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How to Create a Tree Diagram in Word

Updated June 13, 2017

A tree diagram, which presents data in the form of a hierarchy or progression, serves a useful role in analysing probabilities, sorting items or outcomes, determining the consequences of decisions or identifying and solving problems. It's called a "tree diagram" because the source or first level in the diagram represents the trunk of a tree, the options stemming from it become branches and the options stemming from the branches are like leaves. Microsoft Word provides a special tool specifically engineered to help you create your own tree diagram in a Word document.

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  1. Click in the document where you want to insert a tree diagram.

  2. Click the "Insert" tab on the Ribbon.

  3. Click the "SmartArt" icon on the Ribbon, in the Illustrations group. This will launch the Choose a SmartArt Graphic dialogue box.

  4. Click the "Hierarchy" tab on the left column of the SmartArt dialogue box.

  5. Click any of the options presented in the middle section of the SmartArt dialogue box, depending on the style and format you want for your tree diagram. For example, choose "Organization Chart" if you want your tree diagram to start at the top and work downward, or choose "Horizontal Hierarchy" if you want the diagram to start and the left and work toward the right.

  6. Click "OK" at the bottom of the SmartArt dialogue box after selecting your tree diagram style. Word will insert a basic tree diagram into your document.

  7. Click any box on the diagram to type text in that box.

  8. Add another element to the tree by clicking one of the boxes on the current diagram, then clicking the downward arrow by the "Add Shape" icon on the left end of the Ribbon.

  9. On the drop-down menu, click "Add Shape After" or "Add Shape Before" to add an element on the same level as the selected shape. Click "Add Shape Above" to insert an element that comes before and leads to the selected element. Click "Add Shape Below" to insert an element that follows after the selected element.

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About the Author

Lily Medina

As a professional copywriter since 2004, Lily Medina researches to expand her expertise in technology, parenting, education, health, fitness and writing. She has also taught high school and worked as a copy editor. Medina majored in political theory at Patrick Henry College.

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