How to Draw Tournament Brackets in Microsoft Word

By Aaron Parson

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

Click **SmartArt** on the Insert tab.

Step 2

Open the **Hierarchy** section and pick **Organization Chart**. Alternatively, pick **Horizontal Organization Chart** for a horizontal bracket.

Step 3

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

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

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

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

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

Use the **Change Colors** menu and SmartArt Styles options on the Design tab to change the look of the bracket.

Tips & Warnings

  • 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.