How Do I Create a Tree Diagram in Word?

By David Weedmark

With Microsoft Word 2013, you can create your own tree diagrams for any purpose, from family tree charts to organization diagrams. One way to draw a tree diagram is to use a SmartArt graphic like the Organization Chart diagram. With a bit of customization, you can adapt this diagram to suit your project's needs. For something that may require less tweaking, consider downloading a ready-made diagram from Microsoft's template library.

Using SmartArt

Step 1

Launch Word and create a new blank document. Click the "Insert" menu and select "SmartArt." In the Choose a SmartArt Graphic window, select "Hierarchy" and select the Organization Chart, or any of the other tree-shaped diagrams.

Step 2

Enter labels by clicking directly on a shape or by typing them in the window entitled "Type Your Text Here."

Step 3

Insert additional boxes by right-clicking a text box and selecting "Add Shape" from the drop-down menu. For example, to add a grandfather above a mother in a family tree, select "Add Shape Above." To add a child below the mother, select "Add Shape Below." To add a sibling beside a mother, select "Add Shape Before" or "Add Shape After."

Step 4

Insert photos into your tree diagram by selecting "Pictures" or "Online Pictures" from the Insert menu. Resize the image by dragging any corner while holding the "Shift" key. To crop the image, right-click it and select "Crop." Once the picture is about the same size as the shape, cut it by pressing "Ctrl-X," select the shape and press "Ctrl-V." Word resizes the picture to make it fit the shape's background.

Step 5

Add additional lines to the tree diagram if needed by selecting "Shapes" under the Insert tab and then selecting a line. Add these additional lines only after you have all the shapes where you want them, or you'll have to move the lines each time you add new shapes to the diagram.

Step 6

Format your added lines match the diagram by clicking the Drawing Tool's "Format" menu, then selecting the first option in the Styles section. To change the thickness, select "Shape Outline" and click "Weight." Select "1 pt" if you're using the Organization Chart SmartArt.

Step 7

Click the "Layout Option" button located near the line and move it behind the shapes by selecting the "Behind Text" icon.

Step 8

Click the SmartArt Tool's "Format" tab to change the diagram's appearance as desired. To change the entire diagram, click anywhere outside of a shape. To format specific shapes, Ctrl-click each shape. For example, you can change the size of specific shapes by selecting those shapes and then clicking the "Size" icon in the ribbon.

Using a Tree Chart Template

Step 1

Go to the Microsoft Office template website (see Resources) and type "tree diagram" in the Search field to see a selection of appropriate Word templates. Click the "Download" button below a tree diagram, such as the Tree Chart. Open your download folder and double-click the new template file to open it in Word.

Step 2

Click the "Enable Editing" button above the document so you can work on it. Click on the text boxes to replace the existing words with your own.

Step 3

Add images to the text boxes by clicking in the text box and selecting "Pictures" or "Online Pictures" from the Insert menu. To change the appearance of the text boxes, Ctrl-click the boxes you want to change and select the appropriate option from Text Box Tools' Format menu.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can also use Microsoft Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook to draw tree diagrams using SmartArt or Microsoft Office templates.