How to Create a Decision Tree in Word

A decision tree can help you examine all possible options when faced with a hard choice or decision such as choosing the best option for your company. Microsoft Word provides a simple way to create a professional looking decision tree to print off for consideration.

Whether you have Microsoft Word 2007 or an older version of the software, you can still create a decision tree in less than an hour using a few drawing tools.

Open a new Word document. If the Clip art menu isn't visible, click "Tools," "Toolbars," and then "Drawing" from the list that appears beside "Toolbars." The drawing toolbar should appear either at the bottom or to the left side of your Word document.

Click the "AutoShapes" button and choose a circle or a square, whichever you think would best fit your decision tree. For more room, create the chart running vertically instead of horizontally.

Drag the tool to create the circle or square that will serve as your starting point. In it, you'll state the decision or problem you're trying to solve. Next, click the "Line" tool and draw a line extending down from your main circle or square for each possible choice or decision you can make. Draw smaller circles or squares at the end of each line and more lines out from these representing more choices. Continue this to map out your decision tree.

Click the text box button, which shows a large "A" in front of some lines. Click on one of the circles or squares in your diagram and drag your cursor to create a box inside this part of your chart. Type the required text into the box. Repeat this to fill out the rest of the diagram. If you get confused about what goes in what box, fill out the text after you create each box instead of creating the entire decision tree before adding the text.

Open a new document in Word. Several options are available for drawing a decision tree, but the easiest way is to use SmartArt.

Click the "Insert" tab and choose "SmartArt." Different graphic selections will appear. Examine your options to find one that works best for you. A good choice for a decision tree is the "Radial List" found halfway down the choices under "Relationship" category. Each bubble can represent a different decision and the bubbles branching off from them can show possible results or choices.

Click the graphic you want, such as the Radial List, and click "OK." The graphic should appear onscreen. Click the different bubbles to insert new text into them. Press "Enter" after the last text bubble to create a new one. Save or print your work when you're finished.