How to Make a Family Tree in Microsoft Word

Updated February 21, 2017

Microsoft Word is a word processing program, but it can be used for visual displays using text and graphics. You can create a family tree or pedigree chart using Microsoft Word. The first four generations will fit easily on a standard piece of 8 1/2-by-11-inch paper. After creating the chart you can save the file as a template to use for other branches of the family tree.

Gather information for four generations. Typically, this will be information for the family tree's primary person and his parents, grandparents and great-grandparents.

Open Microsoft Word and create a new document.

Go the “File” drop-down menu and select “Page Setup.” Click on the landscape icon and set the margins at .5 inches for the top, bottom, right and left edges of the paper. After the settings have been made, click “OK.”

Click the “Tools” menu and select “Options.” Click on the “Edit” tab and set the “Insert/Paste Pictures as...” option to “Behind text.” Click the “General” tab and remove the check from “Automatically create drawing canvas when Inserting AutoShapes” box. Click “OK” to close the menu.

Imagine the page with four equal columns. On the far right column will be eight, equally sized text boxes for each great-grandparent. To the left of that column will be four, equally sized text boxes for each grandparent. To the left of that column will be two, equally sized text boxes for each parent. On the far left column will be one box for the family tree's primary person.

Begin with the great-grandparents. Click “Insert” and select “Text Box.” The cursor will turn into a plus sign. Click on the screen and a text box will appear. Right-click on the text box and choose "Format." Format the measurements of the text box to be 2.25 inches wide and .75 inch high.

Repeat the previous step until eight, identically sized text boxes are created. Use the cursor to move them on the page, lining them up vertically at the far right.

Create four text boxes for the grandparents, using the previous instructions. Format these text boxes to be 2.25 inches wide and 1 inch high. Line them up vertically to the left of the great-grandparent text boxes.

Create two text boxes for the parents, using the previous instructions. Format these text boxes to be 2.25 inches wide and 2 inches high. Position these to the right of the grandparent text boxes.

Create one more text box for the primary person. Use the same dimension as the parent text boxes. Place this text box to the far left of the page.

Reposition any text boxes if necessary. The primary person’s text box should be centred in the middle of the first column. The top text box in the parents’ column will be for the father of the primary person. The top text box in the grandparent’s column will be the father’s father, and the box below that should be the father’s mother. Position the remainder of the text boxes accordingly.

Click on any text box to add information about that person. This might include the full name, birth and death dates, and places.


You can alter the fonts you are using for the text in the text boxes.

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About the Author

Ann Johnson has been a freelance writer since 1995. She previously served as the editor of a community magazine in Southern California and was also an active real-estate agent, specializing in commercial and residential properties. She has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from California State University, Fullerton.