Creating Charts and Graphics in Microsoft Excel 2013

  • 3/31/2014

Creating diagrams by using SmartArt

As an international delivery company, Consolidated Messenger’s business processes are quite complex. Many times, chief operating officer Lori Penor summarizes the company’s processes for the board of directors by creating diagrams. Excel has just the tool she needs to create those diagrams: SmartArt. To create a SmartArt graphic, on the Insert tab, in the Illustrations group, click SmartArt to display the Choose A SmartArt Graphic dialog box.

When you click one of the thumbnails in the center pane of the Choose A SmartArt Graphic dialog box, Excel displays a description of the diagram type you selected in the rightmost pane of the dialog box. Clicking All displays every available SmartArt graphic type. The following table lists the types of diagrams you can create by using the Choose A SmartArt Graphic dialog box.




Shows a series of items that typically require a large amount of text to explain


Shows a progression of sequential steps through a task, process, or workflow


Shows a process with a continuous cycle or relationships of core elements


Shows hierarchical relationships, such as those within a company


Shows the relationships between two or more items


Shows the relationship of components to a whole by using quadrants


Shows proportional, foundation-based, or hierarchical relationships such as a series of skills


Shows one or more images with captions

After you click the button that represents the type of diagram you want to create, click OK to add the diagram to your worksheet.

While the diagram is selected, Excel displays the Design and Format tool tabs. You can use the tools on the Design tool tab to change the graphic’s layout, style, or color scheme. The Design tool tab also contains the Create Graphic group, which is home to tools you can use to add a shape to the SmartArt graphic, add text to the graphic, and promote or demote shapes within the graphic.

As an example, consider a process diagram that describes how Consolidated Messenger handles a package within one of the company’s regional distribution centers.

In the text pane, located to the left of the SmartArt graphic, you can add text to a shape without having to click and type within the shape. If you enter the process steps in the wrong order, you can move a shape by right-clicking the shape you want to move and then clicking Cut on the shortcut menu that appears. To paste the shape back into the graphic, right-click the shape to the left of where you want the pasted shape to appear, and then click Paste. For example, if you have a five-step process and accidentally switch the second and third steps, you can move the third step to the second position by right-clicking the third step, clicking Cut, right-clicking the first shape, and then clicking Paste.

If you want to add a shape to a SmartArt graphic, to add a step to a process, for instance, click a shape next to the position you want the new shape to occupy and then, on the Design tool tab, in the Create Graphic group, click Add Shape, and then click the option that represents where you want the new shape to appear in relation to the selected shape.

You can edit the graphic’s elements by using the buttons on the Format tool tab or by right-clicking the shape and then clicking Format Shape to display the Format Shape pane. If you have selected the text in a shape, you can use the tools in the Font group on the Home tab to change the text’s appearance.

In this exercise, you’ll create an organization chart, fill in the shapes, delete a shape, add a shape, change the layout of the diagram without changing the information it embodies, and change the formatting of one of the diagram elements.

  1. On the Insert tab, in the Illustrations group, click SmartArt to open the Choose a SmartArt Graphic dialog box.

  2. Click Hierarchy to display the Hierarchy graphic subtypes.

  3. Click the first subtype (Organization Chart), and then click OK. Excel creates the organization chart graphic.

  4. In the Type your text here pane, in the first text box, enter CEO, and then press the Down Arrow key. The value CEO appears in the shape at the top level of the organization chart.

  5. In the SmartArt diagram, right-click the assistant box, located below and to the left of the CEO shape, and then click Cut. Excel removes the shape and moves the shapes on the third level of the organization chart to the second level.

  6. Click the leftmost shape on the second level of the organization chart, and then enter COO.

  7. Click the middle shape on the second level of the organization chart, and then enter CIO.

  8. Click the rightmost shape on the second level of the organization chart, and then enter CFO.

  9. Click the CFO shape. On the Design tool tab, in the Create Graphic group, in the Add Shape list, click Add Shape Below. A new shape appears below the CFO shape.

  10. In the new shape, type Comptroller.

  11. On the Design tool tab, in the Layouts group, click the second layout from the left on the second line of layouts. Excel applies the new layout to your organization chart.

  12. Right-click the Comptroller shape, and then click Format Shape to display the Format Shape pane.

  13. If necessary, click the Fill category to display the fill options.

  14. Verify that the Solid fill option is selected, click the Color button and then, in the Standard Colors area of the color picker, click the red swatch.

  15. Click Close. Excel changes the shape’s fill to red.