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A family tree is a hierarchical chart that details the connection between members of a family. You can create your own family tree in PowerPoint by using one of Microsoft’s many hierarchy style SmartArt graphics. Here’s how.

To get started, open PowerPoint and navigate to the “Insert” tab.

Insert tab in PowerPoint

In the “Illustrations” group, click “SmartArt.”

SmartArt option in Illustrations group

The “Choose a SmartArt Graphic” window will appear. In the left-hand pane, click the “Hierarchy” tab.

Hierarchy tab

You’ll now see a small collection of hierarchy SmartArt graphics. For standard family trees, the “Organizational Chart” option is ideal. However, you can choose whichever SmartArt graphic works best for you.

Select the chart you would like to use by clicking it.

Standard heirarchical chart

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Once selected, a preview and a description of the chart will appear in the right-hand pane. Click “OK” to insert the chart.

Insert button for chart

With the chart added to your presentation, you can start entering the names of the family members in each respective box. Do this by clicking the box and typing their name. The text will resize itself to fit the boxes automatically.


You can delete boxes you don’t need by clicking the box to select it and then pressing the “Delete” key on your keyboard.


You can also add additional boxes below or above certain positions. To do this, highlight the box by clicking it.

Select box within box

Next, click the “Design” tab in the “SmartArt Tools” group.

Design tab

In the “Create Graphic” group, click the arrow next to the “Add Shape” option.

dropdown arrow next to add shape option

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A drop-down menu will appear. The option you select from the menu will depend on where you want to place the box with respect to the currently selected box. Here’s what each option does:

  • Add Shape After: Adds a box to the right, and on the same level, of the selected box.
  • Add Shape Before: Adds a box to the left, and on the same level, of the selected box.
  • Add Shape Above: Adds a box above the selected box.
  • Add Shape Below: Adds a box below the selected box.
  • Add Assistant: Adds a box between the level of the selected box and the level below.

In this example, assuming our fictional character Bryon had a child, we’d use the “Add Shape Below” option.

Add Shape Below option

A box will now appear below our selected box.

Added box below selected box

Once the box is placed, enter the name of the respective family member. Repeat these steps until your family tree is complete.

You can also tweak the design or change the color of the chart. Click the chart to select it and then click the “Design” tab. In the “SmartArt Styles” group, you’ll see a range of different styles to choose from, as well as the option to change colors.

Click the “Change Colors” option to show a drop-down menu, then select the color scheme you like best.

Gradient range accent 2

Next, choose a style you like from the lineup in the “SmartArt Styles” group. We’ll use the “Inset” option.

Inset option

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Your chart will take on the selected color and style.

Family tree example

Play around with the styles and colors until you find one the works best for you.


Creating a family tree is an exciting thing, but it’s always a collaborative effort. You can ask family members to collaborate on the presentation with you to ensure that no family members are left out. And remember to share the presentation with your family once the family tree is complete!

Marshall Gunnell
Marshall Gunnell is a writer with experience in the data storage industry. He worked at Synology, and most recently as CMO and technical staff writer at StorageReview. He's currently an API/Software Technical Writer at LINE Corporation in Tokyo, Japan, runs ITEnterpriser, a data-storage and cybersecurity-focused online media, and plays with development, with his RAID calculator being his first public project.
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