as the Visio template. Then simply right click + copy and right click + paste over the template data in the original tab. Don’t worry if you have more or less people. The chart will automatically reflect that once you hit refresh.

5. Change role types

excel 1.6

To change an employee’s role type, simply click on that employee’s role type in the table. A dropdown menu will appear with a list of pre-set role types.

Say for example you want to change a staff role to a consultant, simply click on their role type in the table and hit refresh on the org chart image to see changes.

Can I make an org chart in other Microsoft programs?

Microsoft offers its SmartArt Editor in the past several versions of Word, PowerPoint and Excel. This means you can seamlessly copy and paste an org chart created in one program to another.

While you can create an org chart in Excel with the Visio plug-in, you can go even deeper by checking out all the flowchart software has to offer.

Learn how to make an org chart in Microsoft Visio in our step-by-step guide here.

Create an Org Chart for FREE with The Org

org chart highlights

An Excel org chart might cut it if you only need the bare minimum, but you can also design beautiful, dynamic org charts for free when you join your organization with The Org. Join 200,000 other companies by showing off your people the way they deserve. Plus, get access to top-notch team alignment and talent attraction tools at no cost.

Built specifically for scaling startups in mind, The Org is a simple and user-friendly way to create lasting org charts that you can even embed across the web. Try it by signing up for free today.

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