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Tutorial for

Hierarchy 005

Organization Charts

Using Hierarchy 005

The variations of organization/organizational charts (org charts) are as plentiful as there are organizations. The primary goal is go lay out the reporting relationships of the functions/departments/responsible personnel. What so many org charts fail to do is deliver the subliminal messages that are so important. These messages are achieved in consistency and alignment. In an org chart, it is generally preferred that every box/field on a certain level be the same size, implying equal importance. Resist the urge to make one larger to accommodate a longer title, etc. If you must enlarge one, enlarge them all. Also, it is important to maintain consistence from page to page. The boxes should be uniform (as much as possible) between departments/functions, etc. This type of attention to detail help convey the correct message and also elevates the messages within the document/presentation to a higher level.

This framework gives you the option of approaching your work from a different angle: from the bottom up. By selecting rows in the framework that contain the number of boxes/fields for each row of your org chart, all you need to do is connect them (some minor vertical/horizontal alignments may be needed).

Working outside the automatic diagramming/org chart tool in PowerPoint will allow for animation and greater levels of formatting. Connect the boxes on top in PowerPoint by using the "Connectors" in the AutoShapes menu. That way the connection is established even if you need to readjust the spacing, etc. The boxes below are already connected. This has been done because the connections are made at a place where the PowerPoint connectors will not function. Go to the tutorial to learn about how to use these frameworks, as well as HI003 and HI004. They can be used together, as so many of the PowerFrameworks can.

Once you have identified the best-suited PowerFramework, download it to a specific location on your computer so you'll be able to find it (the desktop is always a good choice).

Customizing your PowerFrameworks Org Charts

Adjust size

Remember to group the frameworks before sizing so that the integrity of the framework is maintained. Hold the shift key down if you want to scale it while you are sizing. Ungroup again once it is the size you like so other customizations can be made.

Be sure to bring in all of the configurations you will be using on this page and size them at one time to be sure they are consistent.

Color variations

Select color from your document's color palette or a complimentary color so that the PowerFramework will reflect the color scheme of the rest of your document. Select "No line" if you want to eliminate the outline of the object, or change the line point size if you want thinner lines.

Connections and alignments

Determine the number of boxes you will need in each row. Find those rows in one of the two frameworks in this series. Group the boxes in the rows that you need. Delete the unneeded rows of boxes. Put the rows in the correct order on your page: top levell, second leve, etc. and align by distributing vertically so that the rows are equidistant. You're now ready to connect the boxes.

Connecting the boxes: use connectors in PowerPoint. This feature is really important to use, as it will save time and frustration. The connectors are available in the AutoShapes menu. The connectors used in the example below are the first option on the middle row within the connector menu.

Spacing the boxes: now you can align the groups of boxes so that they appear gracefully on the page. These are the instructions for the example we are using: start with the bottom two levels: center the boxes on the third level over their group of boxes on the bottom row. Then center the boxes on the second row over their groups of boxes on the third row. Last center the top box over the boxes on the second row.

3D variations

Unless this is a very simple org chart, it's best to stay away from 3D. Elements of the 3D tend to obscure the connecting lines.


Unless your org chart is very simple, avoid using shadows. Shadows tend to close the gaps between the boxes and obscure the relationships.

Gradients, patterns, and pictures

Since you are working with very small boxes and text in many cases, avoid any format that is confusing or obscures the text. Gradients and patterns behind text (especially small text) tends to diminish the readability of the message.


Animate individual boxes and lines or groups as appropriate. Use simple reveals or wipes.

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