Organization Charts (Org Charts) are one of the most popular templates in Visio. An org chart helps you create a visualization of your team or organization in terms of relationships among people. While org charts are commonly used to show employees within a reporting hierarchy, they can also be used for other purposes such as showing ownership of tasks and projects or to visualize virtual teams.
The new Visio pushes the boundaries of what org charts can look like and how easy it is to create them, by providing modern shape styles, automatic photo importing and a host of other improvements.
Let’s jump in and explore how you can have more flexibility than ever in creating a professional, engaging and modern organization chart with the new Visio.
Introducing Org Chart styles
If you do an online image search for organization chart, you’ll quickly notice the vast majority of org charts look the same–lots of rectangles with text in them.
The new Visio changes all of that by introducing a new Visio organization chart concept called “styles”. A style lets you quickly change the entire look and feel of your org chart with a single click. Styles change both the geometry and layout of your org chart shapes.
Ten new styles are available, with over 60 new org chart shapes to support them. Also, each style has been designed to work with embellishments, a new theming concept explained in our “New themes, variants, and styles in Visio” blog post that lets you change your org chart’s appearance from conservative to elaborate.
However, Visio org chart styles go beyond just changing shape geometry by automatically changing the layout (placement and spacing) of your shapes to one that is optimized for each specific style. This saves you time from having to manually select a layout style, and makes each style look that much more unique.
Tip: If you only want your shapes and not your layout to change when selecting org chart styles (handy if you have already customized your org chart’s layout by hand), simply uncheck “Apply Automatic Layouts to Shape Styles” from either the Layout dropdown on the Layout chunk, or the Styles gallery on the Shapes chunk. Alternatively, you can change your style and just hit undo.
Ultimately, you have a variety of styles at your fingertips that range from minimal to professional to hip and playful–whichever is appropriate for the personality of your team or organization.
To try styles for yourself, simply open up the Organization Chart template, import your data via the wizard or drag and drop your shapes to the canvas, and try clicking on various styles from the gallery on the Shapes chunk of the Org Chart ribbon tab.
Automatic photo imports
You always hear people saying “I can remember faces, but not names.” With automatic photo imports in the new Visio’s org charts, you can create diagrams that are much more engaging and effective.
There are two ways you can import photos into your org charts in the new Visio.
Import photos via Microsoft Exchange
When you first open up the Org Chart template, you’ll be presented with a wizard that will walk you step-by-step through the process of importing the data needed to create your org chart.
If you import your data via a Microsoft Exchange Server directory, you’ll notice a new “Photo” field added to your “Displayed fields” by default. This will take the same photos you see people have in Outlook and import them into your org chart.
Import photos via a local folder on your computer
Alternatively, if you don’t have photos on an Exchange server or have different photos you want to use, simply remove the “Photo” field from the “Displayed fields” in the dialog above, continue through the wizard, and you’ll be presented with the following option that allows you to locate a folder on your computer that contains your photos:
Simply name your image files the same as the name on your org chart shapes, and we’ll take care of the rest–mapping each photo to the corresponding shape and inserting it for you. You can even select a different field from the “Match pictures based on” dropdown to match your photos to. For example, some of you may have an Employee ID field in your Org Chart data that you could then select and use to name your photos by for matching.
Additionally, if you aren’t using the wizard to create your org chart, you can simply go to Insert –> Multiple Pictures on the Picture chunk of the Org Chart ribbon tab to select a folder on your computer.
Images are easy to manipulate
Given we expect most of your org charts to now have photos in them, we made it easier than ever to manipulate and change these images.
An improved image cropping mode makes it super quick and easy to adjust an image to your liking. Simply select your org chart shape’s image, click the Picture Tools Format tab on the ribbon that’s highlighted in green, and click Crop Tool from the Arrange chunk.
You’ll instantly be able to see a preview of the entire image, with the portions outside of your cropping area highlighted in gray, making it easy to see what will and won’t be in your final field of view. Click and drag on the picture to position it to your liking, click off the shape, and you’re done!
Org Chart ribbon refinement
The Org Chart ribbon tab has been reorganized and refined to put the most important controls at your fingertips. Besides the large styles gallery previously discussed, you’ll notice a few other changes:
Layout: All 18 org chart layouts offered have now been conveniently placed into a single drop down menu, organized by type: horizontal, vertical, and side by side.
Change Picture: You no longer have to click both delete and insert to change an image in your org chart shape. The new Change Picture button will do both actions for you.
More intelligent shape connection
For those of you who manually create your org charts by dragging and dropping shapes on top of each other to create relationships, we’ve made the task easier and faster for you by increasing the area on the shape in which we recognize a shape connection.
As you can see below, if you only drag a new shape on top of a small portion of the parent shape, the new Visio is smart enough to know what you want and the connection is made. It allows you to be less precise and work faster, saving you time and frustration.
Organization Charts in the new Visio are the best we’ve ever made. When you combine the new styles that push the boundaries of what an org chart can look like, with over 60 new shapes, 30 embellishments, automatic photo and image imports and a host of other improvements, we give you the power and flexibility to create, customize and personalize your Org Charts in ways never possible before.
As you can see, there is a lot to explore. So we encourage you to download the Visio Preview if you haven’t already, and start building your new org charts.