How to Make a Pedigree Chart Using Microsoft Word

By John Michael Thomas

Pedigree charts are used to show relationships such as in genealogy trees. You can create a pedigree chart in Microsoft Word using Microsoft Office SmartArt.

Pedigree charts display information in a hierarchy, and are often used to show relationships, such as in genealogy trees and organization charts. You can create a pedigree chart in Microsoft Word using Microsoft Office SmartArt.

Step 1

Place your cursor in your document where you want the pedigree chart to be added.

Select the Insert tab in the Office Ribbon and click the SmartArt icon in the Illustrations section of the Ribbon.


SmartArt graphics can be added to other Microsoft Office document types as well, including Microsoft Excel, Microsoft PowerPoint and Microsoft Outlook.

Step 2

The Hierarchy category is in the center of the left pane of the Choose a SmartArt Graphic window.

Click the Hierarchy category, select the type of hierarchy chart you want from the list and press the OK button.


Hierarchy charts can be displayed both vertically (with the beginning of the chart at the top and related items displayed below) or horizontally (with the beginning of the chart on the left and related items displayed to the right). Many types of hierarchical charts such as organization charts are often displayed vertically. Pedigree charts are most often displayed horizontally, but they can also be displayed vertically if you prefer.

Step 3

A left-click on a shape selects the text in the shape.

Left-click on each shape to select the text in the shape, then type to enter or change the text.


The pedigree chart displays [Text] for any shapes you haven't entered text into. When you click on these shapes, [Text] is no longer displayed and your cursor displays in an empty shape.

You may enter as much text as you want for each shape, and you may press the Enter key to add extra lines while entering text. Word automatically resizes the text of each shape separately to ensure the text fits within the shape.

You may also enter text in an indented list format, using the text entry window next to the SmartArt graphic.

Step 4

To format the chart you may change the formatting of the entire chart at once or change the format of each shape individually.

Formatting the Entire Chart

The Change Colors option is on the left of the SmartArt Styles section of the Ribbon.

Select the Design tab in the SmartArt Tools area of the Office Ribbon, and select the format change you wish to make in the SmartArt Styles section of the ribbon.


To see more formatting options, scroll through the list of options in the SmartArt Styles section of the Ribbon.

Formatting Individual Shapes

Adding Shapes

The Add Shape sub-menu gives options to add a new shape after, before, above, or below the selected shape.

Right-click a shape in the pedigree chart, click Add Shape in the right-click menu and select an option from the Add Shape sub-menu.


The names of the items in the Add Shape sub-menu refer to the position of shapes in a vertical chart, not a horizontal chart, and do not always work as expected for a horizontal pedigree chart. To avoid confusion, choose the following options for both a horizontal and vertical pedigree charts:

  • To add a new shape into a hierarchy level, right-click another shape at the same level as the new shape you wish to add, and choose Add Shape After or Add Shape Before from the Add Shape sub-menu.
  • To add a new hierarchy level to the pedigree chart, right-click a shape at the lowest level (the right-most column of shapes in a horizontal pedigree chart) and select Add Shape Below from the Add Shape sub-menu.

The shape right-click menu includes options for to change or add shapes and hyperlinks and a Format Shape option at the bottom.

Right-click the individual shape you want to change and select Format Shape... in the right-click menu.

The shape format categories are displayed on the left of the Format Shape dialog box, and the options for each category are displayed on the right.

Select the formatting category you wish to change in the left pane and change the formatting options in the right pane. When you've finished making changes press the Close button.


As you make changes in the Format Shape dialog box, the changes are displayed immediately in the pedigree chart. If necessary move the Format Shape dialog box so you can see the selected shape while you're making changes.

Changing Shapes

When you create a new pedigree chart, the shapes in the chart will usually be some form of rectangles. You may change the shapes to circles, ovals or any other shape type supported by Word.

The Change Shape submenu offers over 100 different shapes to choose from.

Right-click the shape you want to change, click Change Shape in the right-click menu, and select the new shape from the Change Shape submenu.


To change the shape or properties of several shapes in the pedigree chart at the same time, select all the shapes you want to change before right-clicking one of the selected shapes. To select more than one shape simultaneously, click the first shape and then hold down the Ctrl key while clicking each of the other shapes.