How to Use PowerPoint to Make a Family Tree Chart

Visualize your family tree in a PowerPoint slide

Granny showing her granddaughter memories from past

 eclipse_images/Getty Images

You can make a family tree in PowerPoint if you don't have access to family tree making software or a genealogy website that supports building ancestry trees.

Another reason to use PowerPoint to make a family tree is if you're needing a family tree within your presentation. Instead of making the family tree elsewhere and trying to import it into PowerPoint, you can use its built-in tools to make one without ever leaving the program.

When you create a family tree chart in PowerPoint, you get the familiar interface of the step-by-step slides and can insert anything supported in PowerPoint, like images, text, videos, audio, charts, etc.

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Change the Slide Layout to 'Title and Content'

Use SmartArt icon on Title and Content slide for a family tree in PowerPoint 2007
Screen shot © Wendy Russell
  1. Click Home from the ribbon in PowerPoint.
  2. Click the Layout drop-down menu from the Slides section of the menu.
  3. Select Title and Content.
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Insert a SmartArt Graphic

Hierarchy SmartArt graphic for Family Tree in PowerPoint 2007
Screen shot © Wendy Russell
  1. Click the Insert a SmartArt Graphic icon from the center of the slide (it's the one on the upper right-hand side).
  2. Select Hierarchy from the left side of the window.
  3. Click the first option, called Organization Chart.
  4. Click OK.

It's important to pick the very first option in Step 3 because it's that hierarchy organization chart that includes the option to add an "assistant" box to the family tree. That type of shape is used to identify one member's spouse in the family tree.

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Add Family Members to the Chart

Add a new member to the family tree chart in PowerPoint 2007
Screen shot © Wendy Russell

Type the information for each member of your family tree into the text boxes formed in the hierarchy chart. Adding a new member to the family tree chart is simply a matter of adding a new shape and filling in the information.

  1. Click the edge of the shape to which you need to make an addition.
  2. Click Add Shape from the Design menu at the top of PowerPoint.
  3. Continue to add new shapes as necessary to complete the family tree.
    1. Make sure the correct "parent" shape (in relation to the new addition) is selected before you add a new member to the family tree chart.
  4. Add text to the shapes like you did for the original ones, by clicking inside the shapes and typing.

You can move any shape by clicking and dragging it to the appropriate place in the chart. To delete a shape in the family tree chart, click the edge of the box to select it, and then remove it with the Delete key.

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Link to a New Branch of the Family Tree

Choose a shape to add to the family tree in PowerPoint 2007
Screen shot © Wendy Russell

From the main family tree page, you might wish to branch out to other relatives in the tree that are located in another slide. Another reason to link to another slide is to show more information about that family member.

You can do this by hyperlinking to the part of the presentation that isn't included in the current slide.

  1. Select the shape that you want to be clickable.
  2. Click Insert from the menu.
  3. Choose Link or Hyperlink.
  4. Click Place in This Document from the left side of the window.
  5. Pick the slide you want the link to point to.
  6. Click OK.

PowerPoint 2007 Steps

If you're using PowerPoint 2007, you can't add a link directly to the family tree shape, so you instead have to make a different shape over the one that's part of the chart.

  1. Go to Insert > Shapes and pick a shape that closely matches the one from the family tree chart.
  2. Draw the shape over the existing one that you want to link from.
  3. Right-click the and choose Format Shape.
  4. In the Fill menu, click No fill.
    1. No that enabling "no fill" lets you see the text from the original shape, but it also makes the shape clickable only on the very outside of it. Another option, if you don't want it to work this way, is to make this new shape very small so that you can use it as a hyperlink button; in that case, you could place it in the corner of the original shape without enabling "no fill."
  5. Click Close on the formatting options window.
  6. Click the shape you just made and then select Insert > Hyperlink from the menu.
  7. Click Place in This Document.
  8. Choose a slide you want the link to point to.
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Customize Your Family Tree Chart

Free family tree chart template for PowerPoint 2007

screen shot © Wendy Russell

Your family tree PowerPoint slideshow doesn't have to be boring. You can create a unique background to spice it up, and even make the background different for each slide.

You can also add text to the slides, import videos and audio files, change the color of the shapes, pick different shapes for different people, adjust the color of the names of the family members, and more.