Make a Family Tree in PowerPoint 2003 Using the Organization Chart

PowerPoint's templates are often business oriented, but these can be adapted to other projects to make them easier. For example, a family tree can be created easily using PowerPoint's organization chart template. This may be a great exercise for children to create a simple family tree of their immediate family.

This tutorial describes the process in PowerPoint 2003. You can also create a family tree using PowerPoint 2007.

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Select a Content Layout Slide

Content Layout slides in Microsoft PowerPoint
© Wendy Russell

Open a new PowerPoint presentation file. From the main menu, choose File > Save and save the presentation as Family Tree.

In the Title text box of the first slide, enter [Your Last Name] Family Tree and type by [Your Name] in the Subtitle text box.

Add a new slide to the presentation. Then, choose a content layout slide:

  1. In the Slide Layout task pane shown on the right side of the screen, scroll to the section called Content Layouts if it is not already in view. Decide if you want a title on this page or not.
  2. Choose the appropriate slide layout type from the list. (You can always change your mind later).
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Use the Powerpoint Organization Chart for the Family Tree

Double click to start the Diagram Gallery in Microsoft PowerPoint
© Wendy Russell

Start the diagram or organization chart gallery by hovering your mouse pointer over the icons to find the Diagram or Organization Chart icon. Double click to start up the Diagram Gallery, which contains six different options for chart type.

By default, the organization chart is selected. Other options include Cycle diagram, Radial diagram, Pyramid diagram, Venn diagram and Target diagram. Leave the default option selected and click the OK button to begin to create the family tree.

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Prepare the Organization Chart

Delete text boxes except the main text box
© Wendy Russell

Delete all colored text boxes except the main box at the top. Select the text boxes by clicking on their borders and then pressing the Delete key. If you click the mouse inside the text box rather than the border, PowerPoint assumes you want to add or edit the text in the text box. You will notice that the text size increases in the boxes each time you delete a text box. This is normal.

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Add the Assistant Text Box Type

Add an Assistant text box in the Organization Chart in Microsoft PowerPoint
© Wendy Russell

Click in the remaining text box and type [Your Last Name] Family Tree. Notice that when a text box is selected, the organization chart toolbar appears. While the Family Tree text box is still selected, click on the Insert Shape drop-down option. Select Assistant. A new text box will appear on the screen. Repeat this to add a second Assistant. These text boxes will be used to add your parents' names.

Since the organization chart is primarily used in the business world, the words Assistant and Subordinate do not really reflect their usage in this family tree project, but we can use those types of text boxes to attain the look we want.

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Add Your Parents' Names

Add names of parents to family tree text boxes in the Organization Chart
© Wendy Russell

Add your mother's first name and her maiden name in one text box. Add your dad's first and last name in the other text box. If any of the text is too long, click the Fit Text button on the organization chart toolbar.

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Add Siblings in Subordinate Text Boxes

Use Subordinate boxes in Organization Chart for the family tree
© Wendy Russell

Select the main Family Tree text box by clicking on the border. Using the organization chart toolbar, click on the Insert Shape dropdown option and select Subordinate. Repeat this for each sibling in the family. Add the names of your siblings in these text boxes. If there are no siblings, you could add a beloved pet's name to the family tree instead!

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Use Autoformat to Quickly Dress up the Family Tree

Autoformat the family tree
© Wendy Russell

Click anywhere in your chart to activate the organization chart toolbar. Click the Autoformat button on the right side of the toolbar to open the Organization Chart Style Gallery. You can preview the different options by clicking them to see how your family tree will look. Select a style option and click on the OK button to apply this design to your family tree.

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Create Your Color Scheme

Format AutoShape dialog box. Make color and line type changes here for the family tree.
© Wendy Russell

The Autoformat is a great tool to quickly format your family tree, but if the colors and line types are not to your liking you can quickly change them. If you have already applied an Autoformat color scheme, you will need to return the color scheme to the default settings.

  1. Click the Autoformat button again.
  2. Select Default as the Autoformat type.
  3. Click OK.

Double click on any text box that you want to change. The Format AutoShape dialog box will appear. You may make several changes at the same time, such as line type and text box color.

In order to apply changes to more than one text box at a time, hold the Shift key on the keyboard while you click on the border of each text box you want to change. Apply the changes you wish to make. Any new changes will be applied to all of these text boxes.

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Sample Colors for the Family Tree

Color schemes for the PowerPoint family tree
© Wendy Russell

Here are two different examples of the looks you can create for your family tree by creating your own color scheme or by using the Autoformat feature in the PowerPoint Organization Chart.

Save your family tree by clicking File > Save.