Build Org Charts From Data Automatically

SmartDraw's Org Chart Extension lets you build an organizational chart automatically by importing a data file of your organization's employee list. You will be able to import and display photos and hyperlinks, skip data you don't want included, and show some data in a tool tip without cluttering up the visual.

It's a powerful way to create an org chart without any drawing at all.

Watch this video.

Format Your Data

Before you can import your data, the list must be formatted with the fields you want to show for each employee as columns and the values for an employee as rows.

One of the columns must identify the supervisor of the employee in the row. All of the rows must have a supervisor except for the top position in the org chart.

You can match employees with supervisors using numerical IDs or just names.

The table can be in CSV, XLS, or XLSX format.

Format your org chart data

Launch the Org Chart Extension

In the Extension category of the SmartDraw template dialog, click on the Org Chart icon labeled "Build Org Charts from Data" to launch the extension. Choose your file and click on Process.

Launch the org chart extension

This loads and parses your file. The parser identifies the matching columns and guesses which columns are the name and title fields. The extension will give you a preview of how we see your data so you can make some changes if necessary.

Each row in the table will add a shape to the org chart.

Process your data

Specify Special Column Types

SmartDraw styles and builds your org chart using rules given to each data type. Data identified as Name will be shown centered inside a single org chart shape, while anything identified as a Hyperlink will trigger a hyperlink icon with a link to be added to the shape, and so forth.

The data type is displayed in the first menu above each column. You can change this type by selecting another option from the drop-down menu.

Org chart data types

The Rules for Data Types

Name - Data from this column is set to Show in Shape as the first row of text.

Title - This will show up as the second row of text inside the shape.

Hyperlink - This will add a hyperlink to the specified URL inside the shape. You use this to add links to employee records for example.

Photo - Use this column to add a URL to an image for the person. If a photo column exists, SmartDraw will split the org chart shape so that the left side of the shape will display the photo.

Other - These columns are set to appear in the data layer (Show in Data) by default and not inside the shape itself. You can change this using the display menu. Once the org chart is built, you can find this information by hovering over the blue "i" icon in the lower right corner of an org chart shape. Other columns are added to the shape after the Name and Title in left to right order.

Choose Display Options

For each column in your data, you have three choices presented in the display menu at the top of each column (this is the second drop-down menu):

  1. You can show the value in the shape by choosing "Show in Shape". This might be appropriate for someone's name, title, or telephone number.
  2. Move the value to a data layer shown only on hover by choosing "Show in Data". This might be appropriate for data like a hire date or employee id.
  3. Hide this value completely by choosing "Don't show".
Org chart display options

Build the Chart

When you're ready, click the "Build Diagram" button to generate your org chart.

If you just leave the defaults as they are, two rows, one for Name and one for Title, will show in each shape. All other data in columns will be moved to the data layer and shown as shape data.

However, you can easily customize this using the display options in the Extension. Display as many columns of data as you wish. SmartDraw's Org Chart Extension is both powerful and easy to use.

Org chart built from data