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How to Draw Tournament Brackets in Microsoft Word

Updated February 21, 2017

Whether you have four teams vying for the championship, or 64 teams, a tournament bracket can help keep everyone informed of the current and potential matchups. While Microsoft Word 2010 doesn't have an official tournament bracket graphic, there are enough features in the program for you to create your own. Word 2010 has a number of SmartArt graphics that are designed for organizational charts that you can easily convert into a bracket.

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  1. Open a blank Microsoft Word 2010 document.

  2. Click the "Insert" tab at the top of the screen, then click the "SmartArt" button in the "Illustrations" area of the ribbon. A small window will appear.

  3. Select "Hierarchy" from the list on the left side of the window. Choose any one of the three horizontal hierarchies listed there and click "OK."

  4. Select the "Page Layout" tab at the top of the screen. Click the "Orientation" button and choose "Landscape." Then click the "Margins" button and choose "Narrow."

  5. Click on the bottom box in the rightmost column. Then select the "Design" tab at the top of the screen. Click the "Add Shape" button to add a fourth box to that column. You will now have a four-team set-up. To add another column of teams, select the top box in the rightmost column, then click the arrow next to "Add Shape" and choose "Add Shape Below." Do this twice for every box in the rightmost column to create an 8-team bracket. You can repeat this process to create as large a bracket as you need, although beyond 16 teams it becomes a little difficult to read the text.

  6. Right-click anywhere in the white space in the graphic and choose "More Layout Options." Click the "Size" tab. Change the height to "7.5" and the width to "10." Click "OK."

  7. Click the "Text Pane" button in the ribbon. A window will appear which will list every box in your hierarchy. Enter the teams names into the window and the text will appear on the graphic. Click the "X" to close the text pane when you are done.

  8. Click on the "Insert" tab. Select the "Text Box" button and choose "Simple Text Box" from the list. Click and hold on one corner of the text box, then drag your mouse towards the opposite corner until the box is small enough to fit between your brackets. Use the text box to enter any logistical information about the matchup between the teams directly above and below it, like game time or location.

  9. Click the "Right to Left" button in the ribbon to change the directions of the brackets.

  10. Tip

    For tournaments holding more than 16 teams, consider creating a single bracket for each block of 16, and then one final bracket for the teams that win each of those brackets.

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About the Author

Shawn McClain has spent over 15 years as a journalist covering technology, business, culture and the arts. He has published numerous articles in both national and local publications, and online at various websites. He is currently pursuing his master's degree in journalism at Clarion University.

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