An organizational chart is a visual representation of a company’s internal structure. It shows the relationships between different positions and departments. Organizational charts are useful for new employees to understand reporting structures and for managers to visualize team organization.
With Google Sheets, you can easily create organizational charts using the built-in chart creation tools. The benefit of making an organizational chart in Google Sheets is that it is cloud-based, so the chart is accessible from any device and updates in real-time as organizational changes occur.
This article will walk you through the steps to create an organizational chart in Google Sheets. We will cover how to structure your spreadsheet data, insert a chart, customize the visual elements, and update the chart as needed.
With some simple formatting, dragging, and dropping, you can make a professional organizational chart in Google Sheets without any special software.
But before we delve into the practical aspect of this guide, let’s quickly see a use case or scenario that helps convey the message better.
John just started as the HR manager at XYZ Corp. One of his first tasks is to create an organizational chart to visually represent the company structure. John decides to use Google Sheets to build the chart, as he knows it will be easy to update.
First, John structures the spreadsheet by listing each department in a column – Sales, Marketing, Engineering, etc. He then adds the roles on separate rows under each department header.
Next, John highlights the entire data table and selects the “Insert Chart” option to turn it into a visual organizational chart. He chooses a hierarchical, top-down org chart layout to reflect the reporting order.
John then customizes the visual elements, like adding color and styling each department box.
Over the next few weeks, as new employees join XYZ Corp, John simply inserts new rows in the Sheet to add them to the org chart. The chart automatically updates when he makes changes to the underlying data table.
The scenario above depicts how an organizational chart should look visually and shows the steps for creating an organizational chart.
We will build on this scenario to show you how to create an organizational chart in Google Sheets step-by-step.
But before then, let’s look at the benefits of creating an organizational chart in Google Sheets.
Why Create an Organizational Chart in Google Sheets?
There are several advantages to building your organizational chart using Google Sheets rather than traditional software or drawing tools. Read on as we go over these benefits together.
- Accessibility: The chart is available on the cloud, so you can view and update it from any device with an internet connection. Employees can also access and view the latest chart remotely.
- Real-time updates: The org chart visually reflects changes immediately after you edit the underlying spreadsheet data. This keeps the chart current.
- Collaboration: Multiple people can access and edit the Sheets document simultaneously for inputting info. This makes it perfect for distributed teams.
- Flexibility: It’s easy to move boxes and lines around to adjust the layout as needed. New rows can also be inserted to add employees.
- Visualization: Charts make hierarchies easier to digest than text-heavy documents or tables.
- Accessible and user-friendly: Anyone with a Google account can access and edit Sheets for free without specialized software skills.
An organizational chart created in Sheets combines data organization and visualization for a dynamic representation of your company or team structure. The collaborative features also facilitate HR processes like onboarding. Overall, Google Sheets provides an efficient way to build and maintain org charts.
Copy Sample Sheet
If you want to follow along with today’s tutorial on how to create an organizational chart in Google Sheets, feel free to copy our sample data via the link below.
Creating an organization Chart In Google Sheets
Now that you know what an organizational chart is and the benefits of creating one in Google Sheets, it’s time to get hands-on with it.
This section will show you how to create an organizational chart in Google Sheets. And to demonstrate the entire process, we will use the sample data below.
Now that we have our sample data nicely put together let’s go over the steps for creating an organizational chart in Google Sheets.
Step 1: Enter your data
The first thing you need to do when creating an organizational chart in Google Sheets is to enter your data into a spreadsheet, which is super easy. All you need to do is open a new Google Sheet and structure your data in columns. Since you want to build an organizational chart, you can have columns for department, job title, employee name, and so on, depending on precisely what you want.
Once the columns are prepared, you can enter your data under each column. Make sure to put the senior roles at the top.
If you’re following this tutorial, you can simply copy our sample data and continue to the next step.
Step 2: Select the Data to Turn Into a Chart
Now that you have entered your organizational structure data into Google Sheets, as detailed in the previous step, the next step is to highlight the entire data set to convert it into a visual chart.
To select the data:
- Click on the cell at the extreme top-left of your data set. This will be the start of the department column header.
- Scroll down to the bottom-right cell of the data table. Hold down the shift button and click that cell to select the entire range. This will highlight all the cells you want to include in the chart.
- Alternatively, you can click on the top-left cell, hold down shift, and use the arrow keys to select the entire data range for your org chart.
Make sure not to include any headers or totals outside the data table, as that extra information does not need to be in the chart. Only highlight the primary data.
