How to make a hierarchy tree in Excel

Updated April 17, 2017

A family tree is an example of a hierarchical tree. Other examples are organisational charts in businesses and the bill of materials in manufacturing. Excel includes a facility called “Smart Art” that can automatically create a hierarchical tree.

Open a new Excel worksheet. Click on the “Insert” tab in the menu bar. Select “Smart Art” in the “Illustrations” section of the tab. A dialogue window will open.

Create the structure of your tree by selecting “Hierarchy” from the list of categories in the left panel of the window. Click on the format that you like most in the middle panel and see an example in the right panel of the window. Click the “OK” button to get your outline on the spreadsheet.

Click on the outward pointing arrow on the left side of the frame around the new hierarchy. This shows the hierarchy as indented levels of text with bullet points. Click in the top level to write the text that will appear in the top box of the hierarchy. Press down arrow on your keyboard to go down to the first box on the next level.

Expand your hierarchy by pressing the “Enter” key while in the last entry for a level to add another box at that level. Press “Tab” or “Backspace” to move a box up or down a level in the hierarchy. Press the right mouse button to get the right-click menu. Select “Promote” from this menu to move a box up a layer, or “Demote” to push it down a layer. If you demote a box on the current bottom layer, you will move it onto a newly created lower layer.

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About the Author

Stephen Byron Cooper began writing professionally in 2010. He holds a Bachelor of Science in computing from the University of Plymouth and a Master of Science in manufacturing systems from Kingston University. A career as a programmer gives him experience in technology. Cooper also has experience in hospitality management with knowledge in tourism.