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Data-linked diagrams: Creating a diagram

Yana Terukhova is a Product Marketing Manager on the Microsoft Visio team.

Visio offers over 60 types of professional templates to build compelling diagrams, and organization charts are among most the frequently created. Visio organization charts are simple and visual, but what if you want to connect them to key business indicators tracked by your organization, such as sales by region, budget by department, vacation status, or training progress? Sometimes this information is located in another source, like Excel or  a complex database. Data-linked diagrams let you add data to Visio diagrams–no code required–and anyone in an organization can quickly create such dashboards to get better insights into data using Visio Professional 2013 or Visio Pro for Office 365.

Build an organization chart from Excel data

We’ll start with an organization chart diagram like this one.

The data you add to the organization diagram can be in an Excel file, populated from Exchange/Active Directory, or constructed manually by dragging shapes on a page.

Tip: if you pull data from Active Directory or Exchange, you must have Outlook installed and configured with an active profile–the requirement is a MAPI connection. Visio uses MAPI to get data, so if you don’t have one, the data import will fail.

In this example, the Excel file has three columns: Name, Title and Reports To. Visio uses this information to determine how to organize the reporting relationships in your organization chart.

From the Visio start screen, select or search for Organization Chart.

Once the wizard starts, select Information that’s already stored in a file or database. Then you can tell Visio what columns have your hierarchy information and where to import pictures from, if you have them.

 You can specify a folder with your pictures, and as long as there is a field that Visio can match to (such as Name). Visio will automatically associate them with the correct organization chart shape.

Once you’re finished, you’ll have an organization chart that looks like this:

Change the design of a diagram

Now you can click the Org Chart tab on the ribbon and make changes to reflect what you’re looking for, including spacing and other variants.

In this case, we used the Coin design to add a splash of color:

Although this example focuses on mapping departments of people, you can use the Organization Chart Wizard to map all sorts of hierarchical data–a website map, for example–as long as you can clearly format that data in Excel.

Yana Terukhova, Product Marketing Manager