Identify which program to use to create an organization chart

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Organization charts show the reporting relationships between individuals and groups in an organization. Because organization charts are popular and widely used, you can create them by using the following options in the 2007 Microsoft Office system:

  • The SmartArt graphic feature in Microsoft Office Excel 2007, Microsoft Office Outlook 2007, Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2007, and Microsoft Office Word 2007
  • Microsoft Office Visio 2007
  • The Organization Chart Add-in for Microsoft Office programs

Following the descriptions of these options below, you will find a table that compares the three.

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SmartArt graphics

Organization charts are included in the wide variety of SmartArt graphics that are available when you insert an SmartArt graphic in Excel 2007, PowerPoint 2007, Word 2007, or Outlook 2007. By using the SmartArt graphic feature, you can create designer-quality graphics and include them in documents and presentations quickly and easily.

Use the SmartArt graphic feature if:

  • You want to create an organization chart with 30 or fewer shapes.
  • You want to add effects, such as glows, soft edges, or other 3-D effects, to your organization chart.
  • You want to take advantage of the new Office themes (theme: A set of unified design elements that provides a look for your document by using color, fonts, and graphics.), including the ability to pick up color changes when you copy and paste SmartArt graphics from one program to another.
  • You want to animate your organization chart.
  • You want to create the organization chart quickly by typing or pasting your text and having it automatically positioned and arranged for you.

Create an organization chart by using the SmartArt graphic feature.

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Office Visio 2007

Office Visio 2007 is sold separately. With Office Visio 2007 you can construct sophisticated diagrams. Office Visio 2007 provides you with the largest number of tools and the greatest flexibility for creating organization charts.

Use Office Visio 2007 if:

  • You want to create a small or large organization chart (up to 1000 shapes).
  • You want to generate organization charts from existing personnel data stored in Microsoft Exchange Server or Office Excel 2007 data files. Office Visio 2007 includes a wizard that does this.
  • You want very precise control over the chart layout.
  • You want to add customizable text or numeric fields to shapes and store the fields as custom property data.
  • You want to use conditional formatting. Conditional formatting enables you to quickly and easily color-code your information based on parameters that you set.
  • You want to synchronize shapes across pages to help manage large organizations.
  • You want to display data on your drawing using visual enhancements such as flags, progress meters, and icons.
  • You want to compare separate versions of organization charts and generate a report showing the differences.

Create an organization chart by using Office Visio 2007.

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Organization Chart

Organization Chart, previously called Microsoft Organization Chart 2.0, is an add-in for 2007 Office release programs that you can add to your document or presentation from the Insert Object dialog box. Organization Chart has been available since the release of Microsoft PowerPoint 95. There have not been any significant changes to the program since its initial release and there are no plans to add any significant functionality to the product in the future.

Use Organization Chart if:

  • You cannot recreate your existing Organization Chart diagram by using the Smart Art graphic feature or Office Visio 2007.
  • You need to use one of the following three layouts that are not available with either the Smart Art graphic feature or Office Visio 2007: Co-Manager, Vertical, and Multiple Managers.

To create an organization chart by using Organization Chart, you must first install Organization Chart , and then follow the instructions in the online Help.

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Comparison table

The following is a comparison of the features for these three options:

Feature SmartArt graphic Visio Organization Chart
First version that the organization chart functionality appeared in. 2007. 2000. PowerPoint 95.
Data entry. Quick data entry by using the Text pane, or by converting a bulleted list on a PowerPoint 2007 slide.

Enter manually or import from Microsoft Exchange Server, Excel 2007, or text files.

You can update organization charts with changed data, and update database information from the organization chart.

Enter manually.
3-D effects, Quick Styles (Quick Styles: Collections of formatting options that make formatting your documents and objects easier.), and themes (theme: A set of unified design elements that provides a look for your document by using color, fonts, and graphics.). Takes advantage of the new and improved 3-D effects, Quick Styles, and themes. Uses themes and "traditional" formatting options. None.
Can change the layout of branches. Yes. Yes. Yes.
Can insert co-workers, subordinates, managers, and assistants. Yes. Yes. Yes.
Can select shapes based on type (managers, co-workers, etc.). No. No. Yes.
Can drag a shape directly onto another shape to establish a reporting relationship. No. Yes. Yes.
Can change spacing between shapes. Manually only. Both automatically and manually. Manually only.
Can change a shape's position type (for example, from Assistant to Manager). No. Yes. No.
Can define fields in shapes. No. Yes. Predefined.
AutoFit to page. Occurs automatically. You choose when to force shapes to AutoFit. Partially automatic (font size does not change).

Standard Layout.

Standard organization chart layout

Yes. Yes. Yes.

Both sides.

Organization chart with hanging on both sides

Yes. Yes. Yes.

Left Hanging.

Left hanging Organization chart

Yes. Yes. Yes.

Right Hanging.

Right hanging organization chart

Yes. Yes. Yes.


Co-manager layout organization chart

No. No. Yes.


Vertical organization chart layout

No. No. Yes.

Multiple Managers.

Multiple manager organization chart layout

No. No. Yes.

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Applies to:
Excel 2007, Outlook 2007, PowerPoint 2007, Visio 2007, Word 2007