How to Draw Tournament Brackets in Microsoft Word

Chart color schemes help to identify each tier of the bracket.
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In Word 2010 and 2013, the most obvious way to build a tournament bracket is by drawing text boxes and connecting lines. That method works, but there's a far faster solution: use an organizational chart with the boxes laid out to build a bracket. By creating an org chart, Word takes care of the positioning, sizing and connecting lines automatically.

Step 1

Word 2013 - (Microsoft)
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Click SmartArt on the Insert tab.

Step 2

Any of the Hierarchy charts work for a bracket, but these options are the clearest to read.
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Open the Hierarchy section and pick Organization Chart. Alternatively, pick Horizontal Organization Chart for a horizontal bracket.

Step 3

Delete the boxes themselves, not only the text.
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Select each of the boxes in the chart in turn, except for the top one, and delete it with the Del key. From here, you can build your bracket exactly as you need it -- the default chart layout doesn't place boxes in a useful layout for a tournament bracket.

Step 4

The nearby buttons let you move boxes after adding them.
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Select the remaining box and open the Add Shape drop-down menu on the Design tab. Choose Add Shape Below. Reselect the top box and choose Add Shape Below again to build the top section of the bracket.

Step 5

Don't worry about the odd layout at this point.
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Select the first box on the second tier of the bracket and use Add Shape Below to add a box beneath it. Reselect the first box on the second tier and Add Shape Below again.

Repeat this process for the second box on the second tier, and you'll have three tiers of the bracket complete, but the layout of the chart won't look like a tournament bracket yet.

Step 6

Another option, Both, draws the lines differently.
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Click any of the boxes in the bracket and press Ctrl-A to select all of the boxes. Click Layout on the Design tab and pick Standard to line the boxes up as you would expect to find them in a tournament bracket.

Step 7

Text automatically resizes to fit the boxes as you type.
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Add more tiers to your bracket with Add Shape Below, if necessary. Once you have all the boxes you need, use the Type Your Text Here window to enter text in the bracket.

Step 8

Combine any color scheme with any style.
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Use the Change Colors menu and SmartArt Styles options on the Design tab to change the look of the bracket.

Tip

If you use a horizontal organization chart, open "Page Layout," click "Orientation" and choose "Landscape" to flip the page horizontally, giving you more room to work.

To make changes to the color or style of an individual box in the bracket, right-click it and choose "Format Shape."

You don't need to add text to every box at the same time. Return later to update the bracket as the tournament continues.

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