Let’s Get Organized
Have you ever found yourself in MS Word, Excel or PowerPoint trying to use drawing tools to create an organization chart?
How did it go?
I’ve tried it in the past and it was a pain.
It was better than hand drawing one, but it was a constant struggle to group and ungroup things, keep everything on one page, draw connectors that are actually connected, move things from one layer to the next. If you’ve ever tried this you know what I’m talking about.
At any rate, would you like a simpler option?
Good, I was hoping you’d say yes.
The “simpler option comes in the form of an add-in program called MS Organization Chart.
The first step is to let the program know that you want to insert an organization chart.
Go to the Insert menu, Object choice.
The Object window will open. You want to go to the Create New tab.
Scroll down through the list of available objects.
You’re looking for MS Organization Chart.
(If this isn’t in the list then it needs to be installed. You’ll need to do this with your original MS Office CD and the Add / Remove Programs in the Control Panel.)
Once you find the MS Organization Chart in the list, highlight it and click OK.
The add-in program will open with a basic organization chart ready for you to customize.
You’ll want to maximize the chart window to make it easier to work.
Clicking in a box will allow you to enter the information to be displayed.
The program is pretty good at letting you know how to insert boxes in the chart.
(Simply click on the type of position needed in the toolbar and then click into the box that the new position should be attached to.)
Also, there are the usual menus across the top as well as a few that are specific to this type of program. You can change box and line styles along with many other options.
Give it a try – it’s pretty self-explanatory once you start going through the menus.
In addition, under the View menu you can display a few drawing tools that will allow for custom boxes and lines to be drawn in. (I recommend that you do these last because their position must be changed manually. During editing, if the program has to move the non-custom items it will not move the custom drawn items too. You will have to move them all manually. So it’s best to put them in last to minimize the amount of moving you’ll have to do.)
Now let’s suppose that you’ve finished your chart and you’re ready to insert it into your file.
You can either click the Close Program X in the upper right-hand corner and then click Yes when asked if you want the chart inserted into your file.
Or you can go to the File menu, Exit and Return to _________ (file name) choice.
Either way, you’ll be returned to your file where the chart now appears as an object that can be resized, moved, etc.
As with clip art and other objects, you can right-click and choose the Format Object choice.
This will give you a window with several tabs, allowing you to set wrapping, borderlines, etc.
If you find you need to edit the chart simply double-click anywhere on the chart and the add-in program will open, allowing you to edit to your heart’s content.
Just think, organization charts that are neatly drawn, easy to work with in a file, and easy to edit are just a few clicks away.
I know this will be a big help the next time I need to draw a curriculum flowchart for my department at work!
If only we’d known all this before we spent all that time with the drawing tools…