In this tutorial, we will show you how to create a family tree in Microsoft Excel. Microsoft Excel offers a powerful method to create family trees quickly and easily. The Microsoft Excel grid format provides a great hierarchical structure to begin a family tree. Whether you are starting out on a school family tree project or simply researching your family history this tutorial will guide you on how to create a family tree in Microsoft Excel.
How to Create a Family Tree in Microsoft Excel
Step 1 – Creating a New Worksheet for Your Family Tree
The first step to create a family tree in Microsoft Excel is to add a new workbook. To do this, open the Microsoft Excel 2016 application, you will be presented with a number of options. Select the “Blank Worksheet” option. In some versions of Excel, the options may differ slightly. You may have to use the File > New option.
Step 2 – Using Smart Art to Create a Family Tree
Excel Smart Art enables you to quickly make a visual representation or graphics to represent your idea. This provides us with the perfect tool to create a family tree in Microsoft Excel.
Select the insert option from the main toolbar. Next, select the SmartArt option.
A dialogue box will then open presenting you with various options to make your family tree chart. The next stage required to create your family tree in Microsoft Excel is to choose a SmartArt Graphic dialogue box.
Step 3 – Selecting Your Family Tree Chart Type
Located on the left side of the SmartArt dialogue box are the chart types. In this case, we will choose a hierarchy layout. The diagram below shows a hierarchical chart format selection. Of course, there are other formats which can be used, however, this format is particularly useful for the creation of a family tree.
Now can be a good time to experiment with your family tree before committing to adding the detail. The SmartArt feature also offers a picture organizational chart or circle organizational chart, both of which are excellent alternatives to using. The above chart types each provide a unique placeholder for each family member whom will be added to the tree at a later stage. Some chart options include additional details as well as additional family member details. Select the chart you wish to use by clicking on the chart.
To proceed, click the “Ok” button. Microsoft Excel will then create and insert your family tree chart on the excel worksheet. Our next step will be editing the family tree to meet your requirements.
Step 4 – Adding Relatives to Your Family Tree
The family tree chart below provides placeholders to accommodate three different generations of your family. You may wish to include additional generations as required within your family tree. The majority of family trees begin with the creation of the first three generations which start with your grandparents, parents and finally yourself. For the purpose of the example below, we can assume the following family relatives:
- Grandfathers name is John
- Fathers name is Peter, Mother name is Lyndsey
- Your name is Susan
We will add these details to our family chart to use as an example of how Excel can display your family tree. To begin entering details, firstly select the box on the top of your chart and enter your grandfather’s name into the box. If you have chosen a chart type which includes images or details, you may also insert these details at this stage if you are familiar with working with Microsoft Excel. Next, underneath your grandfathers’ name, enter the names of your parents in two separate boxes. Finally, select the remaining placeholder box under your parent’s box. Enter your own name in this placeholder box. Your family tree should appear similar to the screenshot below.
Step 5 – Adding New Members to Your Family Tree
Microsoft Excel’s SmartArt makes it easy to add a new family member to your family tree. To add a new person to your family tree, first, select the family member placeholder beside where you wish to add the new family member. In this example, we will add your mother Lindsey to the family tree. Firstly select the shape next to where you wish to add your mother, in this case, it if your father Peter. Then select Peter’s placeholder and then click on the “Add Shape” icon button located at the top left of the screen in Excel under the Design tab. This will automatically add an additional family member to the family tree. Now that we have added a new box, select the new box which has appeared beside Peter and then type the name “Lyndsey” into the box.
Step 6 – Adding Details to the Family Tree
To give some additional context to your family tree, you should consider adding in some member details beyond just the name. Details could include the date of birth, date of death, locations, maiden names, or even just their age. Microsoft Excel provides an easy method to add this detail.
To add additional details, click on the family members name. This select the family members placeholder from which you can now insert text by simply typing. The new text can be formatted to enhance the detail. You can change size, color, and style as desired.
Step 7 – Preparing to Add Images
To enhance your family tree visually, you can consider adding images to your family members placeholder. Firstly, we need to ensure the correct organizational chart has been selected. If you cannot see an image placeholder in the member placeholder, we will need to switch charts layout types. Do not worry, you will not lose any information.
Select your family tree chart in Microsoft Excel. This should automatically see Excel switch to the Design Tab. On the Design Tab, there is a section for Layouts. Select the drop-down menu on Layouts and change to “Picture Organizational Chart”. We should now be ready to add images.
Step 8 – Adding Images to the Family Tree
Images will bring your family tree to life. To add an image, start by clicking on the image placeholder contained in a family member placeholder. Once the dialogue box has opened, select the “From File” option.
Next, move the location of the image you wish to use on your computer. Once you have found the image, select the image and click “Ok” to confirm your selection. The image will now be added to the member profile on your family tree. You can simply repeat this step as often as needed to add more images to your Microsoft Excel family tree.
Step 9 – Expanding Your Family Tree with Generations
Now that we have understood the basics of creating our family tree in Microsoft Excel, we may wish to add more generations to our family tree. To add a new generation, firstly select your family tree by clicking on the tree. This should bring us to the Design tab. Next, select the family member for whom you wish to add an additional family member. In this example, we can use Susan profile. Once selected, click the “Add Shape” button located on the top left of the screen, next select “Add Assistant”. This will create a new family member below Susan’s generation.
To learn more about generations see our knowledgebase on family tree generations.
Step 10 – Saving Your Family Tree
The above steps should help you create your family tree in Microsoft Excel in a matter of minutes. Your final step is to save your work. You can do so by selecting File > Save on the main menu.
Should you prefer using Microsoft Word, see our article How to Create a Family Tree in Microsoft Word.
Do you want to create your family tree online? Try OneFams free Online Family Tree creator.