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Creating Org Charts in InDesign

InDesign Magazine Issue 130 coverThis article appeared in Issue 137 of InDesign Magazine.

With the Gridify feature and two key paragraph style settings, you can create org charts in a flash!

Organizational charts—or org charts, for short—are critical to nearly every competitive project pursuit. Among the myriad of requirements marketers address in each project submittal, org charts can be one of the most frustrating and time-consuming tasks on your list.

But here’s a secret: They don’t have to be.

Read on to explore the auto-mated org chart process and how to create a chart like Figure 1 in just seconds—yes, seconds!

Figure 1. The basic org chart. How long does it take you to create one of these?

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  • Candi Crosson says:

    This is great! I love the combo of Object and Paragraph Styles. When I’m doing InDesign training, I’m always promoting working smarter, not harder, and this tip is one way of doing that!

  • Candi Crosson says:

    Me again… unless I missed it, I think there’s a step missing. I followed the steps to recreate, but noticed that the option for which Paragraph Style to use wasn’t selected for the “Org Chart Box” Object Styles. Otherwise it will not know which paragraph style to apply.

    • Mike Rankin says:

      I don’t think you can specify a paragraph style in an object style and then apply that object style to threaded text frames and have it all work. That’s why Julie set up the Next Style loop in her 2 paragraph styles and then applied them after she placed the text into the threaded frames.

  • Candi Crosson says:

    Ah… makes sense. I didn’t recreate with threaded text frames (which doesn’t always work w/ my many complex org charts). I’m so use to assigning the paragraph style to an object style that I didn’t realize it could be applied w/o checking the style. Object Styles does give you the option for the style and then apply a next style, but I guess depending on the need, it may or may not work out. Nevertheless, all good info… and I’m always open to new ways of doing things. Thanks Mike!

  • Jessica Hannon says:

    Is there anyway you can show the example of the text in a paragraph- separated list? Is this just from word? Currently, I have Name ^p Role in a word document and placing it in the first text thread box – it does not thread to each box.

  • Anne Miller says:

    One more question, when I right click on Org Chart Role, I do not have the option to “Apply Org Chart Role then Next Style”. Can only edit, duplicate or delete – any suggestions?

    • David Blatner says:

      @Anne: You’ll only see the “then next style” option if you have more than one paragraph selected (or a frame with a story in it)

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