Creating Org Charts Automatically by Importing Data from Excel® and Azure Active Directory

You may have an HR software package that has all your employee data, but no visualization. SmartDraw makes it easy to take a data file and turn it into a professional organizational chart automatically. And better yet, you can also interact with this visual online. You can reorganize teams and departments, change titles, remove or add employees - all quick and easy with simple drag and drop.

Build an organizational chart automatically

There are two ways to generate an organizational chart from data in SmartDraw. You can use the "Import from File" option from the SmartPanel located to the left of any organizational chart template. Alternatively, you can use SmartDraw's Organizational Chart Extension to import a data file or connect to your Actice Directory.

Import data to generate an org chart

Format Your Data

Before you choose either method, you'll first have to get your data (unless you're going to connect to Azure Active Directory).

You'll probably be exporting your data from a third-party software. Make sure you get your data in CSV, XLS, or XLSX format.

You can open the file in Excel® to make sure it's formatted correctly.

  1. 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.
  2. You can use labels for the columns like "Title", "Manager", "Payroll ID", and "Name" and so on. Labels are just for your information. They will be ignored during the import.
  3. 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.
  4. You can match employees with supervisors using numerical IDs or just names.
  5. Each row must represent a unique employee. No duplicates.
  6. Make sure your name formatting is consistent across columns. The formatting of the supervisor's name or identification must match the formatting of the identification for the same person in the employee column. This is easiest if you're using numerical employee IDs. If you're using names, make sure that the names are spelled the same and the order of the first or last name is the same in both columns.
  7. Make sure the supervisor an employee is reporting is also part of your org chart.

In addition to title and name, your data file can also contain phone numbers, email addresses, links to bios, and more. Every line of data will be appended to the shape representing that person.

Format your data

Building an Organizational Chart using the Org Chart Extension

SmartDraw's Org Chart Extension lets you build an organizational chart automatically by importing a data file of your organization's employee list or by connecting to your Azure Active Directory.

Click on Extensions in the Template dialog and choose "Build Org Chart from Data".

You can also access the same template in the Organizational Chart directory.

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.

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. You can also launch it from the Organizational Chart category.

Launch the org chart extension

You can choose between connecting to your Azure Active Directory or importing a local CSV or XLSX file.

Choose import or connect to Azure Active Directory

Loading a Local File

Select local file and find your exported file. Click on Load File.

This loads and parses your file.

Load file

Preview Data

The parser identifies the matching columns and guesses which columns contain what kind of information for example: 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.

Data preview

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.

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.

Org chart data types

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

Get Data from Azure Active Directory

You can also build your organizational chart by importing data from your Azure Active Directory account.

Like before, launch the Org Chart Extension, by clicking on Build Org Chart from Data under Extensions on the template dialog.

Click on Azure Active Directory and login to your Azure Active Directory with your credentials.

Connect to Azure Active Directory

Select a Manager

Once SmartDraw can see your directory, you will be prompted to select the manager for whom you want to generate an organization structure for.

Select manager

Select Data Visibility

Once a manager is selected, you'll be shown some sample data to give you a preview of how SmartDraw sees your organization.

For each data type, you choose its visibility in the resulting organizational chart.

When you're ready, click "Build Diagram" to generate your organizational chart.

Choose the visibility of org chart data types

Building Your Organizational Chart using Import Data

If you don't need to connect to Active Directory or pick and choose which columns of data to include, using a regular org chart template and clicking on the "Import from File" button might be enough.

Import Your Data File to Build an Org Chart

Use SmartDraw to open a new org chart file to receive your data import. Click on the button to "Import from File" on the bottom left of the screen.

Import data

Update Your Org Chart Visually and Export it as Data

You can edit your org chart using the data or make changes visually and then export the changes back to a text file.

SmartDraw makes it easy to make changes to your org chart. You can reorganize departments, add or change information, delete or add team members, and more. Once you're ready, you can either share your visual org chart with anyone or export it back out to a data file.

Export data

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