Organizational Charts

An organization chart or "org chart," as it's more commonly known, is a diagram that displays a reporting or relationship hierarchy. The most frequent application of an org chart is to show the structure of a business, government, or other organization.

Org charts have a variety of uses, and can be structured in many different ways. They might be used as a management tool, for planning purposes, or as a personnel directory, for example. Perhaps your organization doesn't operate in a "command and control" style, but instead relies on teams.

Here are some ideas and examples to help you design the perfect organizational chart for your needs.

How to Create the Right Org Chart for Your Business

We usually think of an organization chart of having a fairly rigid, top-down structure. Here's the format of a basic three-level org chart.

Simple org chart

But just as one size business suit doesn't fit everyone, the same can be said of an organizational chart. You'll want to custom-tailor an org chart to fit the needs of your organization. There are a lot of factors to consider. What type of information should be included in each box? Should the chart flow top-down or in another direction? What if there are people with multiple roles?

The answers to these and other questions will help you decide how to create an organizational chart to fit your unique situation.

Organizational Chart Types and Uses

Organizational charts are useful in a number of ways. Here are a few of the ways your company or group can benefit from an org chart.

  • Show work responsibilities and reporting relationships.
  • Allow leadership to more effectively manage growth or change.
  • Allow employees to better understand how their work fits into the organization's overall scheme.
  • Improve lines of communication.
  • Create a visual employee directory.
  • Present other types of information, such as business entity structures and data hierarchies.

Tips for Making Org Charts

Creating a perfectly formatted, professional-looking organization chart doesn't require special skill, but it also doesn't happen by accident. Here are 10 helpful tips for creating a perfect org chart.

Additional Org Chart Resources

Video: How to Make an Org Chart with SmartDraw

This informational video offers a brief overview of how to get started making an org chart with SmartDraw. Starting with an org chart template, this video takes you through the basics of creating a SmartDraw org chart. In less than four minutes, it shows you how to make an org chart that looks professionally produced.

Org Chart Video

Using Org Charts Online

Go beyond the printed org chart. Online org charts are interactive. They let you create hyperlinks to other information and resources. They are easy to share and distribute within or outside your organization. Plus, an online org chart doesn't have to be reprinted and redistributed, so it's much easier to keep up to date.

Org Charts and Microsoft Office®

More than 90 percent of organizations supply Microsoft Office® to their workers. Many try to make an org chart using Smart Art, and find it frustrating. Fortunately, SmartDraw integrates easily with the Microsoft Office suite, as well as with the world's favorite Office alternative, Google Docs. Not only is it easier to create an org chart in SmartDraw, but learn how easy it is to transfer an organizational chart created in SmartDraw to any Microsoft Office product.

Create an Organizational Chart from Imported Data

Perhaps the easiest way to create an org chart is to generate it automatically from a data file that lists all of the employees and who they report to. Learn how here.