If you followed the steps we detailed above correctly, your spreadsheet should look something like this:
Step 3: Insert > Chart
Having highlighted the data in your spreadsheet you want to use to create an organizational chart in Google Sheets, the next thing you need to do is insert a chart. To do that, navigate to the Insert menu. Here, you’ll be presented with a list of options. From those options, select the option for Chart.
If you’re a bit confused about the steps, the video below provides even better clarification.
After selecting the option for Chart, Google will automatically add a chart to your spreadsheet.
Unfortunately, since Google Sheets couldn’t figure out exactly what type of chart we want to create, especially looking at the data we have in our spreadsheet, it created some sort of blank chart without visuals.
Here is what it looks like:
From the image above, you can see we don’t really have anything to visualize, so we need to change that and we will show you how in the next step.
Step 4: Choose The Chart type
Since we are interested in creating an organizational chart, we need to select the appropriate chart for that. To do that, navigate to the chart editor window on the extreme right of your spreadsheet. This is where you’ll select the chart type you want.
Here, you want to click on the drop-down menu underneath the option for chart type. You will see a list of different types of charts that you can choose from.
Scroll down to the bottom of the list and find the one that says “Org chart”. This is the chart that we want to use for our organizational chart. Click on it and you will see a preview of your chart.
The video below shows exactly how to go about it
If you followed the steps exactly as we showed you, you should notice that your chart has been updated to show an organizational chart.
Here, take a look at what we have.
Step 5: Customize the Chart’s Appearance
Now that your organizational chart is inserted, let’s make some visual customizations to polish the look. While the default chart works, we can tweak things like colors and size of the elements to make it more aesthetically pleasing. Here’s how to customize the chart:
On the right side of your Sheet, locate the “Chart editor” panel. Click the “Customize” tab in this panel. This opens options that allow you to format chart elements.
What you want to do here is click on the Organizational chart. This will instantly reveal a drop-down menu with several options you can tweak.
For this tutorial, we will start by tweaking the color of our chart element. Currently, it is set to Blue. But for customization purposes, we will change that to Green.
To do that, click the dropdown button next to the Node color. This action will reveal a color palette. From the different color options available, select Green.
Your chart element should be instantly updated to reflect your new color choice. Here, take a look at our updated organizational chart.
In addition to colors, you can also customize the size of elements in your organizational chart. For this tutorial, let’s make the boxes larger for greater visibility:
- In the “Chart editor” panel, return to the “Customize” tab.
- Click on “Org chart” again to view sizing options.
- By default, the chart box size is set to “Medium.” Click the drop-down menu next to “Size.”
- Select “Large” instead of “Medium”. This will increase the boxes and text size.
After executing the steps above, go back to your chart. You should see that the elements have been updated and are much larger than what you had.
Here is our chart after we updated the size of elements to large.
Now, that’s how to create an organizational chart in Google Sheets. That wasn’t too hard, was it?
Note: One excellent benefit of creating your organizational chart in Google Sheets is that it can update dynamically and automatically. Any changes to the underlying spreadsheet data will instantly reflect in the visual chart.
For example, if you add new employees to your company, simply insert additional rows into the data table with their details. The chart will then redraw itself to portray the updated organizational structure. No need to manually move boxes or lines around every time a change happens.
Likewise, if an employee takes on a new role or switches to a different department, update the data cells accordingly. Once the spreadsheet content changes, the chart will automatically apply those changes. Columns can be sorted to maintain hierarchy order if needed after adding rows.
This dynamic updating makes a Sheets organizational chart a “living document” that evolves alongside personnel or departmental changes.
Displaying Names in the org chart boxes
Once your organizational chart is set up, you may want to view the names of the actual people that hold the various job titles. This is what we are going to do in this section. And just so you know, there are two ways we can go about adding names in the organizational chart boxes.
Read on as we break things down.
1. Show names on hover:
For this option, when you hover your mouse over a position box in the chart. A text box will pop up displaying the name.
2. Include names in the boxes:
When you opt for this option, the name is combined with the job position, so everything appears together in the position box.
As we delve further, we will show you how to explore both options.
Let’s start by showing you how to add names to the organizational chart using the first method we discussed.
Add Job Titles for Each Employee Using Tooltips
As we mentioned earlier, it’s possible for your organizational chart in Google Sheets to display the names of employees every time you hover over a position in your chart.
To demonstrate this, we will update the sample data to show you how to create an organizational chart in Google Sheets.
What we simply want to do is add a new column to our spreadsheet, which includes the names of employees. Here is what it should look like:
Now, let’s show you how to add these employee names to the chart boxes in your organizational chart so that whenever you hover over a chart box, the name of the employee occupying that position pops up.
Step 1: Highlight the Data You Want for the Organizational Chart
As we did when we showed you how to create an organizational chart, we need to select the data we want to use in our organizational chart. For this section, we will not highlight the headers to avoid confusion.
Step 2: Insert > Chart
After you have selected the data you want to include in the organizational chart, it’s time to insert the chart. To do that, go to the top menu bar and click on the Insert menu. In the dropdown menu that appears, select “Chart.”
This action will add a blank chart to the spreadsheet. And the reason is that Google is a bit confused about the type of chart you want to create.
Step 3: Choose the Appropriate Chart
Look at the picture above. The chart we added doesn’t show helpful information because Google picked the wrong chart.
To fix this, go to the far right of your spreadsheet. Look for the Chart editor there. Click the drop-down button underneath the option for Chart type.
A list of different charts will show up. Scroll down and pick “organizational chart.”
Now, your chart will change to show an organizational chart right away.
The video below provides better clarification.
With the correct chart type selected, head to your spreadsheet to see the changes.
Here is what ours looks like:
Google automatically adds helpful tooltips to our organizational chart because we included a column for employee names. So we don’t have to do anything extra. Just go back to our organizational chart and hover over the boxes.
You should notice that when you hover over a box, the employee’s name will appear. If everything is set up correctly, it should work smoothly.
Check out the video below to see exactly what we mean:
As shown in the video demonstration above, when you hover over an org chart box, an employee name tooltip pops up temporarily. This allows you to view the actual person occupying that role while keeping the chart interface clean.
For example, hovering over the “Finance” box makes the tooltip Suzzy Wright visible.
Similarly, the chart dynamically shows a popup text box with the corresponding name when you hover over other titles like “Executive” or “Support Customer”.
This approach neatly links names to roles without overcrowding the visual layout. The tooltips provide easy access to the name information.
Include Names as Part of the Data
Previously, we covered adding a separate “Employee Name” column, then linking names via hover tooltips. But guess what, there is also an integrated method where you combine role and name in data.
Basically, what you want to do with your original data is insert the person’s name directly after each job title. For example “Executive- Anna Baker.” Do this combination for every role’s corresponding employee name.
Here is what our sample data will look like when we take this approach.
Now that we have updated our sample sheet, let’s quickly create our chart. To do that, highlight the data set you want to use to create your organizational chat.
With the data set highlighted, head to the Insert menu and click it. You’ll be presented with several options. From those options, select the one that says Chart.
After picking “Chart,” Google Sheets will automatically insert a chart into your spreadsheet. However, the chart might look empty. Why? Because Google Sheets doesn’t quite get the data you gave it. So, it’s up to you to tell it the right chart type.
Here’s how: Go to the far right of your spreadsheet. Find the Chart editor window. Click on the chart type drop-down, scroll down, and choose “Organizational chart.” Google should instantly update your chart to display the correct visuals you want.
If you did everything exactly as we explained above, your chart should look something like this:
Looking at the image above, you can see that we have been able to add employee names directly to the position they occupy in the chart box.
This approach puts the name and role together as each box label for clear context. So you don’t need to hover to see who holds the job. The disadvantage is that long names may clutter your boxes.
Exporting Your Organizational Chart from Google Sheets
Now that you’ve made a snazzy organizational chart in Google Sheets, chances are you want to use it in your PowerPoint presentation or as part of a report in Google Docs or Microsoft Word.
Lucky for you, Google Sheets makes it a breeze to export your chart as either a PNG image or a PDF file.
Here’s how to download your organizational chart in Google Sheets:
- Start by selecting the chart you’ve already crafted. When you do that, you should see a three-dot icon at the top right corner of the chart. You want to click on that.
- Finally, click on the Download option and select the preferred format you want your chart to be downloaded. For this example, we will opt for PDF.
The steps we just described above will instantly download the chart in the selected format.
And there you have it. In this comprehensive guide, we covered everything you need to know to create an organizational chart in Google Sheets.
You now understand:
- What an org chart is and why a Sheets version is valuable
- How to structure, select, and insert chart data
- Customizing visual elements like color and size
- Adding employee names via hover text or integrated labels
- Keeping the chart dynamically updated as changes occur
- Exporting the final version as an image or PDF
While it may seem complex, Google Sheets makes chart building quite intuitive once you know these key steps.
The end result is a shareable organization chart in Google Sheets that boosts onboarding and provides at-a-glance views of company structure. Plus, you can continue modifying as needed.
So, utilize these new skills to visualize your own team’s workflow and hierarchy. Let us know in the comments if you have any other questions.